{mom.me} Why Don’t Toy Gun Bans Extend Beyond Halloween?

Life As Mom Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The message was clear. It was bold and underlined and in no uncertain terms: Toy weapons of any kind would not be permitted at the elementary school’s annual Halloween parade. This means the non-battery operated light saber for my son’s Darth Vader costume would have to stay at home Friday. I explained this to him, as did his teachers, and he was fine about it. Now, if only there was a way to keep that “no toy weapons” message running through the other days of the year.

Toy Guns | Getty Image | Ms. Mary Mack

The thing is, I’m firmly anti-gun. I don’t believe the average citizen should have them in their homes. I grew up in Canada where gun control laws are strict and meaningful, and there’s no debate or contention around any of it. However, living in the U.S. and raising a family here, I pay very close attention to this country’s gun sense or, moreover, the lack thereof. I don’t want my child around guns. Period. This firearm ban includes the toy versions too.

Over the last five years, I’ve been able to maintain this no-guns policy without issue. Even my son can tell you my stance regarding these killing machines. “Mom, that LEGO guy has something in his hand that you really don’t like,” he’ll say, when we’re flipping through a catalog or zipping by (because moseying is a mistake, friends!) the toy aisle at Target.

But over the last five months, things have begun to tilt a little. It started with a blue water pistol given to him in the loot bag from a summer birthday party. He was more into the other cheap trinkets than the gun, so I was able to slip the plastic thing into a cabinet in the mudroom. Then one day, as if to taunt me, that damn squirt gun fell out of the cabinet and landed by his feet. He asked if he could fill it up and play with it in the yard. I said yes, but only for a short while. I told him he wasn’t allowed to point it directly at anyone. He still had fun spraying the water at flowers, the grass and into the air.

He’s a kid — there’s always fun to be discovered.

A few weeks later, he went to a buddy’s house for a playdate. Of course they ended up playing with the boy’s toy laser guns. “But just for a little bit of time, Mom.”

 

I figured this moment would come, the one where I need to recognize and reconcile the fact that my reach as a parent and guide has a limit.

 

And then Kindergarten happened. Everyday this kid would come home talking about some new character or superhero or ninja that a schoolmate was talking about at recess, nearly all of them in fighting mode, all carrying a weapon of some sort. My son has never once watched a show or seen a movie featuring any of these characters. (Even his latest interest in Star Wars sprang forth from LEGO.) But there he was explaining all the details of the Ninja Turtles and Batman.

I figured this moment would come, the one where I need to recognize and reconcile the fact that my reach as a parent and guide has a limit. I can’t (and don’t want to) hover over my son at every playdate, trying to dissuade him from picking up a toy gun. I can only hope that my thought-through opinions about the real dangers of guns and gunplay will take root with his young mind and instill a sensibility that he can continue to develop as he grows.

Maybe it’s one that makes him pause and wonder: “Hmm. What would Mom do?” Listen, I don’t have the bubble. Let me have a little slither of wishful thinking.

Photograph by: Getty Images
Original post on Mom.me.

October is September, Which is Basically January (Let Me Explain)

Life As Mom Tuesday, September 30, 2014

If you’ve read this blog long enough, you already know how I feel about the month of September. It’s a fresh start, a clean page, and I always look forward to it. This year, let’s just say September was not the freshest. It was kind of loaded and hectic around work and life in general, and I was tangled up in a lot of deadlines and To Dos. Plus, The Youngster started Kindergarten, and that was its own bag of stuff. Lots of change. Lots of adjustment.

Red Candy -- Nicole Blades| Ms. Mary Mack

And now here we are, getting ready to start October. So I’ve decided to hit the reset button on all of this. Tomorrow kicks off the third year (whuuuut) of #30WriteNow. Definitely hope you join us for that.

I’m also planning to get back on the meditation wagon. I feel off of it last month, and of course tried to beat myself up about it. But then I read something  in the NYTimes this morning. It was a chat between Kobe Bryant and Arianna Huffington, and they touched on meditation and sleep. Arianna said something that felt like she was speaking directly to me:

I try not to judge myself if I miss a meditation. Judgment creates the vicious cycle.”

Indeed, lady. So no more of that, Blades! It’s just about getting back up and trying again. That’s a cycle I can support.

On a Roll -- Nicole Blades | Ms. Mary Mack

I’m also returning to my #readmore goal that I set for myself earlier this year. I plan to attack the stack of books on my nightstand, adding nothing new until what is there is gone. To do this, I aim to read for one hour every day. No magazines, no links, just books.

Feeling good about this. Feeling good about all of it.

If you want to join me in any of these “projects,” drop me a line in the comments below, on MMM’s FB page, on Twitter or via email get[dot]msmack[at]gmail[dot]com.

All right, friends. Fingers on the reset button!

{mom.me} 9 Questions Moms Across the Land Are Tired of Answering

Life As Mom Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I get it. I do. There’s just something about babies that brings out the Barbara Walters in a lot people. These sweet, new, tiny human beings make folks feel like they can ask the mothers basically anything and, moreover, they expect us to be naturally ready with answers to all their queries — from the innocent to the downright intrusive.

The first few times we — if I may employ the Royal “We” here — are pretty OK with answering a couple of these questions. We’re even OK with responding to the same one a few times over. But there comes a moment where the line in the sand gets drawn and we’re done.

Lucille Ball

(image from GETTY IMAGES via Mom.me)

Maybe it’s the confluence of sleep deprivation and the ice-cold realization that our old life is at the bar laughing about us, and it all comes to a head. You’ve been asked that question too many times and it’s only causing the stress in the pit of your stomach to mount up at the back of your throat, leaving a bitter taste in your mouth. And if you had your druthers, you would look at the next person who rolls up on you toting those dingy queries with steely eyes and say: “Eff off! No, not yet!” It’s what I like to call FONNY™ (pronounced: phony).

Now, because we’re friends, and I want your friends and relations to be aware of the thin ice on which they are walking, here are nine of their questions that need to be voted off the island. Print it out and mail it over to them, with a real stamp and everything, because this is legit business.

Read the full post on Mom.me.

Who’s in Charge of Serving More Days Like This?

Life As Mom Monday, September 8, 2014

He could barely contain his excitement, and started talking to me from the top step of the school bus. It’s The Youngster’s third day riding the school bus like this. And by this I mean happy. He wanted to tell me about his new school library book about sharks and that it was “nonfiction book with real photographs.” As we walked home from the corner bus stop, he was smiling. So was I.

“Today was the best,” he said, a grin stretched across his sweet face. “Mondays are the best days.”

Uh, I was thisclose to busting out one of these right there on my neighbor’s lawn:

TGIF champagne celebration

Then toss in a bit of this:

Happy (Carlton Banks)

And strong finish with this:

All of the posing and dancing is because of last week. As you may have read, last week was the opposite of happy, for everyone in our little family. Our little guy went from enjoying the short bus ride to his new school to absolutely dreading it, and was having a tough time with the transition from Pre-K to Real K Life. Thankfully, his principal and her staff are fantastic. Together we came up with a plan to help the young’un smooth out the edges around all this. The new strategy involves stickers and a chart posted on a wall in his room.

The new system is working.  The change in attitude and stress levels was instant, and we’re all proud of how well he’s doing now — especially him. You can just tell. I mean, the kid is practically skipping down the street after school. And he’s always bringing home some fun little observations about the day.

More of this, please! We are open and we are ready for more of this. We’re even willing to spearhead the new and revolutionary movement: Mondays Are the Best Days. Who’s with me? …

Anyone? …

Bueller?

« Previous PageNext Page »