“I love you mom,” he says as he kisses me for the hundredth time today. Anyone who knows my son knows I’m not exaggerating. He dispenses kisses like it’s his job. Compulsively. All day. If he knows you and you mean enough to him, the rain of kisses will never end.
His brother hates it so much. He’s three years old and already has a mind of his own. I can’t tell you how many times a day I hear, “I no want kisses!” He wants freedom from the constant, compulsive kissing and hugging. He wants to run around the house unimpeded without fear of lip collision. As a three year old, he just wants to play. He likes rough-housing, burps, and swords. He has no time for kisses. No. He’s three. Nothing is allowed unless he suggests the idea first. If Squeaker wants a hug or a kiss, it may only happen if Big Guy suggests the interaction occurs first.
For a time, I tried to decrease the frequency of kisses by suggesting that we only kiss when we say goodnight or goodbye. Honestly, I had a difficult time sticking with this rule. I like to give my children hugs and kisses simply to tell them I love them. I just didn’t know any other way to make it concrete for Squeaker that kissing 10 times in a fifteen minute period was excessive. How do you tell your child that his kissing annoys his brother? I can’t do that. Sometimes, the kissing gets to intense for me. But, kissing and hugging is how he expresses love and happiness.
In the past two weeks, I’ve taken note of the joy on his face when I not only accept his kisses, but give him a kiss on the cheek in return. His happy noises, “I love yous,” and exuberant expression make the kisses well worth it. His brother still hates the kisses, but most of the time I can get him to focus his affection on me since I’m no longer trying to limit the kisses. As he gets older, he will need to learn when to stop, but he’s only seven years old. Perhaps at this stage in his life he’s a bit young for me to teach him when to limit his affection, especially when he’s only focusing his affection on people close to him. June has come with the realization that yes, my son is a compulsive kisser, but in the scheme of things, this amounts to nothing. If I put a positive spin on it, my son loves to show his affection…a lot. My three year old may hate it forever, but I can deal that.