Unlike the Johnny Cash song, this really isn’t often quoted in our home. I have given up on anti-gun play long ago after every object in the house was transformed in some boy’s imagination to a gun. More often I can be found saying, “Don’t put that in your mouth.” Strangely enough, it is not Sebastian that I am so often telling this to, but Gabriel, who seems to have an affinity for putting pennies, buttons, and other choking hazards in his mouth. In spite of frequent reminders, the lesson hasn’t seemed to stick.
Enter, the gun key chain–a miniature revolver key chain that Gabriel found one day and which quickly became a prized possession. Just yesterday afternoon there was a disagreement over who could hold the valued key chain. Yesterday afternoon as I was helping the twins out of the bath Gabriel came crying to the door. Upon opening the door, I found a distressed boy with the key chain hanging from his mouth. Somehow he managed to bite down on the chain and lodge it snuggly in between his teeth all the way up to the gum line. I could not get it to budge. So at 4:00 I had all the boys (who were shoeless) jump in the car to go to the dentist before the office closed for the day. I called while I was on the way and told them why I was coming. As much as I tried to explain, I think they didn’t quite understand and perhaps thought I was over reacting just a bit. The older boys sat in the car while I carried a barefooted baby and three-year-old to the building. A now calm Gabriel walked into the dentist office with the revolver hanging from his mouth and received many interested glances. The dentist took a quick look, marveled at how he managed to accomplish this feat and proceeded to find the necessary tool to pry the link of the chain apart and remove it, joking while he removed it he had no idea what billing code to use for situations like this one. Gabriel sat sedately through all this and happily chose his prizes when we were finished. The chain was ruined, but the dentist gave back the gun. The brothers waiting in the car, who also love to go to the dentist, were quite disturbed they didn’t get a prize. In hopes of preventing them from trying to stick something in their teeth, I offered them all a cookie. Gabriel told me on the way home, “Momma, you can keep my gun.”