Monday, May 23, 2011


My mommy radar went off today.

I was shocked when it did.

Not just because the (seemingly minor) incident made my stomach fall into my shoes, but because it was so unexpected.

I realized that I have created quite a tiny little bubble for my family to live in.

Because they are always with me, I have complete control over where my children go, who they see, what they do. I completely trust our small group of friends. And I think it has made me complacent.

Enter neighbors.

So what happened, you ask?

I am almost embarrassed to tell, because on the one hand it seems so small. But on the other hand, it has the potential to be catastrophic. And I don't know if I could live with myself if something happened to my girls because I didn't do my due diligence with them.

So here it is:

This afternoon, the kids and Aunt Martha were playing outside in the front yard. The two little boys from next door were out walking there dog with their dad and stopped to play for a few minutes. The boys are around Emma Jane's age and even though we have lived next door to each other for over two years, we still don't know this family very well.

But we know them well enough that if my kids are outside and they are outside also, we play together sometimes.

Anyways, the boys headed back over to their own driveway and Libby and EJ followed. This wasn't a big deal, because like I said, we have played in their driveway and vice versa several times before. I told Libby that she could play for 5 more minutes and then dinner would be ready. Then I went back inside to finish dinner and left John and Aunt Martha in the driveway.

But instead of staying in the driveway, both girls took off into the backyard, behind the tall privacy fence. Emma Jane came right away when called, but Libby didn't. Because she had gone on into the house.

Aunt Martha came and told me immediately. And when I heard that she was inside our neighbor's house without me, my heart skipped a beat.

Now I think that these neighbors are probably perfectly nice people. All of our previous interactions have been pleasant. But like I said, I don't really know them. And in addition to the 4 year-old twin boys, they also have a teenage son. And the worst part about this instance, their mother wasn't even home. It was just Libby and a house full of boys for a minutes. And my mind immediately went to what could happen in just a few minutes.

Now of course, she came out safe and sound and chattering excitedly about feeding their pet rabbit. But I still just felt uneasy about it.

I had a talk with both girls and made it clear that they are never to go into someone's house, even a friend, if a mommy isn't there. And of course, neither of them understood why. Libby even said, "But there was a daddy home."

I just repeated what I said and told her she had to trust and obey me about this one. But even though she agreed, I know she wasn't satisfied with my answer. I don't want to freak them out or make them fearful of men or think that everyone is a predator.

But at the same time, I want them to think everyone is a predator. I want them to be safe.

How do I do that?


blueviolet said...

For the record, I would have freaked out about that too. You sound so much like me.

Kmama said...

I get where you are coming from, but I think it's different when you have boys versus girls. I'm sure I would be the same way if I had girls, but I don't really think that way (even though I probably should) when I'm dealing with my boys.

Krystyn said...

I would have freaked out, too!

But, I don't know how to teach it any better. You told her you (or daddy) has to be with her, and that's it.

Maybe daddy telling her, too, that it's just a rule you follow, sort of like not talking to strangers?

Holly said...

It must be hard for little kids to understand things like this because they are so innocent. I get paranoid about my kids -- two boys -- because I a male family member of mine was molested when he was a kid, and it was at a church. If a child can be molested at a church, he can be molested anywhere. Heck, a couple years ago there was a pediatrician who was arrested for abusing his patients in the few minutes that he took them from their parents to some "exam room." I hate to think this way, but you really can't be too careful.

Anonymous said...

I have been using a program called "Safety Kids" from that teaches kids about how to stay safe--things like never going somewhere alone, not letting someone touch them improperly, what to do if they are lost or in trouble. It's opened up lots of good conversations that I wasn't quite sure how to have with them.

Emily said...

I think you're on the right track. Just rienforcing the idea and talking about the rules, etc, repeatedly will help. Teaching them to make smart decisions (ie not going into a house without mommy's permission) won't make them fear everyone is a predator. It goes along with the whole not-talking-to-strangers idea. I'm w/ you though...I would have freaked if I thought my kid was playing and they had gone into a house!