Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Boy and His Gun

Logan just went through a phase where he shot everything that moves. We have never had actual play guns in the house... but he will make anything into a gun. His finger, a piece of toast, countless sticks, and other shooting implements have been put in time-out over and over again for shooting people (which is a big household taboo). Putting him in time out each time he does it would be crazy. He would be in time out all day long. So the shooting element goes in time out instead, and sometimes that is his finger. lol... it is hysterical to see this my baby, sitting with his little finger on the timeout bench for 2 minutes while it does it's penance for shooting a person. It really is precious. But to him, shooting is serious work! We send him on missions in the back yard to find things to shot (that are NOT people) nearly every day. "Go shoot the sharks! Their in the back yard eating mommy's roses! Go get them!" and off he runs on his little 2 yr old legs to defend the roses and get an opportunity to shoot something.

This has never been a gun household. Even with Don's profession, we have never really had guns in the house. I just don't feel comfortable with it. Alex NEVER had a gun. In fact, he used to shoot things and then he would get really nervous if I saw him and say things like "Don't worry mama... I was just painting. It is a paint shooter." or some such. lol... Cyan has never felt the desire to shoot anything. But Logan... oh goodness.

When we were planning for Alex's laser tag birthday party (you know, his 13th birthday party), the gun thing was loosened a bit. I mean really... I am taking them to a play where they can, happily and safely, shoot each other for Alex's birthday and I am paying for it. So when Alex asked for these little squirt guns for each of the goodie bags I begrudgingly said yes. While we were putting them in the cart, Logan started SCREAMING "I want gun too! I WANT GUN TOOOOOOOOO!" I of course, told him that he was getting nothing while he screamed at me that way and I started to walk away. Instantly, my very loud toddler, calmed down and took a deep breath (by himself!) and said "Mama, I have gun too peese? Purple gun too, Peeeeeese?" Oh boy... melt my heart. So I said yes.

On the way out of the party store, while Logan shot everything in sight with his newly purchased love, Don and I talked over rules. The rule had always been "don't shoot people", and for the most part, he didn't anymore (unless you are talking about a very long trip to Home Depot where he shot every person that tired to help us numerous times with his finger at point blank range with perfect sound effects... and then would laugh and laugh, while mom was horrified. We left quickly.) I wanted to make a 'no gun except at specific times' rule, but Don vetoed it... saying that he needed to be able to have it and use it 'correctly'. How you use a gun 'correctly' is beyond me... but I got his point. Logan needed to have toys and use them in a safe and friendly way. So it doesn't go into to stores, and he can't shoot people were our rules by the time we got home.

All day long we had melt down fits about the gun staying in the car. LONG melt downs where I just held him and laughed about how crazy I was to have broken my gun taboo and hoped that he stopped by the time we got inside. Once I even thought of throwing it away, because it was obviously an obsession for this child who was loosing his mind in the middle of the Michael's parking lot over this $.49 plastic purple squirt gun. But my mothering heart won out and I was seemingly, crazily patient.

The day got over, and as Don went to put Logan to bed, Logan started crying. Not throwing a fit, crying... and he said "But daddy, I just need my gun." in a soft and pathetic voice. And so there was my toddler, fast asleep with a purple plastic gun tucked in his little hand. What had I done? He woke in the middle of the night and had to find 'his gun' half asleep a couple times. For a whole week this kid slept with this gun. It came EVERYWHERE with him but pretty quickly the fits about leaving it in the car grew less and less. By the end of the second day they were gone. He would put it just next to his car seat and say "bye-bye gun!" and come back to it saying "Oh! My gun!!" picking it up and hugging it when we would get back into the car. Sigh... It was actually better than when he just had his finger or whatever stick. Because now he had his gun... and when his gun was in trouble it was a big deal in toddlerworld. The gun got 10 minute timeouts for shooting people... which after getting the actual gun have only happened twice. He sat in time out right next to the gun the whole time.

It has been three weeks now since he got the gun and it has all but been forgotten. It was a fast and passionate love affair between my boy and his plastic purple gun. It will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first gun that I ever let into the house, and it was a really good experience for all of us. Within days he wasn't shooting people anymore. The stick bazookas had been limited to occasional outside play, and he didn't make anything into guns anymore. It was like he got it out of his system. He has moved on... but wow. What a week it was. A passionate boy my baby is turning out to be.

And that is the story of a boy and his gun. The story of the boy and his wrench is for another time.


Sadie said...

Such a sweet story! We have never had guns in the house either- well they have gotten water guns as gifts, but we have a very strict no shooting people rule...I really love the idea of the item going to time out for little ones.

Crescent Moon said...

I've never even purchased a squirt gun, but my son is constantly talking about shooting monsters or enemy planes. I had a child development teacher once who said that "if you give a girl a toy gun, eventually she will start mothering it. If you give a boy a doll, eventually he will start shooting with it." This may be a bit over generalized, but having raised 2 girls and now having a little boy, I don't think it's far from the truth.

Crescent Moon said...

Hi again! I am giving you the "Honest Scrap" award. You can read about it on my blog.

Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



Annicles said...

I think you dealt with this so well. My boy is seven and I have always felt uncomfortable about a toy that is for pretend killing. We have gone beyond this stage now but I wish I had put the gun in time out. I will keep this strategy in mind for the future!!! Thanks.