killing Nazis

July 19, 2006

The children are quite fond of The Sound Of Music. We watch the DVD on the computer in my bedroom, and the girls sit primly on the edge of the bed and become engrossed in the film. Sometimes I sprawl in bed behind them with a book, or just lay down with my eyes closed and rest. I was resting the other day while the girls were watching this film, when I heard Lula say to her sister, “OK, the Nazis are coming, get the (unintelligible).” So Matilda ran out to the living room and got Sean’s bicycle hand-pump and brought it to Lula. And during the whole time the Nazis were a feature of the movie, the two of them took turns opening the pump up and then pushing the plunger down. They weren’t pointing the pump at the screen or anything, it was more like they were pushing down a detonator for dynamite, like in a cartoon (which cartoons I don’t think they’ve ever seen.) They were “killing Nazis.” I can’t tell you how startled I was.

Of course, I’m very anti-violence, particularly in regards to violence as entertainment. On the other hand, I think children work through issues they have, like a sense of lack of control in the world, through pretend violence. And while I do not at all let them even come near real-looking toy guns, I’ve let up a bit in allowing them to pretend kill things with very ad hoc guns, swords, etc. I used to be much more concerned about it, and I’m still obviously a little concerned, but as with all things parenting, things change as they get older, as I get older, and as we see how things go.

And another thing, I think it’s very interesting that they’ve picked up on Nazis = bad guys. In the movie they are set up as bad guys, but there is absolutely no description of the true horrors the Nazi regime perpetrated on the world. For now, it’s probably best that Nazis are just “bad guys” in their world, when they get older we can talk about what happened and why it happened, hopefully when they are old enough to see things with more shades of grey.

Seeing them react this way made me remember one time when I was young, perhaps 9 or so, sitting on the top bunk of my bunk bed with my best friend. I had a very large map of the world pinned to the wall next to my bed, and I would look at it constantly and think about other places. I pointed to the U.S.S.R. and told my friend, “That’s the U.S.S.R. It’s where the communists are, and they’re very bad.” I don’t think it’s anything my mother ever told me, but as an American child in the 80s it would have been pretty impossible not to get that message from the popular media. I suppose now for American children, the “bad guys” they pick up on from the media are the Islamofascists? (and oh how that word bothers me.)

In other streams of thought – it’s becoming more and more apparent that I could totally handle summer if it was just a question of dealing with the heat and humidity. But it’s the bugs that make it hellish! I’ve been wearing skirts a lot and have been getting mosquito bites on my thighs (not to mention the rest of my legs, my arms, etc.) I sprayed myself down with bugspray this morning, and now I’m going to smell like bugspray all day. Whenever I’m sitting and feel something tickling my leg, I get paranoid and assume it is a bug come to suck my blood, when it’s almost always just one of those things, a passing breeze, a tremor in the air, or whatever. It’s very annoying. How many more months left of this? I can’t wait until late fall when all the bugs are DEAD DEAD DEAD.

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