Sunday, September 30, 2012

How safe are we?

The other day the kids were outside playing in the front yard with the 2 neighbor girls, ages 7 and almost 9.  They were riding their bikes and scooters having a grand ole time.  They were out about 45 minutes.  I know because they didn't go outside right after school, Sunshine did some homework type stuff, had a snack and sat relaxing for a few minutes.  By the time they went outside it was late enough that I had told them they could only be out for a few minutes, we still had to eat dinner.

I was making dinner and I would randomly look outside.  A couple of times they rang the bell to give me something and then went back out.  Then, before they knew it, it was time to come inside.

We were going to eat dinner without Hubby, he was going to come home and chow down and leave with us as soon as he was done.  He is capable of eating quickly, the kids? not so much.  So there we are eating our dinner, a nice pleasant meal with all 3 of them liking it AND eating it when Sunshine drops the bomb.

"Monkey went into our neighbor's house."

We don't know most of our neighbors, I'm not sure how it's possible since we're lived here almost 7 years, but I think, I know,  if I were to see them outside on a walk in our neighborhood I wouldn't recognize them.  It's always bothered me as I've always had visions of a neighborhood where we had bar-b-ques and lots of kids running around and being... well... friends with our neighbors.  So when he said this there were 3 people that came to mind and I wasn't sure why she would use the word "neighbors" for 2 of them, she would just say their name.

"What neighbors?"  I name off the 3 and she says no to each, then I say the neighbor across the street that we know but I would be surprised that the kids would willingly cross the street.

Again, no.

She tells me it's the house next to the house next door and she doesn't know them and say "The house with that little dog that's never on the leash and always runs across the street."  She also questions why their dog is never on a leash, but that's beside the point.

I completely freak out.

I question again.  Surely I didn't hear this properly.

I sure did.  She tells me, without falter, that she, Monkey, and the 2 girls they were playing with (sisters, ages 7 and 8) were petting the dog.  Somehow they ended up in the garage then somehow Monkey and the younger sister ended up walking through this guy's house to go to his backyard where he then gave them something to eat.  Sunshine kept saying it was basil but I'm still not sure why.  Monkey agrees with the story and is able to retell it to me without any kind of prompting.  The only difference is the basil, he said it was a tomato.  Sunshine never went into the backyard, she and the older sister stayed in the front yard as they both knew they weren't supposed to go into people's houses.

Hubby still isn't home so I call the father of the two little girls to tell him what's happened.  His wife isn't home at the time and he is also just then hearing the story.  We hang up and I promptly call back and ask him if he'll go over and talk to the guy with me.  I'm not very scary looking and P is.  The neighbor that we only kind of have met a few times is young and has a daughter only a month younger than Bug.  I figured having P go with me and talking maybe we could figure out what happened and, if nothing else, shake some sense into the guy.  We agree that I'll start out the conversation and he'll finish.

My part:  "Hi, P and I just needed some clarification and we hoped that you could help."
Him:  "Sure, what it is?"
Me:  "Did you have a couple of kids in your house about an hour ago?"
Him, still very calm:  "Yeah, your son and his daughter."

That was all of my part of the conversation, P took over from there and questioned the guy as to what the hell was he thinking.  He never yelled, he never swore, he never used the phrase "What the hell were you thinking?"  The guy never seemed to get it though.  He never apologized, he never said, "Gee, I never thought of how bad that could look."  He did however say that he needed to flip his pork chops on the grill or else they would burn.

I asked him if he realized what he did, that he just taught my child that it was OK to go into someones house.  That it's OK to take food from a stranger.  That Monkey now doesn't believe me when I say that it's not safe to go into a stranger's home.  He told me that too.  This isn't a hypothetical "he might".  I did the whole stranger danger shpeal and told him that it's not OK to go into a house without asking.  His little trusting eyes looked right at me and said, "Why not?  Nothing happened, he gave me a tomato."  The neighbor might as well have given him candy and asked him if he wanted to go get some ice cream.

His wife, who has now come out after the neighbor tells her in the foyer by the open front door that we're here attacking him, tells us not to worry and that she's a good person.  She gives us her full resume.  I'm glad she thinks she's a nice person, I'm sure she is.  Neither of them get it.  At all.  I'm hoping they remember this though in a couple of years when their daughter is outside playing and she walks out of line of sight.  I hope they realize what they did and the mistake.

There are always silver linings though and you just have to find it.  This was an eye opener.  I've always said that Monkey is way too friendly.  And he is.  This is my smack against the back of my head that he's not ready yet.  There won't be a next time because there can't be a next time because if it happens again it won't be the dense neighbor 2 doors down.

My babies are more valuable than the world and I won't make that mistake again.



  1. That's crazy! How could they possibly think it was okay to encourage the kids to come in when they didn't even know you?

  2. Knowing Monkey, he has totally lost faith in the whole "strangers can be dangerous" thing. But you can DEFINITELY remind him that MOMMY is dangerous if you go into strangers' houses. Repeatedly.