Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas connundrum

O.K. don't tell (since my kids still believe in Santa Claus), but I've got a real Christmas connundrum.

I feel like I'm in the midst of a story that could become a holiday classic much like "The Christmas Story" -- our version involves a much-desired pop-gun. "Like Christopher Robin has..." inform the smiling cherubic faces of my children looking up at me. At least they are far less likely to shoot an eye out since the cord only goes about an inch or so... but who knows, my kids are pretty talented.

On the one hand, how can you fault them for wanting something out of the wonderful world of Winnie-the-Pooh (although I must say it does bother me that Kanga is the only girl in that entire 100-acre wood and what's up with that... but that is for another post).
Please note my son's adorable letter to Santa below:
Do we:

A) Get the kid a pop-gun to maintain Santa's mystical reputation as the magical giver of that one thing you most wish for...


OR


B) Write a letter back from Santa letting the boy know that either his pop-gun is on back order or that although he was asking for a pop-gun, Santa knew in his magical way that in fact a something else (fill in the blank) is what he really wants. I'm not big on this one since it completely negates his feelings and desires. We all get to want things. We just don't get everything we want.

A therapist I know thought we should simply say that Santa knows we don't allow violent toys. That sounds easy enough but it also sounds like a set up for our kid to be deeply unhappy with us (which goes with the territory I know but I'm not looking for a battle - thus no guns!).

Things get even more complicated by the fact that we've been somewhat rethinking our "violent" play theories... opting for a less stringent, more empathic loving and silly approach (see "Bang, Bang you're dead!" in the recent issue of mothering magazine).

What do you think?
I'd put in a poll, but haven't been able to figure out how to do it yet so please add your comment below...

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And by the way, my daughter wants a dog "like Snoopy" as a Christmas present for our dog (a white lab) so that she'll have someone to play with when we aren't home! Great!

7 comments:

  1. advice from the oblivious non-parent:

    I'd go with the therapist's suggestion. It's honest, and gives another opportunity to explain how mom, dad, and Santa all want India and sister to be safe at all times, and above all things... so no guns. Plus, think of the opportunities it opens up for Indy in terms of other gifts! is there a catalog of cool stuff that Santa could send, that you could look through together?

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  2. Sir Grapefellow12/18/2006

    I completely disagree.

    Santa is just about the most important link to magic in a child’s world. Getting what you asked for keeps the mystery alive as magic. It's a popgun for crying outloud!!!
    Magic and Faith are important to a healthy child. Making him feel he has wrong feelings for wanting a popgun is a sad statement on how we raise our boys. Boys have such different needs than girls.

    Use the Popgun as a learning instrument. To a child the experience has more to do imagination and empowerment. Make strict rules for what is aloud. No pointing at people, even if the person is pretending to be a heffalump ,etc…

    Let the boy have some fun. Every dad I know, and some moms too, played with guns when we were growing up. I grew up to be a thoughtful, loving father. I have no guns, and believe they should be outlawed. But toy guns serve a different emotional need.

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  3. Fron another oblivious non-parent...

    I'd get him the pop gun. With some pretty strict rules, and some pretty definite consequences...

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  4. I'd allow the pop gun. A therapist I know says that even if you don't allow toy guns of any kind, kids will use their fingers as guns, take a bite out of their toast and pretend, stack Legos to make guns, you name it. I'd let Santa bring the pop gun and make clear the rules.

    PJ was little around the time Disney released Pocahontas. He desperately wanted one of those old fashioned toy guns. My history-boy husband caved instantly. Most of the time the toy gun stays in the closet. It's the legos, marble run, cars, sports and games that get the majority of the playing time.

    Personally, I don't worry about the toy guns. Now the violent tv and video games are another story and we definitely don't allow those!

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  5. Uncle Sean12/18/2006

    Hi Sis!
    I'm not personally fond of any kind of weapons to tell you the truth. Albeit they have their suduction. I know growing up in a violent and well armed society I have had to make certain life choices, most of which are an inner dialogue I have listened to as these types of questions arise. I've had to teach myself the practice of non-violence as it does not always seem to be the practice prescibed by our culture, such a shame. At some point though you will have to allow little India to work out his own inner dialogue.
    Well, you gotta do what's in your gut. I once carved a beautiful sword for Cole that we were both very proud of. I went through some of the same concerns but inevitably turned the responsibility over to the young lad. We joyfully bounced off to the playground to meet friends at Tompkins Square Park. Where in, the sword reared its ugly edge in classic slo-mo style against one of Cole's best little friends fore-head! Oh the tears, Oh the drama, oh whata friggin' day! So I had to now scold Cole, which I dreaded, and we retreated swiftly home after helping to patch his wounded friend, oh the tears!
    Our hearts were sad and heavy let me tell you. We didn't talk about it much more after dinner but the following days I couldn't find the sword. It seemed to have disapeared. I know what I would have done in my sweet sons shoes and I think thats just what he did. I've got this notion that he dropped the thing somewhere on the street as we went home so he wouldn't have to face that blasted weapon again.
    By the way, now he's really into dragons!

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  6. Anonymous12/19/2006

    I'd get him the gun, but I'm a big wuss. You've got great kids, they know your values, and it seems like a really good learning tool for the next level of gun learning. Of course it's always those next levels that get me, "Sooooo, what DO I want to teach her about death/religion/violence/sexism....?" Belinda

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  7. Thanks for reminding me of yet another reason I'm glad I'm not a parent. Tough decision. What I can offer is that I had tons of Barbie dolls when I was a kid with tons of wonderful outfits for her that my mother sewed by hand for hours and hours before every Christmas (and each year fooling me telling me they were for my cousin). Well, it wasn't for years into my adulthood before I found out that my mother hates Barbie. She kept her distaste quiet for all those years because she knew that I loved them. And guess what, I grew up fine...and everything I own isn't pink and I don't have a different outfit for every outing!

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