Wednesday, April 29, 2009

When Johnny brings a knife to my house

OK, so since my niece is so desperate for me to blog about the trivia of my life, here's what's on my mind.

Little Johnny who goes to day care in our neighborhood (you know, the one who calls me Cinnamon, mixing me up with the cat) showed me the treasure in his pocket yesterday.

"Look what my Dad gave me!" It was a little pocket Leatherman, complete with pliers, mini flashlight, and blades.

Johnny is 4. About as high as my thigh.

Me: "Does that thing have a knife on it?!?"

Johnny: "Yep!" (Obviously very proud.)

I find myself using a lot of statements with this kid that begin with, "At our house, we ... ." This time it was, "At our house, kids don't play with knives. Here, I'll hold it until it's time for you to go."

So am I overreacting? Or is it absolutely nuts for a 4-year-old to have his own pocket knife? I can totally understand how some other parent (not me) might want to allow their child this tool. Under supervision. But never to run off with it to day care, and from there to wander over to the neighbor's. Am I way off base on this?

This is the same child who taught my kids to play shooting games. I know I'm a pretend-play pacifist, and that some perfectly normal children play pretend gun games. But it's too much for me. I don't even allow squirt guns in our house. "Johnny, at our house we don't play shooting games," I tell him as he points a stick toward my head.

"It's not a gun. It's a stick!"

Me: "I know. We still don't do it."

Johnny: "Aww, I won't shoot people then. C'mon, let's go shoot some deer!"

Me: "Johnny, we don't play any shooting games at our house."

Johnny: "What if we're huntin' for turkey?"

Later I'll regale you with stories of how when the kids play "jail," Johnny knows waaayyy too much of the terminology. Words like "release" and "bail" and "bond."

That's why they play at my house. I give out homemade popsicles to make sure.