Thursday, November 20, 2008

I've sunk to a whole new level of bad parenting.

When my now 12 y/o son was just two years old we went up north to my parent's cabin with my parents for a little fresh air outdoorsy family vacation.

This is a hunting cabin situated on 80 acres of land. I'm a city girl but enjoy the relaxing outdoor atmosphere of a little cabin vacation of (very) short lengths every now and then. A four day weekend is about all I can take.

It's a hunting cabin. Not a vacation home.

You won't find photo collages on the walls. You'll find deer heads and antlers mounted in their place.

You won't find tall standing indoor plants ornamenting the corners of the living room. You'll find a tall mounted stuffed black bear instead.

The wall hooks in the entry way are cluttered with hunting gear paraphernalia.

When you're walking to the bathroom in the dark in the middle of the night?....don't trip over the stuffed turkey in the corner of the bedroom.

Instead of counting sheep to help yourself fall asleep, you can count the number of bats you hear fluttering inside the walls.

My step dad is a hunter. He hunts. Often.

He hunts for deer, bear, turkey, duck. Anything.

It's a hunting cabin.

There are guns.

Those guns are always kept behind lock and key.

Except....

For this one time when we went up there for vacation when Hefty was just 2 years old.

Hefty came from my step dad's bedroom with a pistol dangling between the fingers of his precious little 2 year old hand...."mama, what's this?"

There are no words in the English language to accurately describe the 30 seconds that followed. The panic, the terror, the guilt, the rage that followed will be in the back of my mind to recall at any given moment for the rest of my life. My son's life flashed before my eyes in that split second. And hearing "the safety is on" somehow did not make me feel any better.

So as my son grew older and the second son came along that terror turned me into the gun Nazi. There will be no guns in my home.....real or otherwise. There will be no squirt guns. There will be no weapons. There will be no pretend shooting. And the word "kill" is strictly forbidden as a "bad word" even in play acting.

Yes, I was one of THOSE moms.

But as my boys got older and the testosterone spillith over I began to see that my efforts in gun control were failing. I'd walk to the kitchen to find my 3 and 5 year old biting their peanut butter sandwiches into the shape of guns and playing cops and robbers at the kitchen table with their peanut butter pistols. I'd walk into the bathroom and find my hairbrush being used by son #1 as a pretend rifle with son #2 spread eagle against the wall in surrender.

What's a mom to do, I mean, other than pray to the Gods that her next child be a girl?

There's just no delicate way of saying this. So I'll skip right to the chase. I'll jump right to the punch line of this story and get it all out in the open so as to not delay the inevitable backlash of bloggy parental cattiness that is sure to follow. And the emails. I'm anticipating a flow of hate mail to the tune of "what the hell were you thinking," "OMG you suck as a parent," or....my personal favorite ......"well, I NEver.....(said with disdainful eye roll)"

I bought my son a pellet gun for his birthday.

And this is no ordinary pellet gun.

It's an automatic sniper rifle pellet gun.

There.

I've said it.

I'm afraid I've sunk to a whole new level of bad parenting.

So, please tell me...indulge me if you will....in your own bad parenting moments. Is there anything you said you'd never allow your kids to do that you now find yourself allowing. Cuz I could really use a self esteem pick-me-up right about now....

Or, if your not a mom, but hope to be in the near future....please tell me the one thing that you simply WILL NOT ALLOW in your home.

You know, So I can laugh at you...

Kidding.

Kinda.

15 comments:

Andrea said...

My son is 3.5 (daughter 2). Well I said I wouldn't let them watch alot of tv. And then son comes along and is a HOLY terror. On his best days. And sometimes the only way to get a moment of peace is to plop him on the couch and put in a movie. Sometimes I feel bad. But then again, I'm not in jail, and he's still breathing. So I think it's really a win-win situation. There are so much worse things that tv. So I'm trying not to be too hard on myself. He is loved and well cared for. It's just that he is SOOOOOO bad. TV equals break time for me. And well, it's just necessary now. Before, while I was making plans, it was before I became a mom. And now that he is here, and she... things are different. I've had to learn to adjust. No worries about the pellet gun. It happens. And best that you buy it for him, than him sneaking off behind your back and getting it anyway, then lying about it. So I think you are ok.

jodieboedie said...

First - for the record - I keep losing my comments with this new comment format you have - ick! So here I go a second time :-) It went something like this . . .

I'm not going to honor your request for comment subjects :-)

I grew up in a hunting family - guns around all the time - had the take the gun safety course even though I never wanted to go hunting. Everyone in the family had to take the course. Dude got a BB gun for his 7th birthday - thanks G'ma and G'pa! G'pa spent 20 minutes on safety before Dude could even touch his "Offical Red Ryder Carbon action BB gun" :-) He did not shoot his eye out. He has fun with that. He wants a 22 for Christmas. He won't get one because we can't have one where we live . . . maybe it can live at G'pa's house, where guns live in plain sight - locked up, of course.

Anyway - sheltering kids from guns is not the answer. Giving them proper training is. I think every kid should HAVE to take a gun safety course whether or not they'll ever shoot a gun. Dude will take the course when he's 10. So will Princess.

At some point in their lives, every kid is going to see or get their hands on a gun. Better to know how to handle it than be oblivious. You are not a bad mother. It's not a bad thing to educate your children :-)

http://www.commonmom.com

Kate @ Life As I Live It said...

You're not going to hear any criticism from me! I started shooting my dad's .22 rifle when I was 9. And I was quite good! I've been shooting ever since (not on a daily basis, mind you). I grew up in a house where there were guns, and we didn't have gun safes, so we were just taught that they were NOT toys, how to handle them and how to check if the safety was on and/or if they were loaded. My dad is a hunter too and is of the firm belief that it's better to teach kids to handle & use guns responsibily than to keep them hidden and a big secret, which only fosters their curiosity more.

When my kids get older, we'll teach them to use them responsibly too. But for now, they're in locked cases or in the safe. :)

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

Heh heh...

We're a hunting family, too. And with hubs in law enforcement, there are plenty of guns in my house. The trick is teaching your kids gun safety early...and making sure the guns stay in locked cases, away from the ammo (also locked up). And pray that one-off incidents like the one with Hefty never happen again.

I haven't yet gone back on my word too much - but I have said my kids will never have a TV or computer with Internet in their rooms.

Ashley said...

This feels like A Christmas Story. Ralphie and his Red Rider BB Gun and the weird Santa saying, "You'll shoot your eye out! You'll shoot your eye out!"

Marni's Organized Mess said...

You crack me up.

Dana said...

This too reminds me of Ralphie from A Christmas Story!!! LOL... great post!! I wish I had parenting stories to share, maybe one day soon!!

Kellan said...

My son has a pellet gun too - and a small motor cycle - both things I said I would keep him away from. His dad is a bad influence - tee hee!

Take care - Kellan

Loved the description of the hunting cabin.

Leslie said...

I've always said that I won't let my kids play violent video games, but my fiance plays them, so I don't know how I'm going to do this...

Carol said...

So I have two boys and I am fully aware that they can make ANYTHING into a gun or other wepaon of choice. We don't own any actual pretend weapons. We were at Sister in laws recently her two boys are 6 and 8 and have all the pretend weaponry known to man.

My boys went insane crazy with weapn overload so for now while I can get away with it I will for sure be letting them pretend their cricket bats are guns etc.

I know I can't keep them from it forever, sadly.

Number 3 had better be a girl!

OHmommy said...

LOL... it totally feels like the Xmas story, no?

♥ spoiled mommy ♥ said...

Ha-I think we all have that "I feel like a bad mother" times. Shoot my 2.5 year old daughter wants to watch Madeline THE MOVIE 3times a day...a bit much for a 2 yr old but it makes her happy...ugh!

Mama Zen said...

No criticisms from me. I had my own rifle when I was six. I grew up in gun country; everyone had one!

April said...

I never believed in the whole "you have to eat your whole dinner before you can have dessert" philosophy. In fact, I didn't really believe in dessert every night. But it's done wonders for my oldest daughter's picky appetite!

Tammy said...

Cell phones. We live in a town of 2200 people and for a LONG time believed that our (then)12 YO son had NO business having a cell phone. Well, it so happened that through hubby's job change (where he got a company phone) that we had an "extra" phone at our disposal. It all started with letting him take it when he went to a friends house...so we could call him if he needed to come home. Then he made a friend of the female persuasion at church camp. So, we added some text messaging. Earlier this year it became clear that he needed to take the phone when he went to out of town sporting events so he could call to have us pick him up when they got back. And now? He uses the phone on a daily basis (lots of texting) and we can't imagine him not having it. Somehow, when I text him to unload the dishwasher it has a much higher likelyhood of getting done than if I call. Sigh...

BTW, you stopped by my blog some time ago & I didn't see it. So, coming by to say hi! :)