No way, I said. No (toy) guns, no swords, no sticks. It’s not like you don’t hit your sister enough as it is! The last thing I want is a hyper four-year old running around with some macho man-designed plastic instrument of violence. I don’t care if Jack, John, Peter, Philip, and in fact the entire population of little boys in Halifax, no the entire world carry guns and swords, I won’t get one for you. You can have hundreds of toy cars, billions of red McQueens and blue Kings and green Chickens (we have been living with these guys for the past two years), but I’m not getting you a sword. And it’s no use promising that you won’t hit your sister with it- I’ve heard that one too many times before.
Nevertheless, the relentless campaign continued. He put his arms around my neck every night, nuzzling me and speaking softly of his intense desire to have a sword, and his real, real real promise never to hit anyone with it. Just for bre-tend, he said. I’ll just hit the walls with it. I really, really, really want a sword. Just for play.
Eventually, I came up with a brilliant solution. We’ll get two swords, one fo the princess, one for the golden boy. And the rule is that you’re not allowed to hit anyone who’s not holding a sword. The princess, who believes she is in fact Susan of Narnia set amongst us by accident (although the actual possibility of finding a wardrobe and getting back to Narnia freaks her out), was delighted by this solution. She had never realised how much she had wanted a sword, too.
Accordingly, two long grey plastic swords with a soft foamy covering were bought, at the hefty price of 14.99 each. yes. These are the kinds of crazy expenses of children which no-one tells you about.
For one afternoon, we were happy. The golden boy and princess had long sword fights, the princess played at being a female warrior, the golden boy bre-tended to be Samurai Jack to his heart’s content.
Towards the evening, I noticed the golden boy sitting quietly, bent over his sword.
-“Golden boy, what are you doing?”
-“I want to see what’s inside the sword.” And he was busy trying to rip off the soft foamy covering, tearing it at with a pen and various other objects. Within half an hour or so, he had succeeded in pulling off most of the foam, revealing a long plastic grey tube inside. By the next day, the plastic tube, once the proud weapon of Samurai Jack, was lying forlorn and ignored, in a heap of pther broken and worthless plastic toys which must have cost us a fortune.
Lesson: scientific curiousity will triumph over plain desire for violence. And weapons are just plain grey tubes with fancy coverings.