While in the car (most of my stories tend to start in the car), Justin was having a phone conversation with my father. As he was talking to “Papa Jeff,” he was also continuing to play with his Legos. I must have stopped short at some point because he dropped Lego Iron Man and he was not in a position to get him unless he undid his seatbelt.
The following conversation took place….with my father listening in from Atlanta:
Justin: “Daddy, I dropped Lego Iron Man.”
Me: “It’s ok. I’ll get him when we stop.”
Justin: “No daddy. Can I unbuckle my seatbelt? I can get him.”
Me: “No Justin. I’ll get it.”
Justin: “Pleaseeeeeeeee……Let me unbuckle my seatbelt to get him!”
Me: “Justin, don’t unbuckle your seatbelt. I don’t want to go to jail.”
(At this point, I’m about to be guilty of a parenting fail…but I go on…)
Justin: “Why would you go to jail?”
Me: “Everyone is supposed to wear their seatbelt. If the policeman pulls me over and he sees that you’re not wearing your seatbelt, he’s going to take me to jail.”
Justin: (begins to giggle.)
Me: “Justin….I don’t want to go to jail because I’m afraid of jail.”
(This is where it goes horribly wrong.)
Me: “And I’m afraid that if I went to jail, some guy named Bubba is going to make me his girlfriend.”
Justin: (Erupts in laughter…hearty, gut-busting laughter.)
Me: “I don’t want to be Bubba’s girlfriend….so keep your seatbelt on!”
Justin: (Still laughing) “He’s gonna make you a girl!?!?!?!”
Me: “I dunno, buddy. I imagine that Bubba is pretty big. He might make me a girl!”
Justin: (Continued to laugh so hard that he couldn’t catch his breath.)
The next day, I was asked to assist one of Justin’s teachers with administering an AR Test to a few students. Justin was clearly excited to have me in his classroom because he was almost bouncing off the walls. He was thrilled to show me his projects that were proudly displayed on the walls and hanging from the ceiling.
Finally, he grabbed my hand and guided me up to his teacher’s desk. He excitedly began to tell Mrs. Rubin all about seatbelts and that if he didn’t wear his seatbelt, his daddy was going to become someone’s….(yes, I caught it in time.) I quickly put my hand over his mouth and doubled over laughing. I explained to his teacher that we were having a goofy conversation in the car the previous day.
As I steered Justin back to his chair, I think he got the idea that the conversation wasn’t appropriate because he couldn’t help laughing either. The two of us were giggling like idiots and I was fully expecting to get sent to the Principal’s office (again.)