Monday, September 7, 2009

A humorless prig

Public schools have been back in session for a couple of weeks now.

Most of the local preschool programs start tomorrow.

For whatever reason, Owen doesn't start his preschool program until September 22nd.

This means, for a few more weeks, he is still all mine.

I don't think I'm going to be one of those boo-hooey mothers when I drop Owen off for his first day of preschool. I'll save all the histrionics for down the road, when I watch Owen step onto a school bus, with a backpack on his bony shoulders, and a lunch bag gripped in his small hand.

But preschool? It's only two days a week, and Owen is ready. We've been talking about school since he signed up back in March, and he's looking forward to play dough, painting, listening to stories, and "sharing toys."

We'll see about that last one.

I'm not worried about school. I do lose a little bit of sleep over Outside Influences. For example, yesterday, we took the boys shoe shopping. We were buying shoes for Joel, but Owen was naturally attracted to the shoe racks as well.

As mothers of boys know, girls sooooo win this round. Girl shoes are fun and adorable and there are lots to choose from--shiny Mary Janes, pink sneakers, fluffy boots, strappy sandals. I found a pair of green and pink striped Keds that left me swooning.

But boys? Owen's selections included pseudo-skater shoes, complete with skull and crossbones, the obligatory camouflage, and a variety of light-up sneakers. I didn't have a problem with the lights, but I did have a problem with the product placement. One shoe was advertising Transformers, and the other, GI Joe.

I realize that the following paragraphs are going to make me come across like a humorless prig, but I'm prepared to accept that label. Owen is three and a half. He cannot button his own shirts yet, is terrified of hand dryers in public bathrooms, and grows teary-eyed when Big Teddy has to take a bath in the washing machine. He is a little kid, just barely out of his toddler phase.

I'm not sure that I want my kid to know about GI Joe. I'm not sure he needs to be a huge fan of the Transformers, either. It's not as if these are terrible, soul-sucking toys that actively demean kids (I would put Bratz dolls in that category), but they aren't the most affirming things, either. Since we're already working on saying "please," not saying, "Go Away!" and asking for things (instead of barking orders), I'm not sure we need to add gun-toting soldiers or wise-cracking big rigs into the mix.

When school starts, Owen is going to hopefully make some good friends. He will also learn about Power Rangers, Batman, Star Wars, and whoknowswhat else. Where is my line in the sand?

Odds are, this is a lot of brew-ha-ha over nothing. We already have two Transformers toys (that Owen got for his birthday). The boys haven't shot anybody yet. Not even one person. And am I really going to wage war over Star Wars?

Maybe just Jar-Jar Binks. That thing is simply too annoying.

As a humorless prig, I need to prepare myself for the possibility that in addition to crafts and stories, Owen will be bringing the larger world home with him. And some of that world includes things that we simply don't value.

And so, I'll have to find my line, and hold firm. Am I up for it?


Alice said...

I'll never forget the time three-year-old David, who had never had guns or similar playthings, was at a friend's house playing with "bristle blocks". Rather than building with the blocks, however, the boys were happily "shooting" each other with the guns they had made from the blocks. If it makes you feel better, as you know, David has not grown up to be a member of the NRA :-)

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