Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Touching Base

There was a time when I felt I was being "touched out".  Little sleep at night, nursing, carrying one baby in the sling while the two year old climbed my lap, vying for attention, had me a titch tapped.  My two year old had come upon the perfect solution to grabbing some mommy time, even if I was busy with his baby brother. He would sit or stand next to me and lay the palm of his hand on my cheek.  He would do this as I was sitting and talking to a friend, feeding his brother, or on the phone.  It was like his compromise stance that said, "I know I'm not the baby anymore but I need to know that you're here for me".

Both boys followed the developmental game of hide and seek when they were toddlers.  Basically, the game goes like this: Child runs away and plays/gets into trouble/wanders the house and then runs back after about 20-30 minutes, to make sure that you are still where they left you.  They want to be a "big kid" and separate from us but when they do it gets a little scary. They need to check in and confirm that we're still with them even when they can't see us.

The little boys are gone and young men are emerging in their place.  A new, revised version of the hide and seek game has also emerged.  It's 10x more important for my teen guys to learn how to be independent and they have all kinds of things where they need to be assertive and distinguish themselves as their own person.  Just like the original version of hide and seek though, every once in awhile they have to pop back in and make sure that we're still there for them.  The twist on the game is that sometimes we have to be the ones to figure out that they want us to come seeking. 

Now it's us as the parents, negotiating a cool way to check in with our teens and remind them that we are here for them. My young men  aren't sure what a kiss goodnight or a hug from their mom and (God forbid) dad will mean for their manhood.  We don't have a long bedtime routine anymore where we read books and talk about the day.  Instead we are in the process of discovering new compromise moves that allow us to touch base.  My husband has this very long and complicated fist bump sequence that has replaced any hugs or kisses.  I will frequently use goofy voices and surprise bear hugs to get a little love from my youngest.  Tender and caring gestures traded out for rough housing and slapstick.  When they were little and I felt completely touched out, I always knew that a little hand on my cheek could calm the fears and anxieties.  Now, I have to remind myself that just when they seem to want TLC the least, is when I should sneak up from the left flank and give a big squeeze.


  1. I remember him doing the cheek thing - it was so "touching". I miss those days and wish I could have spent more time with them when they were small.

  2. You are such an amazing mom and all around person. I am lucky to know you, and I look forward to following your blog.