Do you let your boys play with toy guns? Not to exclude girls, of course, but other than Sarah Palin, gun-toting females are rarer than a wrinkled forehead in Beverly Hills. There’s just something about boys that draws them to battle. From the moment my two boys became mobile, every inanimate object (and occasionally an animate one-the cat) was transformed into a gun or sword. What’s a Momma to do? You can’t fight DNA. Besides, we live in the beautiful mountains of East Tennessee. We’re more likely to see a truck with a gun rack and ol’ Duke in the back than a Prius or a Land Rover. “Road kill. It’s what’s for dinner!”
The compromise? Nerf! For the unenlightened, Nerf has come a long way from the ubiquitous little round squishy balls that were safe to throw at the lampshade. Take a peek down the Nerf aisle at any toy or big box store, and you will see boys, big and little, gazing with rapt attention at the vast array of hand guns, rifles, shot guns, and bomb throwers. Our latest acquisition is a Recon CS-6, with a 6 round clip, flip-up sight, red laser, and removable stock. (Yes, I had to ask my 8 year old to describe this gun, and yes, I had to cut him off, as he would have waxed on for the next 6 minutes.) Our house is now a veritable Nerf smorgasboard with enough weapon and bullet choices to put the CIA to shame.
On the rare occasion that I am talked (tricked) into battle, I’m ashamed to admit that popping my kid with a Nerf bullet straight into his safety glasses gives me great satisfaction. The aftermath is often ugly, and Nerf bullets show up in unforeseen places weeks later (including the coffee pot). But one day the bullets will be gone, along with my boys, who will go on to conquer real life. Until then, the battle rages on.