So, what else is going on around here?
- Travis joined the boy scouts (Popcorn, anyone?)
- Tatum is now going to ballet AND tumbling
- Bobby made the dean's list for last quarter
- I finished my quarter and am on a short break
- I joined another weight loss challenge at work. Sadly, I was 1/2 pound heavier than when I started the last one. Apparently, going out of town three times in two weeks is not good for the scale.
- Two months and $1250 later, it's confirmed. We are not child endangerers.
What, you say? What am I talking about? Well, many of you already know, but for those that don't, I'll enlighten you. On July 3, Teagan thought he wanted to follow Tanner on his bike. So, he went in the garage, got on his bike, and attempted to follow Tanner up the street. Unfortunately, Tanner nor Bobby or I knew. The police found him in the McD's parking lot. That's about 5 blocks up the street. The officer who brought him back charged Bobby with child endangering.
So, fast forward a few days. We're locking the doors, have a padlock on the gate and tell the big kids to shut the garage door after they get their bikes out. I checked on Teagan playing in the backyard, not even near the garage, then went upstairs to change a poopy diaper. I was gone maybe 6 or 7 minutes. When I came back down, I asked Tatum to go check on him again. She comes back all nonchalantly, "he's not out there" and goes back to watching cartoons, not a care in the world. I ran out the back, through the garage that I noticed was open, out the church parking lot behind us. I checked the creek behind our house, looked up and down the next street over, came back over to our house and looked up and down the street. It was about this time that I realized that I wouldn't find him on foot. All I could think was, I've got to get in the car. I went back into the house to get the girls and my car keys. As I was walking back out, a police car pulled up in front. It was the same officer that we dealt with on Friday.
I asked if he found him. Apparently, Teagan was riding his bike down the middle of the street in the plat behind our house, where we always take our walks. And, he would not get in the police car this time. Probably because he remembered how bad Mom freaked out the last time he came home in a police car. Anyway, I had to go up the street to pick him up. He was in the front yard of one of the houses we always walk by with a Mom and her kids, sipping on a juice pack. So, the officer followed me home to get my statement, and charged me with child endangering.
He went on and on about the seriousness of the incident. Um, hello? Do you think I don't appreciate the seriousness? That I didn't imagine every possible scenario of what could have happened? Anyway, we put his bike in the basement, installed a breaker switch for the garage and waited for a court date. Oh, forgot this part, I assumed Travis must have left the garage open, although he insisted he didn't. When we investigated a little further, Bobby noticed an old popcorn tin and my garden kneeler pad on top right underneath the switch to the door. We asked Teagan how he got out and he said "I pushed the button". Hence, the addition of the breaker switch.
When there are charges of child endangering, Children's Services will come by to make a house call. Of course, we had already installed all the locks and hadn't had anymore incidents, although not because he didn't try. There wasn't much else they could suggest. She listened to my version of the incident. My point was, even though the garage door wasn't closed the first time and the gate wasn't locked, they never were. We had three older kids who never left the yard, so how could we anticipate that he would. The case worker agreed and said she didn't feel the kids were in any danger (why, thank you for that), and closed her case.
With Bobby being in the police academy, we didn't want to take any chances with the judge. So we hired a lawyer. With his fee and court costs, we were out $1250, but the case was dismissed. I didn't mention it here before because my head was somewhere between being embarrassed and being pissed off. I mean who wants to admit they've been charged with child endangering? But then again, who wants someone telling them they are a bad parent and they deserve to be charged with child endangering?
The sad part was, right after that, an 8 month old baby was left in his Mom's car while she went to work, probably intentionally as he was on the floor board, not in his car seat. Then a 3 yr old died after shooting himself with his parents gun he found under the bed. And on top of that, two kids, a toddler and an infant were put in a trashcan by their deadbeat Dad. Just in the last couple days, a man left his 1 yr old in the backseat of the car when he fled the police, and a woman was arrested because her heroin and needles were sitting within reach of her two year old's car seat.
Somehow,on the scale of what's more dangerous for children, I just can't equate my Houdini 4 yr old with these other cases. And yet, we were all charged with child endangering.