It represented months of stern discussion, a few tears, plenty of exasperation, and a smattering of time-outs (some for me, some for the boys) – but what we had collected was quite the impressive arsenal of kid weaponry. Colorful plastic, wood, fabric, and foam. Pointy things, blunt things, long things and short things. Things that shoot, things that poke; but mostly things that whack, hit and pummel.
The pile started innocently enough with a foam dart gun. I don’t recall the exact circumstances that resulted in its confiscation, but likely someone was shot in the eye, and did not like it. It was taken away, and hoisted atop my lovely bedroom armoire where neither boy could reach. Then we added the padded bat (I believe someone was walloped and did not like it), a light saber and an Indiana Jones whip, then the other two light sabers and the other three padded bats. A football jersey made it up there at some point, followed by the football, and one out of two of the hockey sticks. There was a potato gun, three foam golf clubs, and the foam dart rifle that went straight from the original package to the pile, with nary a stop in between. The old western six-shooter actually took longer to be put up there than I thought it would. Within one week, Zach lost both of his chef knives – one from his basic kitchen set, the other a wooden cleaver from the sushi set.
The pile teetered as the gun barrels hung precariously off the edges of the armoire. ”Confiscation Station” was bursting at the seams.
“Mom, can I have the potato gun please? I need it for what I am doing.”
“Fine.” His brother was not home. I retrieved it easily, and handed it to Zachary. I knew exactly where it was in the pile because it was the first thing I saw every morning when I woke up.
Zach returned the potato gun when his mysterious potato-gun-necessitating activity was complete, and I placed it back in its spot, no questions asked.
Confiscation Station had become storage…and could easily pass as the gun locker for a deranged but adorable teddy bear, with a penchant for golf and baseball.
The boys eventually forgot about the stuff up there and focused on LEGOs and some made-up game that involved diving onto the couch and yelling at each other.
Hoping we could sneak it all back into place without re-piquing their interest, John and I quietly cleared out Confiscation Station. I woke up and cheerily surveyed the newly cleaned off, cleared out grown-up space that could now be left to collect dust in peace.
The knives were first to return, followed by the light sabers and the bats, and then finally the dart guns. We acquired two Disney swords that fit nicely in the crevices created by the Storm Trooper gun and the six-shooter.
Then I needed to have a place to keep things from the cat. Up went two half deflated balloons and a spool of curly ribbon.
I drove up to the house the other night, and our bedroom curtain was open just enough for the pile to be revealed in all its glory, perfectly framed by our outdoor Christmas lights. I had never seen the pile from that angle before. It was architecturally and structurally impressive, sure, but it also looked like the window of a person sorely in need of some kind of intervention.
You might say, “They are boys! Let boys be boys!” or “Why do you have so many weapons in the first place?”
“Good points!” I would say back to you. They are boys, but I don’t think boys should get poked in the eye either, and tomorrow, when their arms are longer than they are today, their reach will extend beyond the “thiiiis close” distance to the TV/Window/my face/the cat/other faces they have enjoyed thus far.
We did not intend to accumulate so many weapons, it just happened. We didn’t head out one day on a stockpiling mission with an arsenal shopping list. They have grandparents, uncles and birthday parties, and moments at Target where I am weak and they have a gift card, and they do not like my suggestion of drawing paper or a new knit cap.
I dismantled the pile again after spying it through the window, but the contents have not been put back into the boys’ rooms. Instead, they have found a new home in the bin recently vacated by the Power Rangers, who though adored by young Jacob, have been (mercifully) ignored by Zach.
The spot is clear once more, just in time for Christmas.
*A potato gun IS pretty cool. You stick the barrel into a potato, and it takes out a little potato plug/bullet, that you can then shoot. Searching for and collecting the spent potato bullets will make you feel like a farmer AND a CSI.