I'm one of "those" moms who doesn't let her child go in anyone else's home or backyard 99% of the time. Call it overprotective, strict, whatever...it's who I am and I make no excuses about it. With that in mind, Z has been asking me for several weeks why he can't go in Riley's backyard with the other kids on our street. I've been telling him it's simple..."I don't know her mom." Well he's offered to tell me the mom's name...umm not enough sweetie! So finally Monday evening, the inevitable happened. Riley's mom was home...I was home...Z realized we were both home...so I couldn't deny it and I went to talk to her. She is very nice and we agreed that Z could go in her backyard and jump on Riley's trampoline because she was supervising and only allowing two or three to jump at a time. I told him to walk home with Olivia (8 year old girl almost next door) when it started getting dark. I went back in the house and nearly cried because it was just surreal that I had to grant a new freedom. He came home when I called his name and all was well.
Fast forward to Tuesday...all Z wanted to do on the way home was talk about going to Riley's house again. I told him he wouldn't be going everyday, but I was okay with him going that day. I asked him if Riley's mom was home...he said yes and off he went riding his bike alongside Olivia again. I watched him all the way down the street...then when he disappeared behind the house, I went inside. About 20 minutes later I hear screaming coming from down the street...saw Z in Riley's driveway, asked if it was him, he said no...blah blah...5 minutes later I notice him walking his bike back up the hill to our house. I walked outside and asked him what he was doing....
Z: I just wanted to tell you I love you
Me: Aww that's sweet, I love you too....but what I was really thinking was...uh oh what's under that?
Z: and I wanted to tell you I'm sorry that I lied...
Me: Lied about what?
Z: about screaming...it was me screaming too, I'm sorry I lied mommy.
Me: okay, thank you for telling the truth...now why are you coming home...is Riley's mom really there?
Z: well no
Me: You should come inside right away.
So I went inside, counted to whatever number it took before he got in the door...sat him down face to face and asked him what the bigger lie was...that he screamed or about how Riley's mom was home when she really wasn't. He was very quiet, hanging his head...he knew he was wrong and I could tell he was wondering what I was going to do about it.
Me: You know the only reason I let you go play over there was because I knew Riley's mom was watching you and making sure you were safe, right?
Me: And you know that I put a lot of trust in you by letting you go somewhere without me, right?
Me: I would be so sad if something happened to you. It's not okay to go in someone's backyard when they are not home and it's not okay to lie about things just so you can do what you want to do. When you realized she was not home, you should've come home right away to tell me.
Z: Yes ma'am...so can I go back outside and ride my bike?
Me: No sir, you will not be going back out today and maybe not the rest of the week.
Z started crying and went upstairs...I could hear him sobbing in his bed, but more than that I could hear pop sounds outside. So I went to the window to see four boys running around houses where no one was home...chasing each other with toy guns...then I went outside to listen better...heard the familiar sound of rattling bb's going into one of the guns....by now Z was standing by my side...telling me the boys were shooting bb guns at each other. I watched for another 15 minutes...asked one boy if there were real bb's in his gun and he said "why?" RIght there, I knew I was right...so I waited a bit longer...overheard them saying not to shoot the girls, to only stab them with sticks....I walked over the boy's house and asked his mom if she knew the boy was out playing with bb guns...she said she thought it was just airsoft guns with those plastic bb's. Yes, I know what they are....I even bought a few for Christmas gifts. But last time I checked, you could still hurt someone with that and you aren't supposed to be shooting them AT people. Last thing I heard before I left her porch from her son:
"Well the good news is that our airsoft war is over...the bad news is I shot so-in-so in the face and neck...but I was aiming at his body not his face."
Yeah Z's done playing with those boys...at least when the guns are out. I told him so. I told him those boys don't know how to use the guns and there is no parent outside watching and he's just not going to be a part of it. Whew....if only I thought that would solve all the problems of the kids on our street :(