Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hand Me the Duct Tape!

We are taking a long weekend to go on a break with the kids, so we drove across the border to visit my cousins.

My third son, yup, the one who would rather live in heaven than obey. Yes, the one who bit his brother and pulled his tooth into an interesting diagonal position. (It never fell completely out like we expected, but sort of solidified into a diagonal.)...

Well, that son...

He has a history at border crossings. So much of one that we drill him for the half hour as we approach the border. "Remember now, no talking! Just yes or no answers, nothing more. You may say your name if asked, nothing more. Do NOT volunteer information! Just be quiet for five minutes, ok?"

This is the son, who when we were asked the obligatory, "Do you have any weapons?" question and we had replied negatively, piped up from the back seat, "Oh yes, we do!"

The border guard's eyes widened, and he continued, "Remember, we have the arrows! Remember, the one I put through my lip!" (Yes, he did. Nice hole - right through... hours from medical care.) Thankfully, he had the scar to prove it, and happily showed this to the border guard who either assumed we were too stupid to be harmless or criminally insane for carrying arrows with this child!

This is the son, who when his daddy got pulled over for a check on a holiday night after almost running a red light, cheerfully informed the police officer, "My daddy always runs red lights!"

Short of duct taping his mouth shut when dealing with authorities, I don't know what to do with him..... just wondering how to cross a border with a duct taped child... might attract some attention...

So today, we ran through the whole routine. "Remember, no talking. No talking at all. Just yes or no if they ask if we are your parents. Nothing more."

"Sure mom."

"Did you hear me? Do you understand?"

"Of, course!"

I'm sure he did, for thirty seconds.

A guard came over and was inspecting cars before we got to the booth. He opened the side door of the van. Hardly before it was opened, Number Three reached down, opened his lunch box by his feet, showed the guard, and said, "I had to hurry before you got here, but I did it!"

The guard looked slightly bewildered and stunned by the sudden barrage of information coming from this eight-year-old before he even asked a question. "You did what?"

"I finished it, because I know I can't bring it across the border, so I had to hurry, but I ate it all."

At this the guard began to smile.

"Because I had my apple still in my lunch cut up in pieces because of my tooth, and I forgot to eat it, but I remembered, so I ate it really fast before you got here!"

Thankfully, this guard had a sense of humor and began to really smile. He said he likes this kid - he confesses even before he could ask! So he asked the only thing that came to his mind. "What happened to your tooth?"

Now, that brought dead silence from Number Three. But my daughter filled in the gap. "He tried to bite his brother!"

And Number Two added, "So I pulled my arm away fast. And his tooth went that way."

"And it bleeded!"

At that, the guard gave us one last pitying look, and closed the door. Whatever we had in that van, he wasn't going to investigate any farther!


Becky Aguirre said...

Ah, border crossings...with children, always interesting! They can be an advantage or a disadvantage, we've found...sounds like yours are a bit of a disadvantage sometimes! haha!

Shan in Japan said...

I'm always tempted to say sarcastic things to the questions they ask at border crossings or immigration in airports. But, since I am an adult with no children I refrain. I did get a German immigration officer to smile once because I was going on and on about getting to see my friend and how it was my first trip to Germany. Thankfully he didn't think I'd been into something illegal that made me that flighty!
Hope the weekend goes well!

Ellie said...

Having kids does not always exempt you from problems. My first trip with my son in a plane, I was questioned by German security at the airport.

"Do you have any battery operated devices?"

"Well, yes. I have my camera and a big bird with a button on its belly that if you push it giggles."

"And when is the last time you operated these devices?"

"Well, I took a picture this morning of my son dressed ready to go... and Big Bird must have gone off five times getting him into the diaper bag."

The guard looked down his nose at me and asked in a very serious voice, "Do you think this is funny?"

Well, yes... after all that is the whole point of a Big Bird who giggles when you push his belly button!

junglewife said...

Ha ha! Border crossing/customs/immigration officers are very interesting. When we came into the country on Wednesday I noticed that again. Not much of a sense of humor. But man, they must have some serious training to sniff out certain profiles like they do. Crazy stuff.

We're enjoying being back in the States - just made a 12 hour drive over to Idaho 3 days after our several-day-long trip back to the States. The traveling is over for a couple weeks - phew!

Becky Aguirre said...

Not a border crossing story, but about the kids being an asset at times...we were at the Venezuelan consulate doing paperwork with 3 young children. We had to wait several hours as they processed papers, etc. There were 3 or 4 ladies working there that day and the waiting room was small and boring...we noticed that every time the kids began to squall or squabble, these ladies would rush out with more cookies and juice and then work faster! :) LOL! And no, we didn't pinch them!

Ellie said...

I tried to get my phone connected once in the country we were living in. There was the usual run-around, and telling me to come back tomorrow.

Finally, I decided to use real warfare. I took my three worst kids, went to the office, smiled sweetly at the man in charge and told him that I know you will hook up the phone today, but I feel uncomfortable being in a home with the kids without a phone while my husband is at work. After all, if there was an emergency, how would I get help? And I know you said you will do it very soon today, so we will just wait here until it is done.

We waited. After about half an hour when he saw I had no intention of moving, and my kids were really bouncing around, after he had given me tea, and I still sat, he hollered for someone.

My phone was hooked up that hour.