Since Halloween fell on a Monday, the kids got to have their Halloween parties at school. That meant I was up at school nearly all day and, in the morning, I had to be in two places at once. No problem for SuperMom!
Too bad I am not SuperMom! Ha!
I told him no, we were staying for his party. He was slightly bummed and refused to parade around the school or even put on his cow costume. He sat in my lap and watched everyone go by. Eventually, he took my back to his room to show me the different centers. He cheered up when he saw the plate of cookies and cupcakes. He actually sat at the table and drank his juice and ate while I was able to sneak out for Camille's party.
Cole thought everything was just the bee's knees. He started out in preschool...
Then went to kindergarten, where he tried to knock his sister out of her seat...
And then ended up in second grade where he happily sat at Joseph's desk and tried to drink his juice box...
Ah, but alas, it was in second grade where I learned that not every parents has, you know, common sense.
After the little kids' parties, we went home, had a healthy snack and relaxed before walking back up to school. I got everything settled in BigBrother's room before we headed to the middle of the pod to watch the kids parade by in their costumes.
The Little Dudes were settled in their stroller having a snack while two other mothers were chatting near me. One mom was dressed up and Camille asked her, "Who are you supposed to me?"
"You know who I am!" she said.
"Um, no I don't," said Cami, clearly confused.
"She's never seen Shrek," I interjected and the mother was clearly surprised. You know, because WHAT five year old has not seen the entire Shrek seris?! (Um, MINE.) I turned to Cami and said, "She's a character called Puss in Boots from the movie Shrek." Camille smiled, shrugged and walked away.
Mommy Puss in Boots turned to another mother, who was wearing a shirt with the name of a local junior high on it, and said, "So, I hear there is going to be an Airsoft war on the path tonight after Trick or Treating."
"Oh, really," said Jr High Mom. After a pause, she said, "Do the Airsoft pellets hurt?"
"Oh, yes," said Mommy Puss in Boots.
"They may not break the skin, but they can leave a wicked bruise," I added.
"NameofSon shot NameofDaughter in the stomach and it nearly broke the skin," said Mommy PIB. I flinched.
Mommy PIB walked away and I turned to Junior High Mom. "Is this going to happen in OurNeighborhood?"
"Oh, good," I said dryly. "Good thing I have no problem yelling at other peoples kids!"
"Well, it's good that you have no problem yelling at other peoples kids," she snapped. "One of those boys is my 12 year old son. At some point, you lose control. It's a novel concept." With this, she turned her back to me and the conversation was clearly over.
I was shocked and later livid. I talked to my friends on FB and on my NFP forum to ask if I was the over controlling wack-o. BigBrother is only seven but I cannot imagine knowing that he and his friends wanted to go out and shoot off Airsoft guns in a residental neighborhood, while Trick or Treating was going on... and letting it happen. The nice version of what I would do would be to sit his butt down and tell him in no uncertain terms that Airsoft guns are weapons, not toys, and should only be used on Airsoft fields with other people playing the game and wearing protective gear.
My FB friends and my forum confirmed that I am not the wack-o. If a mother admits to loosing control when her son is 12, what happens when he is 14? 16 and has a car? 18? I shudder at the thought. Also, apparently the police treat Airsoft guns as real weapons, as they can be hard to tell the difference between a real gun and an Airsoft gun. (I imagine the difference would be harder to tell at night too.) They have told kids to "Drop, hands up" when seen with Airsoft guns and several people reported children have been shot because they did not listent to the police. (The officers could not tell they were Airsoft guns.) My brother, who plays Airsoft, confirmed this.
Halloween night I informed my husband of what was going to happen. We debated calling the police to give them a heads up but chose not too. Had it been any other night, I would have but I figured on Halloween there were plently of kids actually doing crazy stupid stuff and they were busy with that, rather than an "overheard" threat. Adam went out with his cell phone, ready to call the police at the first sight of trouble. I told him to record the little buggers on his phone if need be.
The next day, I called the principal. She is known for kicking arse and talking names, so I knew she would be interested. She admitted to knowing what Airsoft is but not much about it. I gave her the information my brother sent and said, "I wouldn't be telling you this if the parents had said, "I heard about this and now my kid is grounded for life!" but because they admitted to having no control AND one child shot at his sister, it sounds like there is easy access to weapons in the house."
She asked, "Would you be willing to give me their names?"
"Oh, heck yeah!" and I have her their descriptions. She promised to ask her teachers about it and put the word out to the junior highs that some kids are treating the guns as toys and the parents don't seem to care. It was a good conversation and I am glad I called her.
My mother reminded me there is a line between parenting other peoples kids and protecting your own. I honestly couldn't just let this go. I am afraid some child would be hurt or killed. I am worried that a younger sibling or friend would get ahold of the gun and hurt someone. I am worried my children would be hurt.
We are not anti-gun here but we treat ALL guns with respect. My kids love Nerf guns and squirt guns but we have the "only shoot at people who want to be shot at" and "never shoot anyone in the face" rules. I would not allow my 12 year old to have an Airsoft gun, although I would consider it when they are much, much older and can afford the game with their own money. If the kids wanted to hunt, they would have to go through their great-grandfather's Anal Retentive Hunting Course. In fact, Grandpa and Adam's uncle are the only two people I would trust to teach my children how to use a real gun and, if they chose to hunt, they must use what they kill.
Because of this, I sat the kids down and talked with them about gun safety. I was appalled that they had watched someone shoot an Airsoft gun at a friend's house. (Again, we live in the 'burbs so guns should NOT be shot off in the neighborhood.) I told him that I do NOT want them anywhere NEAR Airsoft guns and reminded them that my brother, their uncle,said they should only be used on Airsoft fields. I told them they are NOT toys and if anyone tries to tell them otherwise, they should find an adult. They were all "Yeah, Mom, I know," and I said, "I know you know BUT YOU NEED TO HEAR IT AGAIN."
So there you are. If I hear your kid has access to guns of any type that shoot anything but water, I'll nark on you. And not regret it.