A Lesson About Stranger Danger At Home

The title to this blog entry sounds kind of weird. What kind of stranger danger could there be at home? I think I only realised it when something happened at home. While it thankfully turned out to be a false alarm, the incident certainly raised my awareness to certain things I have been taking for granted.

When I am at home with my children, I like to leave the front door open. With the gates locked and the door opened, we get a good flow of natural air into our home, and this usually allows us to be cool enough not to need to turn on the airconditioner in the living room. 

At the same time, we are blessed with wonderful immediate neighbours with whom our family enjoy good relationships. Because of that, my children like to say hi to them whenever their doors are opened.

This day, I was at home with my toddler son, Breyen, while my daughter was in school. As usual, the front door was left open. I was busy in the kitchen and Breyen was walking in and out of the kitchen, so I thought it was okay that the front door was open. 

I was blending something in the kitchen when Breyen walked in for the umpteenth time, holding a plastic bag in his hands. “What did he dig out again?” I thought to myself.

I inspected what he was holding and realised it was a bag of fruits. My next thought was that he might have gotten this from one of the bags my Husband had left lying around. My suspicion was immediately debunked when I realised that the fruits were cold, like someone just took them out from the fridge.

Breyen wanted to eat one of the fruits but because I didn’t know where he had gotten the fruits from, I refused to give him any. 

I was sure that he didn’t take them from our own fridge because we didn’t have these kinds of fruits at home. So then, where or how did he get these fruits? Did someone give them to Breyen? And if so, who? I didn’t hear anyone at the door.

Or maybe, I wasn’t able to hear anyone who was at the door because I was using the blender. 

I was freaked out. Where did my son get the fruits from??

My instinct told me to text one of my neighbours. This family goes in and out of their home often, so maybe they saw Breyen playing and passed him the fruits. I quickly texted my neighbour. When she replied, I froze. She said the fruits were not from her or her husband. 

So who gave the fruits to my Son?? Was there a stranger at my door and did that stranger give my son a bag of fruits?

I thought about my other immediate neighbour. An elderly lady who is usually shy and likes to keep her door closed. She loves interacting with my children but she is usually more reserved with my husband and I. Could it be her? 

I didn’t want to alarm her, so I didn’t knock on her door. I decided to text her daughter instead. I explained what had happened and asked for her help in checking her fridge when she came home.

To my relief, she solved the mystery of the fruits!

The fruits given to Breyen had matched whatever was missing from her fridge. My guess was that her elderly mother didn’t remember but she must have seen Breyen playing in the living room through her peephole and decided to give him something. Because of her reserved nature, she probably didn’t want to alarm me but just wanted to give something to Breyen.

Oh the relief!

While I was thankful that the fruits had come from people we knew, and also thankful that my children are so loved by my neighbours, this whole “mystery fruits” incident reminded me that stranger danger could still exist even when we are at home. What if it wasn’t my neighbour who had given Breyen the fruits?

When my daughter got home from school, I decided to brief her about what had happened and what she was supposed to do if someone came to the door:

1. Always call for me or her dad, whether the person at the door is someone she knows or a stranger,

2. Do NOT accept anything from anyone at the door when my husband or I am not there, and

3. To move away from the door immediately if a stranger comes to the door while she is there, and shout for me or my husband.

At the same time, as much as I enjoy the breeze that comes through our home when the front door is open, I have to remember not to take my children’s safety with strangers for granted and always always always close the front door whenever I have to leave the living room, even if it is only for a little while.