Initially I was hesitant to "play pirate" with Robby. After all, modern day pirates are terrorizing the Indian Ocean. It just seems wrong to glamorize a lifestyle which is currently creating havoc and ruining lives.
Along with my social concerns, I am put off by the classic stereotype of the pirate. The pirate is almost always depicted as a beer swigging, angry peg-legged or hooked-handed dirty man. I suppose that I have become more sensitive to the derogatory portraits of amputees since my amputation. I hate that amputees are almost always shown as a drunk, an angry homeless person, or as a pirate.
I have discovered that modern day cartoons do not reflect my social conscience. From Little Bear to Dora the Explorer, pirates are heralded as heroes and are always depicted with an amputation. I admit that I am sensitive to the issue, but I was surprised that the Backyardigans, a popular Nickelodeon preschool show, sing about pirates stating that "You wear a spare part, a bandanna and a scar/ And they know you’re a pirate/ When they hear you say “Arrr!”
I was able to keep pirate exposure to a minimum until one afternoon, while I was working in the kitchen, Robby saw "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" on television. This Veggie Tale movie really made quite an impression on my little buccaneer. While I was complaining about the amputee vegetables with eye patches, Robby grabbed a "sword" and challenged me to a dual.
We tried to discourage playing pirate. I redirected his attention and moved the "swords" which were actually our pool sticks, out of reach. Pirate Robby was persistent. I knew I was fighting a losing battle when he grabbed a pepperoni stick in the grocery store and screamed "on guard" as he challenged the butcher to a fight.
Although I am no longer banning pirate play, I have taken the role of Captain Pirate Mommy by setting some ground rules. Most importantly, I won't allow Robby to have a plastic hook or an eye patch. I cannot suspend reality enough to let him feign a very real disability.
If we are going to play pirate, Robby must be wearing his pirate hat. This provides me ample warning that he is going to be running after me with his sword and poking me in the stomach. I have discovered that, unless I am prepared for the attack, it hurts! This also stops him from challenging unsuspecting shoppers to a mock sword fight.
Scott and I even bought him proper plastic pirate swords. In an attempt to save money we opted for the $2 hard plastic swords in lieu of the $14 soft Nerf swords. I am regretting that decision! I am having a difficult time convincing Scott that we need to upgrade our swords, but I suspect he will see my logic after he assumes the role of Pirate for the week I am in California.
Pirate Robby and Pirate Mommy have been busy sailing the seven seas. We no longer have a sofa in the living room. The cushions have been transformed into a Pirate ship and the frame has become the plank that Black Bear and Charlie Cat are often forced to walk. We have spent hours fighting off invaders who are trying to steal our buried treasure (typically Vanilla Wafer cookies) and looking for the X that marks the spot.
Playing pirate is, by far, Robby's favorite game. Taking the cue from "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything" he has dubbed us, "The Pirates Who Don't Wear Pants." Yes, I am still having trouble getting him fully dressed since his clothing optional days while I was in Missouri. Tomorrow I leave for California and, although I have pleaded against it, I am fully aware that I could return to find a naked little pirate swinging an expensive foam sword who refuses to pee except off the back deck. Arghhh... tis the life of a Pirate Mommy!