My son has been acting decidedly strange lately.
I should love it, right? I should spend all my time focusing on how he’s not always going to want to be right by my side whenever I am in the same building, or hug me 50 times a day. That’s no exaggeration. Literally 50 times. I know because I counted.
OK, I didn’t count. But I know it was a lot.
And I’m a hugger. I come from a family of huggers. Hugs are a way to tell someone you missed them, or you will miss them, or hey, your hair’s looking really good today.
Hugs really are a multi-functioning tool.
We had a rule growing up: Hugs and kisses whenever we want. And I vividly remember taking advantage of that so much that at one time my mom had to tell me that rule didn’t apply when she was trying to put a hot pot into the oven.
Well, son. That rule doesn’t apply when I am trying to go to the bathroom.
So this need for my son to be attached to me all day long is starting to wear me down. He whined when he saw me sit down to write this column and proceeded to jump on my bed, yelling, until he knocked over a lamp and I had to kick him out.
He frowned at me and gave me a look that said forcing him to leave my sight was tantamount to dropping him off in the middle of a desert with no water. And no way to get home. Alone.
I love you so much, kid. But give me some space. (He’s now back and just slightly quieter. Although there’s no jumping, so that’s something.)
My husband told me I should enjoy this, which is easy for him to say because he’s not the one who can’t leave the room without having a 4-year-old follow him around, holding onto his pocket so he doesn’t get too far away.
And there is a continuous refrain of “Mommy! Mommy! Hey, Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”
And if I don’t answer right away, it’s “Hey, Mommy! Why didn’t you answer me? I was talking to you! Hey, Mommy!”
Part of it could be his sister requires a lot of attention these days. She’s been sick for what seems like months, which brings with it challenges in the form of screaming fits because I didn’t let her pull her own chair out at the table.
She’s also in the middle of potty training, so she needs a lot of my energy and time and focus. I think my son is maybe just feeling a little left out. I think he needs a little more reassurance sometimes. A little more hugs. Fifty. Fifty hugs a day.
And I will try to enjoy it. I will.
But I would also like to be able to walk upstairs and get a pair of shoes without everyone in the house younger than 5 following me and asking, “What are you doing, Mommy?”
I’m hiding. Let me be.
*This column originally published in The News-Enterprise on February 27, 2013.