The Art of Roughhousing

In the last couple of weeks the new game Liam and Ava like to play with daddy specifically, is wrestling. My husband roughhouses with them and they giggle, laugh, and eventually they tire out (which is key). It’s funny that they inherently know to go to daddy for this interaction.   They have never approached me and asked me to wrestle them. Although some people might warn that someone could get hurt I think that this is a very important process to go through.

Let’s face it when you are roughhousing every once in a while someone is going to get hurt. However, I can’t help but think that this might make them a little more resilient. Although there are times that I worry that it is getting too rough (and that is why they pick daddy over mommy) for the most part it teaches them to bounce back. Will is careful in his play and the kids always come back for more. Even though, this physical play can cause a few playoff-payoffbruises now and then, I think it outweighs the alternative of them being less active.

I also believe that roughhousing can help sharpen reflects. Kids have to think fast as they are rolling, pillow fighting, wrestling with dad. They are constantly changing their approach on how to defeat dad. Of course this is all done in good natured fun, but it still does take some problem solving skills to overcome him. This kind of play also teaches boundaries of what behavior is acceptable and not acceptable.

I am not a worthy competitor. Routinely as part of the game my husband drops the kids on their beds and they giggle with delight. The truth is I have tried to do this and my height on dropping the kids onto their bed is not as exciting as dad, who can lift them over his head. Daddy takes chances that either I would not do or physically are unable to do. Sometimes it is good to push pass the limit of normal active play just a little bit to be challenging and entertaining.

My husband is very involved in all aspects of Liam and Ava’s lives; however this is one specific activity that he just does with them. I think it is important that both Liam and Ava feel a bond between themselves and their father. In creating this bond, Liam and Ava will recognize that they each have a distinct relationship with their father in which it can develop into a very special parent-child connection.

I guess in short, if you are one of the many mothers who anxiously watch as a bystander as your kids and husband roll around and wonder is this ok? Consider what your kids might be getting out of it besides a few laughs and a good time with dad.



Three Going on Eight

Every mom has those moments. Those moments when you see something that is upsetting your child and you want to swoop in and make it better. It doesn’t happen all the time but when it does it takes everything in my power to stop and wait. The most recent moment happened this past weekend. We went to the Warwick Valley Winery (Happy Mother’s Day to me) and there were kids everywhere running around. Liam naturally wanted to join in but instead of nearing the group of kids that looked his age he went over to the kids 4 or 5 years older than him. I heard him say, “Come on friends let’s play.” The children were nice but their play was way too sophisticated for Liam and soon he was left in the dust. Sadly he went to a corner and asked to be left alone. It broke my heart at the time, and to be honest as I am typing this the tears are welling in my eyes. The logical part of me knows that there is really nothing wrong here. The truth of the matter is 8 year olds play much differently than 3 year olds; however seeing him so dejected killed me.

Later that afternoon we met a little girl named Willow who was three years old however Liam wanted nothing to do with her. This isn’t the first time I have seen this happen either. For whatever reason, Liam prefers to be around older kids. In the long run I know this isn’t a big deal but right now it seems very much so. I wonder if I waited too long to introduce him to kids his own again. He is always around adults and it wasn’t until this past March that he began school. Liam is a very social child but his wanting to be around older kids concerns me now because he will inevitable be rejected by the older children and have no interest being with the children of his age.

Then there is the other possibility. Liam is perfectly content and happy the way things are. Maybe I am being too sensitive over this. I in no way want to have my feelings influence his behavior. It might be quite possible that Liam’s tendency to want to be around older children will help him in the future.

For now I guess I need to just take a step back and congratulate myself on the fact that I have raised a three year old that is brave and eager to make friends and not worry about the age. After all age is just a number.