Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Second Born

When Primo was 3 years old, the age Seconda is now, I remember being at a playdate with one of his friends. The little girl was pretending to shoot everyone up with a laser gun and the mother was playing along, falling down when he was hit and exclaiming, “Oh you shot me!”

I remember because I raised my eyebrows (internal ones, only) at the way this mom was supporting her daughter’s violent play. She didn’t even attempt to steer the game away from weapons, just played right along like it was no big deal. When Primo was that age, I did not endorse gun play. I didn’t forbid it or anything, but I made it clear to him that I didn’t like guns and wouldn’t play guns with him. Primo, unlike Seconda, actually cared about gaining my approval so this technique was pretty effective.

It was a ridiculous line to draw. I know it now and I knew it then. Because I didn’t make such a stink about swords or bows and arrows and frankly, what’s the difference except those seem more innocuous because they’re outdated?

So there I was judging this mother, who I genuinely liked, when it occurred to me that the reason she was probably so laissez faire about the gun stuff was that this was her second child she was playing with.

I remember this now because last night when I asked Seconda at dinner what the best part of her day was, she said the following: “Oh Mommy! It was when we watched that movie the Corpse Bride, and did you know there was a woman in it who had a WORM in her EYE?”

“Yes,” said Primo, “she had a worm in her eye because she was dead. That’s what corpse means. And she was decayed.”

“Yeah, Mommy,” said Seconda, “and I liked that little wormey that she pulled out her eye because she was dead!”

“Wow,” I said later to David, “Do you think maybe the Burton movie was a little much for her? I mean, she’s only 3.”

“But Primo wanted to watch it,” he said, “So what are you gonna do?”

Primo at her age was watching The Wonder Pets. Little fricking Bear. CAILLOU! Nick Jr was ILLEGAL in our house until he was nearly in Kindergarten. And now my daughter watches whatever he’s into, which recently is a lot of Tim Burton.

We still don’t play a lot of gun games but that’s only because Primo isn’t a GI Joe or Transformer kind of boy. He’s much more into the strange shit, so I am often Medusa having her head chopped off or the unfortunate victim of a zombie vampire.

My husband’s right. What are you gonna do?