There were three kids in the car, happily engrossed in a Scooby DVD. For once they weren’t fighting so when I pulled up in front of the bread shop and there was an empty space right out the front, I decided to leave them all in car while I ducked in to buy a loaf of bread.
It wasn’t hot. It wasn’t a dodgy neighbourhood. The bakery was practically deserted and I was served immediately. I could see them for every second I was in the shop. It was a judgement call – I left the kids alone in the car.
But less than a minute later when I climbed back in, the Bombshell lazily commented to me: ‘You really shouldn’t leave kids alone in the car.’
My heart raced and I became instantly paranoid.
‘Did someone tell you that?’ I asked, looking around for the Today Tonight camera crew.
Instead the Bombshell pointed to a big yellow tag sticking out the side of the Baby’s carseat. ‘No, it says right here. It’s got a big cross and everything.’
Bloody schools, teaching kids to read.
I relaxed a bit and told her ‘you’re right, but if I was concerned about your safety I never would have left you alone, if it was hot, say, or we were in a not-nice neighbourhood where someone might take the car.’
It was the Bombshell’s turn to look around in paranoia.
‘I would hit anyone who wanted to take the car,’ she said bravely.
The Mop spoke up: ‘someone could have stolen us?’ she asked.
‘… or the car,’ her big sister told her helpfully.
‘A policeman would arrest you and lock you up for 99 years,’ the Mop told me, shaking her head sadly.
I sighed. ‘Well, please don’t tell any policemen that I left you alone for less than a minute.’
‘We won’t,’ said the Bombshell. ‘We don’t know any policemen.’
‘So,’ I asked. ‘You would have dobbed on me if you knew a policeman even if it meant I would get locked up for 99 years?’
There was a pause in the back seat as they put their heads together and reached a consensus.
‘No,’ decided the Mop. ‘We won’t dob because we love you.’
Yet for some reason, I’m still not convinced…