Strangers like to give cranky and spanky things. Those things vary from stranger to stranger. Usually they are very much appreciated by both me and them. This happens so often the boys think it’s normal. They are like the Kardashians of the toddler world. You know, have no actual skill other than being pretty. Ben knows if he smiles at an old lady in the supermarket, she will gush over him and ultimately give him something. (One time a little old lady gave them each 50 cents to get candy) I didnt want to break it to her that is no such thing as penny candy anymore. The ladies at the bank have given them, piggy banks, dvds about counting money, flash cards, and of course lolipops. In the mall, store clerks have given them free shoes, toys and rides on the carousel. But most notably was the gentleman driving past our house yesterday. He stopped and gave them two huge tonka trucks….he is their hero.
Now of course the distrustful new jerseyian in me always looks for the catch. But these all seem to be well meaning people that are just happy to be seeing double.
This is going to raise some serious issues. Most notably, stranger danger. Stranger danger is real and needs to be addressed early and often. Both Jason and I have talked to them at nauseum about the topic. They are getting better, but can you blame a 3 year old for talking to a stranger who is offering them a ball, or truck? I get it. I really do. I find them pretty cute too.
The second issue is, they sorta have been conditioned to believe people will give them things just for being cute. This is not how Jason and I intended to raise them. That saying, you don’t get something for nothing doesn’t seem to apply to them. I don’t want them walking through life thinking all they need is a smile. Hard work, determination, intelligence, a kind heart, and of course you can throw in a nice smile; those are the things that get you somewhere in life.
The third issue, facing the facts of puberty, they are not always going to be the cute, sweet little boys that they are now. Pimples, body odor, and facial hair will happen. (The b.o. has already started. they play hard). One day, people won’t make such a fuss. One day, they will just be teenagers. I cry a little everytime I think about it. They will be gross, and annoying. They won’t get the attention that they do today. Will they understand it’s because they are in fact gross and annoying teenage boys? Or will it crush their self esteem?
Maybe I’m thinking too much into all of this. Maybe just maybe, we have done a good enough job as parents, that the kindness of strangers will be just that. Kindness. Maybe if we are really lucky, they will repay that kindness to the world around them.