| Posted in:Family, Writing

I’ve been thinking lately about how happy my son looks when he’s fighting. Not the “punch you in the face” variety of fighting; he’s not like that.

No, this stems more from what I saw at a recent sleep-over playdate. His very special friend was here – a boy he’s known forever. They love to rough-house and tumble around, and they know and respect each other’s limits. No one ever gets hurt, or feels picked on, or cries “uncle” or taps out or whatever.

My son has never struck someone in anger, and while he has given one person a bloody nose, he did it under duress as he was being sat on and later told me he was afraid. And guess what? I am totally cool with that. I don’t believe in violence before peaceful attempts to reconcile, but if someone is quite literally sitting on you and you can’t breathe and they’re not respecting your boundaries or complying with your request to GET OFF ME NOW, then they deserve what they get in the way of a bloody nose.

So, back to the play-fighting. After the giggling and thumping subsided, my son and his friend had this look on their faces that sadly I’ve seen less of since they’ve started using things like iPods and laptops. My son is very physical, and very lean. He’s not at all big for his age, but he is very, very strong. (I like the word “very” very much, it would appear, but I’m in no mood for edits, thank you very much.)

After the tumbling they were both pink and flushed. My son’s eyes were positively sparkling and his hair was sweaty and curling up all along the fringe of his forehead. He was beautfiul and happy.

So this week, thanks to some  advice and recommendations from my friend Kelly at Black Belt Mommy, he started Jiu jitsu. He’s only been to one class, where he spent an hour grappling and rolling and running and being told “when you practice perfection, you achieve perfection,” and “Making someone feel bad is not funny, and not ‘just a joke’ – this is not friendship material so walk away from it.”

I already love it there and I’m signing my 13-year-old daughter up this week.

For a quiet boy who never says a word about his feelings, a quiet boy who’s started and tried and didn’t love hockey and soccer and baseball, I got this response:  “This – this -is the sport I like.”

Between those words and his smile, my cheeks are a little pinker too. 

Here’s some other stuff to read:

Sarah’s ideas are fantastic. You can find her design and DIY ideas at her blog Sarah Gunn, as well as at Yummy Mummy Club. Carve out some time; you’ll be making a list of things to do.

I spent way too much time watching this “Little Rascals” video, but I couldn’t help myself. It reminds me of when I was small and the Rascals environment didn’t feel so different from mine in the 1970′s. I’m sad that many things in this video are virtually unrecognizable to my own children, just three generations later. I especially love Spanky, and you just know from watching him as a child that he would grow up to be an awesome Grandpa. (If you know otherwise, keep it to yourself. I’m in no mood for shattered dreams this week.)

This past week taught me a few things, as well. Like these:

highly irritable twitter tweet Ugh. Some feelings and stuff. highly irritable twitter 2 Ugh. Some feelings and stuff.

I was also over at MamaPop.com begging for someone to be a hero to Lindsay Lohan, and why it is never, ever a good idea to marry your brother.

Have a great week. A VERY good week.

  • http://www.erthsongs.blogspot.com Robin Nowak

    you are such a good mama! take pride in what you’ve done for him–now he can tumble with the best of them!
    and I tell youngest daughter she WILL eat the DAMNED green beans I fixed because YOU NEED GREEN VEGETABLES IN YOUR BODY so you can POOP LATER!!!!!

    Separated at birth you and I. Very very.

  • http://thekovies.wordpress.com lexiesnana

    I loved this,made me smile and brought back memories of my son.He never really found a sport he excelled at but he was good on the debate team and other class offices.He hated vegetables too and I would make him eat some, years later he had to have his large intestine removed because of a disease.Seems his body knew that those rotten veggies gave him a belly ache.Great post!

  • http://thegreenstudy.wordpress.com The Green Study

    Martial arts are awesome for kids. I always worried that my daughter wouldn’t be assertive enough in a conflict. Enter taekwondo, where she is encouraged to hit and kick other padded children. She’s in year 3 and despite her diminutive size, carries herself with confidence. Good for you and for your kids!

  • http://laugh-lines.net/ Vikki Claflin

    Loved this post. My son is 23, and has been in martial arts since he was 5. Best thing ever for confidence, strength, and mental control. You’re a good mom! :)

  • Shane

    Chuck Poloniuk author of the controversial book “fight club” touches on this very issue in that book. Sadly, his point is often lost behind the violence and underlying chaos of an anarchistic society. I tend to think he was really trying to point out that society has really erased the male role at its core. We are no longer hunter gatherers… supermarkets and corner stores provide the food now for the family unit…. dead bolts and steel doors protect our families… we don’t even have a war to call our own… our war is a spiritual war… fought against instincts ingrained in our genetic makeup.

    I can go on for hours on this topic… and I really hope this doesn’t come across as a chauvinistic rant… you need only to look at your son… in his triumphs and his defeats he will grow stronger in mind body and soul… and he will grow into a man instead of a middle aged lost little boy. Hope this makes sense.

    • http://highlyirritable.wordpress.com Jeni

      This is fascinating to me, and I don’t find it “chauvinistic” in the least. I am going to check out that book! I can see with my own eyes how much my son enjoys “fighting” and the gentale calm in him after a mutual “battle.” Thank you very much for this! :)

  • http://thelandy.com The Landy

    Controlled aggression for boys, I think it is good. Our 13 year old plays rugby, and does a martial art, he loves it, is aggressive in his execution of both, but would’t hurt a fly otherwise…

  • http://highlyirritable.wordpress.com Jeni

    Thank you everyone for your comments. I hope to have a lot more positive things to report about my son (and daughter) and their new sport, so keep your input coming!

  • http://kellywilli.wordpress.com Kelly Williams

    Your tweets about this and this post make me so happy. I love it when anyone tries a martial arts class. It is just so much fun and it’s good for you mind, body, and soul. Your post (and my delusion of fitness) makes me want to try grappling again:) Hiya!

  • http://bmoreenergy naomimgruer

    I like reading your writing VERY much. You might like my rant called “Fender Bender–My Fault” on Bmore Energy http://bmoreenergy.wordpress.com. :)

  • http://sarahgunnstyle.wordpress.com sarahgunnstyle

    Thanks so much for sharing my blog!! And I hear you about martial arts. Our oldest is in there. It is so good for his confidence.

  • http://jackstrawlanedotcom.wordpress.com Katja

    Nothing is sweeter than watching your kids doing something they love. Eyes that sparkle and a huge grin make it worthwhile regardless of what kind of day we’ve had ourselves. Glad he’s enjoying it.

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