Very early on in this Mothering Gig, I was the World’s Best Mother.
I followed a considerable amount of the ‘advice’ that was the loudest at the time … until my head broke and I ventured into ‘suicidal’, but that’s a different story.
For those early years, I was very Anti Gun without actually knowing why, just following along in whatever the latest fad was. What I quickly learnt was that it is near impossible to prevent children – mostly boy-type children (yes, I’m generalising, fuck off – I said “mostly”) – from turning all manner of thing into a gun of some sort.
Sticks, LEGO, textas, fingers etc etc etc. Name something and they’ll use it as a gun. If not a gun then a Light Sabre (saber? I can never remember the spelling of that one) or other implement of pain, torture, death or extreme annoying of others.
What I’ve come to realise is I, personally, don’t like the pretend gun play because I really, really hate having shit waved in my face and pointed at me at almost point blank range. I hate that my three-year-old talks about slaying and killing his brothers (although it is sometimes very cute, and other times I feel very much the same) and I hate the screaming and upset it often results in because, inevitably, someone gets hurt or someone “dies” and then they can’t play the game any more and gets upset, or because I end up with a bruise across my nose because someone can’t control his Light Sabre urges and accidentally thwacks me across the face on Christmas Day.
(I was also a witness to a shooting murder some years back, so whilst I appreciate it is ‘fun’ play for the kids, there’s a trigger there for me, ok?)
So, whatever … I have my reasons for not liking them and some of you will have other reasons and some of you will think “pfft, get over it” and some of you will be horrified that I have even ‘let’ my kids contemplate ‘gun’ play … whatever your take that’s all very ok.
The guns are becoming more and more frequent in our house and I do not like it. After letting go of my “Oh god you have a finger gun, I’m the worst mother in the world!!!” crisis and threatening to cut the kids fingers off if they used them as guns again, I was a little less anal and verging on blase when I said “no guns!” … but it’s really annoying me, so I’ve been a bit more firm. You know, like biting the fingers of the latest ‘gun’ shoved in my face and then being all innocent and saying “Well, it’s your fault! If you didn’t put them in my face, I wouldn’t have bitten them. So, ner.”
(To give you an idea of how bad it was when Monkey Boy was 3, he would run around the house, ‘shooting’ me and saying “pew, pew, pew” and I would verge on hysteria that ‘my little boy is playing guns, oh my lord, what have I done???!!!” and react in an equally hysterical manner and tell him off. He approached me one day, with a mandarin and I said “would you like me to peel it for you?” He looked at me, horrified, and said “you said ‘pew’!” It was bad. I’m way more relaxed now … o.O)
I’ve also been way more strict on them; in proportion to my pissed offedness and annoyance at their almost constant presence.
Sadly, I also have somewhat intelligent children. I have no idea where they get it from.
So, there we are, walking home from school, Monkey Boy with his arm outstretched, first two fingers pointed at Godzilla’s face and yelling some kind of “kill you” or some ramble and Godzilla retaliating with equal ‘in your facedness with gun-fingers’ and I said “NO GUNS! I’m frigging sick of it. Stop It. What is the rule?”
They glance at each other, clearly deciding who is going to be the one to set me straight.
“They’re not guns, Mum. Sheesh. They’re hair driers! Don’t you know anything? And stop jumping to conclusions.”