Balloons and Boogers and bombs. Mostly Boogers

My Army chaplain, Southern Baptist, brother-in-law and his “I serve my husband” wife sent my son a tank for his birthday.

We threw it in the trash.

You heard me, the trash.

I realize this may seem a bit extreme to some of you. And I know you may not agree. But I just really don’t want that kind of “War” toy around here. I don’t like the message it sends. I don’t like that it shoots. I don’t like that he will aim it at someone (his sister) and “pretend” to hurt her. Why on earth would anyone find that acceptable???
I realize my little man will figure all this out on his own. And I realize he will, some day, play with pretend guns and things. But they will be “pretend” and he will use his imagination. He’s not getting toy guns.

I sure as hell am not going to help him get violent earlier than he needs to be. He can get there on his own. I will not condone or encourage any behavior that sees shooting, hitting, stabbing, or otherwise maiming someone as “ok.” Because despite what you keep telling yourself about boys-violence is not acceptable.

An email has been sent to my inlaws, very politely and gently letting them know Count Waffles did not, and will not, be allowed to have the tank. I very politely and lovingly reminded them that they let us know which Princesses were acceptable as gifts in their house. We can’t send little E Ariel, because she disobeyed her father. You see, my inlaws use words like “obey”
with their kids. They also think I’m going to burn in the hellfires for eternity…but I’m digressing.

Despite my overwhelming urge to send my niece radical feminist books, dolls, and pamphlets…I will refrain. Because as parents, they have asked me to please adhere to their rules.

And as parent, I’m asking the same.

I’m hoping it’s taken well and does not cause any problems, but I wouldn’t necessarily be unwelcome to a nice debate. They could use some other viewpoints in their lives.

Here a few of the only nonblurry photos from our little get together.

Also—SlushTurtle is kicking everyone’s asses in the Hippo Diet. So get moving!

And I will be at Blogher at some point today.


  1. Peanut looks fabulous in that tiarra.

    It was a LOOOOOONG time before I allowed guns, tanks, and the like in the house. Fortunately, with two sisters, my son is the least violent boy you will ever meet. Sometimes his elder sister plays too rough with him.

    I still dislike gun toys, and although I know we have a few somewhere in our toybin, they just aren’t used often. The favorite toys in our house are carebears and leggos.

    As for banning Ariel…their reason has me giggling. I have family members who think like that.

  2. 1st of all, Ariel rocks and that’s my fav kid’s movie. 2nd, my FIL almost fell over when I told him he could not buy his grandson toy guns or army guys with guns. I know they sell them w/o the guns cause I’ve purchased them for my god son. I don’t want my kids pretend shooting either. A friend of mine lets her 7 year old (that’s SEVEN year old) son play Halo on the XBox. I’m no video game savvy person but even I know that game is one of the most violent one and the boy is SEVEN. the husband and I agreed, the kids can’t play any video games until they are 12 or so. That may be extreme but I want my kids to enjoy the outdoors and not turn into couch or computer chair potatos.

  3. I did the same thing with mine. I did finally come to the conclusion that games like cops and robbers and cowboys and indians help boys to grow up wanting to be protectors. They don’t however need realistic toys to help them do it.

    I’m a crappy feminist working in a man’s job, but at the end of the day I’d still want my husband to get out of bed and investigate the bump in the night. I’ve yet to figure out how that works. It just does.

    But anyway, I have a no guns and stuff rule in my house too. I did have to make an exception with waterguns, though he was older by that time when I did.

    Stick to your “guns” on this one with your family. I did with mine and I really think in the end they learned more than just not to give him stuff like that. They learned that they had no choice but to respect my word as a mother.

    Incidently, I don’t allow my son to watch anything that I haven’t approved first, no PG-13 movies at all, and no games that have a T rating or higher (he’s almost 10). That ditto’s a lot of the cartoons that are on now. If I don’t want it coming out of his mouth it doesn’t need to go in his ears.

    Wanna jump on the bandwagon with me on that one? I’m getting tired of feeling like the lone voice in the wind.

    My son I’m sure would tell you he’s horribly abused!

  4. See, I’m feeling less crazy already.

    And I’m with Andria on the cartoons. I’ve let some animated movies slip that have “shut up” and “stupid” and stuff. But nothing will “I’m going to kill you” or “you are a dork and I hate you” or stuff like that. Not until he knows what it means and can understand why he isn’t allowed to say it. Because right now he just repeats everything.

    No shows where they fight, shoot, battle-he’s just too young.

  5. Thanks Queen for the back up. For what it’s worth though, mine is almost 10 and while he understands what is appropriate and what isn’t, he still tests those boundaries every chance he gets!

    I can tell a definite increase in disrespect every time he’s watched certain shows. Even shows like SpongeBob are bad for disrespectful habits. If the characters are being rude to each other, you can count on your kid being rude too.

    It’s the GIGO effect (garbage in, garbage out) and personally, I hate washing is mouth out more than I hate the fight that comes from me telling him to turn it off. I finally got fed up with it about a year ago and opted to do something really wild. I unplugged the TV!

    We leave the TV off unless there is something we are specifically wanting to see on Discovery or History or whatever. He’s abused I’m telling ya! It works though. Just the other day my son turned to me after watching one of his friends talk to his mother and said “I can’t believe he didn’t get smacked for saying that to her!”. I must be doing something right.

  6. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH! Good for you for sending a letter letting them know. It’s only right, especially since they let you know in advance about not sending particular dolls to your niece. And if it causes problems, frankly, f*** them, because despite what your BIL thinks, other people in the world are allowed to have their own points of view. Yeesh. I know the Kaiser tells you this too, but I SWEAR your BIL wasn’t always a big huge closed-minded dork! Bummer that he became one. :o(

  7. I think you did the right thing. You have every right to bring into your home what you want and believe in.

    Express yourself girl!


    P.S. But since you cosleep you know he’ll end up a fellon anyway. Why prolong the inevitable? LOLOLOL? — inside joke people. No hate mail.

  8. I hate to sound too much like a kiss ass, but you are right on ALL COUNTS. Stick to your guns.

    Oh. Bad choice of words maybe….

  9. This has been eating at me since I read your post, so I had to comment again. I might get jumped on for saying this, but I noticed even as a kid and wondered WHY – WHY is it that the more religious people get, the more they approve of violence (against people with differing viewpoints, of course)? How can you teach the New Testament (“Buddy Jesus” – “Dogma,” anyone? ha ha) and also teach violence against other religions/races? I just don’t get it.

    I was raised moderate Catholic, and even though the image of Jesus on the cross with nails and blood and all that was all around me, I always took it as a sign of what happens when people get closed-minded. And I was NEVER taught, through 9 years of Catholic school, that other religious beliefs were wrong or that people who believed things different than the Catholic dogma were going to hell. I think I’m spiraling away from my point here – I do know people out here in CA who went to Catholic schools kindergarten through college who *were* taught intolerance in elementary school.

    Anyway – I have just never understood why a stronger belief in God (from whatever faith) seems to cause an increase in a feeling of justification for bombing/shoooting/maiming/overrunning other cultures, or telling people who don’t believe what you believe that they’re going to hell. Somewhere along the way that biblical reminder, “Judge not lest you be judged” gets totally thrown out the window. BY the very people who love to quote scripture.

  10. I know exactly where you are coming from Violet, I have often felt the same way myself.

    Good for you QoS for taking that stand and tossing the tank. Your children are adorable and very evidently being raised in a nurturing and loving home, even if you are suckled on like a dairy cow by the Peanut!

  11. Southern Baptist here, chiming in to ask, “WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??” I don’t get it, the toys that shoot, the video games that “kill.” I don’t. The little boys I’ve observed in my family are physical enough by nature. They don’t need the encouragement.

    The hunting thang, down here, is almost inescapable, but that’s a whole different issue from games in which we pretend to kill and maim other PEOPLE.

    Queen, I do hope (though find it unlikely) that this incident offers you the opportunity for some open, honest dialogue. Just don’t hold your breath. Also, don’t let Mocha fool you–she can bust out her Glock and settle the foolisness anytimes she needs to! 😉

  12. Bump and I have discussed – without resolution – how we’re going to handle the items my brother will give Lumpyhead some day. My brother is a sportsman – loves hunting, fishing, and weapons in general. Thus far, the gifts have been camouflage clothing and “baby’s first wall mount” (a stuffed moose head) which are cute. I have no idea how we’ll handle baby’s first bow and arrow.

  13. Good for you I would have done exactly the same. Personally I do not think the words “toy” and “tank” belong together at all anyways. My brother survived childhood just fine without any toy guns , tanks or GI Joes.

  14. A couple of years ago when i was pregnant, I was walking through our very serene neighborhood and noticed a young boy (around 7) standing stealthily behind a column in the front of his house and pointing a very large “toy” gun at me. He looked like a sharp shooter about to kill. He made the gun noises at me and continued to move around the column, “hiding” from me. After the second time, I turned around and said “that’s not a very nice game to play, young man… and i’m going to talk to your parents if you don’t stop pointing that thing at me.” Needless to say, he stopped. Don’t recall seeing him out with that gun thereafter.
    I HATE violent toys. I REFUSE to bring anything like that into my home. There is enough ugliness and violence in the world without me introducing it with “toys” so early on. My husband’s lightsabers (he’s a Star Wars geek) are the closest to violent toys my son will get. That’s it. Off my soapbox…

  15. Another Southern Baptist here to say – geeez, there are about a MILLION toy options out there that are not “questionable.” Sounds to me like they had an agenda.

    Glad you fired back! My husband’s entire family is full of hunters … lots and lots of guns. I’ve had to do my share of, “Could the kids play hide-n-seek instead of kill-the-bad-guys?”

  16. Just found your blog and I’ve had a great time reading…I agree with you 100%


  17. methinks they are reading too much into The Little Mermaid

    it never once occurred to me to keep my kids from watching the movie because she winds up disobeying her father — won’t every kid disobey at some point?

  18. Just had to say, in spite of the potential hate that could come my way, that our boys play with nerf guns, nerf bow and arrows, water guns, Narnia sword sets, police cars, tanks whatever (so does our daughter), and they just have great play. No violent killing. Just get the bad guy stuff, and protect the house stuff, and spy and battle. And we’re not Southern Baptist. And they are kind, gentle with other children and each other, not war mongers or potential mass shooters. When I denied my first guns for the first three years, with no prior info, he started chewing up his crackers into things that looked like he could point them and say “bang”. Just our experience, and wanted to throw in play doesn’t make them come out bad. Especially boys. They just tend to like that sort of thing. Maybe not all, but lots.

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