The time we really DID pull over

We are raising not just one criminal now, but two.

A few months back I told you about our youngest child's obsession with taking mail out of other people's mailboxes. It amounts to nothing short of mail fraud. Her sisters have warned her repeatedly of her imminent future at "juvie"but she just won't stop.

It seems the criminal intentions run strong in this family, because now my middle child has taken to a life of crime as well.

You see, she has a substantial addiction to a certain illegal activity. She just can't seem to help herself. It's like a compulsion, a habit quickly taking hold of her life. We are looking into an intervention program.

This is my first time to say this out loud, so it's a big step for me, here it is. My daughter is a...

LITTERBUG.

A serious, repeat offense litterbug.

It started out innocently enough. And I suppose I'm to blame for planting ideas into her little mind. One day, I had no time to make my usual egg beaters and beans breakfast (I know, it's weird), so I grabbed a banana and herded everyone into the van. We live out in the county and there are lots of cotton fields and empty acres we drive by before hitting the 'big city'. Well, I finished my banana, waited til we got to a big, empty field, and tossed the peel out the window.

Some of you will never read this blog again. I understand. It's shameful and I guess I shouldn't do it and I am a bad person. I get it. I'll stop.

But be that as it may, my daughter must have observed my actions and concluded that it is perfectly acceptable to toss anything and everything out the window the moment it is no longer desirable to you.

The first offense took place a few weeks ago. My husband loaded up Lauren and her cute backpack into the Tahoe, stopped to pick up the neighbor kids for carpool, and headed off to take them to school.

Lauren, in the midst of all the childish chatter and AM radio in the background, politely asked her Daddy to please roll down her window (because he's no fool...he keeps the window locks on at all times).

"Sure, babe," he replied, and pressed the button without a second thought.

Unfortunately for Lauren, the carpool kiddos were quite alert that morning and reported her actions immediately to her father. She had thrown out the remainder of her breakfast, a napkin, and a spoon into someone's yard. When asked why she'd done it, she simply replied nonchalantly, "I was finished, Dad."

She was, of course, strongly reprimanded (which is a serious consequence in front of older kids) and told to never throw her trash out the window again. Or else.

"Or else what, Daddy?"

"Or else we'll stop the car and you'll have to get out and pick it up off the side of the road."

"REALLY? COOL!"

Hmm. Not really the reaction he was looking for.

The next offense was even more blatant and bold. She was getting more skilled at her life of crime, though thankfully her talent at stealth is still fairly terrible at age 6. She's pretty much an open book.

Daddy, once again the favorite parent of our little duo, took the girls to Dairy Queen after dinner for a special treat.

Now two of our kids have no trouble whatsoever finishing their small blizzards. Lauren, however, just doesn't eat that much and asked if she could take hers home to save.

Dairy Queen is located approximately 3.5 miles from our home. It is not a long journey. However, during the five minutes or less it takes to get back, Lauren tired of holding her blizzard. It was too cold, it was too cumbersome, it was too...tempting.

She looked out the window. She looked at her Dad, who had his eyes on the road. The van was dark. After about 1.3 seconds to consider the possible consequences, she threw caution to the wind.

"Daddy, would you roll down the window?"

You'd think this question might have alerted Daddy to something fishy going on, but conservative AM talk radio is just too distracting sometimes to be able to focus on what's taking place in the vehicle. After all, the country is going to hell in a hand basket. He can't focus on his children at a time like this!

And yep, she did it again. Just chucked that Reese's blizzard right out the window without a second thought.

Of course, you must remember that sisters exist for the sole purpose of tattling when the opportunity arises. This was one they couldn't pass up.

"DADDY!! DADDY!!! LAUREN LITTERED!!!"

I'll spare you the drama and tears that daddy's little speech caused. Luckily for her, it was dark and it was bedtime. Her sentence was clearly explained and would be carried out the next morning.

Fast forward 12 hours or so. Daddy, true to his word, loaded up the children in the van and drove them to the scene of the crime. They spotted the sticky blizzard cup easily enough and pulled the van off to the side of the road.

With her sisters snickering, Lauren made the walk of shame through the grass to retrieve her trash.

She quickly grabbed it and got back in the van, but again, the reaction was not quite what my husband had anticipated.

She LOVED it. Thought it was the greatest adventure ever to get out of the car on the side of the road she'd passed so many times before.

I'm having visions of my daughter as an adult. She'll be pushing a wheelbarrow, wearing a neon yellow construction vest she stole from some blue collar, hard-working soul, and she'll be happily collecting every piece of trash she can find.

They'll call her the 'trash lady' around the community. And it will be my husband's fault. He introduced her to the thrill of walking on the side of the road when she was just six years old. It could result in a career goal we didn't exactly plan on. I need to hide our trash bags.






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