Tuesday, April 24, 2012

CPS Will Be By Any Day Now

I love my children, and I’m a good mother, but I have a feeling that Child Protective Services will have me under surveillance before long. Why? Because my kid has a great imagination. I know, that doesn’t sound like a reason to call CPS. But the problem is that my kid with the great imagination likes to make up answers to questions. Sometimes very inappropriate answers. Let me give an example: My son takes a mom-and-me gymnastics class on Mondays and Fridays. Usually my husband is able to work from home and watch my daughter, but sometimes he has a meeting so I bring her with me. She had come to class on Friday, but yesterday she stayed at home with Daddy, so the gymnastics teacher asked my son where his sister was. He replied very matter-of-factly, “She’s in the car.” Fortunately, the teacher knows me well enough to know that I had NOT, in fact, left my baby alone in the car. But if my son announced that to someone who didn’t know me, I might very well be getting a call from CPS.

Now, I love the fact that my son has a very active and creative imagination. I love that he makes up stories on the spot. I love that he occasionally tells people that I’m a firefighter or a doctor. (I’m a little less thrilled at his choice of adjective, “big,” as in “Mama is a BIG firefighter” – emphasis his.) I love that he pretends to be a pirate, or a construction worker, or a racecar driver. But I can easily see how his pretending could be misinterpreted by a stranger. He likes to pretend that he’s a patient and someone else is the doctor, so I could well imagine him approaching a parent at the playground or the library and informing them, “I have a boo-boo,” and then listing 27 different places that he’s hurt. And then having that parent call CPS to come and make sure I’m not knocking him down the stairs on a regular basis.

I guess that’s a good fear to have – if I actually were knocking him down the stairs, it’s a good thing that other parents would be concerned enough to call for help. But it would be really embarrassing to have to explain to a social worker that my kid was just playing doctor and I’m sorry for wasting their time. Fortunately, I think it’d be pretty obvious pretty quickly that my kids are loved and well taken care of. And it would also be pretty obvious pretty quickly that my son makes up stories. By the time a social worker had been there for five minutes he or she would have undoubtedly already been asked to put on a fireman’s helmet and help rescue a cat stuck up a tree, or invited to listen to my son’s heartbeat with a stethoscope, or informed that we were going to build a house together.

Of course, he also might inform him or her that he hit his sister, which is probably the truth on most days. But that’s another story entirely.

Um, please don’t report us to CPS, okay?

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