One thing I was very insistent on when raising my boys was trying to maintain a decorum of non-violence. The moment son #1 came out of the womb I solemnly vowed to have a strict “no guns” rule at which my husband verbally patted me on the head and said “Yeah, um….ok.” This is pretty easy to achieve for about a year when all the toys are nonfunctioning color blocked blobs developed to attract the attention of a six month old.
Once my little boy reached about 18-24 months of age, it was apparent this diplomat-in-the-making watermark was going out the window. Every single toy in the house became a weapon of some sort. It didn’t matter if it was his beloved sleepy time stuffed Barney. The dinosaur also doubled as a battering ram for monster trucks. Toy cars never simply raced or followed a track; they collided and exploded with countless casualties. It didn’t matter how hard I would try to steer my little darling to peace loving activities like sidewalk chalk and building blocks, because as soon as I would leave the room I would hear self play babble that sounded like “bee-ew, bee-ew, bee-ew”. He had fashioned a gun made out of lego blocks as big as his head.
I considered the fact that maybe “this” boy was just different and my next child would be the harbinger of peace and all things lovely. However, son #2 was born in camouflage and was smashing GI Joes together until they decapitated themselves a year later. As a matter of fact, now at 15, his world pretty much revolves around, bacon, military history, and duct tape. Sons 3, 4, and 5 have me hiding all things ceramic and pretty much followed suit.
I would not claim defeat. I still felt strongly that I should do my best impression of NATO, and call an arms treaty. TV Viewing privledges we contained only to PBS for 10 years. I read them stories about choo choo trains that had positive outlooks. I even made sure all my boys went to church and heard a lot of nonviolent preaching.
A few Christmases ago, my 90 year old great Uncle Willard built beautiful crucifixes for everyone in my large extended family. Out of solid oak he had handmade each member of my generation a cross about 10 inches high, stained them a lovely honey color and signed his name to the back if each one. Each of our children also received a 6 inch high cross similar to the larger “family” crucifix. I’m certain it was Uncle Willard’s intent that each child hung that cross in their room. However, my five boys immediately flipped those crosses upside down and held sword fights in the car on the way home.
I was battling a fictional, allbeit, fully armed enemy. To a boy, everything is better with an explosion, crash or zombies. All is right and well knowing that somewhere in the world there might be ninja stars with their name on it….and that badass costume that goes with it. Vacations are meant to be planned around decommissioned air craft carriers, civil war battle sights and the occasional sporting event.
I have left the raising of the future ambassadors of the world to those of you with multiple gender households. Now, I just go with the flow and pray to the god of sword fighting that there’s enough duct tape and bacon at my disposal to amuse them all while I get a pedicure.