Monday, June 13, 2005

My little freaky boy

My little freaky boy
Originally uploaded by samsara_mom.
I've discovered the defining moment of my parenting skills. Being a bleeing-heart liberal, my utopian mothering senses determined that my precious little boys would never play with toy guns.

I don't need to hear the arguements for the contrary - all the guys saying "I played with them when I was a kid and I turned out okay". We also said that about smoking in a car with the kids. Just because we are not all dying a horrible death, doesnt mean that we're still doing it.

Even living in Canada doesn't give a mother a fighting chance. Cable TV, Hollywood and Toys R' Us continue to perpetuate the myth that toy guns are cool and acceptible. If they are so exceptable, then I suggest we start manufacturing Prison Bitch Barbie, Gangsta Ken, an array of toy coffins, and a play heroin kit. After all its just pretend.

Pardon me, I am going to be free with my language. Who the HELL came up with the great idea that play and pretend had no bearing on reality? Who in the heck is telling us that play is not about learning, its about pretending. Who made that chasm? Aren't they the same? I hear some banter as if they are total opposites - cripes! I figured it was a marketing genuis who came up with that definition, since it has convinced whole generations that little girls playing with toy kitchens and little boys playing with guns have absolulely no bearing on how they are genderized and socialized.

At the moment I am working against some significant socio-cultural pressures. Yesterday Harry approached me with his defining question Our conversations went something like this:

Harry: Mom, Guns are cool, right?
Mom: No they aren't Harry. Guns kill
Harry: I want to kill Mommy, can I have a gun?
(mom is freaking out internally)
Mom: Do you know what it means to kill, Harry?
Harry: No. Can I have a gun?
Mom: Guns kill things. People. Animals. To kill means to make something dead.
Harry: Gun are cool, right? I want an I, Robot gun mom.
Mom: Guns Kill, Harry. They make things die. Do you know what it means to die?
Harry: No
Mom: Pappa died, where's Pappa? (my dad, who was not killed by a gun, but another popular killer, high fat foods and ciggarettes)
Harry: Pappa's gone.
Mom: Pappa is dead. Thats what guns do
Harry: Mom I want a gun. I just want to hold it.

Then, I just ignored him. It felt like chinese water torture. When he eventually got tired of being ignored he went on-line, typed Gun in Google, clicked on images, found a picture, then went to File and Print. Instant coloring page. You can see his creative endeavors for yourself.

So, if a mother were to handle this wisely, what should she do, other than shipping him off to Tierra Del Fuego until he is 21? Do I continue the moralizing banter? I am not buying toy guns. That is a given. This does not stop him from creating them on his own. In those given circumstances he isn't allowed to point those creations at any animate object. Part of me fears an Alex Keaton like rebellion. Instead of getting this hippy peace and love message from his political mother, he'll revoke his Canadian citizenship and become president of the NRA. Even worse...a Washington Lobbyist.

Ah, to be 5 and live an uncomplicated existence eh? Right now, potty-training Aidan seems more like a challenge I'd rather confront. A little pee on the floor is much easier to clean up.


hotboy said...

The gun thing must be tricky if you're American. You can't buy real ones in Britain, so playing with toy ones might not have the same connotations.
I'm a man. I brought up a girl (now 17yrs old)and was so glad. Wee boys are mad. They'll make weapons out of anything! Hotboy from RaBlissBlog

Litany said...

Just about every kid goes through their Bang Bang phase.

Guns seem so potent and immediate.

The excitement dwindles quickly though, after repeated shots of perfect accuracy result in -

"Nuh uh, you missed me!"

Eric said...

Little boys idealize their fathers to some extent, I suppose. I think Harry wants to be like his daddy and wear the same clothes and use the same weapons, etc. Pistols are used by policemen and rifles by soldiers and hunters. TV is just "pretend". I think it is important for youngsters to make the difference between reality and make-believe. This goes for a number of subjects like sex or alcohol-use for example...

Kim said...

I'm not sure what this means, but my daughters just received their first guns this weekend--water guns, the big super soaker variety, that my dad bought them. Until then, they always had little squirt bottles. They don't really think of them as "guns." They are just having fun with the spray aspect. Anyway, I'm not a big gun fan either. Just thought the timing on your post was interesting since we now own water guns!

robmcj said...

Learning and pretending, both the same thing. I hadn't thought of it quite like that and I like it.

The next time one of my students gives me the dog-ate-my-homework story, I'll commend him/her on the creativity they've learned. ;-)

Or maybe Pretending includes/involves Learning, rather than them being identical.

I like your blog and will check out the rest of it some time (I'm in class right now). robmcj

Kato said...

Sounds like that was a rough experience for you. My folks were always very anti gun (even though my dad used to shoot rifles before they married). I never had toy guns as a kid--not even water pistols (if we had a water squirter, it had to look nothing like a gun). It never really posed a problem--I don't ever remember complaining to my mom about it. They laid down the law and it was just sort of a fact.

If it makes you feel any better (and I don't know that it will), it may be partly a guy thing. I think most guys have a certain fascination with guns. In spite of my upbringing and my logical and rational mind that says "the purpose of a gun is to wound or kill", even I have a part of me that thinks they are cool. It's probably tied to the same gene that makes gadgets, cars (vehicles in general), power tools, and construction equipment, so appealing to us men.