If you happen to read this column with any regularity, you might recall that just a few short months ago, I was lamenting the fact that my three year-old son’s favorite activity was to dress up like a princess, or, in the alternative, to dress up in his sister’s nightgowns – but only if they were twirly. Now, it didn’t particularly bother me that he did this; after all, he has a big sister and he’s used to playing with five year-old girls, so it shouldn’t come as any big surprise that he was into dresses. What bothered me, however, was the commentary from the male peanut gallery in our lives. My husband, the husbands of my friends, grandfathers, uncles, the guys on Michael’s softball team – everyone seemed to raise an eyebrow at poor
Davis and his twirling. It drove me crazy. I mean, who cares if he’s wearing a blue velvet spaghetti strap number in every picture from his third birthday party? And what’s the big deal if he likes to run around naked save for a pink feather boa? He’s a boy, I told them all. He’ll grow out of it.
Well, grow out of it he has. Lately, the only things that
Davis cares about are swords, guns, and Power Rangers (pronounced Power Angers, in our house). Overnight, my son went from being a sweet, gentle, Cinderella to a karate-chopping, swashbuckling, heat-packing ball of testosterone. I don’t even know where it came from. One day, he was giggling and playing mommy and baby with my daughter, and the next, he was doing this weird, break-dancing thing on the floor and yelling “hi-ya, ha, HI-YA!” while simultaneously shooting at bad guys. It’s as if some boy fairy came to him in his sleep and whispered into his ear that hey, buddy, you’ve got a penis, and you need to make sure that everyone thinks it’s really, really big.
Meanwhile, the only thing that
Davis wants for Hanukkah is a gun. The kid is positively jonesing for something that shoots. And while I may have caved on the American Girl doll (see last week’s post, if you don’t know what I’m talking about), I have a strict no-gun policy in my house. (And for those of you with older boys who are laughing right now, okay, fine, I know I’m going to end up caving on that one too, but I feel like I need to stick to my, ahem, guns, until he’s at least five.) So while I keep trying to gently redirect him to kinder, gentler, activities,
Davis is fashioning rifles out of whatever materials happen to be at hand. Hey, look, this stick can be a gun! Oooh, it’s a tin foil gun! Here are some Legos, let’s build a gun! And my all-time favorite, look mama, I ate this piece of bread into the shape of a gun! Doot-doot-doot-dooot bang-bang-bang! I killed you, mama, I killed you.
The peanut gallery, of course, is thrilled by this turn of events. I swear, Michael’s been throwing so many high fives around lately, I’m amazed that the skin on his palm hasn’t eroded. And I’ve realized that a strange, Freaky Friday thing has happened with me and Michael. Instead of Michael worrying about
Davis being a cross-dresser, now I’m the one worried that he’s going to be a serial killer. And where I used to get compliments from other moms about how sweet and not hyper
Davis was, now I’m the one who gets the funny looks and the raised eyebrows every time he pretend shoots somebody or screams kill! at the top of his lungs. Just the other day, we had his first preschool parent-teacher conference, and the gun thing was brought up straight away. He’s not violent or aggressive, his teachers said, it’s just something they’ve noticed lately. Michael beamed, but I wanted to crawl under the table.
I can’t help but wonder if maybe I’m doing something wrong, just as Michael must have wondered the same thing when Davis was in his princess phase. But I keep telling myself that this, too, shall pass. He’ll grow out of it, I’m sure he will. And I am just as sure that whatever he’s into next will be even worse.