"I want to kill that boy mum, he's a meanie."
This comment, from my four year old one day last week, may have prompted the usual half-engaged "you don't mean that!" - type comment from me if it were not for the fact that the offending boy was walking out to the car from kindy with us, and his father was right beside me.
I swung into action. "Don't talk about killing please! Stop saying that!" I harped as my son's expressions got ever more violent.
"I want to blast him, Mum!" "He's a stinker, I hate him!" he bellowed.
The father of the poor, probably innocent boy smiled at me and said "don't get involved, let them work it out", which is the typically relaxed, male way of dealing with the outbursts of little boys. But to me, using a fog-horn like voice to express doom and destruction to one's kindy mates should be nipped in the bud. Sooner rather than later.
I feel that even the small amount of exposure my son has had to the completely incomprehensible Ben 10 franchise is possibly to blame.
The introduction of this Japanese-style story of a boy who can morph into 10 different types of aliens is still a mystery to me, as it has not been on TV and I had never seen it before, until a four-year-old's birthday where a friend of my son had a Ben 10 cake and matching goodie bags.
Since then, pester power has swung into full force. And because Ben 10 happens to be plastered over everything a little boy might legitimately need - singlets, undies, bags and toothbrushes for example - inevitably the floppy-haired hero has wormed his way into the house. A few DVDs have followed, I admit. They were picked up in haste after my son belted through the DVD store, causing much mirth for the Sunday afternoon crowd as he loudly asked for a "really violent DVD mum, I want a really violent one, mum!"
The only thing about Ben 10 I can follow is the opening tune, which is rather catchy. The only other thing my highly observant mind has picked up is that it does seem to be - well - rather violent. Much like everything else favoured by my son at present, including Spiderman and crushing his toy cars underfoot. I guess there comes a point where Maisy Mouse and Peppa Pig just don't cut it any more for the male of the species.
I'm not sure if male babies are born with a need for violence, but I do know that where my very young son hit me on the head with a set of car keys, broke a ceramic cup over my forehead, and just about impaled me on a giant golf umbrella, amongst other (hopefully) inadvertently violent incidents, my daughter's only act of violence so far has been to draw blood in her very last breastfeed.
Luckily for my son, he has a father who likes the rough and tumble as well, although it can sometimes lead to real injuries: this weekend, for example, he was ambushed and bashed repeatedly over the skull with a Homer Simpson doll with very hard plastic eyes.
For every mother watching anxiously that her son doesn't become a raving maniac, there's plenty of others that stand by and warn that "boys must be allowed to be boys".
Well and good, as long as we all have our extremities still attached to our bodies by the time they've grown out of it!