Living in a town in Hampshire known as “The home of the British Army”, I thought it suitable, on a hot sunny Saturday in July, to take the kids to The Army Show – an annual family fun day where the kids can clamber over armoured vehicles to their hearts content, eat (ridiculously overpriced) ice cream and watch the soldiers (or ‘shoulders’ in JJ’s world) marching in formation before the para regiment swoops in or a Chinook helicopter lands (which, for a three year old boy is just about the most exciting thing EVER to happen!).
I was reliably advised not to bother wasting my money giving in to the predictable demands of a three year old with regards to £4 & £5 fairground rides and instead to offer to buy him a gun. Plastic obviously. JJ was lucky – he finished the day with a gun, a freebie helium balloon, and a new football.
I don’t really have a problem with children having toy guns – I’m not fearful that this will lead to a Columbine style massacre later in life or anything like that. Also, the children’s paternal grandfather is a long-time social rifle shooter who shoots with the RAF and has been round the world to shoot in various competitions.
However, I do have a problem when my three year old suddenly realises that, not only can he shoot at inanimate objects but he could also potentially aim his pump action, plastic sucker firing rifle at his baby brother. Or me. Of course I immediately put him right on this matter but in the middle of this sensible chat a sucker hit me, bang smack, right between the eyes. My initial thought was “wow, great shot, he’s a natural”. After that it was all downhill.