A week or two ago he took EZ out for a bike ride and they didn't return until late in the day. I wondered what they had been up to, as we have lots of great little parks and special places to enjoy in the area. It turns out that they spent some time at a favorite toy store in town and returned with a butterfly net and...some sort of creepy, ugly, battle axe and sword wielding warrior action figure.
MD knew it wouldn't be kosher in my book either, because the first thing EZ said as he proudly held this toy out for my inspection was, "Daddy said you'd be upset with this, but that I could get it anyway."
EZ took his new action figure and ran away, already eager to terrorize a Lego village with it or something.
|Action warrior in question|
My first instinct was to grab the toy and toss it out in the next day's trash. My own "anti-violence" warrior rose up to resist this toy (ironic, no?). However, EZ had already grown quite attached to it and I could see that any effort on my part to take it away would have been met with a boat load of resistance, tears and grumpy dispositions all around.
So off he went to play while I had a little chat with MD. And talk we did. There was no fighting or angry accusations or lengthy tirades. He knew that I would more than likely be pissed about the action figure, but he felt that in the grand scheme of violent toys, that this was actually okay.
His main argument, beyond the fact that this was more of a fantasy toy than a real one (compared to a toy gun and the like, which he would never buy), was that he grew up with "violent toys" and he "turned out fine."
And it's true. He totally did. MD is not an axe wielding psychopath or even somebody who stomps on ants just for the heck of it. He doesn't yell or shout, use his hands in anger, and is generally one of the more peaceful people that I know.
But there's still some part of me that wonders...does that matter? Perhaps back in the '70s and '80s it was okay to have a so-called violent toy or two because we were only on the cusp of aggressive marketing and kid's shows were a little less intense (for lack of a better word). There also wasn't the immediacy of the internet or apps or other things that have us constantly plugged in.
My mind grew weary thinking of all the potential outcomes of playing with this toy. EZ really seemed attached. I tried in my own gentle way to impart to him why I disliked this toy so much. Yet, it didn't seem to make much of a difference. The plastic warrior had to watch him bathe and slept right next to him. It joined us at the breakfast table and on car rides. It even made it's way into EZ's backpack for our 5 day RV trip this past weekend.
And then...nothing. I haven't seen it since Monday, and he hasn't talked about it since. He's now pushing for a Woody doll (something that despite the abhorrent and fervent Disney marketing, is a bit more palatable in my book).
So where does that leave things?
I still wouldn't have bought it, had I been with him that day in the toy store, but I'm also not in the "this was irreparably harm his psyche and kind heart" camp anymore. That doesn't mean that I'm lining up to buy the next awesome yet violent toy, and neither is MD. I guess it becomes a case by case basis that will only occur more frequently as he gets older.
I just hope I have my own warrior inside of me to deal with it all.