Swords and Guns

At almost three and a half years old, Lemon Cake owns three foam swords, a plastic light changing sound making sword and two water guns. I didn’t think I was going to be one of those moms that let their little ones have “weapons” so early on. Another case of when reality hits.

We went to a pirate themed birthday party for a five year old girl a few months ago at an indoor play space. Every child and some dads got a foam sword and they were just going at it. It was truly great fun. We brought the one sword home and of course I quickly realized as we had play dates that other children would also want one. I bought a set of two off Amazon. One of them is full of bite marks from Baby Banana. It has been very amusing to watch Baby Banana trying to wield it like Lemon Cake.

The plastic light changing sword was purchased by Daddykush at the Big Apple Circus. I told Daddykush to let him have his pick- how did I know they would have a loud  light changing plastic sword? It created many a conflict with friends coming over for play dates and with Baby Banana. Something we just have to put away once a while. He used it nicely last night though and was so excited to see that it looked so much like the light saber in one of the Star Wars books we borrowed from the library.

I never felt that uncomfortable with swords but I do feel uncomfortable with water guns. Like most three years old (I hope), Lemon Cake is not aware of what real guns are for and has never seen one used (in books or media). He saw an older boy using it at a spray park a while ago and has been asking for it ever since. “Mommy, I want that thing that that boy has!” “What thing?” (feigning ignorance) “The thing that has water shooting out! The thing that that boy was playing with! The water shooting thing!” I kept telling him we don’t have it and I don’t know where to get one. I thought long and hard, and paced back and forth the water toy aisle at Target trying to find the smallest and most innocuous looking water gun and then decided against it. I didn’t want to be opening a can of worms. Then, the universe sent me a sign. I saw a Dad I bump into once in a while and he was shopping with his two boys (around same age as my kids). What did I see in his shopping cart? A pack of FOUR water guns! I talked to him about my dilemma, then I went back to get the smallest gun possible. Still, I did not give it to him right away. I hid it in the laundry closet so he wouldn’t see it. A week later, the weather got hot again and it was just perfect for parks with water feature. I decided to hand over the weapon. Of course, since I bought the cheapest and smallest one, it broke almost right away. Daddykush was neutral all along. He brought him to Target another day and got him a much bigger and more awesome water gun =).

 So far no body has said anything to me at the playground. Lemon Cake is quite popular sometimes as other children (mostly boys) surround him to get a turn using his water guns.

I don’t know how this would change once Lemon Cake understands what a gun is really for. I might change my mind about all of this but I suspect water gun will be a big part of his warm weather water play for at least several more years down the road.

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2 thoughts on “Swords and Guns

  1. This is a tough conversation…I’m about as anti-gun as it gets… I’d just assume all guns were illegal and that’s my 2 cents… that said, I don’t mind if my kids play with them as toys, but Red and I have never discussed this issue… I can see both sides. I definitely played with toy guns as a kid, and I would’ve LOVED a light up sword in 1978 shortly after the Star Wars explosion in the US. I feel like things have changed over the last few decades though… with modern weapons and mass assaults becoming sadly ‘mainstream’… Perhaps my daughters won’t have much interest in guns/swords, but we’ll see. Interesting questions…

  2. I think so much of it has to do with the child’s understanding of what a gun is for. I am on your side- all guns should be illegal. At this moment I am fine with Lemon Cake using a water gun because to him it is just a cool device to shoot water out. I think it gets much more complicated when they see in movies or in news that a real gun can actually hurt somebody, then what does it mean when they pretend play with toy guns/swords…etc.? I have read that it is important to let children have this kind of play, that it’s how they feel in “control” with the world’s good things and bad things. My concern is not knowing how to guide that kind of play- when does it get too much or scary or over board? Thank you for responding =)

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