Volksfest broke almost immediately, he wants another one. No amount of reasoning is persuading him that this isn't a wise choice of pocket money spending so, reluctantly, I'm yielding to his request to order a replacement off the net.
It wasn't meant to be like this. This placid pinko-leftie parent had visions of her little darling peacefully colouiring, building cute Lego towns and yes, even exploring his feminine side and playing with dollies if he wanted. But not so. From the age of two, warfare has been a draw for my boy and his male mates. Seemingly unlearned, they ran around the nursery school playground pointing fingers at each other and shouting 'Pill Pill'. And Louis' first purchase with his own money was a cap gun. My 'no weapons in this house' policy rapidly crumbled and now there is an armoury of weapons under the cabin bed in a box especially allocated for the purpose of mock battles of all kinds.
It seems that boys have an almost inherent drive to re-enact warfare. And I'm learning to appreciate the positive side of this role play. The games that my son enjoys are a draw for all the other little boys at festivals and on holiday. An offer of a loaned gun or sword almost instantly guarantees a friendship. As he gets older the games that these fake weapons inspire are getting more and more elaborate, holding his attention and keeping him away from his beloved electronic games for extended periods of time. And he's exploring the outdoors, getting muddy and often wet in the process. Now that was something that I envisaged for his childhood and I'm very happy about. And one day who knows? My boy may still defy gender stereotyping and become a hairdresser or florist after all!