Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I'm a Taker of Hugs, Not a Receiver

"Analisse, can I have a hug?"

"No, Daddy!"

My three year old giggles and runs up the stairs, preferring to go to bed without hugging me. I should be crushed, but I know why - Analisse is a very independent little girl and when I have, in the past, asked her for a hug, followed by a "NO!" from her, I would walk over, sweep her off her feet, hold her tight and then chew on her cheeks with my lips. Sometimes, I would tip her upside down, holding her by the feet, and rub my whiskers on the bottom of her soles.

"I'm a great dad!," I would think. Sure, half the time, The Freak would giggle and scream with laughter, but the other half, she would squirm and try to get away.  As she grew older, the giggling became less and the squirming more frequent.

A few days ago, I decided that I loved my daughter very much, something I had already known, but I wanted to manifest this love for her in a different way. I wanted to acknowledge that she would rather give me a hug out of her own volition, rather than me taking it when I wanted it. 

You might think I am making a statement for all children, but you would be incorrect. Ani displays a fiery version of independence, ten times stronger than any other of my children, who love me grabbing them if they happen to say no. They'll even join in on the fun, pushing me over and climbing on my back, pulling my hair, or poking their their thumbs into my eyeballs and running away with my glasses, calling on Mommy to give my injured self a wedgie. 

Ani is different. And, as a parent of her, I decided that I wanted to enjoy that difference by asking her for a hug.

So, for the last three days, I have been doing just that.

"Ani! Can I have a hug!?"


She runs away...

"Just a little hug?"


"A teensy weensy little itty bitty hug? Pleeeeease?"

"No. Give Jackie hug!"

Jack is our 4-year-old. He comes running over and gives me a hug. Analisee giggles as she watches over her shoulder. I let Jack go and then turn away.

"Ani, I'll never give you a hug again until you want me to," I said a few times after beginning this.

"No. Not want a hug," she said, giggling.

This dance has continued for three days now. I have received a hug here and there, but she is still very skeptical. She always wants Jackie to go first.

I may never win her back, but I want my daughter to love me for learning to love who she is. 


  1. I LOVE this post. I have to admit I cringed a little when I saw the title, and reading how you are allowing her to develop her own autonomy and boundaries just makes me smile. Thanks for sharing. :)