Happy April Fool's Day, Readers. Also, Happy Passover! And, welcome April.
We had a good one here, today.
My sister's family was over for dinner this afternoon, like we do often on Sundays, and they got to enjoy our big April Fool's gag along with the rest of us.
So the kids were all playing nicely. Z was next door at his friend's house. H was watching television. J, O and their cousin, N, were playing on the computer together. S and the older cousins were sitting around talking with my sister and baby E, while I helped make broccoli in the kitchen -- my big contribution to the overall meal being prepared by C. As the meal came to completion, S told the kids dinner was nearly ready and for the younger kids to get off the computer. O was stomping mad because it was his turn next and now he'd have to wait.
O started screaming at S in complaint about the unfairness of it all and she sent him upstairs to "cool off" before dinner.
About three or four minutes later, our telephone rang and H (who loves to answer the phone) ran to get it. He answered after one ring and heard another little voice on the phone along with an adult saying, "Can you please verify your address?"
H came flying into the kitchen yelling about how he thought Z was calling the police (again; he's dialed 9-1-1 two other times in years past, "for fun") and I ran out back to yell over the fence to the neighbors' yard, "Z, do you have our phone?!"
He stopped running and looked up at me, puzzled, dripping wet because the boys had been playing with water guns, and said, "Um, no? Why?"
I said, "Never mind." It was clear the only thing he'd had his hands on recently was the trigger.
I took a quick headcount of all the kids in the house and noticed O wasn't around. "Where's O?" I asked.
S said, "I sent him upstairs because he was mouthy and rude."
I said, "It had to be O."
S asked H to use the intercom/page function on our phone base to page all the handsets. We use that function a lot because we're always misplacing our phones -- or rather, kids don't regularly put them back on the base and they get lost in between couch cushions or knocked behind furniture.
S followed the rings to a phone upstairs in the playroom/loft. It was under a bean bag chair there. Hmmm.
She brought me the phone and we checked the redial (another handy tool often used on our phones) and someone had dialed, "9-1-1-1." Almost got it. But apparently, it was close enough.
I found O hiding in his bedroom closet upstairs shouting, "I didn't call anyone! It wasn't me!"
I held him by the hand and walked him downstairs where the phone was, so I could show him how we can see someone dialed the phone. I explained to him that everyone else was downstairs and the phone was upstairs and the only right thing to do at that moment was to come clean, tell the truth because the police were probably on their way already.
O started screaming about how he didn't want to go to jail. I had half a mind to let him keep thinking that might happen, but instead, I said, "You're not going to go to jail, but the officer is going to want a good explanation and an apology before he/she leaves our house."
So he broke down and said, "Okay, I did it. But I didn't tell them our address."
I asked him if he did it because he was mad. He said he didn't know why he did it. (Later, Z would explain that O had been asking him earlier in the day for instructions on how to call the police on the phone. So apparently, the thought crossed his mind before he got angry. Being angry just made him think it was a good idea to call them then.)
At that point, I looked at Caller ID (yet another good function) and saw the number from our city office and I called it. I explained that our son had been playing with the phone and called 9-1-1 and that there was no real emergency. She took down our information and sort of laughed it off. She said she'd call off the officer who was on his way.
I told O that I'd saved him from having to deal with the officer because he told the truth. My sister, who'd been watching this whole thing unfold, chuckled and said, "Hmph, I would have let the police come so he would learn his lesson that actions have consequences."
I said, "Well, I really didn't want that whole thing interrupting our Sunday dinner."
Before the words left my mouth, H -- who had apparently gone out front to watch for the police to arrive -- came running back into the house that the police were here.
C told me to get O and take him outside to meet them. So I did. O was so scared. All the way to the driveway where the officers (two of them) were standing, he was screaming, "I didn't say our address!" and "I thought the police got canceled!"
I introduced O to the officers and he buried his face in my side. They reached out their hands to shake his and introduced themselves. I instructed him to shake their hands and tell them it was nice to meet them. He did what I asked and then reburied his head.
They addressed him by name and said, "The problem is, O, once you call us, we can't cancel. We have to come see if you're okay and if everyone else in the house is okay. Is everyone in your house okay?"
Through a frown and teary eyes he nodded a slow yes.
They were kind to him and thanked him for coming out to talk to them. They told him that if he ever needed them he can call and I added, "If it's for real though, not just for fun."
The officers chuckled, "Yes, when you really need us."
I thanked them for their time and they left.
As O and I headed back inside, he said, "I thought they didn't know our address."
I explained that police are smart and they can figure things out pretty easily and he said, "I didn't know they would really, really come to our house."
I said, "Well, it's April Fool's I guess and you tried to play a trick on all of us, but instead the trick was on you."
His consequence for playing with the phone was going to bed early, after dinner. He went without much of an argument and hasn't tried to come back down since. I hope it's a lesson he remembers!