Before I had children, I used to believe, in a woolly half-thought-out sort of way, that how kids turned out was mostly to do with how they were brought up. Nurture versus nature. It was the kind of thinking that had me deciding, before my first son was born, that he would not be allowed to drink anything but milk and water (no sugary fruit juice for my child!); that he would watch very little TV (Yes. Well. Moving right along.); and that he would not have violent toys such as guns and so on.
Those of you with sons are now either wiping tears of laughter from your eyes or shaking your head in disbelief at my naivety. Children are born (are you ready for this?) with fully formed personalities. And! All your carefully considered decisions about how you are going to raise your perfect child go out the window when you bring your little bundle home and actually have to figure out strategies to get through the day. And more importantly, the night. Hate the idea of dummies but your baby likes to suck on something to get to sleep? No contest. Your need to sleep, and therefore function like something resembling a human being, triumphs and the dummy is purchased.
Now, I am way past all of that stuff as my offspring are now big lumps of boy but I was reminded this morning of our very short-lived attempts not to allow the boys violent toys such as guns, lasers, thermo-nuclear devices and so on. I will let you into a secret: boys like that stuff. If you don't let them have actual toy laser guns, they will make them out of anything they can lay their hands on: lego, twigs, cutlery, you name it. Eventually you realise there is no point in trying to shield your little angel from the influence of a toy sonic blaster when he is playing at melting his brother's face with a chopstick.
This morning, our two were playing at Star Wars in the living room as we got the car packed ready for the day. The living room door was closed (in order to exclude the boring adults who insisted that the death of Darth Maul must wait till after school), but we could see them as it has glass panels. When we were ready to go, husband and I stood at the door and scratched pathetically at it to be allowed in. First Born spotted us and howled "No!". Second Born appeared at the door and repelled us with the immortal threat "Get back! I have a sheep and I am not afraid to use it!"
See, in the hands of a 7 year old, even a stuffed toy is a lethal weapon.