Swiftly Sophia

Tough enough

Raphael has finished the wrestling season. I persist in being unsure about the whole deal. He loves it, loves loves loves. The other day we were driving around somewhere, and we were listening to the Sesame Street CD that is the current soundtrack of our lives (the minute Sophia sees her car seat, she starts chirping "ELMO'S SONG? ELMO'S SONG?"), and a song came on out about having a face, and all its parts - you know, Sesame Street face song. One of the lines is something like "I have a chin, but what a chin does, I cannot tell."

From the back seat, Raphael said thoughtfully, "I know what a chin does. It hurts people." I was not driving, so I turned around to give him excuse me? eyes. "You know, in wrestling. You dig your chin - like this -" he pointed his chin aggressively at me, "- right into your opponent's back, and it hurts."

"No, honey," I said, "that's illegal."

"Actually," Clay said, "it's not. That's perfectly acceptable by wrestling rules."

"I didn't SAY ANYTHING about wrestling rules. I said THAT'S ILLEGAL. In MY WORLD."

They dropped it, but I saw them exchange a surreptitious look. They don't think I understand.

But I do, I understand. They are complicit in this quest to be stronger and tougher and dominant in a way that I simply would never encourage anyone to be. Especially not my own baby boy.

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Perhaps I should say especially not THIS baby boy, who takes to it with a bit more relish than is strictly comfortable to me.

But then again, this fierce little warrior child is not the only side of him there is. Another of Raphael's passions these days is origami. He spends hours fiddling with paper and presenting me with creations. The house is littered with them, but what are you supposed to do? Throw them away? There are boxes:

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and tables,

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and pteranodons and all other manner of dinosaurs (which are suprisingly difficult to photograph), and also, an absolute flurry of hearts and butterflies.

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Those are for me, of course, and if you look close at the pink one, you can see a message.

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It's moments like that that ease my heart. He may be tough, but he's not too tough.



Oh my heavens- what a great post.
My son only wrestled for one season- he's tough- REALLY tough- but not tough enough to go sticking his chin in someones back just for sport. I was like you on the fence. The coach was sorry to see him go. I'm ashamed to admit I was relieved!
I know you will treasure those origami love notes for ever!


He looks so round-cheeked and *little* in that photograph, even though I'm sure he thought he was looking tough. My ex-husband was a wrestler, and I've always been secretly glad that I only had girls so that I wouldn't have to watch a baby boy of mine on the mat.

One of my kids was an origami nut. I always thought it would be cool to string a grid of fishing line on her ceiling and then hang the origami objects down from that. Kind of like a room-sized mobile. Not that I ever got around to doing it.

Thanks for naming me your "favorite" a couple of posts ago. I was so surprised to see my name, I turned bashful and couldn't say anything. After I discovered your blog a couple of years ago, I went back and read it from the beginning. Your romance with Clay reads like a novel, and the story of his proposal is one of the best happy endings (or really, happy beginnings) I've ever seen.


What a dichotomy! I have girls, and I took care to teach them to be a bit tough, but this chin digging thing is another matter, isn't it? It is a very good question that I don't have an answer to. Do we as a society have a need for stronger, tougher, dominate men?

The One True josh

Elmo always sounds sarcastic in the middle of that song. "Nice face! Ha ha ha ha!"

What a jerk.

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