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?