G has always been a tough nut to crack. From the time she was born, she has never been as affectionate as her big brother.
As a baby, L was a roly poly Buddha who loved to be held, cuddled, tickled and kissed. By everyone pretty much, but he’s always been especially snuggly with his parents and grandparents. Even to this day, if Grandma or Grandpa walk into the room, he’ll go over and give them a quick hug and peck on the cheek. And if Ian or I happen to steal a hug or kiss when we're picking him up from a friend's after a playdate, he doesn't really mind. He will even still sit on my knee occasionally when we're reading, all 60 pounds of him, just so he can be close and snuggle.
Not so the little one. I never thought I would ever use this word to describe a baby, but “stoic” seemed appropriate, even as a newborn. Unlike her little cousins, who've been cooing and smiling away at their parents since they were about two months old, I don't think G cracked her first smile until she was over the age of 4 months. She used to cry whenever she saw my parents; she's still not particularly warm to them unless we prime her; once she warms up to them (takes about 20 minutes or so) she loosens up, chats away, but will rarely allow a hug. A squirmy wormy she is. We don't know what it is. Sometimes when I sneak a kiss, she wipes it away with her hand and races away from me as if she's been kissed by the devil. Her own mother.
At bedtime, which is Daddy time for both kids, she'll sit through a couple of bedtime stories, tolerate her daddy's kiss as he tucks her in, and then whisper in her tiny voice "Daddy, go away."
We've just been so used to that from her. She will get cuddly when she's tired, or if she's hurt. During those occasions she'll take all the TLC she can get. And she also seems to have a soft spot for her big brother. He must have a magical touch with her, as she has a reserve of spontaneous hugs for him and him alone.
G CAN be affectionate. She's fiercely independent and so proud of what she can do on her own. Like everything else with her, it just has to be on her terms. She needs her space and she'll be very clear about if and when you can invade it. Her father and I just keep up with our attempts as per usual, with both the kids. We're not an exceptionally touchy-feely family, but we think it's important for them to know that such displays of affection are more than welcome in this household. Ian's a bit better at that than me, but then I am a Snake Mother.
So I could hardly believe it the other day, while we were getting ready for play school, when she decided to practice kisses on my cheek. She planted five sweet puckers on me, all in a row, just after I caught her from our daily wardrobe change/chase. Her little pixie face all flushed and smiling, I couldn't resist kissing her back as I pulled her up close to me.
She grabbed my face with her little hands, stared at me with her sparkling eyes and declared the following:
"I love your kisses, Mommy."
What a precious, magical mommy moment that was. I almost wept, but didn't, as I didn't want to have to explain why mommy was crying. Didn't want to confuse the girl. If only I could have captured that moment in time somehow, to experience being awash with love from the top of my head to the tingles in my toes in that nanosecond, and replay it over and over again.
I'm sure I'll have more of those "wow" times with my little girl as she grows, continues to amaze me and comes even more into her own. I just hope they won't be so few and far between.