Since I have four boys in my house, it is expected that these boys will want other, louder, more boisterous boys over for some play time. I don't know why they can't settle for each other...I mean, I think I have been plenty generous in giving them enough male siblings to pick from (don't you think?) but alas, they eventually beg for another male friend to play with. When the friend/friends come over, rough play becomes part of the play-time routine. Boys can't help it. They have the desire to dominate in their nature. The rough play starts innocently enough, starting with the universal name for all buddies:"Dude". It usually goes something like this:
Boy #1 "Hey, Dude, check out my moves with the sword."
Boy #2: "Awww, Dude, yeah, that is pretty cool, can I fight you?"
Boy #3: "Yeah, Dude, let's train to be fighters! We will have a competition to see who is best."
Boy #4: "Doooooood, you can't beat me, my dad tells me I'm the best fighter in the neighborhood."
OK, so you see the progression here. They eventually invite as many testosterone filled boys to participate, challenge each other and finally move toward wrestling. (All of this despite the pleadings of the mom to "be careful or you'll take someones eye out!!") This gets especially interesting during the winter months when much of this behavior moves inside.
Boys come by this naturally; mostly by learning from other boys. They give each other advice, encourage more daring moves and take pride in showing the younger set "how it's done." This brings us to a moment this past holiday where there were 6 boys involved in competitive wrestling in my house (see pic). Now the interesting part of this is that while these boys were wrestling on the ground, King Henry decided that it looked really fun. He decided to insert himself in the activity by jumping off the ottoman onto the pile of arms and legs below.
We all were shocked at the enthusiasm of our 2 year old! He was not afraid, he was empowered!!! Over and over Henry would release a guttural growl, and then fly through the air onto the pile. Why not? His brothers were doing it and Henry loves his brothers. See, there you have it, learned behavior...all in the span of 10 minutes.
Part of me watched and enjoyed every minute...part of me just wanted to scream, "Dude!!! Watch out for your baby brother!!!"