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?

Couch sliding

We have a new sport in my house.  Couch sliding.  It’s the newest sport the boys play, and they actually play it together.  A boy climbs up the back of the love seat with the aid of the kid size piano, and then the boy slides down the front of the love seat to land on the cushions.  I force them to take turns, or they would just land right on top of each other.  Then they would wrestle until Evan has Sean pinned and crying, like normal brother relationships.

Evan has been climbing up the back of the love seat for quite some time.  I have tried moving the toys around so that he wouldn’t be able to find a purchase to climb over.  Being a clever and determined toddler, he just was able to find more unsafe ways to climb over, and I thought I might as well let him do it safely rather than risk some sort of brain trauma.  It’s not causing harm, and it was only an issue when I made it an issue.  Basically he would do it once and then stop, forgetting about the trick for days or weeks.

Sean upped the anti.  He struggled to pull himself over the top, trying to do what his older brother could do.  When Sean finally did it, he gave a shout of glee and slid down the front of the love seat and rolled onto the floor.  At first I was worried that he was hurt because he didn’t even slow down on the seat.  But he got up, laughed, and did it again.  After a few times of watching Sean have fun, Evan joins in, trying to do it faster than Sean or just trying to land on him.  I’m now a referee.  During the whole game, they are laughing so hard that I can’t bring myself to stop it, or maybe it’s because it’s seven o’clock in the evening and I have no more energy to stop non-harmful, reckless behavior.

Now when Sean climbs to the top, he throws his arms up in the air in victory or like he’s on a rollercoaster.  Then he throws himself down the front of the love seat with the tiniest of pauses before he rolls onto the floor.  With a laugh he’s running back to do it again.  Show off.

I foresee a problem.  First off, it’s just a matter of time before someone gets hurt.  It’s all fun and games until that moment; then it’s a sport.  Then we’ll have to make rules, and someone will have to referee (oh, wait; that’ll be my job).  Then my husband will feel obligated to defend their behavior to guests.  Then my mom will tell me how this will bite me on the ass when they do it in public or at someone’s house.  And I’ll say, “I know, Mom.  I’ll handle it.”  Then they WILL do it in public, and it’ll bite me on my ass.  My husband will be mortified and blame me.  Then we’ll fight because I’ll mention how he ignored the behavior as he watched reruns of classic football games, conveniently forgetting that I was right there refereeing the whole sport, but it won’t matter because he should have spoken out if he had reservations.  Then we’ll have to go back to marital counseling, and I will have to admit to my mom she was right . . . once again.

So I guess I should stop this sport before all that happens.  Of course, this is the kind of thing my brothers and I would do when we were young and unsupervised.  We would just be a LOT more physical about it, until some one bleeds or tattles.  Then we knew we were all in trouble. But we were older than my boys and would know NOT to ever, ever do it in public because our lives depended on it.  I guess I’ll add that too the rules. 

You can practice gymnastics on the couch because it’s old and worn, and we secretly hate the stupid thing any ways.  You probably were too young to remember your father trying to tear the couch to pieces because it swallowed his cell phone.  Yes, the couch does eat things.  That’s why we never left you on it unattended on the couch when you were a baby; we knew it would eat you.  That’s why we put on that cover you and your father ignore.  And because I was tired of fixing your father’s back when he threw a temper tantrum, trying to throw the couch because it ate his cell phone AGAIN as he’s alcoholic loser of a friend called the cell phone over and over and over again.  But I digress.  You can only play your couch games on THESE couches.  No one else’s.  Not Grandma’s house, not Grandma Sue’s house, not at anyone’s house or store.  Do you got that?  And if you are EVER caught doing your games on someone else’s couch, I will say I had no idea and that you will be punished severely.  Plus no landing on any person already on the couch.

They’ll understand.  Evan and Sean are smart boys at ages 3 and 1.