After dealing with a bored & impossible child all day on Saturday, I was more than happy to head over to Spur for brunch with a friend on Sunday morning. I could spend some quality time chatting with my friend and Ava & Amy would have fun playing their hearts out at the recently revamped play area at Lone Wolf Spur, as a side note, this Spur has one of the best play area’s I’ve ever been to, it’s better than… dare I say it… Pappachino’s! What I liked most is that there is only one entry/exit point from the kiddies play area and the girls would have to walk right past us in order to leave so we could kick back and relax a little and enjoy some grown up conversation while the girls were playing.
We arrived at 10h30 and after a quick hug, the girls were off to play their hearts out, running between the swings, the sand pit, the tunnel slides, the trampolines & jumping castles. At one point they even found a face painter who painted their faces like Hello Kitty.
Neither of them wanted to leave and so brunch turned into wine & starters & eventually we dragged to very tired & sleepy little girls out of the Spur at 4pm. At one point, I got up to go and check on the girls and after walking the play area, I eventually found Amy, watching Ava, be lifted up and hanging from the monkey rings. What really freaked me out…. who was lifting her up and touching her body. Not one of the child minders but an old man who can best be described, and I mean no disrespect when I say this, as every parents image of a child molester. He looked scruffy and a little dirty, when he turned to look at me, I also noticed he only had one ear and part of his jaw was missing from some kind of horrible accident. He had his hands around my child’s waist while she was gleefully begging him to swing her faster from the monkey rings. I nearly tripped over my own feet running and grabbing her away from him.
I know it’s unfair to make a snap judgement like that based on someone’s appearance but I was really uncomfortable with this old man touching my child, no matter how innocent it may have seemed or that she’d asked him to. It made me realize that perhaps it’s time to start talking to Ava about stranger danger. It’s something I have avoided up until now. I don’t want her to live her life fearful but the reality is that we live in a society where bad things happen, where bad people exist, people who may seem like they want to be nice to her but have ulterior motives. I don’t want her talking to strangers, especially not in a kiddies playground or anywhere else for that matter. My imagination immediately ran away with me, what if he was indeed a paedophile scoping out the play area? Or a child kidnapper? Or a scout for a child slavery sex trade…. Or … or … or….
Ava is a friendly child, she’ll strike up a conversation with just about anyone and I’d always thought this was a good quality, now I’m not so sure, now I’d rather she ran screaming Paedophilia Paedophile Paedophile every time a stranger tried to speak with her.
When did you start talking to your little ones about stranger danger? And how do I go about it in such a way that I can teach her to be aware and be cautious without putting the fear of God in her?