Note: file under "setting a bad example" or, alternately, "another teaching moment."
One of the wonderful things about having kids is that they don't know any better than to ask questions, the answers to which would be obvious to most adults. Or, if the answers aren't obvious, at least adults would be too embarassed or ashamed to ask. Embarassed or ashamed for me.
When a policeman comes walking over to the car and sticks his head in the window, most adult passengers would sit quietly, in spite of the once-calm-now-berserk-going dog in the "way back" of the van. Not so little children.
Approaching car flashes its lights at us.
me: Hmm... that's interesting.
M: I wonder why they did that?
me: Back home, it usually just meant "hello." We're out here in the sticks.
M: Back home, it usually meant there was a cop ahead.
Fast-forward 5 minutes to....
M: That was a policeman.
me (looking in the rear view mirror while slowing waaaaaay down): And he's turning around. (still looking) And his lights are on now. (looking for a place to pull over) Damn!
K: Why we stopping?
me: Uh... we're being pulled over by the police.
M: A policeman wants us to stop.
L: Why we thopping?
Policeman: Good afternoon.
me (softly): Hi. Lucy, hush!
Policeman: You were going 60 in a posted 50 mph zone.
me (it was 50? whew! as far as I knew, it could have been 30!): Yeah.
Policeman: May I have your license, registration and proof of insurance.
me: Handing over license and.... registration (thanks M!) and... (hmm... insurance card only says Feb. 2010....here's the general card). Lucy, hush!!
Policeman: You should have one with the expiration date on it.
me (yeah, but it shows as expired!): Hmm.... here (thanks M!!)
he goes back to his car, lights flashing in my rearview mirror.
K: What he doing?
M: He's checking your dad's license.
L: What he doing?
me: Lucy, quiet!!!
he comes back...
Policeman: We're doing an awareness check on carseats (leaning in to look into the back of the van where the girls are safely buckled into their approved car seats) and seat belts. You've done good. I'm going to give you a break today. Drive safely.
me: Thank you.
he walks back to his car.
I start our car again.
K: What he doing?
me: He's getting into his car. He's a nice policeman.
M: He's checking to make sure we're all safely buckled in.
L: Even gwownupth need to wear they-a theatbelth. Even little kidth too.
me: Yes, that's right. We all need our seatbelts.
I drive off, slowly, careful to stay at 50mph.
A few minutes later....
me: That was close.
M: Yes it was.
me: That was nice of him.
me: I've never had a moving violation before. I thought my string was broken.
M: You never have?
me: No. I think if we'd had anything wrong, he wouldn't have let me off. (glancing in the mirror where I can see the girls) What's interesting is that he said we did a good job. That means there must be people who don't use car seats. Or seat belts. Doesn't that surprise you?
M: Yeah, it does.
me: I told you this was the sticks.