(no pregnancy news - he's still content in my belly)
On Friday evening we headed out to the mall and a bookstore. Daughter is a friendly type - always saying hi and waving to people. She talks to every store clerk and anyone that says Hi to her. Before five minutes are up, they know her full name (first, middle and last), that I have a baby in my stomach (just in case they missed the huge belly) and that he is a boy.
I love her infectious, happy attitude. When we went to the baby store Friday, one clerk remembered her from our last trip. She remarked to me just how happy Daughter is and how it made her evening to see a happy child. She told us "see you later" and Daughter said, "Yep see you next trip."
I don't want to curtail my daughter's enthusiasm. However, I am cognizant that she is giving away quite a bit of information. In the amount of time it takes me to pay, she has given someone her name, address, phone number, my name, Husband's name and our dog's name. They know we are having a baby boy and what his name will be.
Friday night at the mall we passed a bookstore. Husband wanted to browse the magazines. So I took Daughter to the childrens' section and we read the Berenstain Bears book about strangers. We talked about the book and about our Rules --- Do not talk to Strangers, Do not take things from Strangers, Do not go anywhere with Strangers. Then we talked about who were Strangers. For instance, check out clerks are fine to talk with if a grown-up is with you. The book also had a section in the back about other rules - rules about private areas and bad touch/good touch. So we touched on that issue too. I kept that conversation pretty brief - we've had that talk before and I didn't want to overwhelm her. (for a good blog post on this subject and a book recommendation see Perfect's post here - I just ordered it).
We had an opportunity yesterday to practice our Rules. I took Daughter grocery shopping. She was sitting in the cart. As I turned to the side to pick up some fruit, I heard an elderly gentleman talk to my daughter. She chatted back. He handed her a quarter and told her to save it for a rainy day. I told Daughter to say Thank You. Then we talked about why it was okay for her to take it (because I was there and said she could). That if it had been food, how we would not have eaten it. We talked about what she would have done if he had asked her to walk down the next aisle to get a treat (yell "NO" and "You are not my Mommy" and run to find me).
I'm saddened that I have to restrict Daughter's gregarious outgoing personality even a little. But I do feel better having had this conversation. I'm also glad to see that her daycare is teaching her fire prevention, how to call 911, address and phone numbers, and other valuable information. By making these conversations fairly routine and not overwhelming she is learning a lot.
This morning, Daughter came into our bedroom and crawled in for morning snuggles (my favorite time of the day). Out of the blue she asked, "When is Grandma's husband coming to visit?" I'm not at all sure where this came from. I took a deep breath and told her that we didn't let him visit. She asked "why" and I reminded her of the Stranger book we had read. I explained that he was a "bad guy" and that he had "done bad things." I told her that it was Mommy and Daddy's job to keep her safe from bad people and that we were not going to let him around her. So he would not be visiting. But Grandma could visit and would come after the baby got here.
She didn't have any more questions. At some point she'll ask more, I'm sure. My sister's children (2 - 5 years older) are at the "inappropriate with children" stage. Her oldest has equated that phrase with "like Michael Jackson" - not exactly sure where he got that from, but I suspect it is from school friends.
My mother will be visiting soon - after the baby gets here. I'm curious whether or not Daughter will bring up the "bad guy" Mom is married too. It will sure be interesting.
I can tell I've grown. The conversations with my Daughter made me a bit uneasy - but I suspect that is "normal." They did not, however, send me into a state of panic. I'm not overly anxious about anything my Daughter raises with my mother. I refuse to get embarrassed or ashamed of anything I told Daughter. I refuse to let my mother discount things either. Let her turn red and fumble for words - I will not.
Another piece of evidence about progress - my mother called about an hour after this conversation with my Daughter. I knew she was calling for a "baby update." I didn't want to talk to her. I don't need her lectures about how "you just need to be patient" and "the baby will come when he is ready" and "be sure to call me" and "I am sure the doctor's know what they are doing.....but...." So when the phone rang and I just knew it was her, I told Husband that I was unavailable. He told her I was in the shower and gave her the "status quo" update. Best evidence of progress - I didn't even feel guilty!