How is it that boys get immeasurable pleasure out of beating the living daylights out of each other? Not every boy has a brother, but even amongst their friends, I notice that guys give a punch to the shoulder as they say hello or as the boys leave the classroom, they are tussling and manhandling each other, all in good fun.
Last night, we had family movie night. It was quiet, serene, and cozy as we snuggled under blankets and enjoyed a fun adventure show together. But when the lights came on, it’s like I had forced them into captivity for the past hour as they burst forth from their blankets, coiled and ready to pounce on the first person daring enough to walk the gauntlet of couches. I know enough by now to stay seated, though I’m generally their last choice for someone to tackle anyway.
Pulling the “girl card”
I long ago announced that if you want to take me on, be prepared to fight dirty. Though we’ve taught our boys how to fight fair…no scratching, no biting, no punching the face, etc., they are well aware that those rules do NOT apply to mom. I pull the “girl card” and let them know that you can take your chances and try to take me down, but I WILL pull out all the stops and I’ll be taking a good chunk of your hair down with me.
Every once in a while Caleb figures it’s worth a try, but he values his pretty face too much, not wanting to explain to his buddies how he received the claw mark across his cheeks. He abandons ship pretty quickly. When you live in a house of boys, once in a while the scales need to tip in your favour, whether fair or not.
Walking the gauntlet
So Steve, being the biggest and toughest of them all, and arguably the one most itching for a fight, took the challenge, walked the gauntlet, and soon had all the boys hanging off some part of his body. I give him credit; he may be an “old man” according to the teasing of his boys, but it takes ALL five of them to get him down.
They work as a team and call out instructions to one another about their game plan while wrestling him down. But he’s like a worm, wriggling his way out of their grasp and then the chase is on. Thankfully, we have an odd house that is made up of one addition after another. Consequently, there is a ton of open space for them to hunt him down. I begin by calling out warnings, “You guys, be careful for Levi!” “Don’t hurt Dad!” “Something is going to break!” “SomeONE is going to break!” “Don’t wreck my couch!” “Watch out for the corner of the coffee table!” “You guys are sitting on Owen!”
Tooth in hand
I speak from years of experience. I remember the day Caleb came to me, mouth bleeding, tooth in hand, and a grin on his face. “What happened?!” I asked. “Dad knocked my tooth out during our pillow fight.”
The guys all thought it was hilarious.
I gritted my teeth, turned my back to them and ordered every last one of them out of my house before I blew a gasket.
The next time, they came to me with a delft blue plate from my mom, broken to pieces.
What are you supposed to say when it is Dad leading the way?! But after I call out a few obligatory mom warnings, I soon learned to shut my mouth and watch with a mix of fascination and horror as they wrestle and grab and tumble and crash down the hallways and through the rooms, all the while yelling, war whooping, and most of all, laughing.
I am NOT a boy
Mostly, I keep my mouth shut and let it happen. Last night I timed it, and it lasted a whole 30 minutes! That’s a long time to keep my lips locked except for gasping every few seconds as I see one near disaster after another. It didn’t end until they had managed to tear the band off Steve’s underwear and wrap it around his head. Poor guy, and yet he was still giggling. Go figure. These are the moments where I simply accept that I’m NOT a boy, I don’t want to BE a boy and I’ll never UNDERSTAND boys.
But one thing I do know, when it is over, they are happy, they are satisfied, they are tired and they are glowing with a feeling that they are loved. A good punch in the head never told me I was loved, but I guess that’s because I don’t speak “boy.”