Little girls made me nervous

I went over to pay some attention to a friend’s cat. Make sure he had food and water, pet him, see that he’s not lonely. So I’m sitting there petting the cat, and the cat gets off of the couch and goes to the open door. He’d heard a noise outside. Now, I know this is an indoor/outdoor cat, but I’m a bit leary of letting him outside while my friend is away; so I went to keep an eye on him.

There are two little girls that live next to my friend’s house. One day when I was checking up on the cat, their mom was on the porch and I introduced myself. She said that she just wanted to make sure her kids didn’t come over and play the Welcome Wagon. Tonight I guess their mom was inside. They came to the edge of the driveway (friend’s car was between us) and said hello. They gave me their names and ages (ten and three), and tried to engage me inconversation. The ten-year-old seemed a little young for her age, based on what she was saying. But I haven’t made the acquaintance of many children, so maybe that’s normal.

But in any case, this freaked me out. I’m from San Diego and L.A. I’m not used to children just starting to talk to strangers. It’s just not done. Maybe it’s different here in rural Washington, but in L.A. it’s dangerous.

This sort of thing makes me nervous, too, 'specially as I fit the basic profile of a child-molester to a T, e.g. youngish middle-aged, white, unmarried, bookworm, no girlfriend, hopless loser (what?); and worse yet, kids just seem to naturally like and trust me. It’s awkward enough when I know the parents, but when some random kid comes over and wants me to tie his shoe laces or help him find a book (both of which happened to me on a recent visit to the book store) I get a little wigged out, particularly here in SoCal where everybody is a potential child abductor. :rolleyes:

Kids, I ain’t Willy Wonka, St. Nicolas, or The Cat In The Hat. Leave me the heck alone.


I have a very unusual car (for up here) and all the kids absolutely love it. Any time I would do any kind of maintenance on it (changing oil, etc) I’d have maybe 5-10 kids hanging around, on and in my car asking me all kinds of questions. I don’t particularly like (or know how to deal with) kids and I’m sure these little monkies knew it. I felt like I just got beat up.

I don’t like little kids. They’re like big…bugs or something.

I’m the mother of two girls, one of whom is almost pathologically sociable, and our house is in between the houses of two single men. Speaking from that perspective, I’d say you’d be fine acting in a somewhat remotely friendly way. The girls want to talk to you across the driveway? Fine! They want to pet the cat when it’s outside? Great! They’d like to come in the house with you and visit the cat and you? Um…no, that’s not a good idea. Or you could suggest they go ask their mom.

I know that my younger daughter would gladly have chatted with a “stranger” who was looking after one of our neighbors’ pets when she was ten. She probably still would do it at age twelve. As long as I know where she is, who the person she’s talking to is, and I’m easily accessible, I have no problem with it. One thing people who aren’t used to kids should remember is that you can and should be painfully direct with them. Kids don’t take hints well, as a rule, but you can say, “It’s time for you to go home now” or “I don’t want to talk anymore right now” to them, and they’ll be fine with it.

About three years ago, the summer after we moved into this neighborhood, my younger daughter ran home from the park around the corner, pleading for me to come back to the park with her. She’d seen a single man in his 20s or 30s who was flying a really cool kite, and she desperately wanted to strike up a conversation so she could find out where he’d gotten it. She was savvy (and obedient) enough to come home to fetch me so that she could safely talk to this stranger. I’m still proud of her for that.

It happens to my dad all the time, for no apparent reason. He’s not really a kid-person. He treats all kids like adults. (Or maybe he treats all adults like kids.) In the neighborhood where I grew up, my parents are some of the “old folks” – most of the other old folks moved when their kids moved out, and new families have moved in with young kids.

Those kids have seemingly taken a shine to my dad. (I asked him why; he said, “Hell if I know, but every time I go out front to weed or change a light bulb, they come out of the woodwork.”) My mom’s favorite story is the day the doorbell rang. She went to the door, and three neighborhood kids were there, all under ten.

“Can Big Larry come out and play?” they ask my mom.

“No,” she tells them seriously. “Big Larry has to finish his chores and then it will be time for dinner, then bedtime. So he can’t play today.”

Your dad’s not Mr. Wilson is he, Campion?

That’s what you look for in a parent. The lack of child-liking. (My dad’s like that too.)

I usually treat kids like adults. More or less. My wife mocked me for “making small-talk with eight-year-olds” at Soupo’s last school function.

But in my defense it was “Author’s Day” and it was either talk to the little… children, or have them read to me. And not good, professional books either. Stories they made up themselves. How many poems about cats can one man stand?

But kids like being talked to like they know something. It sure beats the patronization they usually get.

I think the only thing scary here is that it is scary to you, Johnny L.A. What a world you live in. :smiley:

I have kids here talking to me all the time. Since I live alone, I don’t worry so much about the kids as about perceptions - I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was interested into kids too much. Which is sad, in a way, because I have a house that is basically a kids dream, full of nice toys, lack of things to break, etc.

And of course the cats always drew a lot of attention, especially when they were young.

Let’s try something different shall we? Let’s aim to strive for a world where kids can safely socialize with strangers rather than one where kids have to shun strangers like the plague. I’m willing to bet that, like statutory rape among adults, the people they know and love are on average a lot more dangerous to them anyway.

And, well, let’s face it - these days kids rape and kill each other anyways - they don’t need help from strangers.

So let’s just say that the whole talking to strangers thing is overboard, and lets just say you don’t get into their car or into their houses without your permission. That’s a nice start. :slight_smile:

Johnny, I recommend you stop taking care of that cat. Before you know it, you’ll be Everwooded outta L.A. in no time. (to rural Washington? hmmmn.)

By the way, I agree about the treat them as adults thing - kids love that.

I think that, up to a certain age, kids just don’t connect the “stranger danger” lectures with real life. When my friend’s daughter was 8 she came up from Baltimore to spend the weekend with me, and I took her into DC via the metro. There we are on a crowded train, and she’s talking to anyone who will listen: “My name is Meagan and this is my Aunt Jenny and we’re going to the Smithsonian and I live in Maryland and…” :eek: Granted, I was with her so no one was gonna snatch her up or anything, but I gently reminded her not to share such details (like her name) with complete strangers. She’s a good kid so she listened, but I could tell that she didn’t understand why.

I either frighten children or they love me. My last few jobs have seen me working with kids a great deal. I like kids… well little boys are shits after age 5… but otherwise I like them.

Really little kids… like under 2 usually take a shine to me. I was working at a carnival (in college I worked for an inflatables company) and a little boy maybe one year old just wandered up to me and put his arms up for me to pick him up. So I did and then looked around for his guardians. His grandparents had stayed close but had let him walk around. They were very nice and sweet and I handed them back their grandkid.
I understand Johnny’s wiggles about it. Guys have to be careful but they also don’t have to icemen to kids.

Were the girls packing?
Actually little kids freak me out. If they can talk and got to the bathroom without a big production it’s cool. But babies kind of weird me out. They are so fricking stupid they can’t even talk or walk. FREAKY! It’s when they are walking and not talking that weirds me out the most.

Zebra… :smack:

You reminded me of an Onion article in which scientists prove once and for all that babies are stupid. They cite the babies’ unwillingness to defend themselves in a series of repeated attacks, repeatedly bumping into stuff…things like that. Cracked me up.

That’s what I do too. Talking to children like they were…err…children often seems patronizing to me. And indeed children seems to like this.

Worst is people talking to elderly like they were children. I witnessed it many, many times and it infuriates me. I hope I won’t be treated that way when I’ll be 80. Ok. This part is off-topic.

As for the OP, I’m going to tell once again that him being freaking out by children talking to him is yet another evidence of the poor state of affairs we’ve been led in by the child-abducters scare. I’m probably not adpated to the modern world. that’s what you get fo having been brought up in a backward small village in the countryside. However, I’m going to admit I’m sometimes paranoid myself. However, when I think about it, my paranoia dissapears when I’m in a rural place.
I wouldn’t begin to talk with a strange kid without some valid reason in Paris, but I would probably do so most of the time when I’m vacationning in the place I was living in as a kid.