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Gun Control

Yesterday at the playground I learned something new about myself. I no longer care about water guns. I used to care. I used to be in the camp of all toy guns are bad, if Maya wants to shoot water she can use a spray bottle (she did, its fun but not the same). But that was before I chased her around shooting water at her. That was before I taught her to hide behind a tree and poke the gun out to surprise daddy. 

Maya does not know what a real gun looks like and I doubt she understands what it actually does. Matthew and I are not gun people, we do not keep one in our house nor do we plan on ever owning one. Occasionally the bad guys in her movies carry guns but she has not seemed too interested in this. She likes karate moves and pretending to air bend. (From the Legend of Korra.) But no one can deny the appeal of sticking a water gun in mommy's face and pulling the trigger.

The argument against toy guns is of course that gun play is not nice. A toy gun fight is mimicking a scary thing where people get hurt. When our kids play at hurting each other it makes us uncomfortable. And I get this. Watching two little boys playing war is a bit creepy. Or at least, its creepy if you think of the shooting and the blood and the dead bodies and all those soldiers' families crying. 

But our kids are not thinking about this. Not here in Williamsburg (and no, not in Park Slope either). Unfortunately there are plenty of places in the world where small children see gunfire daily. The real kind. But Maya is lucky, she lives here. When she shoots water at her daddy all she is thinking about is the look on his face when she gets him wet, that he is going to run after her and get her back and how much fun is that?? When we take away water gun fights (and superhero play, and wrestling, and preschoolers chasing each other going pow pow pow!) it is because we are imposing our own discomfort on our kids, based on a knowledge of the real world that they do not have yet. 

So to all you mom's who still cringe whenever you catch yourself enjoying a Nerf battle, I am right there with you. Just take a deep breath, listen to your kid's irresistible laughter, and then go and shoot him in the face. It will be ok, I promise.


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