|The 9 year old was at her mother's on picture day.|
In the late 1960s I was living in Palm Desert with my husband of 3 years. At this time I was the mother of my son (from a previous marriage), our daughter and a part time step mother to his two daughters and a third daughter from his ex wife’s previous marriage…..Did you get all of that? Let me put it another way…there was ours (1+ years), mine (3+ years), theirs (5 and 7), and hers (9). You know how it goes. We only had the 3 girls part time, but I was overwhelmed.
My son, Gene, walked at six months of age. HOWEVER, my daughter, Patty, didn’t walk until she was 13 months old. We tried everything but she would just sit down and crawl. Then, suddenly, she was up, walking around, and changed overnight into the grand explorer. She got into EVERYTHING.
The week after the 3 older girls left I went to visit a friend and vent about how exhausting and frustrating it was having 4 kids to wrangle along with the toddler. Things went fine at my friend’s house. I only had to pull Patty out of 2 cupboards, from under 1 bed, and off the dining room table twice. My son would run to me and appraise me of her activities and I would retrieve her from where ever she wasn’t supposed to be.
Finally, we left for home and I placed them both in the back seat of the car. There were no seat belts back then, but Gene would stay put and I placed Patty in her car seat. The child seats, back then, had hooks that went over the back of the car’s seat and looked like a basket with leg holes.
As I was backing out of my friend’s drive way when Gene started yelling, “SHE’S GETTING OUT OF HER SEAT, SHE’S GETTING OUT!”
At that time I was already pulled half way way into the road and I could see a car coming from the left. So, I backed all the way to the curb, cramped the wheel and parked. I was dealing with Patty’s escape from her seat when someone cleared their throat at my window.
Patty was wailing, Gene was staring, big eyed, at something over my shoulder, and I was already fed up with my day. So, I flipped around and shrieked, “WHAT?” into the POLICE OFFICER’S face.
|Woops! Sorry, Officer.|
Obviously the officer did not have a clue as to the predicament I was in and the jerk issued me a ticket!
Well, I was not about to pay for a ticket, so, the next week I went to court and explained the whole thing to the judge.
It went something like this…
…With Patty balanced on my hip and Gene clasping my hand I approached the bench (I wasn't stupid, kids are great props).
Your honor, I have just spent 6 weeks taking care of my 1 year old, my 3 year old, and 3 step children ages 5, 7, and 9. The 9 year old hates me and made my life miserable. The 5 year old bites and we all have the wounds to prove it. And, my 1 year old is a pistol, (indicating with a nod at the squirming toddler in my arms...I could hear snickers coming from behind me).
I went on to explain (in high pitch, rapid speech)... "As I was pulling out of a drive way all HELL broke loose (the court room erupted in laughter). My 1 year old had gotten out of her car seat and fell to the floor. She was screaming and yelling bloody murder. My son was yelling warnings of impending disaster and my brain went into overload (by this time the judge was smiling, too). I had to stop the car immediately in order to see if my daughter was hurt. So, I quickly backed to the other side of the street and parked. The vehicle, which turned out to hold a not so understanding police officer, was a block down the street when I started backing out. The chaos caused by the children caused me to have a momentary mini stroke in the middle of the street, then my brain kicked in, and I parked. I think I did a good job, under the circumstances."
The judge agreed and dismissed the ticket.