My dad wasn’t exactly the rough-housing type. I don’t have memories of wrestling with my dad or anything like that when I was a kid – certainly, my sibs and I did all kinds of things with/against each other, growing up, but nothing like that happened with my dad. (That’s neither bad nor good, for the record. 😉 )
On the other hand, I tend to play a lot of physical games with the Monster and R. Wrestling, tickling, tackling, things like that.
Some of it probably does present the Monster with mixed-messages – we tell him not to squeeze other people (mostly since he’s inclined to use his fingernails and leave marks), but he gets squeezed on a regular basis. But on the other hand, he also seems to like the sensory input of it all – the tickles, the tosses into the air, the getting pinned down or dragged across the floor…
And what does grab me now and again is how quickly he can pick up the ‘rules’ of the ‘game’ from watching either me or R. This morning was a great example – R was insisting on ‘uppy-down’ (upside-down), which I wasn’t really in a mood to do. So I was grabbing him under his arms and dragging him a couple of feet to drop him (gently) onto the pile of winter coats by the couch, all of this accompanied by sound effects. After a few trips, most of which were accompanied by R making clear that this was not an acceptable substitute for uppy-down, I paused to chat with my wife, who was still in the kitchen… and then there was a sound behind me.
The Monster had moved to where R had been approximately, and was bouncing up and down in place while making the same sound effect, holding his arms out so he could get dragged over and dropped.
He does the same thing with ‘tag’ games at school or synagogue, or with some other more complicated game activities, or with some simple video games. I’d probably be game to see if he could sit through something more complicated, if I could find something on the appropriate level, but that’s the biggest challenge (finding something).
It’s hardly baseball or whatnot, but he certainly synthesized the rules of the activity well enough. Now if we could apply that to his reading or something useful…