Talking to my 4-year-old about scary things.

This morning as I got my four-year-old daughter ready for pre-k, we had another chat about scary situations because last night in Las Vegas there was another mass shooting. It would be foolish of me to not give her a sense of understanding in scary situations. Holding back tears in my watery eyes I talked with her again about scary things ...

We live in Florida. We often talk about rip tides. We look at the sign as we enter the beach. We talk about lifeguards. We talk about when it's safe to be in the water. And, if the water is pulling you out, let it pull you out. Don't swim against the current - just focus on floating. Mommy or a lifeguard will find you and save you. Don't worry. Wave your arms. Scream. I'll find you, I'll save you.

Man-o-wars wash ashore. She tells everyone who passes near one not to touch it because they are bad. Don't touch things you don't know. Don't touch things that are animals and not our pets. Keep your hands to yourself. Don't eat things that you shouldn't.

Fires. Firefighters are our friends. They save us, they help us. If there is smoke or a fire, get low to the ground. Find a way outside. Stay calm. Things will be hot. It will be scary. But stay low and find a way to get outside. And scream so everyone knows there's a fire if you can. Then stand outside in our place and wait for everyone. Sit and wait. Stay away from the road and any cars passing by.

Out of control cars hitting pedestrians (Barcelona and Charlottesville sparked this fun chat). Run into a store, I remind her. Run to the back of the store. Run as far away from the street as you can and then stay there. You'll hear screaming, sirens, crying. It will be scary. It's okay to be scared. I will find you. I will save you. Say my name if we get separated. Remember my phone number. I will find you. Police will find you.

Guns. Fuck. This one is so frustrating to me. Last night in Las Vegas so many people were gunned down. I'm going to a music concert with my girls on Thursday. It shouldn't be a space for people to shoot .. but you never fucking know where and when.

So this morning, with tears in my eyes I tell her again about what to do if she hears a gun shot. I showed her how to put her body flat to the ground and cover her face (so she doesn't see scary things - that's why I want her face covered). I had her show me. We both did it. If she can't run and hide, stay still, stay flat, try to get behind something and make yourself as small as possible.  If you can get into a hiding place that has a door, close the door and lock it - and then stay silent, don't open it for anyone. Don't make a noise. You'll hear scary sounds, you'll hear screaming. If you have to go potty, don't worry. Just go where you are. If you are thirsty, be thirsty. But don't move. Don't make noise. And, don't come out of hiding until mommy finds you or a safe person like police or firefighters or a teacher finds you and tells you it's okay to come out. Mommy will find you and you'll be safe. Be brave. Fuck ... the tears in my eyes. I hate having this conversation.

If you see a gun what do you do? If a little human like you shows you one ... RUN! Run and scream for help. Leave the room, leave the building, leave where that person is with a gun. Leave quickly. Run! Find somewhere safe to be. Shout for help. No one should show you a gun. No one should have one. Don't touch one if you see one. Tell a safe person but don't touch it. Don't poke it. Don't look closely at it. Just run. Get away. Find someone.

Having a child is like having your heart outside of you - and we can't protect our little humans as much as we'd like to. These conversations are scary and awful but necessary. She knows my name. She knows her full name. She knows where we live. She knows my phone number. She knows police and firefighter and doctors and teachers are our friends. She knows so much that I wish she didn't have to about scary situations.

I can only hope nothing happens to her when I'm not there. I can only hope ...

I gave her a huge kiss this morning as I dropped her off at school. I wish I could hug my daughters and not let go. I wish I could keep them safe forever.

My heart is so sad this morning.


I'd also like to add that the "prayers" offered by elected officials is wasteful. They need to enact policy that helps end mass shootings. Prayers are a waste from them. Pray on your own time. Elected officials weren't elected to pray. They should do more to protect the people and prohibit gun ownership for hands that simply should never have guns.

I also don't understand people who say not to politicize this issue. This issue IS political. The reason there are so many guns circulating in this society, the reason background checks aren't standard, there are loopholes in gun ownership, people get their hands on guns and don't register them ... none of it makes sense.

It also doesn't make sense to me that people are allowed to own guns without passing basic education about weapon safety. We have to take a test to drive a car. We have to have insurance on it. We have to obey the laws while using it. Why is there such a lackadaisical approach to owning weapons when they are incredibly destructive?!

It makes no sense.

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