Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Puppet master

Much to my mother’s chagrin, my favorite word as a toddler was “down.” I didn’t want to be held, didn’t want to be hugged. The latter still holds true, as one of my girlfriends found out as she tried to embrace me as she was leaving our house one day. Now in parting she simply says, “Consider yourself hugged.”

It wouldn’t have been inconceivable for Ladybug to inherit this trait. But, much to my joy, it skipped a generation. Everything these days is “huggies!” – when I’m washing dishes, making lunch or in the bathroom. Ladybug stands there, arms wide open, waiting for me to scoop her up. As I hold her against me, she kicks her legs in excitement, buries her head in my shoulder and rubs my back. She’s even taken up the practice with my husband, who we joke has been neglected by Ladybug lately (see A Little Bit of Favoritism below).

But as all things with toddlers go, there’s often a motive behind Ladybug’s affection, particularly when it comes to my husband. She never doles out hugs for the sake of hugs. She calls “huggies!” to him when she wants to be lifted over the safety gate on the deck to play in the yard. She’ll stand at his knees and stretch her arms up to him whenever he’s eating and she wants a bite. And all of a sudden, she can’t live without him when it’s time for bed.

It’s a start. I’m happy for my husband, even if Ladybug’s hugs come with strings attached.

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