I lay, motionless in our living room floor. A book under my head. Puzzle pieces under my body. My son runs up, “Here dada, your rifle!”
I look at my hands as he runs off. Try to think for a minute,
What do I do with this rifle?
He comes back, “Dada, HURRY!”
I sit up. “L, what do I do with this gun? I don’t know how to use it!” He looks back at me, perplexed. Showing me in the air, “You just aim like this, and pull the trigger. Come on!”
We run off down the hall to the bedroom where I aim my “gun”into the room. My other son bouncing around on the bed. I take aim… Frantically trying to point at anything and flopping my arms all over the place. I pull the trigger with my sights almost set on the ceiling fan and my gun hurls me backwards down the hall!
The boys crack up histerically. I try to take aim again, and the same thing happens. I shout to them, “I can’t aim this thing! What do I do?!”
My other son runs up. “Here dada, try this gun instead.”
I grab that one from him and look like I’m grabbing something the size of a flea. I take aim at them (because they were asking me to shoot them originally) and shoot my measly flea size gun. I make a pathetic ‘pkewe’ noise and tell them my bullets are doing nothing but bouncing off them.
This goes on for a little bit longer, them giving me different pretend guns and me bumbling them around and falling all over the place. The boys are laughing and falling over themselves. It was a blast and I wouldn’t trade those 15 or 20 minutes for the world. That short moment of nonstop giggling was a great time of connecting with my boys.
A while back my wife introduced me to Playful Parenting. It’s a book I’ve yet to make it through (like countless others on my list), yet I’ve picked up a lot of great nuggets along the way. Another feeder into our parenting has been It’s OK Not to Share. If I could sum that one up, the best bit of advice taken from there was if it’s not hurting people or things, have fun.
Yeah, we weren’t totally looking forward to “gun play,” but also knew it’s pretty typical. With our boys, we always remind them that if you’re “shooting” at people, you need their consent. Sometimes they might be OK with it and sometimes not. If they aren’t in the mood, you need to respect that (and go shoot your weapon somewhere else).