Monday, May 25, 2015

"You have tears, Momma?"

That's what my sweet boy asked me when he looked at me at the dinner table and tears were streaming down my face...

Was it the article about how horrible it is to send your newborn to the nursery at night that triggered it?  Yes, I did that.  I had a 23 1/2 hour labor with 2 1/2 hours of pushing, and I was exhausted.  Since I am a SMC, I felt like I needed some rest since I had been awake for over 36 hours and knew when I got home I was flying completely solo.  Also, I could barely walk from all the stitches I had "down there", so I would have needed help from the nurse to get up to even get him. (Holy crap!  I had no idea how much it would hurt "down there".  Seriously.)  So what if I sent him to the nursery for two hours at a time?  He was still brought to me like clockwork to nurse.  But now I feel like a bad mom for doing that. 

Was it that fact that my friend's son's birthday is coming up, and he would have been five years old?  Her son died during surgery almost two years ago when an anesthesiologist made a big mistake.  That anniversary is also coming up in a couple of months. I cannot even imagine.  The thought just makes me so sad. My friend is really struggling with this, is very sad, and is ignoring all of my texts. I met her after her son died, and while she's told me that it's hard to talk about it because it makes people uncomfortable because it's just so sad, I've told her maybe it's easier to talk to someone (me) that didn't know her son and is more detached from the whole situation than others might be. I haven't heard back from her in four days. I feel so damn helpless.

Or is that I just love my little guy so much and can't believe I'm only going to experience all of the "firsts" just one time.  The days are flying by, and I just want to make time stop.  Seriously, slow the F down so I can have my little boy a little longer.

During my episode of tears, Sidekick looked at me, grabbed my hand and said, "Don't cry, Momma. I will take care of you."  And I cried even more.

Sidekick is totally back on track after the last time I posted about a horrible week we had.  He's back to his awesome self!  He's happy, compliant, and a joy to be around.  Thank God that these horrible spurts are far and few between, and in the grand scheme of things they are short lived. 

We've been talking about moving him to a big boy bed.  He's still in a crib, and I just don't want to move him.  He's a great sleeper, and I fear that'll change, and well, he's my baby, so it's hard.  It's the last baby thing to go, and I struggle with it.  So, we been shopping around for a full size mattress, and I think I'm going to order one tomorrow.  I'm going to take a Stay-cation in a few weeks, so I thought that would be a good time to do the transition.  Last night he asked if he could go to sleep in my bed, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  He quietly laid there while I was downstairs cleaning up, and each time I checked on him, he just smiled at me.  He did eventually fall asleep, and I moved him to his crib before I went to bed.  Such a big boy. 

He's so independent, and he just seems to need me less and less.  Unfortunately,  his independence leads to stubbornness because he wants/needs to do everything himself.  That causes some friction between us.  He clears the table and unloads the dishwasher.  He puts his clothes in the laundry basket, helps me load the washing machine and dryer, and puts his underwear and socks away when I fold them.  He's a big boy... almost three.  THREE!  Seriously, where has the time gone???

Friday, May 15, 2015

Playing the Single Mom Card

I don't think I have ever really played the Single Mom card.  I don't think I've ever played the "woe is me" game.  When times get tough with Sidekick, I plow through because that's the only choice I have. But right now, I wish I had another option. 

After this week, I am playing the Single Mom card.  I. Need. An. F'n break from this kid!  He is pushing every f'n button available. He found them all. And he found some that I never knew I had. I have breezed through the first two years and ten months of his life, but that has come to a screeching halt.  For whatever reason, as he is approaching three, I can't seem to get a grip. When he is being a shit, I can't keep my shit together.  I've been warned that three sucks, and those people are right.

I find myself yelling at him and getting more frustrated than ever.  I wonder if he thinks I suck at being a Mom. I think he hates me, but thankfully he always tells me he loves me at the most needed times. I have fought him every morning this week from the minute I get him out of jail (his crib).  He fights me on going potty and then getting dressed.  He then gets pissed that I have made his breakfast (something I've always done before he wakes up), and that turns into a melt down. A melt down turns into a time out.  A timeout turns into both of us yelling. Okay, me more than him, but he has definitely learned how to yell (and, by the way, try to hit me). 

Maybe I should feel relieved that he's been a real PITA at school this week as well, not just with me.  The director has tried to make me feel better by explaining that he's three and he's smart, so he is testing everyone while trying to be independent.  I still don't feel better.  I'm still not his #1 fan this week.

Apparently his ears are broken because he doesn't seem to be hearing me lately.  When he knows I'm getting angry because he's not doing what I asked him to do, he runs to me with open arms saying, "I'm tho thorry, Momma."  If only that fixed everything. 

So, I need a break.  I don't have family in the same state, and for one of the few times Sidekick has been alive, I wish I did.  I want to turn him over to someone and walk away, just for a couple of hours... or a day. I'm not picky.  I don't want to feed my kid meals, wipe his butt, and deal with his temper tantrums at the moment.  I dreaded picking him up from school today because I am now stuck with him until Monday morning on a weekend predicted to have constant rain. 

You know what?  Being a single mom can really suck!  Being a single mom is hard work!  Being a single mom is exhausting!  I feel it right now, and I don't feel it often, but when I do, it's really bad. Regardless of how hands-on a husband may or may not be, I could at least walk away when my kid was sleeping and slowly roam the aisles of Target in peace and quiet because someone was home with him. As a single mom, I don't have that luxury. 

Here's hoping my child is still alive on Monday.  Here's hoping I haven't lost my mind by Monday.

Thanks for listening to me bitch (and ignoring all of my swear words.)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

First Trip to the ER and Mother's Day

Which to start with first???  Well, I'll take it in order, which means I'll write about Sidekick's first trip to the ER. Before I begin, he's fine. He's been mentioning that he tummy hurts for about two weeks.  He's been acting totally fine and eating great so I blew it off.  At his Mother's Day party at school, he kept mentioning it, and would double over for a bit.  I asked him if he had to go potty, and he pooped a little.  I had thought that he was constipated, so we continued our evening with friends at the children's museum.  Off and on, he would double over, cry, and tell me he tummy hurt.  I kept taking him to the bathroom, but he just wouldn't poop. As quickly as he would double over in pain, he would rally again.  The entire time, he was pale and clammy, and he finally asked to go home (not normal).  My friend told me he was definitely not his normal self and that he just looked miserable.
We got home and he was crying in pain, I decided to call the after hours line at his doctor's office.  I was told to go to the ER immediately because his symptoms were pretty indicative of a pretty serious problem.  We hopped in the car at about 7:30 and he fell asleep... I think because he was so exhausted from being in pain.  When we got there, he seemed better (of course!).  He was enthralled with the whole ER experience.  The nurse, xray tech, and doctor were great, and he loved them all.  In the end, he was just constipated like I had assumed (even though he was pooping) and had some gas bubbles floating around his intestines.  My kid shows no pain... he's never had a problem with teething (I never actually knew he was getting teeth until they were in), he's had several double ear infections while acting totally fine, and has fallen on his forehead more times than I can count on two hand resulting in massive goose eggs... none of which has really fazed him.  So, when this happened, I knew he was hurting.  After he checked out okay with nothing major, he got his first popsicle and kept telling me that the hospital is not a scary place.  I was so proud of his courage and ability to just go with the flow.  He's now drinking Miralax, and it's helping a little bit.  The last time he's told me his stomach hurt was this morning, so that's progress!
Mother's Day... since I am a SMC, I have to make our own plans.  I'm sick of women bitching on FB about how much their husbands suck on Mother's Day.  I just want to tell them to quit their whining and be grateful they have a husband who contributes one way or the other to their family.  I decided that we were going to have a special day and break all rules...
I had to wake Sidekick up at 8:15, which was great.  I took him to his first movie, and he was awe at the size of the screen.  We then went to get flowers, herbs, and tomatoes to plant.  I decided on the way home that we were going to blow off nap (a very, very rare occurrence) and have fun all day.  We planted everything, had a water fight, took a bath, played superhero (new idea of his as of today), went to get ice-cream 30 minutes BEFORE dinner, had dinner, watched a 30 minute show, and he was in bed at 7:00.  It was a wonderful day. 
When we were having breakfast this morning he said, "It's all about the bass AND Momma and... Sidekick".  I just loved him so much at that moment because the day was really about us (and apparently the Bass-- haha!), not just me because without him, this day wouldn't be a day for me to celebrate.
When I laid him in his crib tonight, he said to me, "Momma, you did a great job reading my books.  I adore you, and I will always keep you safe."  Could that kid have said anything better to me on Mother's Day?  Seriously, this boy is amazing.  I hope you all enjoyed your Mother's Day as much as I did. I never thought it would be as awesome and special as it was.  I don't care how dirty my house is, how I have no groceries, or how I didn't get all of the laundry done. It may have been one of the best days we've had in a long time. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Running into the Neighbor's Son

Now that it's super warm outside, Sidekick and I go outside as often as possible.  Our evenings involve coming home from school, playing outside, eating dinner, playing outside for a few more minutes, bath and bed.  Time flies when you're having fun!

We were in the cul-da-sac last night playing with a Frisbee. Crazy neighbor's son came out to the get mail and was so excited to see Sidekick.  He immediately ran towards him and yelled, "Sidekick, I haven't seen you in so long!!!"  So I replied with "Well, if your mom wasn't such a f'n lunatic, you would have seen us all the time like you used to."  Okay... so I didn't really say that, but I sure wanted to yell that loudly enough for his mom to hear. 

Anyway, Sidekick was so excited to see him and together they ran around so happy throwing and chasing a Frisbee.  It's strange to see Sidekick interacting differently than he did seven months ago (yes, it's been that long).  He's just so much older.  Less toddler, more preschooler.  He played so well last summer/fall, but he now just seems bigger, more independent and confident, and stronger. It was also the first time since my neighbor-friend turned into a freak and cut all ties with us that Sidekick didn't ignore her son or hide behind me whenever he saw the boy.  Sidekick was so happy to have his "best friend" back in his life.  <sigh>

In a strange way, I felt sad.  Sad that Sidekick lost a good friend. Sad that I invested so much time and energy with this crazy woman and our friendship ended so abruptly and out of the blue.  Sad that I allowed Sidekick to get close to this family. But I guess that's just life.

I have to remind myself that since they are moving (hopefully soon!), they will be out of our lives forever, and I no longer have to worry about running into them. I won't have to be sad anymore about the situation.  I don't miss my neighbor-"friend" anymore, and I haven't for a long time.  I just hate them being several doors down from us.  I'm ready for this chapter to end.  I don't want Sidekick's emotions to be messed with as this boy enters his life off and on.  If this is what it's going to be like with this boy spending time with Sidekick off and on until they move, it's going to be pretty uncomfortable and pretty awful... especially since his parents will never show their faces.  Why do they let their son play with Sidekick???? 

Please say a prayer to the real estate Gods that a great family moves into their house soon.  Very soon.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Oh, Happy Day!

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know about my crazy neighbor-friend, and how she cut off all ties out of the blue back in October.  Sidekick and I ran a bunch of errands today and came home to find a "For Sale" sign in their yard.  I have been hoping this day would come.  I knew they were thinking about moving last fall, and I was devastated because our families became so close so quickly.  But now, I don't think I could actually put into words how elated I am!!!!!  We play in the cul-da-sac which is where their house is, and I'm always worried about running into them. Now I know that I won't have to worry much longer, and we can be comfortable in our neighborhood once again. It'll be an even happier day when I see their moving van pull away.  Yipppee!!!  Here's hoping a great new family moves in and that the house isn't cursed somehow and turns normal people into crazy ones. 

Aside from that, we had a good weekend.  We went to an event called Tons of Transportation where Sidekick got to sit in a school bus, ambulance, fire truck, crane, etc.  It was a little boy's dream come true. I am amazed at his independence, and how he doesn't seem to need me much.  He's so confident and just walks around like he is 15 and never looks back.  It just tugs at my heartstrings knowing how fast time goes. Make time stop.  Really.  Please do.  How much longer will he like people dressed up as characters?  He's watched Sesame Street a handful of times, but the excitement in his eyes when he saw Ahker the Gwouch was so great to see!

A good weekend turned into an amazing weekend with the (hopefully) soon to be departure of a family down the street.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Birthday Party, Conversation, Dating, and Pics

I've been stressing out Sidekick's 3rd birthday coming up in July.  I'm not one to do big bashes and have gone back and forth with the whole birthday party thing.  He's been to a couple of birthday parties the past couple of months, and he's had so much fun!  He knows what they are, so I feel pressured to do something, but seriously, he's THREE!

I looked into to renting out a cool indoor playground at a church (crazy, huh?).  I made a list of all the kids we would invite, some are his best friends and some are just acquaintances.  Where does one draw the line?  Then I had the challenge of trying to figure out the right time of day. July sucks to have a birthday.  Between family vacations, sports, activities, etc., I was worried that very few people would be able to attend his special day, and that would make me sad. I realized that although he knows all of the people who we would invite, he doesn't hang out with them on a regular basis. And then after a couple of hours obsessing about it, it dawned on me. Sidekick doesn't need a big bash. He doesn't know the difference between having five people or 25 people at his party.  He doesn't need presents (I was going to ask for donations to a charity in honor of him in lieu of presents anyway).  He just needs to have a celebration, a small celebration.  So, what did I decide to do? 

I'm inviting five of his close friends to go to Build a Bear Workshop with us.  He'll always remember that day as long as he has his bear.  I'm hoping the other kids haven't gone, so that it'll be a new experience for all of them.  I'm excited about it!  It's right up his alley and it's with his best friends with whom he will closely spend the time.  It's perfect, and I'm happy.


The other day out of the blue I had this conversation with him:

Sidekick:  My daddy is dead.
Me:  Really?  Who is your daddy?
Sidekick:  Grandpa Jack.  He's in the sky (he passed away last summer and Sidekick was there).  You need to find me anudder Daddy.

Ugh! I explained to him that Grandpa Jack was his grandpa, not his daddy. He didn't buy it. Now he keeps telling me he needs a new Daddy. 

Shortly after that conversation, he told me that God misses him.  That kind of freaked me out!  I sure hope that God doesn't miss him and want/need him anytime soon.  Yikes!


Dating... I'm back on an online dating site!  Crazy, I know.  I joined before Sidekick told me he needs a "annuder" Daddy.  Ha!  I've been emailing a guy who has a great sense of humor and from what I can tell, he has his shit together.  He prefaced our emails with the fact that he is super busy with work the next few weeks and doesn't have time to date anyone, but that he hopes that I am not taken by then.  Hmmmm... I'm not sure how I feel about the timing of the possibility of meeting him because regardless of how busy we are, we make time for people if we want to.  Anyway, I'm not stressing about it and am just going to see what happens between now and a few weeks.  Who cares!  The idea of dating with a child scares me anyway.  How does that even look?


Sidekick and I had some family pictures taken.  Here are a few:

This boy never lets me kiss him, and when I'm successful, he wipes it off.

I love this boy so damn much that is hurts. I count my blessings every day.  Maybe one day, we'll find a man to love both of us.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Easter Wrap Up

I feel like Easter was like the eight nights of Hanukkah... it just never seemed to end.  It literally lasted eight nights!  It started the Sunday before Easter with an egg hunt and breakfast at my friends' house.  Since Sidekick was the youngest there, it was predetermined that he was the only kid who could get the purple (his favorite color) eggs. He could also get other colors, but he was following the rules that only he gets purple, so when I would encourage him to get other colors, he would tell me he couldn't.  If I slipped a different color in his basket, he would take it back out.  He totally got into it though. I was also amazed at watching his confidence with being away from me and playing with the kids while the adults were in another room talking.  It was so great to be a grown-up without Sidekick being at my side.

Later that day, the two of us dyed Easter eggs.  I swear this process took hours when I was a kid.  It did, didn't it?  A dozen eggs took us about 8 minutes and we were done.  Despite the fact that it took longer to boil the eggs (which Sidekick helped), it was fun to see his excitement about choosing his color and watching the eggs "change" color. 

The rest of the week was spent talking about the Easter Bunny and reading books about the Easter Bunny.  Sidekick's excitement was just contagious all week long!  On Friday we went to see the Easter Bunny after school.  Sidekick was not a fan of Santa.  At. All.  The Easter Bunny was totally different because he was Sidekick's BFF!  He tried to photo bomb many kids' photos whenever he had the chance. I just had this love for him as he experienced the joy and excitement of this big fluffy human dressed as a bunny.

Saturday he had his last day of soccer.  We also went to church and put the Easter basket out for the Easter Bunny before bedtime.  Sidekick didn't know what exactly this meant until Sunday morning...

When I went into his room, he excitedly asked, "The Easter Bunny come??!!"
I replied, "I'm not sure, buddy, your Easter Basket isn't there anymore."

He had such a confused look on his face, but he was so excited when he found his Easter Basket in his bathtub when he went potty!  He went potty, grabbed his basket, looked at what was in it, and took it all out to make room for the eggs.  As he went down the stairs, he saw some eggs on the stairs, so he quickly put them in his basket and continued on his hunt.  He was so giddy picking up one egg after another.  He hid each one under the grass in his basket because since the Easter Bunny hid them from him, I think he was hiding them from the Easter Bunny.
We were invited to join our friends at their country club that morning for brunch followed up by an Easter egg hunt.  I had a very serious conversation with Sidekick about the importance of good behavior and manners.  After we went to see the Easter Bunny two nights prior, we went out for dinner, and Sidekick was a dream!  He's always been good when we go out to eat, but of course that was not the case at brunch.  He was just not good. I blame it on the excitement and anticipation of seeing the Easter Bunny again followed up by finding more eggs on the golf course.  See that sweet little face to the right below?  That sweet looking boy was not the boy who joined us at brunch that morning.  He just wouldn't sit still and wasn't eating very much.  I was embarrassed and had to walk him out and talk to him about good behavior.  Ugh!  I'm so grateful that that behavior is not a typical behavior when we go out to dinner. 

When he got to see the Easter Bunny again, he was like a pig in shit.  Really. The joy on his face was priceless as he once again got to sit on the Easter Bunny's lap. He was of course perfect after that.  The kids got to hunt for ten eggs.  Sidekick decided to pick up the egg, open it, and then put in in his basket.  His little friend would gather as many as she could and carry them over to her basket that her mom was holding.  I looked over and found that her mom was tossing them over her shoulder back in the grass. Why?  To make the hunt last longer.  A lot longer.  It was brilliant!  So, the Easter egg hunt which should have taken five minutes, took almost an hour. We all loved it and enjoyed the beautiful day. 

The day resulted in Sidekick not having a nap which is never a good thing because it makes the day really long since he's not the most fun to be around.  Fortunately, he went to bed at 6:30 that night and was passed out within minutes.  Phew! 

It was an exhausting weekend filled with a lot of activities, but slowly I am finding myself enjoying the holidays more than I used to.  How could I not when my little boy is just so excited about it all?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Momma's in Timeout

I hate being a parent today.  I despise it.  I was stretched too thin today, especially since I had to work ON A SATURDAY and take Sidekick with me for a few hours.  That was fun (insert sarcasm).  Sidekick has just done everything wrong today.  It started with him peeing on his carpet (he has never had an accident!).  I stripped him down naked after he woke up, and he was supposed to go potty instead of play while I was getting ready.  About five minutes later, he asked me to wipe him, so I assumed all was good until I stepped on a few big puddles (13 hours worth) of pee when I walked into his room to get him dressed!  Really???  I switched to an earlier soccer class because I had to work, and he didn't listen very well to his soccer coach. He did a pretty good job while I worked, but he enjoyed being loud in the echo-y school cafeteria and didn't want to use his "inside voice".  After all of this and a short nap, I was looking forward to going to church so I could get an hour break and just sit and listen.  Wouldn't you know it... his class at church did not have room for him so I had to sit in the lobby while he enjoyed all of the space to run and be wild, and I pretty much missed the entire service because I was too focused on him.

If there is anything cute and funny about the day... since Sidekick couldn't go to Kids Ministry, I took him into the church with me to listen to the music before we moved into the lobby to watch the actual service.  He enjoyed jamming with the band and listening to the "bootiful music".  When the music was done, everything was quiet, and we headed out to the lobby. Not once, not twice, but three times, he yelled, "Goodbye, everybody!" and waved excitedly. Sidekick has left the sanctuary.  I'd be lying if I didn't say there were plenty of people laughing. 

We got home and I found myself yelling at him... he wasn't eating dinner fast enough, he was being too messy, he wanted to play and not eat, he wanted to walk Dog before dinner, not after, etc.  Seriously... I lost my patience big time.  I yelled and yelled and yelled, and then I felt guilty.  Big time.

I finally put myself in a timeout (literally) on the stair where Sidekick's timeouts are.  I put my forehead in the palms of my hands and breathed deeply. Timeouts really are good.  They are kind of cathartic.  I finally asked Sidekick to come over to me, and I told him that I was sorry for yelling at him and making him sad.  I explained that being a Momma is sometimes hard.  What did he do?  He gave me a big hug and told me he loved me.  Tug at my heartstrings. 

I don't know what my problem is today, but holy shit, I hated today. Hated it. I hated the parent I was.  I know that Sidekick's "job" is to do just what he did today.  He's a normal 2 1/2 year old, but because he is typically so good and so easy, I just can't hold it together when he has a day like today. I don't know how to handle it. 

I am thankful for tomorrow... for new days... days in which we look at the present and forgot the shitty past that was today. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Reassurance from a 2 1/2 Year Old

I think we all wonder and worry if we are doing a good job raising our kids. Since Sidekick only has one parent, I am especially cognizant of the pressure I sometimes feel to teach him how to make the right choices, to demonstrate the right ways to behave, to raise him to be a happy, polite, and successful man, to feed him the right foods, to expose him to the amazing things in the world, to make sure he is getting enough of my undivided attention, to make sure I love him enough each day, etc. The other night after I laid him in his crib and was closing his bedroom door, out of the blue he said, "Momma, you doing a good job." Wow! I don't know how I got so lucky, but damn, this little boy just melts my heart. Even at 2 1/2, our kids know that we are doing our best and trying our hardest to make every day a good one for them.  It's nice that someone acknowledges this.  : )

I haven't wanted to "rush" fun and special things with Sidekick so that he can be old enough to appreciate them. We have yet to go to a movie, bowling, Build a Bear, etc. because I want him to appreciate these things, spread them out, and make the excitement of things last longer. If I do it all one after the other, what will be left for him to do? I see so many friends just doing one fun, exciting thing after the next with their young kids, and I wonder if their kids even remember that they did something.  Plus, I don't want Sidekick to think that these "special" things are a regular part of our lives. 

But I digress... Last weekend we went to Lego Kids Fest and Sidekick had so much fun!  He was so excited because it was different from our "normal" things like the park, children's museum, soccer, etc. He had so much fun building things, and I discovered that he liked to take things that other kids made and left and claim them as his own (while taking credit for the work).  Smart little dude.  What I realized is that as he kept doing this from "station to station", his creativity got better and he began to build things on his own. Pretty intriguing.  It's like he needed a little inspiration to get the juices flowing.  All of a sudden, he became a great builder!
At the same time as Lego Kids Fest, the convention center also had a trade show for Halloween.  The people that attended it are people who put on the big haunted houses. Sidekick was so interested and wanted to see the scary things, so he poked his head into the exhibit hall to take a peek.  Imagine all of the massive displays, people dressed in scary costumes walking around, etc., and my child so excited to see it all and squeal with delight!  The crabby old lady "manning" the door didn't seem very entertained by Sidekick's enthusiasm, and I'm sure she thought I was a horrible mom for letting him see that stuff. However, people were laughing at him because I think most kids would have been terrified by it all.  Not my kid!  I think he may have had more fun there than Lego Kids Fest!  Four days later, he still likes to talk about the "scary monsters" he saw. 

On a side note that crosses my mind every single morning... Sidekick will be three in July.  He's been potty trained since December and has been dry every morning since before he turned two.  I still put a diaper on him at night.  Is it safe to assume he doesn't need one anymore? The kid is a camel and can go 12+ hours at night (even though he drinks quite a lot of water before going to bed) without needing to go potty.  Why am I such a freak about NOT putting a diaper on him? Should I continue with the diapers or just stop using them?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Strangers (and St. Pat's Day)

It's funny that Sidekick thinks that St. Patrick's Day is a birthday party.  At 2 1/2, I guess every celebration is like a birthday party.  He kept singing "Happy Birthday" all morning long.  I love skull and crossbones, and so does Sidekick, and when I saw this shirt last year, I had to buy two!  It's fun see how he's changed in one year:

There was a kidnapping last week in the neighboring town, and that got me wondering when is the right time to talk about strangers without scaring Sidekick?  I started giving him scenarios and asked him what he would do.  For example:
Me:  What if a man/woman comes up to you and tells you he has a lot of puppies in his car, and he wants you to see them?
Sidekick:  I say NO and run to my momma.
Me:  What if Hunter's mom sees you outside and asks you if you would like a cookie?
Sidekick:  I say yes please.
Me:  Why?
Sidekick: Because she is nice and our friend
Me:  What is Ms. Lisa (teacher at school) is at the park and asks if you want some juice.
Sidekick:  I say No.  I can't have juice.  Can I have milk please?
Hahahahaha!  Just when I think I'm ahead of him, he proves me otherwise.  Anyway, he loves playing this "game" and wants to do it all. The. Time.  I'm running out of scenarios.  "Strangers" scare me, and while I know the likelihood of someone taking Sidekick is so small, it is something that truly worries me. 
While I was getting Sidekick ready for bed the other night, he said in a very serious voice, "Momma, look at my eyes." (This is what I say to him when I really want his attention.)  "We do not. Talk. To. Strangers. Ever."  Wow!  Out of the blue he said this to me.  I'm impressed that he thinks about it. I guess things I teach him do stick in his little brain.  :)
The days of being gone until the sun sets is so far away from the reality of where our world is now.  Our children are losing their innocence, their sense of adventure, and their freedom to experience everything we were so lucky to do as kids.  I don't think the idea of being snatched up on the street ever crossed my mom's mind when I was little while riding bikes, walking to school alone, going to the park alone, etc.  I know that Sidekick is never out of my sight, and when he's older, our discussions will get "bigger".  The truth of the matter is, if Sidekick was ever in one of the scenarios, someone could easily pick him up and run, but at least he is learning that we don't trust everyone we see even if they have puppies, cookies, candy, etc.  Ugh! I hate thinking about this.  I really do.  It just makes me sick to my stomach.
I remind Sidekick all the time that it's my job to keep him safe, happy, and healthy.  When I really think about it, it's such a big responsibility.  He has no idea what a responsibility that is, but he knows that I would do anything to protect him.  His newest thing to say after I tell him I love him: 
"I love you 'too' and a half."  because he is, after all, 2 1/2 and not just 2!