Saturday, February 5, 2011

Who Have You Touched Today?

From the day we first meet face to face with our little one, touch rules our relationship.  Small and frail and unable to move on their own, it is up to us to hold, lift, touch, carry.  Babies can actually experience failure to thrive if they aren't touched regularly by another human.  This human contact is so natural when they are little as we snuggle them close and do everything for them.

But what about when they grow older?  Babies turn to toddlers who run all around and barely have time to stop for a quick nurse before running off again.  And then they are small children and those moments of connection can begin to fade quickly.  This is the time to be intentional about this important act with your children.

My son is seven, long and lean and growing in independence daily.  Sometimes it is easy for me to see him as this separate unit, almost like another grown up in the house.  He also rarely approaches me for snuggles and touch, yet deep down he still needs them.  When I snuggle near to him, he is always welcoming and receptive, and my heart breaks a tiny bit because it is as if he has been waiting for me to reach out all along.

At the end of the day, I cannot wait for my husband to come home and give me a big hug.  It is in the forefront of my mind during those final hours without him.  Yet I have to admit that I have gone whole days without hugging my older kids.  Not for lack of love, just because it is easy to forget when they are so independent.  The littles demand my touch, crawling all over me, hugs and kisses.  The big kids are more restrained, but still need that physical touch just as much.

There are many ways to build up children - verbal praise, rewards, special time together.  Touch is in a category all its own.

Sometimes I think that my oldest is just watching me go through my day, dealing with the demands of the little ones, and just waiting for that invitation.

Yesterday, as he reads to me on the couch, I tentatively put an arm around his shoulder - and he dissolved into full scale snuggle mode.  Just waiting for his Mama.

Don't stop touching your babies - even when they are big.  Touch matters so much!

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the reminder! I find the exact same thing with my 7 yr old, and lately have also been making that pointed effort to give him random hugs to show him my appreciation of him. It makes a huge difference in our relationship. We connect more easily and understand each other better.


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