I've missed our storytime. Have you? Life, this life has kept me away. Working on being more consistent this next decade, but I digress.
Today's theme is #strangerdanger
It's an interesting time we live in where you often see news about abductions, etc. and it makes you think about when is the right time to teach your children about stranger danger. Honestly, I am conflicted, because I recently noticed how much attention small children bring from (sorry to say it, but strangers).
When I'm out I usually get anxious or change my stance when people start to get excited over seeing the girls, this is moreso because I'm a little bit of a germaphobe and am TERRIFIED of someone reaching to touch them. However, I noticed that I used to tell them to say or wave "hi", just out of being polite and I'm the type of person to do so if you make eye contact with me.
Anywho, I recently stopped doing so because it either became an unsolicited invitation for a full on discussion, which forces me to take that awkward diagonal stance hoping to quietly create distance and hopefully exit the conversation swiftly. (Random fun fact about me and my social awkwardness)
Also, now that Ji is 3 and Nia is almost 1 and a half, I wondered if I'm setting a trap for them to feel compelled to engage strangers.
The other day we were waiting in line and a woman was waiting in front of myself and Ji. We had only seen the back her head, which had silver shoulder length hair, a small piece pinned to the side with a pretty hair clip. Jianne randomly starts singing "the wheels on the bus," just loud enough so another person close by would be able to hear. The lady turns around and says, "wow! you have such a lovely voice" At this point Ji and I were taken aback because it was a really elderly woman with spurts of white hairs across her lip and chin.
Not making fun of the nice lady, but this is what came to mind.
I hoped she didn't notice I stepped back once she leaned in and asked if Ji knew how to sing Jingle Bells. Ji looked at me, then looked at her and softly said "yes". Then, the lady asked her if she could sing it. Ji looked at me with her big eyes, put her head on my shoulder and said, "My daddy is in the car outside".
To answer your question if you had one, no she did not sing, and no I did not encourage her to do so. The woman and I proceeded to have a conversation until she finished checking out, but the topic definitely moved away from Ji.
It was interesting to see Ji's reaction, but not surprising, because she is friendly, but reserved. However, It did make me think about how and when is the right time to talk about strangers and when not to talk to strangers. It also, made me wonder about how to differentiate a stranger versus a potential acquaintance.
Back when the weather was warmer my niece, daughters, and I went to a new park when it happened to be packed. My niece wanted to use the swings, but there were other girls taking turns pushing each other. They appeared to be close to her age, if not just a little older. I told her to ask if she could go next, or I could help her ask them, and she refused. She wanted to go on the swing, but she didn't want to play with "strangers". She had me a bit stumped for a second, because she was right, she didn't know them, but they were kids like her where it would be okay to play along or get to know them.
It's funny to see all that you consider being a parent. Things felt so simple growing up and it forces you to think back to when you were little again, but the landscape feels so different. When and how did you talk to your little ones about #strangerdanger?