Saturday, December 29, 2007

You'll Shoot Yer Eye Out, Kid!

My in-laws are country people. There has been a sort of constant ribbing since they met me, about how I am a city girl. To get a rise out of me, my sister-in-law's husband (does this make him my brother in law, or is that only if he were married to my sister or my was husband's brother?) has always told me he is going to buy the Kid a gun as soon as he was big enough to hold one in his own little hands. You must understand something here. I do not hunt. I do not know anyone who has hunted anything in my life, unless it is a rare designer garment or something of the sort. That is not us. Subsequently, I will not touch meat from any wild animal. I prefer to purchase such items from a grocery store where I know they have cleanliness standards. I know, I know...I'm strange! Yeah, I get it! But that is just me. Anyhow, here I am married into a family where even the female members of the family hunt. The very first Christmas I spent with them, my sister-and-law recieved a pair of camo waders. I kid you not!
I guess I always assumed that the gun issue was a joke. It was not. Here we all are on Christmas Day. The Kid has a heap of presents in front of him that renders him unable to see over them. He is feverishly tearing the wrapping paper from the packages. Then he gets to this long, slender box. He just barely tears a teensy corner of the paper before we hear "Wait! Wait! Stop!" It would have seemed that this gift required a soothing introduction. Oh No!
"Now Andrea, Evan is getting older." Uh-Huh. "It is time for him to have some big-boy toys." Ummmm, okay, sure. "Anything , really, can be dangerous if not used properly." Oh crap. "The trick is to be careful about how you handle it, and to train him to be safe." As in looking both ways before crossing the street???
The sound of wrapping paper tearing follows, then the sound of little Evan doing the quick intake of breath in excitement. Oh. Oh Shit. It is a BB GUN. I ask them if this is a toy, to which they reply that it is not. I give John the Look, but it is obvious that he is more eager to get outside with it than The Kid is. I am outnumbered. I reluctantly agree.
I could not help but think of A Christmas Story, where Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, and everyone tells him the same line. Only I do not picture Evan's glasses flying off and getting stepped on (is this because Evan does not wear glasses?), but instead picture, oh I don't know...maybe his spleen full of BB's as we rush him to the hospital. I am not thrilled with the present. No, I just plain do not like it at all. I am worried about my baby. But I am worried that I am more worried about the fact that my baby really is old enough for this, and that somehow I missed it. The men in the house were talking about it. They looked at John's dad and asked him what kind he got. It was like a milestone or Rite of Passage they had all gone through at one point. I just wanted to scream, as I do now, that they are mistaken. Just a few months ago, he was colicky and I was pacing the floor with him in my arms throughout the night. He got his first tooth and said his first word. I cried along with him when he got his immunizations. Just yesterday he took his first step. This is not possible. All of his toys are supposed to come complete with a Fisher Price logo. The little boy that walks up to me with outstretched arms saying "Mommy, dance with me" in the middle of the kitchen after school is simply not old enough to play with BB guns. But I bet when John's mom looks at him, she doesn't think her baby is old enough to play with M-16's. I guess they never truly grow up in our eyes.

No comments: