Friday, September 24, 2010

12 minutes.

Ok, so the other day I spent 12 minutes at the park with my kids. It is almost not even worth going to the park for 12 minutes because it takes longer getting them in and out of the car. But, really - I didn't PLAN on just being there 12 minutes.

I went to one of the parks around here. It isn't really close but it isn't really far either. I've been there several times with playgroups and with Vegas...and well, I was in that neck of the woods because I needed to got to Toys R Us for Tinkerbell.

So, I stop and get myself a yummy ice coffee at Dunkin Donuts. We get to the park and I'm enjoying my iced coffee...


Like always, I'm watching the kids AND my surroundings.

There are these two women at the park who are older then me and they have EIGHT, yes EIGHT, children between them all about Peanut's age! They had to have been daycare kids because none of them looked alike.


The girls are running around in a circle and trying to jump on the merry-go-round...and I'm standing about three feet from it...

When, out of the corner of my eye I notice a man walk into the playground area of the park. He just starts standing there and staring at us. Not just me, the other ladies with kids too. I feel uneasy and I move from one thing to another and he's still watching but now he's hiding and watching. I walk towards the other women and notify them that there is a man there watching which point they turn around and look at him and he pretends to do push-ups.

The end part of the story is that I left...the parking lot of this park is a very busy place because there are lots of bikers and people walking. I felt uneasy being at the playground...I was being watched by this man who was no older then forty. And, it wasn't just me...he was watching us all. Perhaps, it was innocent and he was there to people watch. But, you don't people watch in a playground. Especially because this park is huge and you could people watch anywhere.

I got the kids back in the car and drove off. Gator was upset. She couldn't understand why we had to leave the park, why it was so short of a visit and why I was talking about this guy who was watching us.

At that point I realized she needed to know more about strangers. I've had the conversation before (several times actually) and I felt she needed more.

I bought the movie Stranger Safety which stars John Walsh. It came yesterday and last night we watched it.


Gator really learned a lot. Today she pointed out several "don't knows". Don't knows are people you don't know (duh). Some "kinda knows" which are people you kinda know like the mailman, the bug guy, the soccer coach, her gymnastics teacher, Dad's boss, etc. And, the "safe side adults" which she has three of...aside from Vegas and I. :)

Then, I hit up the commissary to get some groceries and several people tried to talk to her and she said, "Are they safe to talk to?"...I feel better about everything now...and the best part is she wants to watch it again.

I highly recommend this movie for anyone with kids! You can find it at Amazon but it will also be part of my 12 week program!


The Austin Family said...

Thanks for sharing this :) In N's karate class, they taught, red light, yellow light and green light lights are family (people you hug and kiss), yellow is a mailman or fireman policeman ONLY in uniform, (people that can help if you need them) and red lights (ALL strangers, including people dressed in plain clothes in a 'emergency vehicle' because they could still be unsafe (MUST be in uniform). We regularly practice identifying people by their 'color' when out and about :).

Erika said...

so sad that you have to do this! but you HAVE to do it, you know?! i will be getting this video. thanks for the tip! :-)