a mom among guns

Happy Birthday! It's a gun!!!

“Anybody need a gun?”

This is what middle (4.5) just shouted down the steps to little and I. My worst nightmares have come true. My children have opened a gun shop upstairs. They are currently building up a paper and scotch tape arsenal as we speak. How did this happen?

A few days ago middle was involved in a drive by blasting. As we were stopped at a red light, he turned, looked out his window, pointed his clone blaster and blasted the neighboring driver, who seemed to be minding his own business and in no way seemed part of any of our rival gangs.

The rule in our house has become, “Don’t shoot anyone in the face.” Not ‘no guns allowed’, but ‘shoot anywhere but the face!’ Once again I ask, how did this happen?

I grew up a girl, a reading, pretending, artistic kind of girl. I never fantasized about blasting anyone. I never had to be told not to shoot people in the face. I can not even remember one time that I played war, or anything even remotely revolving around maiming or killing a friend or sibling.

I never expected to grow up to be the mother of three card-carrying members of the BRA (boys rifle association). Before my own children were born and I had 15 children in my classroom, the rule was no guns, no killing, no pretending to hurt, no weapons and I stood by that. Sometime in the last 8 years I’ve found that eventually at some point boys turn to violence for pretend play. I wonder now if all those little kindergarten boys I stifled with my peace-loving ways went home and blasted their entire families with paper and scotch tape weapons.

I had visions of my future children in little tye-dyed peace sign onesies. Boys playing with dolls and girls playing with trucks. And no one playing with guns.

With big it was fairly easy, I could protect him from the cruel, violent world of Star Wars and army guys and even Looney Tunes for the first 4 years of his life. I was relieved when he turned to monster trucks instead of guns, but I shouldn’t have counted my peaceniks before they hatched. Kindergarten… the real world. Big starts drawing pictures of tanks and bounty hunter cars ( who’s letting their 5-year-old watch Dog the Bounty Hunter anyway?) He’s still relatively innocent until…

Middle. Middle has a permanent tough guy grimace on his face and adores showing off his own strength and power. He was attracted to anything weapon like at an early age and adores being the bad guys. He does make a pretty cute darth vader, but don’t tell him I said that. Now that he’s been initiated into the block’s boy gang (ages 4-10) he’s a full-fledged supporter of his right to bear arms: light sabres, clone blasters, paper pistols, etc. The boy gang plays involved, complicated games of star wars that involve special ops and stealth bombings. Sigh.

I didn’t know how deep I was in until little was about 9 months old. At the dinner table he fashioned himself a weapon made of bread and shot me in the face, complete with sound effects.  I cried.

I’ve done a fair amount of reading on boys, not being one, I find them more than a little confusing. In all the reading that I have done I take solace in this:

They need to play this way. It has something to do with their growth. They need an outlet for this buildup of testosterone packed energy. They need a way to show off their strength. I’ve come to the conclusion that although I don’t have to like it, unless I want to push thisTNT laced boulder uphill for the next 10 years I have to accept it. On my terms of course. So, no shooting in the face. No weapons in public places. For god’s sake, no more drive by blastings and above all no shooting someone who doesn’t want to be shot.

I’m off to rent a paper rifle from big and middle at a very affordable rate. If you can’t beat ’em, join em. I won’t shoot you in the face, I promise.


1 Response to “a mom among guns”

  1. 1 Tom Anderson-Brown
    July 20, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    I love the “permanent grimace” description. He’s like Rambo on the prowl. Great story!

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