Fight rules

My son has had the rare privilege of having a friend over for the past several days. The other boy is about two years older than my toddler, so there was a significant size and weight difference between the two. Nonetheless, they got along very well, having a grand old time spotting trucks, playing cars, and making monster noises.

As is all but inevitable when two boys get together, a wrestling match ensued on their last full day together. There was raucous cheering coming out of both of them as they managed to flex, wriggle, bend, and slam each other around the couch. Surprisingly, my little tyke held his own quite well against his much larger opponent. It’s not always about size. A lot of heart seems to go a long way.

The other boy’s mother moved in to keep things from getting out of hand, and I walked closer to offer some backup. The two were still having fun and seemed to be giving each other turns at winning, so it was all fun and games.

The only problem is that as my boy’s level of excitement rises, his gnashing chompers tend to become much more readily used for inflicting pain rather than beaming a toothy grin to onlookers. This was one of those cases. In almost surreal slow motion, he clambered onto the other boy’s back, reared his head high and chomped down. Hard. It was something like a primeval predator going in for the kill. A heart wrenching screech later, and we had disentangled the two gladiators. The older boy cried for a bit, but within moments, turned around and went back to my son, ready for round two.

My son had gotten a time out for the tooth-play that had truly seemed to be one of the most painful events in his life. When liberated from his penance, he walked over to the other boy and gave him a huge hug. “Pah-don (sorry)” he offered in the soft voice that only a toddler who is deeply grieving can produce. He was truly pained by the fact that he had hurt his friend.

The older child offered this simple direction: “You can fight, but you can’t bite.”

Very poetic words from someone under the age of five.

Instead, my boy let himself get distracted by the snack on the table, and both set themselves upon the task of munching the goodies in deep companionship. Their battle was left behind.

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