In Golden Boy Swears I mentioned that Thomas and I have taken up wrestling as part of his nightly routine. I’m fairly certain that this new activity was prompted by Thomas, although I can’t be entirely sure. Regardless, it’s interesting because most of the time Thomas is a very sweet and loving boy. (Except when he’s a mama Tyrannosaurus Rex looking for food. Then he can be quite fierce.) Yet during these wrestling sessions he is a maniac. He hurls his body around as though he is trying to seriously hurt me. And he does it with complete disregard for his own well being.
He likes me to be on my knees, where I’m slower and easier to wallop. He tries to flank me and then attack from behind. When he does this, he often comes tearing across the room at tremendous speed. I do the only sensible thing and duck while trying to find a happy place. Then he crashes into my back and his momentum carries him across my body so that he’s suddenly pitching over the other side. In these moments I have to suddenly switch from protecting myself to protecting him by catching him or slowing his fall.
So I spend these wrestling matches both trying to protect him while trying not to get my teeth kicked in. It’s not easy. I have learned that a swift kick to the ribs, when unexpected, can seriously hurt, even when delivered by a five year old. I have also learned that a five year old stomping on your back can actually feel quite good. And, I have learned that my head can withstand the thumping blows of a bouncing 40 pound weight.
This is one of those situations where I wonder, is this something all little boys do with their fathers? I wrestled plenty with my brother growing up. I suppose, for me, a lot of that was something I might have done with my dad. But I think wrestling with one’s brother has other elements as well. Like proving one’s dominance by delivering nuggies. (This is probably why I started balding so early in life. Jackass.)
It’s clear Thomas is getting something from these sessions. Maybe he’s getting out pent up feelings. Maybe he’s just acting on ancient instincts. Maybe he’s got patricidal urges. Whatever it is, I have no plans on stopping it anytime soon. It is has quickly become the highlight of my day. We both end up laughing in a heap at the end of each bout. Then he usually jumps up, kicks me in the ribs and yells, “GET OUT!”