As the Queen Bee in my home, I have been blessed with three amazing little boys- my boys kick ass! Everyone I run across always asks about my children. Complete strangers, common, everyday passer-byes, and it seems like every place we frequent, someone comments on my child, asking how many I have, and then laughing and sharing, at times, unwanted opinions.
Don’t get me wrong, I love when my kids get attention. I know they are cute, and funny, and overachievers- hello! Look at their parents!
But no, seriously, at times in this day and age it gets scary and confusing. You try to be polite and respond with something clever and brief, but yet you want to allow your child a chance for response. Then are we re-enforcing the safety of talking to a stranger? Or like when your almost five year old tells you that he and his teacher have a secret, and you try to explain that they can always tell their mommy and daddy their secrets, because we already know them anyway. Lucky for me, my son’s teacher is a friend and this secret doesn’t make me nervous, but had it been a stranger, I would so be stalking down the secret.
I guess my concern is just clearing the confusions between appropriate times to talk to strangers, or to know when you can allow secrets to be kept from you and your children. I often speak to strangers, and I’m a helpful citizen. I will entertain a conversation with someone I don’t know, and have my children ask me if that is OK to talk to strangers.
My children draw in a lot of attention, things like, “You got three boys, huh?” “Three boys, you poor thing,” “All boys…nothing better.” “Boys never stop loving their mothers,”- You get the drift. It just seems like more and more, everyday, I have random input from the outside.
Last weekend, we had a few social gatherings to attend, and at these my boys always stick close to me. I whistle, and they come around the corner. They know to report location if going out of eyes reach with another group of kids. They tend to stick close by me and my husband, until they have observed and taken inventory of the situation. After the gathering, my oldest said someone referred to him as kid and asked him what he was looking for at some point. His response was, “My name is Dylan, not kid,” and “I’m all set thanks.” The adult actually came and told me about their encounter, and was taken back by his abrupt rebuttal. I was laughing that she would think anything less from my offspring- he was probably mentally giving her the middle finger!
My children have taken on many wonderful qualities that I just find myself constantly wondering what I have forgotten to instill in them while their minds are still open and clearly hearing my input. As a parent, I want to protect them from the darker things that may lurk around a dark corner, without scaring them to the point where they don’t thrive without me guarding over them.
Why is it OK to talk to strangers at Stop and Shop, but not on the walking path, or at the edge of the yard god forbid that ever happened. Why is it OK to tell a stranger your name at an event with family when they are still strangers?
These are the thoughts that leave me awake at night. How do I teach them when to run screaming for help? As summer approaches and we are out and about in society, away from the safety of our hive, my mommy bear instincts rise, and I want to be sure my children are capable of sensing a dangerous situation in public and stay protected in their environments.
In my head I’m like… “Yes, my kids are cute, smart, funny and outgoing. Mess with them and I’ll be your worst enemy.”