Monday, June 15, 2009


I think I accidentally committed a felony yesterday. Plus a couple of misdemeanors.

Normally Sunday mornings are Jesus time for the Peevie family. We all get up, get dressed, we fight about stupid stuff, and then we go and worship the Lord. Actually, every day is Jesus time, but Sundays are, you know, Official Go To Church days. Whatever. I'm getting off track here.

Eeenyway. C. Peevie has been wanting to try out for the all-star baseball team for several years, but Mr. Peevie and I vetoed it because of the added burden on our already packed summer schedules, plus the Sunday morning church conflict. But this year we decided to let him go for it.

Sunday morning I had to get C. Peevie to the baseball field by 9, but M. Peevie was still sound asleep. I hate waking up sleeping beauties--here's where the potential felony comes in--so I asked A. Peevie, age 11, if I could please leave him in charge for 10 minutes while I drove C.P. over to the park.

"I don't know, mom," he said seriously, "I don't know if I'm ready for that kind of responsibility." As I have mentioned before, he has more anxiety than Woody Allen when WA is off his meds.

"Please, A. Peevie," I said, "I don't want to have to wake M. Peevie up and drag her out to the car to take C. Peevie to baseball. It will only take 10 minutes."

"I'll think about it," he said, but he only had a couple of minutes to decide, so I sweetened the deal.

"How about if we give you C. Peevie's cell phone, and you can call me if you get worried?" I said. C. Peevie showed A. Peevie how to press one button to reach me on my cell phone, but he was still unconvinced.

"OK," I said, "How about this. How about if you call me on my cell phone right now, before I even leave, and I'll stay on the phone with you for a couple of minutes?" (There's another misdemeanor: driving while talking on the cell phone!) He agreed. I got in the car, buckled up, and a second later the phone rang.

"Hello?" I said.

"Hi, Mommy!" said little boy sweetly, waving goodbye from the picture window.

"Hi, sweetie," I said, as I pulled away from the curb. "How're you doing? Feeling OK about this?"

"I guess so," he said, "But you're going to be back in 10 minutes, right?"

"Yes, A.P.," I reassured him. "Ten minutes. I'm going to hang up now, OK?"

"OK," he said. "But I can call you if I need to, right?" Right, I said.

He called me two and a half minutes later. "Hi, mommy!"

"Hi, A. Peevie." (Another misdemeanor.)

"Watcha dew-in'?" he said needlessly.

"Honey, I'm driving. You're OK, right?"

"Yes," he admitted, "I'm OK."

"OK, then, I'm going to hang up. You can call me if you need me." Emphasis on the if you need me.

He called me two more times, for a total of four calls in the seven minutes I was gone. Seven minutes. The last time, the phone rang just as I was pulling up in front of the house.

"Hi, A. Peevie," I said.

"Hi, mommy," he said, "Oh! You just parked in front!"

"Yes," I said, one last time. "I'm hanging up now."

He was so happy when I walked in the house, and so proud of himself for staying all by himself (not counting his sleeping sister) for ten whole minutes, that he smiled a smile so big it cracked his face in half. I don't actually know if it was a felony to leave him alone, but I do think it was a good thing for his confidence.

Please don't turn me in.


Anonymous said...

It's not a crime unless something happens. I've left my 9yo with my 4yo. I worried, but like you, it was quick. I'm a social worker too. Wonder how it would look if I got found out.

E. Peevie said...

Hi El--That doesn't make legal sense to me, that it's not a crime unless something happens. But I guess the law is different from state to state.

I googled "Illinois law + leaving children alone" and found this link: that can be summarized by "use common sense."