We could see grass. The ice dams had cleared. My kids thought they could "smell spring." And I just wasn't paying close enough attention. "Is it supposed to snow tomorrow?" And when I went to the grocery store, on the eve of the Event, people were arm wrestling over the last loaf of bread in the bakery. All the donuts were gone. The lines were monstrous snakes of human anxiety and the check out girl was surly and sweating. "Yeah, it's supposed to snow tomorrow. A lot."
I know I'm not only boring you with the details, I'm torturing you. But on day two of said Event, more than 24 hours in, at about 3:30 or so, I looked out the window. "When is this supposed to stop?" "Noon," said by husband. Yet, it was still snowing, with a vengeance.
The kids went out into the Event, then they came in, then they went out again. Finally they stayed in. Inside, they yelled, and chased each other and fought and I proposed, gently, but with a hint of anxiety in my voice, "Maybe you should go back outside."
They yelled, chased each other, fought some more. I went back at it, "Hey, why don't you guys go out and do that." But the snow hurts," said Holly. "Yeah, it stings," confirmed JJ. I sympathized with a frown. Wind driven beebies of icy pain could be heard assaulting the windows as I spoke, and still I suggested more firmly, "I think you should go outside now." My pain was more important. The children ignored me and began to bicker instead. That's when I shouted. It wasn't my finest moment, but everyone has their limits. My limit is apparently the fourth month of winter. "Get out!" I demanded, like a good despot.
It was clear when my cherubs turned to me with Cheshire grins that, rather than being the Genghis Khan of the house, as I had hoped, I was now considered the Hosni Mubarek of our family. "Maybe you should go for a walk, Mom." Faced with open revolt and revolution, I reached for the last trick in my bag. "1! 2! 3! Wrestle!" I yelled.
And so they did. They wrestled with a vengeance, with a keen desire to go crazy, to exert pent up puppy energy and flame the fires of cabin fever. But they wrestled with rules. And no one got hurt. And I have Dodge to thank for saving my sanity in the last hours of the Weather Event that would not stop.
Here is how to wrestle, with rules, Dodge-style. It just might save you too:
Pick Your Partner
Extend an invitation, "Do you want to wrestle?" Both parties must agree, verbally, if possible. Eye contact must be established, and maintained. I do not advocate more than 2 wrestling partners. 3 kids wrestling is problematic and under no circumstances should excited onlookers just jump into the fray. Grown-ups can wrestle with kids too; you can pair siblings as well, just stick to the rules.
Find a Good Place
Start on your knees, facing each other in a softer, rock free zone. Sand, prairie, exercise mat, carpet, snow-- all are excellent places to wrestle, just use your noggin when selecting a spot. Have someone count, "1, 2, 3, Wrestle!" Partners can count down together too, if they have the ability to wrestle autonomously.
Dodge wrestling looks like happy, frenzied bear-hugging. Aggression is not tolerated and has no place in this wrestling. Here at the Nos:
-no biting or scratching
-no grabbing the head or neck with hands, arms, legs or feet
Know when to stop. Maintain eye contact if possible & listening ears always. If somebody looks worried, sounds distressed, says, "Stop!" or even whispers, "stop," stop you must. Winning the wrestling match is hardly the point. This is process-oriented wrestling and usually kids are not sticklers for pinning etc. While this may not be the late Paul Wellstone's brand of academic wrestling, I think he would approve. This is wrestling for peace, and maybe subsequent quiet.
Special thanks to my colleagues here at the Preschool who taught me to embrace a child's need to wrestle. Their common sense approach and willingness to wrestle with kids themselves has served me very well.
|Our sibling Highland Whites kick up their heels.|