A Terrible Mother’s Holiday Guide to Dangerous Gifts…

… I am terrible mother, with little regard for my son’s safety. I let him play outside after dark, armed with nothing more than a flashlight. For birthdays and Christmas, I buy him things like knives and duct tape. He is routinely left unsupervised in the yard.

I am a terrible mother, with little regard for my son’s social development. A teacher once referred to him as “socially naive” because he didn’t get cultural references made from television and pop music. Most people own a TV for every room; we have a bookcase in every room. Even the bathroom.

Now that we’ve established what a horrible, reckless mother I am, allow me to present the things you should never ever buy your sons, unless your desire is to be a terrible mother as well. You’ve been warned.

Gerber’s paraframe Tanto knife — for when you don’t need a full utility knife with bottle opener and nail file. For $13 you can purchase the Tanto mini. Bonus, may help develop first aid skills and improve tourniquet tying techniques.

Backyard Ballistics — written by engineer, William Gurstelle, chapters include ‘Back Porch Rocketry’ and ‘Greek Fire and the Catapult.’ Guaranteed to test the response time of your local fire department.

Magazine subscriptions to Backerpacker and Popular Mechanics. I know for a fact, really despicable moms read Garden and Gun magazine. Only nice moms read Martha Stewart or Southern Home.

Books, glorious books — Anything by Jules Verne, Calvin & Hobbes, or from this list. Warning, may ignite their imaginations.

Eagles Nest Outfitters single hammock — for when your kids want to relive the nursery rhyme, Rock-a-bye Baby. Bonus, choking hazard and limb entanglement.

Fun stocking stuffers — duct tape, UV Buffs, pocket compasses, wool hiking socks with liners, storm proof match kits, and carabiners with compasses, freeze dried food or jerky, fishing lures, live bait, and animal pelt hats.

Other stuff horrible moms buy their sons — Air soft guns, throwing knives, Nerf crossbows, and fireworks. The home distillery kit is really more of a college graduation present or gift for dad.

Merry Christmas. God Bless ‘Murica. Blow shit up.

11-15-13, a special welcome to Instapundit readers and thanks to Glenn Reynolds for sharing this post.

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About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • AMoniqueOcampo

    You are such a redneck. And this is coming from a Texan.

    • MSO

      And thus you gave the author a compliment of the highest order.

      If your child is the one who takes over in an emergency among his friends involving either the police, human blood or unrestrained opossums, you might be a redneck.

  • Maurisa Mayerle

    Have you seen the J.M. Cremps catalog? Chock full of danger boy goodies :)

  • Eugene Edward Yeo

    Not a fan of the tanto tip or the serrated edge. It’s too hard to sharpen.

  • Heloise1

    Beware the catapult. And if he does build a large one, be sure to keep all bowling balls under lock and key. If he finds a suitable alternative, inform him that suggesting that the large hole in the neighbor’s roof was caused by a meteor Will Not Pass. Lying is worse than reroofing.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tom.bosworth.716 Tom Bosworth

      Bowling Balls: The absolute BEST use of bowling balls is as ammunition for bowling ball mortars. Especially colored bowling balls: pink, red, blue, yellow, whatever.

      Saw the bottom off a 300 cubic foot pressure tank (oversize scuba tank) turn it upside down, replace the valve with a trailer hitch, set it up on an 80mm mortar stand, put 3 oz of black powder in, top off with a bowling ball, and ignite.

      Watch your bowing ball top a 30 story building. It just goes up, up, up, up, and then down, down, down, splat.

      Simple joys are the best. Especially with a glass of Chardonnay and the Cheese Which Dare Not Speak It’s Name. (If enjoying such, leave the loading and firing to others, preferably underage Offspring-Americans.)

  • Patrick Button

    The tennis ball mortar from Backyard Ballistics is easy to make and a lot of fun.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      So I’ve heard. I can’t wait to try it out. Uh, I mean, I can’t wait to see the boy try it out.

  • Cliff Towle

    My dearest Katrina, I’m already married. Would you be my adopted Momma this Christmas? pleeeeeeze…

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    The many pleasures of having a son. Instead of a daughter. ;)

    • InkDuBlog

      As one of four girls, I can safely say that we totally would have built a trebuchet in our backyard growing up if it hadn’t been on such a steep slope.

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        I had a feeling someone of the female persuasion was going to challenge me when i wrote that. All i can say is that’s great, and i would do those kinds of things with my daughters if I had any. I really missed out not have any girls.

        • MSO

          As the father of a son, then of a daughter 4 years later, I feel completely OK with my girl growing up believing that she could indeed do anything her older male sibling could do, just four years before he was allowed to do it.

          She is now a successful engineering student who interned at JPL last summer, and will intern at Schlumberger next summer.

          She describes herself as having had “older brother training” that helps her avoid the pitfalls of modern gender political correctness.

          • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

            Fantastic on her being an engineer. I’m a mechanical enineer now with over 28 years experience. I’ve seen more and more women come into the field. I’ve mentored a couple and helped their careers along. And oh yeah, my niece is an engineering student at MIT. Whoa she is going to blow me away. Best of luck to your daughter. I bet she’ll love her work.

  • Mary H.

    Your son is so lucky to have such a terrible mother. :-)

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    Two words: potato gun.
    Also, I love that you have a bookcase in the bathroom. Even my 2-yr-old requests a book to look at while on her training potty.

  • kenofken

    A couple of years ago, I ran across a full set of lawn jarts at an antique store in Mt. Horeb, Wisc. Anyone here who remembers the 1970s knows what I’m talking about. The game was like horseshoes, but the projectiles were giant darts with plastic fins and a weighted steel shank and tip stout enough to penetrate medieval armor. These things could have turned the outcome of any of the battle scenes in “Braveheart”. As might be imagined, kids and drunk adults (there were no other kind in the 1970s), didn’t always exercise due care with these things. There were something like 6,000 casualties and one or two fatalities from these things before they were banned. There were a lot of kids in the 70s, and a tight economy. Like Sparta, we could not suffer the slow and weak to live!

    • jack burton

      Those Jarts were stone cold killers. Almost took my younger cousin out. I couldn’t wait until I had my turn at them. :-)

  • Christina Poynter

    You are the Best. Mother. EVER!

  • http://capitalistlion.com/ Mr. Lion

    If by “terrible” you mean “good”, then yes.

  • SaulGoode

    I LOVE YOU!!…and my wife’s OK with it

  • Gutz_Otoole

    Blow shit up. Hurrah!

  • George Pepper

    My parents mostly bought me guns and fishing gear for Christmas and birthdays. A Jr. NRA membership too. But we also had Lawn Darts, which would give any safety nazi seizures, and Estes Rockets, which we used to try to shoot down birds and small aircraft. I somehow survived the near-criminality of my parents, and they never, ever even bought me a bicycle helmet.

  • Carey J

    No chemistry sets?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      I prefer to restrict my destruction to outdoors. Chemical burns on furniture are the pits.

  • Glenn Galenkamp

    Sounds like you have it all locked down Kat! My 14 year old spent most of the summer shooting gophers with a .22 and setting traps for beavers. Gotta love the Great White North! He also was voted employee of the year by all the other employees at the golf course he was working at…damn proud of him!!!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Is this your son?

  • Richard Nightwood


    I remember getting a Golden Bear bow when I was about 9. We would shoot the arrows almost straight up, across the street, and over into the neighbors backyard; whoever could get the arrow first would get to shoot the next one. We would race over as soon as the arrow was loosed, trying to gauge the landing spot as a punt returner would; never even a single puncture of any human being.

    The parents stood in their garages drinking beer and laughing at us, those were good times before the nannies showed up. Imagine doing that today, you would lose your kids to protective services.

  • zmortis

    What are you saying? No 12 gauge shotgun? No M-80 fireworks? No lawn darts? You’re starting to sound like a safety nanny around your kids. I’m looking forward to getting my kid a .22LR Ruger pistol when she turns 8.

  • Doree Weller

    Great post. I read it aloud to my husband. We both think you’re doing a great job, raising a kid who can think and who isn’t dumb enough to kill himself with the pocket knife.

  • Grizzly907

    And the problem with these things is?

  • MontieR

    This is the real America, not the panty waist politically correct lunacy from the left.

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    You, madam, are a boy’s dream mother!

  • CK

    Oh thank goodness I’m not the only one! I recently had a chat with my 4-yr-old son where I explained that, no, the television wasn’t broken, the show changed because it was something called a “commercial” that they use to interrupt the program to give us time to get a snack. It was the first time he’d ever seen such a thing and he was confused.

    • CK

      And yes, lawn darts were the BEST. Trees are for climbing (so are hills, and those old-style TV antennas that used to be on the sides of everyone’s house before cable became ubiquitous). Boys and girls can and should play with toy guns (my kids have to keep theirs in the back yard lest they cause a panic in our heavily gun-controlled city).