Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mother, how I (pretend) love you!

I have realized that the only way to get my four year-old daughter to show me affection is for her to enter the land of make believe. If we pretend that she’s someone else, preferably a princess, and I’m that someone else’s mother, she has no problem lavishing me with hugs and kisses and declarations of love.

“Oh Mother Gothel! Mother dear, how I love you! Mwah mwah mwah mwah!” Big show of kissing my cheeks and throwing her arms around my neck.

“Oh Rapunzel! How I love you, darling child!” Yes, I feel a little cheap, but a mama’s got to do what a mama’s got to do to make it through. Dignity is not a top priority for me anymore.

This wasn’t a problem with Primo. He’d show affection for his dear old Mama without incentives. But Seconda truly detests kisses and hugs, particularly from me. Its not that she doesn’t care for me or that she’s a cold-hearted child – far from it: these things just totally skeeve her. Every time I kiss her, she wipes it off with an irrepressible shudder of disgust, Sometimes, if she wants an ice cream or a treat or something, I can’t help but use her desperation to my advantage and ask her for a kiss or hug first. But then she looks so repulsed, I feel sorry for the girl and tell her it’s OK and give her the ice cream cone, In my desperate need for positive feedback, I don’t want to teach the kid to use kisses to get what she wants. Still and all, I did give birth to her and sometimes I want to cuddle the child. That’s when I pretend to be someone who the person she’s pretending to be loves.

“Mother! My daaaaarling little mother! You’re the best mother is the WHOLE WIDE WOOOORLD!”

I realize that she doesn’t really mean it, but it doesn’t matter. I’ll take it where I can get it: “Thank you! Oh thank you! Let’s never part, darling child!”

“Oh but Mother, I must! I must go! They are AFTER MEEEEEEE!”

And she’s off, fleeing across the playground from invisible pursuers. Still, she doesn’t forget her dear old Mother (the pretend one) and sporadically turns back, blooding frantic, passionate kisses through the air.

Primo watches this whole spectacle.

“You shouldn’t encourage her, Mommy,” he chastises me.

“I know,” I sign, “But I’m only human.”