Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wrestling with angels (revamped)

I love words. I am not athletic, at all. That tends to come through in my interactions with my children. Today, though, one of my angels was finding words inadequate. He required wrestling instead. There were a lot of little things that had stressed our relationship and his self control lately, and I've found that when he needs to connect, it needs to be physical. So, we spent all morning playing together.

In Michael Gurian's books about boys, he explains a lot about the neurodevelopment of boys and the biological differences in the way that their brains work. Among other things, they are wired for action. I see that in my girls, too, so I don't know how much of it is a gender thing, but I think that most of us are aware that all children need active play and plenty of large muscle action. Sometimes it is harder to put that into the context of our relationship and connection with them, but I believe it is vital.

All children need rough-housing and physical play with us. Just watching them at the park isn't enough. Part of our expression of love for them and theirs for us is best expressed physically. It's a lot easier to just let go and not be bothered, to send them to their room or a time out or whatever. But like Jacob in the Bible, the key to this wrestling match is in holding fast to them and not letting go.

So today we played our favorite pushing game where he grabs my hands and tries to push me backward. We wrestled. We played catch with rolled up socks. We snuggled and cuddled. We roared like lions and stomped like elephants to show our feelings. We laughed and tickled. (Quick aside--he loves tickling. Ariana hates it. Our children's bodies belong to them, and we make it clear that tickling is by invitation only. If anyone wants to stop, that must be respected immediately. Check out this article.)

Frankly, I'm exhausted. I'm totally convinced that it was worth it, though. I see our connection getting back to where it was before. I have a pretty good idea that tomorrow will involve more of the same (let's hope for a good night of sleep tonight!), but if I'm going to work out, I think the rewards from this will be far greater than merely burning calories.

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