There is nothing better than wrestling with my boys. They love it. As do I.
Both of them are into American Wrestling (WWE), with characters like John Cena, The Big Show and The Undertaker. I took Max to see them when they came to town. It was great. They put on a brilliant show. We had a lot of fun.
At home both boys love to test their moves on me. Flying elbows, knee high kicks, the pile driver, body slam and power bombs all directed at me for maximum pain. They tag team each other and give it their all. No holds barred. They want to hurt dad. And occasionally dad gets a belting.
Every day it’s “dad, dad let’s wrestle”. Most days I say no. It’s exhausting. But on the days I say yes I use it as a legitimate way of inflicting pain and exacting revenge for earlier wrongs.
They call it wrestling. I call it payback.
I found out recently that wrestling with your children – for me specifically boys – should be encouraged. It is a good way of teaching them how to regulate their emotions. It teaches them how to control their aggression and levels of intensity. If you take them to a heightened state of play and then stop or call time out. They learn to stop immediately. They understand the consequences of not being in control. Providing rules including shaking hands or having a cuddle at the end is mandatory. It teaches them how to manage themselves. The same applies when we have a family wrestle or a mum wrestle. They have learnt that mum requires a gentler form of wrestling.
Our wrestling matches usually take place on our bed. Occasionally in the garden.
For the first few years it was just tickles and cuddles on the bed. Rolling around making them laugh. The normal stuff you do with babies. There was no pain involved.
Then as the years passed the level of force they used on me ramped up commensurately with their age. As did mine. My levels were based more on the aggravation they had caused me during the week.
Now I have it mastered.  I can cause them just enough pain to keep them coming back for more. I’m not ashamed to say I take pleasure from their dead arms and corked thighs. I am a master at the foot tickle whilst delivering a near devastating blow to their ribs. I can press the exact pressure point in their little arms or legs to make them squeal and cry out for mercy. And I do so with a wry and evil smile.
They tag team each other quickly. One egging on the other. The bed is no longer big enough for me to take them both on. That is reserved for outside play. But when they are in pain, they get angry. They want revenge.
I have worked out their 5 key moves:

  1. The “Oh Sorry Dad” – when they ‘accidently’  kick me in the groin or knee me in the face. There is little you can do to protect yourself from this. The apology comes quick – but you know they meant it. I’m sure I see them give each other a wink when they do this.
  1. The “Crocodile Tears” – I do something that causes tears. When the wrestle is paused to check on the crying child, and I get close to check on them – they pounce. Like a wild cat. A wet mix of anger and tears. They attack in a ferocious volley of arms and legs. There is no defence from this. A sneaky yet surprisingly devastating move.
  1. The “Let-me-look-behind-you” – they ask if they can look at something behind my back – this is quickly followed by a ‘surprise’ attack from behind. A favourite to start off the wrestling bout.
  1. The ”Kid-Hit” – one distracts you while the other comes in with a ferocious elbow to the ribs. A dirty move. And it hurts.
  1. The “Tag” – one tags the other and before you have a chance to respond there are 2 all over you. A tried and tested classic. Two is always better than one.

I don’t know how much longer I can hold my own. I think I still have a few years left before I start making up excuses about why I can’t take part.
But while I can I will make the most of it. And like last night when they both pissed me off I will tell them.
Tonight – we wrestle.