Hug me, damnit!

Hubby and I have three awesome kids, and I love each of them with all my heart.

We have a ‘baby’ boy. All of a sudden he is 15 months old but with so many helpers around he is yet to take a single unassisted step. When he can toddle without help from furniture or human hands, I will call him a toddler. Until then, he’s our baby. Nuzzling into his neck and taking a big milky sniff is one of my greatest pleasures. He is our little angel. Our Master Perfect.

We also have a six year old girl. She is our eldest, and a sensitive soul. Anxious to please, thoughtful, sweet, clever, and often away with the fairies. Actual fairies. She feels her emotions keenly, and I relate well to her because she reminds me of me. It’s easy – cuddles, games, listening, reading, talking, more cuddles. More, more, more.

And then we have our “middle child” who will turn three in less than a month. She is a little hurricane of energy. She is clever and independent and wilful and stubborn and very funny. She is also impossible to figure out.

At night when I try to talk with her about her day she rolls her eyes and tells me to start reading the story for goodness sake. I rub her back after lights out and she asks me to please leave. When she’s sick, I yearn for her to lie in my arms and fall asleep. Sometimes she does, and it’s bliss. But normally she just takes her medicine and sends me on my way. She likes to dance with me, but makes it very clear I am not allowed to sing along with the music.

In short, she quite regularly gives me the brush off.

On the odd occasions when she wakes up in the middle of the night screaming after a nightmare, or clings to my leg when I say goodbye at day care, or comes running to me in a blind rage at some injustice inflicted by her older sister, I always feel surprised and relieved. While I try to show concern, inside I am celebrating. Because I have proof: I am her Mum, and she needs me. No matter what she might think.

But then before I have finished savouring the feeling of her hot tears on my neck, she wriggles out of my arms and marches purposefully away…

Will she always be this elusive? I find myself hoping not, but I love her and I know I must embrace her exactly the way she is. Regardless, I do hope she will always cry hot tears on my neck whenever she is hurt or scared or lonely.

For now, I guess I will continue to rub her back and talk about her day until she tells me to hurry up and get on with the story. I will hide my hurt feelings, snuggle up close to her warm little body, and read “The Diggingest Dog” for the three hundredth time. And then I will rush to kiss her goodnight before she rolls over and asks me to leave…


16 thoughts on “Hug me, damnit!

  1. Like when you want to help put her clothes on and she says emphatically “I can do it” and so you leave her until she then says”I can’t do it” and you then feel needed because you can help her. What a crazy, funny little girl she is. As you say, so independent and feisty and totally lovable.

    • If I had your wisdom I would also let her figure out for herself that she can’t do it and then come and ask for help. Sounds so much more pleasant than attempting to dress her screaming, writhing, kicking, scratching little body. Note to self…

  2. I have one of those too. I put it down to a classic case of unrequited love and try not to get upset when he announces blithly that ‘No, it’s OK, I don’t want a kiss from Mummy tonight’. I describe him as emotionally independent. I try not to force him to kiss me goodnight and just figure that I have to be the grown up in the relationship and accept that it’s OK for me to love him more than he loves me. While also maintaining enough self-respect to not allow him to manipulate me into behaving like a weepy, mooning doormat. God help us when he’s a teenager!!

    • Thanks Em. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. Emotionally independent. Exactly. So if we’re required to be the grown ups in the relationship, is it wrong of me to withhold dessert unless she gives me a hug? Bugger…

  3. Thing is, they can only BE that independent when they know they’re stepping out from the securest of bases. So I reckon you’re doing something right 🙂

    • I like that thought. Basically – we give them the freedom and the security to be independent. Like that bird that you have to set free, and if it’s yours it will come back but if it doesn’t, it never was. Right?

  4. I’m sure there’s research out there about attachment disorders; and how actually the kids who are the most confident to go out there and explore are the ones who are the most securely attached. I may be making it up. I don’t think so though! x

  5. I have just read this post and heard myself saying, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” I reach to give her a cuddle and am rewarded with a “Get off me.” I try to help and am told that she will do it herself. (Although I am with Loving Nana on this one….I say “O.K.” and walk away and have to admit to a fair degree of satisfaction when she needs to come and ask for help.) I try not to think of it as elusive, just confident, independent and feisty and to be honest, they are qualities that I admire. When she really needs me she knows where I am and that she can have cuddles on tap. In the meantime, I can always get my cuddle fix from my “baby” boy.

  6. I know a very similar independent almost 3 year old who says to her Mummy “too much Mummy” when she gets hugs and kisses!

    I am enjoying your blog, thanks for sharing! xx

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