Getting Real With Jennifer Poole

My 8 year old daughter and I were in the store last night when an older gentleman passed us. He asked if he could borrow my helper. I asked what he needed. He said, “Oh nothing, I just love little kids. I have 16 grandchildren of my own.” I told him that was a lot of little kids but my helper was busy helping me. As we walked away my daughter said that was strange. I agreed and we talked a bit about adults approaching her and asking for help.

Next thing we know the man in behind us in the checkout line. My daughter clung to me and we tried to ignore him. My daughter was doing some “Rockette kicks” while we were stuck in line and the man asked my daughter if she was in dance. She politely responded that she was but then turned away and I took over the conversation with the man. He said his granddaughters were in ballet and his wife made their costumes because it gets so spendy. I agreed and went back to unloading my cart. A minute later he said to me “You are going to have your hands full in a few years because your daughter is so beautiful.”

Normally, I would tell my daughter to tell them thank you for the compliment but she and I were both very uncomfortable. At this point my polite tone got some edge to it. I turned to him and said “Thank You. Thank goodness she has me, her daddy, granddads, godfather, and 3 older brothers that are all prepared to protect her no matter what.” And I again turned my back to the man.

Once out of the store my daughter and I had a discussion about the event. We talked about how we were still polite to him but didn’t approach him to continue conversations with him. We talked about what she should do if that ever happens when I am not with her. I know that many seniors love little kids because of their energy and youth, but in today’s world it is difficult to assume that any stranger paying that much attention to a child has good intentions. I was impressed with my daughter and how she immediately noted that the man’s behavior made her uncomfortable and how she handled the situation.