Sweet Daughter was the C.O.W. at Y-camp today. (That’s Camper of the Week. I was confused at first when I picked her up today and she started exclaiming “I’m the COW! I’m the COW!”) So, to celebrate, we decided to pick up a pizza and go to the park for a pizza picnic and some play time. I decided to OC.
There were some kids running around (with no close adult supervision that I could see) while we ate. When we were done, the other kids seemed to evaporate, and I pushed SD on the swings for a bit. When we migrated over to the slides and climbing stuff, the other kids materialized again. SD was sliding down the fireman’s pole, and I was standing under her slowing her descent when a little urchin of about 4 ½ quite earnestly told me he wasn’t supposed to talk to strangers. I told him that was a good idea, and did he realize I was a stranger? He then told me if he was caught talking to a stranger, he’d be beat with a belt. He then asked if I’d help him down the pole. I politely declined, explaining that I was a stranger, and maybe his momma wouldn’t approve.
Then … the question I wasn’t prepared for. Because while I am not comfortable talking to strange adults, I sure as heck don’t like talking to Other People’s Kids. Especially ones traveling in packs and reenacting The Lord of the Flies. Even if they’re only about 4 ½ years old.
“Is that a gun?”
“A REAL gun?”
“Are you a cop?”
“I can tell you’re not a cop, because you’re not wearing a cop suit.”
“So why do you have a gun?”
“To keep her, and the rest of you safe from bad guys.”
I could tell he was thinking that over. And then the 8-year-girl saw the magazines.
“What are those?”
“Magazines?” (I could tell she was only familiar with the kind you buy in the checkout line.)
“OMG! IS THAT A GUN?”
“Are you a cop?”
“No.” (But that was kind of cool. When I was her age, women couldn’t be Marines. At least not with guns.)
“Can I see it?”
“Absolutely not. It doesn’t come out of the holster unless I need to use it.”
“Why do you have it?”
And SW piped up with a grin: “To keep me safe!!”
Amazingly, nobody ran screaming back to an adult. Even me.