Raising Boys: That’s Not a Hug, That’s a Headlock

Last week, my oldest son (almost six) had his little brother (almost three) in a headlock. When I walked back into the room, he spotted me and quickly pretended it was a hug. He even added, “Awwwwe, you’re so sweet,” to the fake brotherly love fest to prove his innocence.

Yesterday during my trip to the grocery store, I was grabbing a few Luna Bars when I spotted four small fists punching at each other and swinging around wildly in the aisle.  There was kicking, pinching and yes, another headlock. It was like a cage match without the cage. I stared for a minute with a look of dismay on my face. Maybe someone else will claim them? No such luck. I stepped in and physically separated them.

My boys are entering the “you-annoy-me-and-take-my-toys-so-I’m-gonna-hit-you-until-you-stop-or-until-mom-walks-in-the-room” phase. I have to give them both credit, because they are equally good at provoking each other and most of the time they are both guilty when things reach a boiling point.

I guess we all went through it. I remember when my younger sister and I could hardly stand to be in the same room together. Of course that happened when we were teenagers, so it doesn’t really count. I did shove her once and she fell backwards down the stairs. She still likes to bring up that story today. What she fails to mention is we lived in a tri-level house, so the flight if stairs consisted of six steps. Needless to say, messing up her ponytail was the extent of her injuries.

At the end of the day, my boys still kiss and hug each other goodnight. 75% of the time, they play very well together and genuinely enjoy being pals. The other 25%…well, it’s not a warm & fuzzy. I try to be fair and keep things civil between, but sometimes I just have to let it play out a bit. I have a sneaking suspicion brotherly love is a bit more painful than sisterly love. Not sure. Just guessing.