Yesterday Katie and I went grocery shopping. When I was letting her in the car I noticed a Sun Times (local newspaper) on her booster seat. I moved it over, she climbed in and put her seatbelt on . I was driving to the store and realized that she was very quiet. I looked back and saw her sitting with the paper on her lap and a look of concentration on her face. She said, "I can read the headline." I said, "I'm sure you can." Which she then proceeded to do. The headline you ask? (I'm guessing on the actual wording here since I don't remember, but you'll get the idea.) "My baby didn't deserve this." Uh-oh. Not a newstory I was hoping she'd glom onto. She continued to read the blurb under the headline which discussed how someone had stabbed a 9 year old little girl to death.
Katie: What does stabbed mean?
Me: When you push a knife into someone.
Katie: And they die?
Me: If they are stabbed to death, yes.
Katie: Why would anyone do that to a kid???
Me: Honey, I have absolutely no idea what the answer to that question is.
Katie: She had a really short life.
Me: I know.
Katie: You're supposed to get to be an adult.
Me: You're right.
I have to admit I was tearing up at this point. It's one thing to talk about these news stories with adults but to be discussing it with her and hearing her reaction was a whole different thing. Part of me wants to shield her from stories like this so she doesn't become afraid, but the other part realizes that stories like this (heard occasionally, not as often as they happen) just reinforce our teachings regarding "bad" strangers. They prove that we're teaching her the things we've gone over for a reason. She doesn't seem to have long lasting affects from hearing stories like this on occasion. She probably knows that there are eyes on her at all times and feels comfortable because of that. I can't tell you how many times either Cynthia, JC or I have said "I have to be able to see you."
I promise my next post will be more upbeat.