“Get off me, you mush gush!”
My Grandma Toni was forever saying that to my mother, who was forever attempting to cuddle with her. My mom is the cuddly type who shows love through physical touch. Lots of hugs, cuddles and neck nuzzles are a part of her package. Grandma Toni however, was not the cuddly type. She preferred to show love through words of affirmation and acts of hospitality. But having someone all over her physical person was not her jam. My mom never stopped trying though, mostly because she just couldn’t help herself. And my granny never stopped protesting.
I am like my grandma–I love deeply and fiercely but I do not like having people all over me. Which is challenging when you have kids, because they really don’t get the whole personal space thing. I genuinely get over stimulated after being with them all day for days on end because of the constant touching and noise.
But my friend Andi shared on her blog about a new technique she’s been trying with her littles called ‘hug time’. For the past 10 days she has gone out of her way to hug her kids every hour on the hour. No matter what she was doing, or if the kids were in the middle of a fit–if the alarm on her phone went off, she would hug her kids.
Her kids didn’t magically stop throwing fits, but she did notice a decrease in the amount of fits. She also said she felt less stressed and found it a little easier to mother.
Normally my reaction to something like that would be to roll my eyes because it’s just such a… hippie…idea. And that’s just not my personality. It totally suits Andi because she’s sunshine and rainbows and positivity all the time. She’s one of the happiest people that I know. Me on the other hand…I’m sarcastic to a fault and a bit rough around the edges. I suffer from a pretty severe case of resting bitch face and have been told by more than one friend that they were intimidated to approach me when we first met.
Basically, Andi is super sweet and kind and I’m a grumpy asshole.
But Arya (my 4 year old) and Laurelyn (my 2 year old) have been driving me crazy with their constant cat fights. Their personalities are very similar, which leaves them butting heads all the time. Eowyn (my 6 year old) brings some balance to the dynamic, but when she’s off at school, it’s Hunger Games status up in here. Like I’ve actually caught Arya laying a trap for Laurelyn. On more than one occasion.
I’m going so crazy from all the fighting that I actually didn’t completely dismiss this hug time idea when I first read it. Plus Andi is a very good friend of mine and an amazing mother, so I am always willing to take her advice. So I thought, ‘what the hell–I’ll give this hippie hug thing a try’.
So at 5 pm that night, I talk to my girls about it. Eowyn is exactly like my mom, so she was overly excited about this idea and immediately got on the hug train. Arya was a little skeptical, but gave me a hug after a moment’s hesitation. But Laurelyn straight up laughed at me as she told me ‘no’ and hid between the wall and the couch so I couldn’t get to her.
The little shit.
Oswyn allowed all the hugs, because she’s a baby and really has no choice in the matter.
Then Eowyn tried to hug Arya, and the happy train crashed into a brick wall. Arya freaked out and started running away from her sister, yelling, ‘NOOOOOOOOOO!’ at the top of her lungs. Eowyn is the persistent type though, and chased her sister around and around the living room, demanding a hug for hug time.
I left the girls to work it out to go give my husband a hug. I run into him on the stairs, because he was coming up to investigate the chaos happening upstairs. “What the hell is going on up there? It sounds like a herd of elephants are stampeding a pack of hyenas.”
“I’m trying to implement ‘hug time’”, I tell him.
He just looks at me with a ‘WTF is that’ look mixed with a ‘have you finally fallen off your rocker’ squinty eye.
As I’m explaining the hug time thing, Eowyn starts scream-crying and comes rushing down the stairs to find us. “ARYA PUNCHED ME IN THE THROAT!”
That’s when I lost all sense of control and started laughing so hard that I couldn’t even try to lecture Arya about how we don’t punch our sisters in the throat.
What can I say? We’re just not mush gush people. May the odds ever be in our favor.
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