Monday, November 22, 2010

The Gun and War

It's Saturday and Mommy is out for the afternoon to finish up some things for work. Daddy is home with Bean and Goobs. Mommy left them right after she put Goobs down for his nap at 1:00 and she is now returning home around 5:00.

Daddy: (As soon as Mommy walks in the door, Daddy calls Bean) "Bean! Mommy's home. Go show her what you made."

Bean comes running into the kitchen with Goobs's popper toy that now has a wrapping paper cardboard tube taped to it.

Mommy: "What is that thing that you made?"

Bean: "It's my gun Mommy."

Daddy looks at Mommy and makes the 'it was inevitable' face. Mommy has worked really hard to make sure that Bean, who is only three, isn't exposed to violence. She isn't a mom who never lets her kids watch TV or anything, it's just that she is very careful about what they watch. They don't have cable television and mostly Bean watches PBS shows that are educational and fairly harmless. She has no idea where this gun talk is coming from.

Mommy knew that when he started preschool, he would more than likely be exposed to the idea of guns and bad guys and hurting people. She knew this day was coming. She just didn't prepare for it.

Daddy: "Honestly, he came up with this all on his own. I came into the family room and he had the popper and the cardboard tube and was taping it together himself and told me he needed to make a gun for the bad guys. I helped him a little, but it was his idea."

Mommy: "I know. It's ok. I knew it would happen sometime. That is what I have heard about boys. No matter how hard you try, they play guns."

Daddy: "I always played guns when I was little. My parents just told me that I couldn't shoot people. I was only allowed to shoot Bears."

Mommy: "Um, Bears? I don't want him shooting Bears."

Daddy: "Ok, well, we weren't as animally PC as we are now, so I told him that he can only shoot targets and bad machines."

Bean: "Yeah Mommy, only targets and bad machines. No people or animals."

Mommy: (Sighs. Resigning herself once again to the fact that she is surrounded by boys) "OK, well, just remember, no shooting people. That isn't nice."

Bean: "But Mommy, Army men shoot people. How come they can shoot people?"

Mommy looks at Daddy and hopes that he has some way of explaining war to a three year old. They both stand there looking at each other. Completely silent. Neither one knows what to say and is hoping that the other says something first. They are at a standstill. Who will break first? Mommy suspects this is what the sex talk might be like. She figures that maybe if she takes the war talk, Daddy will do the sex one when the times comes.

Mommy: "Well, they don't want to shoot people but sometimes they have to." 

Bean: "Why Mommy."

Mommy looks at Daddy again. She has just walked in from a long few hours at work and she was not prepared for this. She looks at Daddy and he gives her a look that let's her know she is in this one alone.

(In her most chipper and enthusiastic voice) "Who wants dinner? How about we all go to Wegman's for dinner!"

Bean: "I do. Yeah! Can I get Indian chicken? "

And that is how Mommy put off explaining war. Let's hope Wegman's for dinner continues for work for 15 or so more years.


  1. Who knows the answer to that question? Grown-ups don't even know it.
    Glad bait and switch worked this time.
    I love the stand-off :)

    ps---I played guns growing up...and my brothers and I used to put on layers of army fatigues, go in the backyard, and then shoot each other with real BB guns. (We really could have used a "No Shooting People" rule.)
    So, uh, you're doing a good job, with the cardboard roll gun and all.

  2. I understand the gun issue... We are starting to deal with it here, although we are in a "gun enthusiasts" sort of environment being in the Army and all (including Dad, so I'm alone on this one!). So far, all I've said is that guns aren't toys and E seems to accept that. But he still seems to gravitate toward them if he sees them somewhere, and many of the boys around here play with them.
    And that's encouraged of course! I guess as you said, it is inevitable at some point. With boundaries, (like don't shoot people or animals, which I may steal when the time comes) I suppose it's okay. All of these questions are hard ones, and I sympathize! I'm definitely not looking forward to the "war talk" when we have to tell him Bryan is deploying. As Mary said, grown-ups can't even answer these questions. I'll take the sex talk anyday! :)