G's school has a book fair to raise money which was much MUCH better than selling braided bread or gift wrapping paper! Give me a book fair any time! Anyway I picked up the book Don't Talk to Strangers by Christine Mehlaff (I think is the spelling). It is about an older brother telling his younger sister all about strangers, who they are, and what not to say or do around them. So G and I have been reading it regularly and talking about who is a stranger. I gave her an example of being in McDonald's, as she sits at a table while I order, if someone tried to block her from getting to me she would need to scream and yell. Her response to me was, "Well, what if I am too embawwassed?" I said, "I would rather you be emarrassed and safe rather than hurt." I gave her more examples of places we have gone, like the museum (she remembers us getting separated) and the zoo or a store, even at church.
One part that is left out of the book and probably most books that is very very important is adults who might see a name on a shirt or something and call the child by name (or know them from the ::gulp:: blog). Let me tell you from experience as an adult, that is freaky to have your name called by a stranger because, well, if they know your name then you must know them, right? So in our discussions I warned G that she is known by a lot of people by her name that she doesn't know, and it is okay to not talk to them but find me or a teacher or grandparents.
I told her that strangers will do anything to trick a child into talking to them no matter how long it takes. I told her that I had been hurt by a stranger when I was about G's age. I didn't tell her exactly what happened, but I did tell her what the trick was, finding his lost pet bunny (according to other people's accounts because I have vague memories of it now).
G has had lots of questions about what he looked like, was Grammy his friend, how did I walk home (her understanding of hurt-physically broken), etc. The perp with is parents was a next door neighbor to my grandmother who lived/died in the house we are currently in. Of course the perp is long gone or we wouldn't be here!
I told her that although I didn't know him personally, he was known by our family/parents/grandparents because of where he lived with his parents (next door). Families knew each other, but he was just as much a stranger as anyone. I wasn't his only or last victim either, he hurt his own nieces.
Anyway, this revelation has been actually a blessing, because I can give her a real life experience that she can identify with and know that I was not at fault and if a stranger tricked her she would not be at fault, either. I think I am overly cautious because of my own experience, and I don't like G getting out of sight even in the yard at home. Of course I had to tell my mom what I told G because at dinner G busted out with "Gwammie, did you know mama got twicked by a stwanger?"
Now to G's conversations, last night in bed,
G: "Mama, how old is gwandaddy?"
Me: "66, go to sleep."
G: "Mama how old is gwammie?"
Me: "65, now go to sleep."
G: "Mama, how old are you?"
G: "Mama, how old am I?"
Me: "4, why?"
Me: "4, why?"
G: "Wow, I am weelly close to the stahrt."