* The following is a fictional account based on a true life possibility. You are the main character. You can be a momma or poppa. You decide. The story takes place in real time. Oh, and you have a daughter, Krista. She’s five.
“Brady touched my potty-part!” Krista blurts out along with some juices and fragments of her chicken nugget.
“What?" You swallow your coffee with enough air to choke a horse. "What did you say?” You cough. Sputter. Your eyes water. “Who touched you?”
“Brady,” she says, slurping her milk through the straw poking through the gap from her missing front teeth.
|Image appears courtesy of imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos.net|
“When?” You ask. Your eyes wide. Searching.
“He’s a big kid.”
You grab your napkin. Cough some more. Try to breathe. Demand your bronchioles relax. They refuse. You take another sip of your coffee. Swallow. Breathe.
“Where did you say Brady touched you?” You ask.
You breathe some more.
“Gaby’s getting a new dog,” Krista says smiling. “She showed me a picture. He’s so cute! Can we get a dog?”
You choose what happens next.
A. You send up a Thank you, God! And give the top ten reasons why you are NOT getting a dog. (Krista eats her nuggets.)
B. You whip out your cell phone and call Sherri (if you're momma) or Gary (if your poppa),your best friend, whose two kids attend your daughter’s school. “Sherri/Gary, who’s Brady? What grade is he in? What’s his mother like? What's his father like? Good family? Bad family?” And you tell Sherri/Gary what Krista said Brady did. You tell Sherry or Gary to watch her/his kids around Brady. (Krista eats her nuggets.)
C. You sit there wishing you had taught Krista the proper names for her private parts rather than calling them “potty-parts.” Now you wonder where Brady touched her specifically, but you hate to ask. (Krista eats her nuggets.)
D. You say, “Krista, I’m glad Gaby is getting a dog. We can talk about dogs later. Thank you for telling me about Brady and that he touched you at recess. It’s always good to tell me about things that bother you. Right now, I’d like you to tell me a little bit more about it.” You calmly ask open-ended questions like: “Where were you during recess when this happened? Who was there? And then what happened? And then? (Krista talks to you while she eats her nuggets.)
Oh, you’re a smart momma or poppa! You chose D, didn’t you? Did you stop and hesitate at C though, because you hate using words like penis and vagina? You’ve made up your own names for them. Right? And you were tempted to choose A and B. I know this. You’re human, just like me.
Congratulations. You received an A+. Please join me next week to find out how Krista answered your open-ended questions, and why open-ended questions are so important.