Friday, January 28, 2011

A Hello to Arms

I'm tired of being shot at.

I've been saying no to gun toys practically since before Westley was born, but it doesn't matter. The kid - who is, at this moment, sweetly asleep while gently cuddling his stuffed Cat in the Hat doll - is currently obsessed with guns and shooting things. I've been shot with robots, drumsticks, ex-tree-branch sticks. If there's not a suitable gun-object around, Westley will shoot me with his arm.

After spending a day with my parents recently, Westley came home with a transforming Batmobile monstrosity that includes, among other gadgets, a gun. He brought the toy with him everywhere for a week, and we ended up having this conversation while driving to the grocery store:

Westley: I'm fine with this toy.

Me: [Clearly, this is a bid to get me to have a conversation about it. I'm not biting.]

Westley: Are you fine with this toy?

Me: No, not really.

Westley: Because it has a gun?

Me: That's right. I don't like guns.

Westley: Well, I do wike guns.

I suppose that's what I get for teaching him that it's all right that everyone likes different things. But I was thinking more along the lines of, "Mommy likes asparagus and Daddy doesn't and that's cool."

Westley has learned that I object to weapons, but obviously that hasn't swayed his opinion of them one bit. Of course, it doesn't help my "no gun" cause that Rob has a large and varied collection of tabletop miniature wargames, and that he likes to show the figures to Westley. For Rob, guns and swords aren't a concern if they're magic and/or operated by monsters or Jedi, and appear in the context of fantasy worlds. I tried to explain to him that Westley is three, and can't always tell the difference between something he thought about and something that really happened! A fantasy backdrop means absolutely nothing at this point! And calling the rocket launcher a "leaf blower" doesn't soften the blow (pun so intended) when I'm getting "leaf-blown" to death.

Rob blew all of this off like I was overreacting. (And maybe I am, just a little.) Like many fathers, Rob's major source of parental joy is sharing his hobbies and interests with his kid. I know there's no way those miniature warlords from another dimension are going away any time soon.

I'm still not going to start playing guns with Westley, however, and I'm certainly not going to buy him any gun toys. But I can't stop him from being attracted to them. Though I have to admit, this is one of those instances when I really, really wish I had more control over what Westley likes and doesn't like.

Since I can't stop my son from pretending, I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed that this phase passes before he starts asking for a BB gun for Christmas.