Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I let my son play with guns. (and other reasons I might be a terrible mother)

Alternately titled: Our Mother's Day Weekend.

One of my recent posts showed BBZ imagining himself as a civil war soldier, just like his grandpa.  He used a guitar as a gun and marched around the house calling himself the captain.  It was so cute!
So while on our way to N's sister's house on Sunday for Mother's Day, N said that his parents had a toy gun for BBZ to play with since he is suddenly so into playing soldier.  He asked me what I thought about it and I really had to think.

I realize that I am supposed to want to keep such toys out of my son's hands.  I get that most parents would never allow their child to play with toys that resemble guns, much less give him a toy that looks like an actual gun and say "go ahead and play 2.5-year-old!"

But I do actually have a reason for my being ok with this type of play.  You see, we are not a gun-loving or even a gun-liking family.  I have never held a real gun.  N has, but only when shooting at targets at our friend's farm.  I could never look down the barrel of a gun and pull the trigger knowing that what I am pointing at might die.  I just can't do it.  Not that I have some problem with people who do.  I know people who hunt during deer season to provide meat for their families for the year, so I get that there is certainly a point in hunting.  In fact, it could be argued that the natural occurrence of hunting is much more humane than the slaughter houses where much of our meat comes from.

But I digress.

I had to ask myself what concerns me about him playing with guns.  Basically, I don't want him to play violently.  But do I think that having a play gun will suddenly turn my sweet little sensitive boy into a fist-throwing gun-slinger?  No, I sure don't.  While I am concerned about his possible comfort with violence, I really don't think playing with guns will make him a violent person.

My biggest fear when it comes to guns is that he will be in a house where there is a gun, pick it up and accidentally kill himself or a friend out of typical boy curiosity.  So to me, teaching him how to appropriately play with a gun is a better defense against that type of tragedy.  We have made 2 rules in our house when playing with his gun:

1) Mommy, daddy, or another adult must be around while playing.
2) The gun can never be pointed at anyone or anything.  It must be pointed into the sky.

If I can brand these 2 rules into my son's head, perhaps he will remember them if he ever does find a real gun.  At the very least I hope he will not point it at his friends but most importantly know that a grown-up needs to know that he is playing with one.

Now I'm not saying all parents should let their children have a toy gun.  If it weren't for my son's specific personality, I may feel quite differently.  This feels like the right decision for us, and since most of parenting is a crap shoot anyway, we have to trust our gut with this one and go with it.

So there it is.  My admission that I don't have everything figured out and that these decisions we make for our children are hard, but with some discussion and concern, we have to make what we hope is the right choice and move on to the next challenge.

Speaking of Mother's Day, mine was wonderful!  BBZ and I hung out on Saturday morning while N made a rain barrel at a class at the local garden.  We went to a carnival and then to the playground, met up with N for much and scooted on over to another park where they were hosting a micro brew festival.  Now I couldn't partake in the beer festivities, but we were outside on a blanket with kiddos running around bare foot and I was in heaven.  It was so nice to spend the entire day outside with friends and family.

Of course I didn't take one picture.  Oh well, I have the memories stored safely in my head.

Sunday we spent the morning running errands and enjoying each other.  N and BBZ brought me breakfast in bed!  I hadn't been to the grocery store, so I enjoyed fruit snacks, a few grapes and blueberries and water in a champagne glass, which was quite lovely.  I think BBZ was just excited to have fruit snacks for breakfast.

After we spent some nice time with N's family, we ran some more errands.  BBZ fell asleep in the car, so N and I took turns running into the various stores.  While N was in Petsmart, I had an itch on my chest and scratched it.  I felt something inside my shirt, I reached in and grabbed....a Lego!  First, how the hell did I not feel it and second, how long had it been in there?!?

That just goes along with being the mama of a little boy, I suppose.