Good-natured fun?

After school let’s out, Tornado E and his friends run around playing in the cement courtyard until us mothers decide it’s time to go.  The kids are bursting with energy, playing tag, searching for treasure, throwing toys.  The moms enjoy talking to other people who completely understand.  (You mean your son/daughter is still in pull-ups at night?  Thank God, I thought I was the only one.  Did you hear about this great sale?  The zoo is having a great free exhibit this weekend.  My son won’t eat meatballs either.  When are you going to our hairdresser; she’s great and cheap.  No, seriously, I can watch the kids for you . . . any time.)

Lately I’ve noticed a new game among the boys.  Wrestling.  It’s good natured.  But I keep my eyes open because they’re wrestling on concrete and that no matter how good natured it starts out, some one accidentally hurts someone else.  The surprising thing is I’m the only mom who notices when a wrestling match breaks out.  Maybe it’s because I know my son’s a little more aggressive than the other boys or the fact that he just loves to be physical when playing.  Or maybe I just know boys.

Since it’s been going on, I’ve noticed Tornado E likes the boys to chase him and get him.  Nothing new.  Except now when they get him, they all start wrestling.  Two against one.  Three against one.  It’s enough to make me really pay attention.  Especially since Tornado E is a head smaller than the other boys.  Oh, they’re laughing and smiling, but I can’t hear what’s being said during these wrestling matches.  I can feel the tension in the game building.

Last week, the wrestling was three against one. Tornado E was backed into the corner.  I’m talking to another mom, watching the wrestling, waiting for some sign that it would all turn bad.  Then Tornado E threw a great hook and got the biggest boy in the head.  The boy immediately started running towards the rest of the moms, to his mom, whom I was talking to.  At ear shot, he started to whine and snivel.

Tornado E hit me!!!

Thank God, I was with a pro.

And what did you do to Tornado E?

I broke in and mentioned the wrestling match, and perhaps Tornado E had become too aggressive.

She nodded and told her son no more wrestling.  The other boys had stopped, waiting for the verdict.  They moved on to a new game.

But it was yesterday’s game that made me really sick and nervous.  Three against one.  Only one of the boys would grab Tornado E’s hood and swing him around.  Tornado E would fall onto his hands and knees from the force.  Then the other boys would wrestle him to the ground.  I watched and waited.  I wanted to jump in and break it up.  I wanted one of the other moms to notice and call off her son.  But no mothers noticed.  Tornado E didn’t cry out; he didn’t look angry; he went back into the scuffle, fighting for all his worth.

Then the boy, who kept swinging Tornado E around, swung Tornado E into a bush.  Tornado E fell into the bush onto his bottom.  He looked up at the boy and yelled, “Stop it!  You’re being mean!” Tornado E stood up and faced the boy, who was a head taller than Tornado E like the other boys.  I started easing my way towards the boys, waiting for some one to move.  Instead the mom called her son to go home, and he ran off.

I asked Tornado E when we were leaving if he enjoyed wrestling with the boys.  He told me yes, but he wanted to know why the other boy was being so mean.  I said maybe we need to make some rules to keep people from getting hurt.  I told him that if he didn’t ever want to wrestle to tell the boys no and if that didn’t work to go play with someone else or come talk to me.

Even as I write this, I feel a little sick in my stomach.  I can only see this game ending in a bad way.  Obviously I don’t want to be the one to end the game in case it’s my son initiating the fight or that it lowers Tornado E in the social circle.  I just can’t believe I’m the only mom who has noticed this game, and I wish someone else would have the same issue.  Maybe I’m overreacting because I know my brothers used to love to wrestle with their friends.  But I’ve never seen the odds so unfair.  I keep wondering if there is come under current I’m not picking up on.  Yet Tornado E handles himself well.  Ugh.  Is this just boys being boys?  Or is this something else?

11 Responses to “Good-natured fun?”

  1. unabridgedgirl Says:

    Ick. That’s a toughy! I think that you gave your kiddo some great advice, though. I am sorry. I’m not a mommy, so I really don’t have any advice to give! But it doesn’t sound really all that fair, the three against one.

  2. joz1234 Says:

    I can see how this seems frightening to you. I’m curious to see what everyone else says. Unfortunately I am not much help because my oldest would have walked away from rough-housing…he’s kind of a mama’s boy. I admit to making him that way.

  3. TheKitchenWitch Says:

    You did a great job. I don’t think I could’ve had your restraint.

    I’m envisioning something like this:

    Me: You vicious little motherfuckers!! Two or three against one is totally jacking with the rules!

    Them: stunned silence.


  4. Maureen@IslandRoar Says:

    I have to say boys wrestle. My 22 year old son and his friends will still do this when they get together. Hell, he’ll still wrestle ME if I let him.
    Having said that, it’s our responsibility to make it safe. Concrete doesn’t sound too safe. No softer turf to move to? And maybe making a rule that whenever someone says to stop (kid OR parent) it has to stop. Immediately. I would just do it myself if it continues. I’ll bet you at least one other mom is feeling the same way… Don’t you hate this crap….

  5. Brae Says:

    Good for him and his left hook!
    I agree boys wrestle- but I think you should talk to the moms and sit down with your boys all together and make some rules.
    1. NEVER 3 on 1. ALWAYS 2 on 2. TEAMS are good.
    2. NEVER pull on a persons clothing
    3. If you get angry or frustrated, STOP- there needs to be a code word.

    You know…that sort of thing.

  6. beth aka confusedhomemaker Says:

    Yes, boys and their wrestling seems to be par for the course but I agree it seems like this “game” of wrestling is changing into less of the regular old wrestling & into something that could be more aggressive. If one boy is being singled out every time then the game is shifting into no longer being a game. Kids often don’t even realize what they are doing.

    I agree that rules are good, the grabbing on hoods or rough-housing on concrete or ganging up is not safe. And momma you held back more than I would have seeing that because I don’t wait for another mom to step in, if it seems to be crossing over game is shut down. Don’t feel like you have to wait either, there are ways to shut down games & offer other games without stepping on toes.

  7. Gibby Says:

    I wish I could help you. Now, if you had a fight over a princess Barbie going on in your house, that I could give you advice on. But this…

    I say go with Kitch’s advice. Only because it made me laugh out loud!

  8. faemom Says:

    First off, let me assure you, I’m not a pansey. If the game went South, I would have been in the fray the minute it happened. My real worry was that Evan might have started the whole thing because he loves to wrestle with his dad, uncles and brother. I didn’t want Evan to think he could start something and then hide behind his mama. Second, I talked to my dad, who didn’t like the ganging up one person bit. He felt we were getting dangerously close to bullying. I also talked to The Husband, who didn’t like that it was taken place in a cement courtyard with cement and brick walls. We decided I would tell Evan he couldn’t wrestle because of the location and that if it was a safer place it would be fine. Which takes care of making sure it’s not my boy who starts it and I can wade in with a valid reason why the boys shouldn’t do it. Now to the individual responces . . .

  9. faemom Says:

    unabridgedgirl~ It doesn’t. It was weird they ganged up like that.
    joz~ He’ll turn soon enough. 😉
    TKW~ HA! I can only imagine what they would say to their parents.
    Maureen~ You’re totally right. I just didn’t want to stifle any actual male bonding.
    Brae~ Great advice! I’m going to use that as soon as we find a safe place to wrestle. Which may take a while. Hopefully.
    beth~ Thanks. You’re right. I can tell when my boys are getting out of hand with each other, but I wasn’t sure with other boys and Evan.
    Gibby~ Fighting over stuff is par for the course here too. At school, it’s “Evan, give it back. NOW.” Wrestling, that’s a different matter.

  10. zeemaid Says:

    yes, I get a sense too that there is some sort of undercurrent there because even if Evan did initiate the wrestling it’s a game.. it shouldn’t be one vs the whole gang.

    glad you guys decided to veto the whole thing. Besides at his age they shrug that stuff off pretty quick as far as the social circle goes. 🙂

  11. faemom Says:

    Thanks for the reassurance.

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