Stranger Danger

Since it’s now too cold to walk around all morning, I’ve been spending Brady’s morning nap at Starbucks – like I am right now – either reading or working on the computer when I have it.

I’ve found that by hanging out at places like this I invite conversations from complete strangers. Usually I oblige and end up talking to someone for most of the boy’s nap. I get lonely being at home with him all day and I’ll take adult conversation wherever I can get it.

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You look nice. Can I come home with you?

Living in a city of 8 million people, you are exposed to other human beings almost constantly. As a result, Brady has no fear of strangers. Well, not as long as I don’t leave him with them. At a rest stop on our way to Pittsburgh he willing ran into the arms of an older woman in a horrendous holiday sweater as I chased after him. At  the bar last week he stretched his arms out to a woman who was admiring his cuteness and let her hold him happily until we were ready to leave.

And with this I am met with a dilemma. How do I teach Brady that strangers can be scary and dangerous and still allow him to keep his open-minded and friendly view of the world?

I was a very shy kid myself and have always found it difficult to come out of my shell and make  friends. But then here I am chatting random people up at Starbucks on a regular basis. I would love for Brady to take away a more open personality from his upbringing in the city. That said, I don’t want him jumping in vans with scary old men bearing gifts of candy either.

As he becomes more mobile and more communicative this problem has been on my  mind. I suppose it’s something I need to discover as we go along. But I definitely want to be mindful of how my interactions with strangers and my reactions to his might affect his future attitude toward people. Big things to ponder for sure!

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