Yesterday, Caden walked over to Brooklyn, who was playing contentedly on the floor, took his hand, and flat out smacked her, open-palmed, square on the forehead.
He stood there a moment. She sat there, looking up at him.
Then they both started giggling.
Because, of course, it was hilarious.
Just this morning I was holding Nolan. Brooklyn came over and took his little face in both her hands, very gently, and gave him a kiss on the nose. And then, still holding his face, began to head-butt him. They were fairly gentle head-butts. But head-butts nonetheless.
She thought it was funny.
Nolan, not so much.
Often I find Caden and Brooklyn using the mallet for their drum, or the wooden spoon from their kitchen, or even a book, and smack each other over the head with it. Or push over a tower that they've just built on top of their sibling, and giggle as it collapses on top of them.
It's become a sort of game, really, between Caden and Brooklyn, of running and tackling, pushing and pulling, bumping, tugging, falling, and hitting. And they think it's just hysterical (until...it's not).
They're actually very polite about it all, taking turns doing the tackling. "Caden!" Brooklyn will say, pointing to the spot she was standing before he came over knocked her to the ground. And Caden will dutifully go over to the spot she's indicating, where it's his turn to be the one tackled. Sometimes Brooklyn even apologizes, a quick, "Saw-ee Caden!", not that it stops her from doing it again. And again. And again.
They don't do this with other kids (thankfully). Only to each other. I would be incredibly surprised, in fact, to see them tackle or push one of their little playmates. But our house frequently has a two-player version of some type of tackle-fall-and-giggle-tag going on, with hard floors, wall corners, head bumps and all. I usually let them go at it, (unless Nolan is involved, though he should be able to hold his own here pretty quick if he's going to survive in this family #thirdchild), since their uncontrollable laughter clearly indicates that they have so much fun with each other in these scuffles. We have our very own toddler version of wrestle-mania going on.
It reminds me of nothing so much as a wolf pack. Of wolf pups, fighting and nipping at one another as part of their play.
I just want to know...WHOSE CHILDREN ARE THESE?!? Where does this all COME from? Rest assured, I do not spend my days smacking, head-butting, or tackling any of them. I feel like I can answer the age-old anthropological debate of "is violence learned or innate" by presenting my children as Exhibits A and B. (Answer: INNNAAAATTE.) (Okay, at least to an extent.) There's no "boys will be boys" type thing going on here, either, since Brooklyn instigates JUST as much as Caden does. It's more like "two-year olds will be two-year olds".
At least they think it's funny.
I'll just keep out of my wolf pack's way.