Touch (Part II)

By Published On: April 17th, 2013

My wife and I are not very touchy-feely people. In […]

041913dev-featureMy wife and I are not very touchy-feely people. In fact, we would definitely fall within the spectrum of the under-affectionate, though we are trying. Especially with our kids.
HP is making it easy right now. She also went wild the first time Bub and I started buzz-ing around like bees, the first time he gave her a high five in the Pack n’ Play. Her own sneezes are hilarious. Running her hands over my stubbly cheeks still nets me a nice belly laugh.
But it’s not just a case of her having no choice, she actually wants nothing more in the world than to touch and, even more so, to be touched. Just sit close enough to her, and she’ll be reaching for you with curious, gentle paws. She spent a good five minutes exploring my dad’s beard last week, which made for one happy Boompa.
She loves to be held, to be worn, to be against you. That’s a good feeling. And she is full-on Mommy-crushing right now, which is making for one happily attached Mommy.
She does not like to be alone. Several nights she’s reminded us of this, and we’ve brought her into the bed with us, exhausted, bleary-eyed and mumbling. But it’s impossible to be upset; she genuinely likes to snuggle.
Bub was never that way. He wasn’t averse to being held, certainly, but he didn’t crave it the way HP does. We brought him into our bed a couple times and he was more confused than comforted.
And I wonder how much of it had to do with spending the first month of his life in the NIC Unit. Hardly seems fair; the first night home from the hospital, HP slept on my chest on the couch (I know, that’s totally not recommended).
As he moved into his toddler years, and could avoid being bear-hugged against his will, things changed. Though certainly no revelation, we learned with Bub that kids want what they see. I’d ask him for a hug, he’d say no. Then I’d ask Mommy for a hug and suddenly somebody was clamoring for one.
Still, it was kind of forced, parental manipulation, mostly from me. He didn’t really want to do it, wasn’t really enjoying them, and we didn’t need pity hugs, did we? So we backed off. And lo and behold, now he genuinely enjoys hugs, gets excited about them. He runs over to throw his arms around Mommy after work. As soon as he gets up from his nap, he plants a big one on me. And I know he means it, which makes it that much more special.