My daughter, like most nearly 3-year olds, is trying to establish her independence. She wants to do many things herself and has an emotional melt-down if you try to intervene. Coupled with this is her assertion of needing space, which can also mean her not wanting too much affection. She has never been a super cuddly kid- it’s just not her bag- but she also has her sweet moments of wanting to be lifted up and held (thank goodness; except for my back… that part of me does not say thank goodness!). Admittedly, her assertion for space has been particularly hard on me since I already struggle with second fiddle self-pity as the non-gestational parent and badly want my daughter’s affection.
Recently my spouse made a genius discovery of how to glean more affection from our deliciously cute daughter who we want to do nothing but smother with kisses. It goes like this (don’t judge us ok?): we say, “OH NO! Don’t give me too many kisses! Don’t give me too many kisses!!!” and then proceed to act like fools covering our cheeks and saying, “AH!!! TOO MANY KISSES!!!” as she strikes a mischievous look and squeals with delight then holds one of our faces in her small hands and proceed to kiss us over and over again giggling. She gets this really intent look when she’s going in for the kisses and has my mug in her hands and it is so unbelievably adorable. I call it Trick Kisses.
Am I bad parent for tricking my child into giving me affection… for teaching her to do something when someone says no? Maybe a tiny bit. Still, I feel 95% certain that she gets that we’re being silly and can distinguish between when someone really says no and that needs to be respected. It feels mostly harmless and maybe it’s even all-around fine because she seems to be having a grand time with the whole game. I have to admit I like my Trick Kisses.