So, today I had the day off, while Benjamin had both morning phonology class and afternoon Title I preschool. Generally, I try to use my Wednesdays off to have special 1-on-1 time with my littlest dude, because I feel like he never had a chance to experience the joys of being an only child, and this is as close as I can get to that experience for him. Unfortunately, on days like today, I have to pack a lot of 1-on-1 time into the short hour from the time the bus drops him off until the time I take him to his next school.
When the boys get out of school, I make it my mission to be interested in everything that caught their imagination from their learning. Today, Benjamin was interested in telling me that his phonology teacher “wasn’t interested in fire alarms” and instead they sang a Halloween song. Then, he sang and danced the song for me. SUPER CUTE!
So, we talked about Halloween songs. I told him there were lots of Halloween songs. We sat down together after he ate a quick lunch, and we watched YouTube videos of child friendly Halloween stories. Then… I got the idea that it might be really fun to share Micheal Jackson’s “Thriller” video with him. As I suspected, he would get a little scared and looked away from time to time, but with a little encouragement, he stuck it out and watched the whole video with me. Then, I decided he needed to know that zombies and other monsters could be created with make-up. SO… we watched some YouTube “How-to apply Zombie Make-up” videos. This proved to be a good idea.
On the way to school, Ben declared that he was not “ascared” (afraid) of monsters or zombies, because they weren’t real. This was a big step in a good direction. (Maybe soon he’ll get over the fear of the dark… and we’ll all get some sleep…) Then, he asked me what he should be afraid of. The first thing that came to my head was ‘strangers’. We talked for a while, and I explained to him that strangers are people he didn’t know. In fact, anyone that isn’t a Mommy, Daddy, (relative) or a teacher is pretty much a stranger, EVEN if they say they already know you. He seemed to be okay with that idea. He realized he shouldn’t talk to them.
So, of course, I tested his understanding:
“What if a stranger says to you, “Here, Ben. I have a piece of candy for you.”
Ben replies, “Then I should neak (sneak) the candy.” (Ben has trouble pronouncing certain consonants, like “s” sounds, hence the aforementioned phonology class.)
NO, NO, NO! I explain to Ben he should never take candy, it could be poisoned or too old, and he should instead run away. I gave him some scripting to use. (We get scripting verbiage at work all the time, and while it drives me nuts, I can see the application here.) So, again, I tested him.
“Benjamin, what if a stranger asks you to get in his car to go the park with him?”
To which Ben, after carefully considering, replies, “Then I should punch him in the face.”
*Cyber Sigh*.. nope, still not getting it. Luckily, by this point, we were walking into school, and Ben was distracted by seeing his teacher in the hallway aiding other students as they took off their coats and things. Ben immediately told her he got to watch a scary movie, and “Did you know there are no such things as monsters or zombies? And that the only thing to be afraid of is strangers and I can just punch them in the face?”
His teacher looked at me, and I explained we had watched the “Thriller” video, and how the conversation progressed from there. Then, I had to explain to Ben, again, that:
1. We never punch anyone in the face, ever. Not even strangers.
2. If a strangers tries to talk to you or give you presents of any kind, you tell them you don’t talk to strangers and leave.
3. If a stranger tries to get you in his car, you scream and run away screaming so everyone looks and will come to help you.
Suffice it to say, I will be repeating this lesson a lot throughout the next few weeks, seeing that it’s a really important one. Luckily, his teacher happens to have a stranger book that she is also going to share with him, so I’ll have some reinforcements in my arsenal. Finding out that this is knowledge that my child hasn’t picked up yet might be the scariest thing that will happen to me on this Halloween.