I'd like to think that the 5 years we struggled with infertility, and the years prior where we postponed starting a family until we were more financially stable, ultimately made us more mature and better parents. Certainly better prepared than some of my young friends who were surprised by pregnancy prior to marriage - heck, prior to them having a life outside school/their parent's home. More patient, better prepared, and less resentful of the time and commitment having a child entails. And the research!
I am a reader anyway, but once we decided to have a child my book pile on my night table changed drastically. From pregnancy books to Dr. Sears to Attachment Parenting...it was a very big pile. By the time I knew Tyler was on his way, I had a well developed idea of what I was going to "do" as a Mom. I would be a no-spank, borderline Attachment Parenting, non-gender biased, violence free Mom. Not a total Earthy-Crunchy Mom, but as natural and peace-loving as I could be while still using disposable diapers.
Let's just say my convictions and parenting theories now change on an almost daily basis. The "terrible twos" will do that to a Mom. :-} BUT! One of my hard and fast rules has always been "no play weapons of any kind". No swords, guns, bow/arrow, sling shots, yadda yadda...until today. We were cruising through the local Bed, Bath and Beyond and there it was, the "Gazillion Bubble Gun". Tyler's face lit up like a solar flare..."I want THAT Mommy! THAT!! THAT!!!!" He pointed frantically from his perch in the shopping cart. I did my usual routine and pointed to various other items around the "gun" and said "This? This?" all to a more and more frustrated chorus of "No! THAT!!! The green one!!! THAT THAT THAAAAAAT!!" I rolled my eyes and picked up the package. Hmm. "Drip-less, battery operated, endless bubbles at the push of a button...er...trigger."
I have always loved bubbles and Tyler is a huge fan of them too. But dipping that wand and dripping slimy soap solution all over my family room floor or my lap, arms, feet had long since lost it's appeal. Ty always insists on holding the wand and blowing HIMSELF now. Messy, messy, messy! I caved! I bought him the bubble gun. I tried to convince myself that it didn't really LOOK like a real gun - it's more a space alien looking device. I have been so proud of the care I take in what he watches (no violence) and the games he plays. He doesn't even KNOW the word gun. But I was in for the shock of my parenting life today.
My peace-loving, non-violent son took to that gun like a ninja to throwing stars. It started with "Mommy! I shoot you!" and degenerated to him stalking squirrels in the yard and hiding behind a tree out front so he could leap out and surprise cars passing by - all to gleeful screams of "I got you! I got you!" I guess even the California freeway sniper was a toddler once.