Posts tagged ‘fear’

Gun control

     I planned on being one of those moms who never fed her child sugar, bologna or french fries. I’m pretty sure it’s my cosmic karma for saying “never,” that I have a child who had to be coerced into eating each of those things (see here) and have now found myself grateful that C eats at least two of those things. I continue to hope he’ll actually want a cookie someday.

     Also on the “never” list included toy guns, and as it turns out, I have a child who scares so easily that he can’t even watch previews and commercials without freaking out and having nightmares. When C first decided he might be interested in guns, I answered his slew of questions as calmly and without judgment as possible. I didn’t want to encourage what was already quickly passing the fear stage and heading into the phobia stage.

     One day in the store, C found his way to the Nerf part of the toy section, which features some toy guns. After much consternation, discussion, obsession and thought, which occurred over a period of several months, C decided he might like a Nerf gun because he “couldn’t hurt anyone with that.” Once again reveling in “normalcy,” I reversed my earlier position on no toy guns and purchased a Nerf gun for him for Christmas. It was a definite hit, and now he wants another one.

     This seems to have been a good way to get him over his not-so-completely-irrational but completely-overboard-fear (you ASD mommies know what I’m talking about) of guns, and for that I am grateful. He is still very much afraid of guns, but it’s more of a normal fear. Despite the fact that his fascination has lately bordered on the obsessive, to the point of trying to define and categorize each and every type of gun, I know he’ll level out like he always does.

     I, of course, being the Mommy that I am, have visions of him getting a gold medal in skeet shooting in some future Olympics. It would probably be my penance to pay for saying “never” on toy guns. But I’ll gladly take that punishment. Bring it on.

March 22, 2009 at 9:38 pm 3 comments

War….what is it good for?

     C’s new obsession is guns and war. He discovered both this year with his very patriotic teacher who has talked about the war a few times. Yet his interest is not in the traditional “I want a toy gun” vein, but rather the “Guns scare the poop out of me” way. He wants to know all about wars and guns, and fear is behind the questions. We try to answer them, because we know in the greater picture of this obsession, he’s trying to sort out bad guys and good guys and all of that. He’s finally decided that perhaps Nerf guns might be acceptable after repeated assurances that they won’t kill anyone, but he was worried about the glue gun I used on a recent craft project. “Does it shoot bullets?” he asked. No, but the burns I suffered are apparently okay by him. As long as it doesn’t shoot anything.

     Once C found out Husband used to be a park ranger/law enforcement officer, it about sent him over the edge and took us with him after the zillion questions he asked. “What are bullets made of” “Do guns weigh a lot?” “I never want to touch a gun. Do I have to someday?” “Is every person that has a gun  mean?” “If you have a gun, do you have to go to war?” “Why do police officers carry guns?” All good questions, and ones I felt I had to answer as calmly and succinctly as possible so as not to arouse additional stress, concern, worry or obsession.

     We see, however, the obsession spilling over into fear. Everything that is scary now involves a gun. He wants to know which movies, video games and TV shows have guns. There’s a surprising amount of violence in even seemingly benign Disney movies (Ratatouille caused the latest “run screaming from the room” incident), and I believe he may never truly outgrow this fear. I don’t really care if he never gets past Thomas the Train movies and into Batman, but I suspect he’ll take some heat from the boys on it eventually.

     So when he screamed for me last night, at 2:15 in a particularly frantic voice, I figured it had something to do with guns. He’s had a bad dream, he said, and could only tell me there was a gun in it. I asked him if it was a purple dream, had polka dots in it, or if a giraffe was walking through the dream, and that seemed to calm him down. But I knew that wasn’t the end of it, and sure enough today, in the middle of his daily barrage of questions about guns, he used his power of logic to solve the problem. “I know,” he said. “when I’m grown up, I’ll just make them all cost so much that no one can buy them.”

     Best idea I’ve heard all year.

December 22, 2008 at 8:50 pm 9 comments

On Death and Dying

     This past fall, C started obsessing about death. For months, the questions came out of nowhere in the middle of conversations and in the middle of the night. They came in the car and during dinner. The fear knew no bounds. It grew so all-encompassing that when his teacher read Charlotte’s Web to the class, she and I arranged for him to be in speech therapy when Charlotte died. During a tearful missive about how he loves being 6, it finally came out that he does not want to be 7 because it is one year closer to dying.     

     I finally figured out where it came from months after it began. He had watched a few moments of “Finding Nemo” early last fall, and hadn’t wanted to watch it since. This was no surprise to me as he has no tolerance for movies. Yet he asked to watch it again, so we sat down to watch it together. Early on, when the shark comes and eats Nemo’s mother, it prompted a major meltdown and the proclamation by C that Nemo would never be watched again in our house. We discussed it and I told him about the happy ending, but he wouldn’t budge. Sadly, Nemo has been banished.

     A child’s comprehension of death is no more skewed than our own, but the vulnerability surrounding it is at its most innocent. It’s a simple desire to be here, to be with everyone, not to be gone. I don’t suspect for C it has anything to do with fear of the unknown; it is, at its core, the fear of simply no longer being a part of everything.


March 18, 2008 at 10:12 am 5 comments

It’s all autism, all the time.

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