Four year olds are supposed to think that everyone in the world is here simply to do their bidding. Firefighters and cops and teachers and rock stars are all here to facilitate heroic rescue wishes and frozen ice cream dreams. Or, if you're me, the Hulk. I was in l-o-v-e with the Hulk. I dreamed every night that he'd come into my room, steal me out my bedroom window, and bounce away with me into the night.
The first sheet music I ever learned to read was that Hulk theme music. I'm still partial to green. And short shorts. These things stay with you throughout your live.
So the fact that my kid is petrified of the police sort of wigs me out.
Every time we pass one on the street she screams, "Cops, momma!" which instantly makes me check my speed and double check that I have a seat beat on and try to remember when the last time I registered my car was because I actually have a good reason to be scared of cops - see: perfect driving record, and I'm keeping it, bitches. But her scream isn't a shiny happy four year old scream; it's a 'there are zombies and here I am with no brain protection' scream.
I try to explain to her that cops are here to protect her, but she always just cries and cries and tells me that cops are going to take her away from her famiwee and wock her in a cage. I try to explain to her that she's thinking about the Dharma Initiative, not the cops, but she won't hear it. Cops = cages = no more push pops. Her mind is made up.
But while we were in Phoenix, I got the whole story out of her. Maybe it was because she's gotten a little bit older and can now verbalize an entire thought process, or maybe because every street in the whole town of Gilbert, AZ was under construction and they have more cops in Gilbert making sure you don't exceed 25 mph on four lane major thoroughfares than they have Seminaries and Mormon temples, which is to say they have a lot. Either way, she explained to me that if you do bad fings, da cops take you away and wock you in cages, and so she doesn't wike cops.
And I said, "Oh, honey, they do that to protect you. They only take away the really bad people, and they do it so that little girls and boys can be safe" and she said, "But momma, sometimes I do wealwee bad fings" and then she burst into tears.
After I accepted my Mother of the Year award, I tried to explain to her that she doesn't do bad things, she does silly thing or makes mistakes, but that she's not bad, but she wasn't hearing it. And so we went on our merry way, dodging cops and missionaries and generally turning ourselves into jerky in the middle of the southwestern America desert until one day, when we had to make a u-turn.
It was one of those intersections where I knew that I could, technically, make a u-turn but it was completely under construction and guarded like Fort Knox and I was driving a loaner car from Chevy and my kid would have had a heart attack and die if I got pulled over, so I rolled down the window and yelled to the motorcycle cop eye-balling me. "Dude, can I make a u-turn here?" "Yup, as long as you do it safely." Because I look like the kind of person who plays chicken with oncoming suburban traffic, that's why.
But then he walked out into the middle of the intersection, halted the oncoming traffic even though I didn't so much as have a turn arrow, let alone the right of way, and waved me through my u-turn. And I turned to my daughter and said, "Did you SEE that? That cop helped us!" and she said, "Whaaa?" and watched him through her window. And then she said, "Oh, momma, dat cop is SO NICE! He wikes us! He's a good helper! I wuv cops, momma."
And I love them, too, but that story is for another day.
To be continued...