I have often wondered what life for dads of small children must have been like back before the invention of fire, before humanity had a sense of personal hygiene and children were birthed to either hunt or gather. I imagine those were the days when you could name them by their intended chore, and even eat the weakest to ensure the survival of the pack. Like, around the 1950s or something.
Thinking about it makes me wonder how evolution must have wired parents over the generations. For example, why do mothers and fathers often find themselves wagging their index finger while scolding their children? Is it because whipping one’s kids was once a more acceptable practice and the wagging of the finger is a mimic of a behavior that’s engrained in us?
This got me wondering why parents do a lot of what they do. Like…constantly talk about our young child’s poop? (Don’t deny it)
Then came another musing, one that really peaked my interest: was there ever a natural birth control, or did people just crank kids out like Irish bunnies?
And that’s when it hit me…my four-year-old’s toy truck. Right in the face. Immediately I jumped into the ritual of scolding him, index finger a’ waggin’, as if said finger was a magical wand that could either make him behave or turn him into a tap-dancing peacock or something cool like that…
…and that’s when I saw my half-brother play-wrestling with my two-year-old son.
There are a few things non-parents should know about play-wrestling with small children–especially boys:
- They have no fear. Whatsoever. Half of play-wrestling with small boys is making sure they don’t hurt themselves. That literally means catching them as they leap at you like a deranged human cannonball.
- They will show you no mercy. To them, you’re invincible, even when you remind them you’re not. I blame cartoons. For me, it was the Road Runner with Wiley Coyote. I find myself wishing to all things holy that one day that damn bird gets what’s coming to him. Point is, it’s important to establish play-wrestling ground rules with your kids because, let me tell you, not doing so is how Playstation 3 controllers get thrown into windows.
- There is an unstated law of physics every father should know. In play-wrestling, a small child will more often than not gravitate toward the father’s unmentionables, whether purposefully or by accident. If the dad is overtired from having to stay up late with his kids, or doesn’t have a free hand/arm to guard said unmentionables because he’s too preoccupied with all his other kids leaping at him like human cannon balls, then this is nature’s way of telling him he’s had enough children and that it will gladly take care of the problem for him if he doesn’t heed the warnings.
So far I’ve been able to heed the warnings and have avoided disaster…because I’m onto Mother Nature.
And Mother Nature is a bitch.