Nathan is an affectionate boy, a very affectionate boy. He is quickly identified as "The Hugger" amongst his peers, and if one of his peers has a baby sibling, there is no stopping him, he really loves up the little ones. Some of the time it's sweet, more of the time it's inappropriate and it's a tough situation to parent. Nathan's behavior is not overtly hurting anyone, he wants to hug too long, kiss, hold hands and stroke soft skin--if I don't squash it all out of him first, it could be a great thing in his life someday.
I can't tell you the number of times parents of the other kids will tell Nate or me, "oh it's okay", after I've directed him to unhand their child. It's annoying on several levels. Are we, particularly as women, so programmed to politeness that we condone and even encourage inappropriate behavior towards our daughters? Even when our daughters are clearly uncomfortable? Isn't this the time we teach them to trust their instincts, to respect themselves and demand that others do as well? One mom even told her spitfire smidge of a daughter to stop being rude when the child refused his advances for a hug. I could have cried, not only was it not serving what I was trying to teach, but what about her daughter? Her body and affections were not her own to share as she saw fit? If we don't teach it now, when exactly should we start?
There are a few little girls and one or two moms that support our cause in teaching Nate to "hug and release" as Mrs L used to say. It may just be Jarrah that gets through to him someday. She certainly has affection to share, but when she's had enough, she's had enough and she let's it be known yet holds no grudges.
Whew, that was a tangent...So I've been encouraging Nate to use words or other gestures to show affection. Trust me, the high-five idea is no where near gettin' it for him, but I think he's trying out a line or two on me lately. I've been hearing a lot of "Mommy, you're so cute", and lots of extra I love yous. Tonight after he got out of the bathtub I was drying his hair. He laid several smooches on me, sighed and told me he wanted to marry someone. I responded "Oh yeah, do you have someone in mind already?"
"No, but whoever they are, they can't like pickles."
"No pickles? Why not?"
"Cause I don't like pickle breath, no pickles and no pickle breath."
Well, men too, must have their boundaries it seems.
(Perhaps I should become 'snack mom' and distribute pickles to all of the girls in his class...that might teach him...)