Sunday, February 24, 2008

Erractic Cling

I am livid right now and it will seem so small you'll wonder why.

You see, Son is super affectionate. I know he was born this way. For as long as he's been able to control his movements, he has fallen asleep by clinging to someone. As a baby, he'd palm my face and drift off. Even if he moved, his hand didn't. I let him sleep with me until he was three. Not always recommended, I know, but he was mine and I liked watching him sleep. By the time he was three, though, Daughter had settled herself in for entrance into the world 8 months later so it was time to transition the first-born to his own bed.

He made the change faster than expected but his clinginess never changed. He had a pacifier early on but I tossed that thing by the time he was two. Nevertheless, the sucking habit sticks with him too and I know he's not even aware he does it. To this day, when he's in that baby mode and wants to cling to me, his lips spontaneously purse like he's sucking on something and he strokes my face or my arm or my hand. or my back. Now, I don't mind affection generally speaking, but after almost 8 years of this, it is wearing thin. I know this is him yet I roll my eyes ever time I see him sneaking up and I brace myself. Oh boy, free me already! And in case you're wondering, yes, he does this to Mr. T. also.

The problem for me, however, is he does this to just about anyone. Family members seem OK with it but we try to intercept before he wears out his welcome. I am always telling him to give people their space. I keep trying to explain to him that not everyone wants to be touched. Still, he does it. My big problem is he's forever hugging on his sister and kissing some part of her out of the blue like he does with us. I know he doesn't mean any harm but it's enough already.

I've told him repeatedly that he has to keep his hands to himself. I can't impress it upon him enough that this overzelous affection of his is going to land him in trouble one day and it would be unnecessary trouble. The wrong girl. The wrong place. Anything could be misconstrued.

"No one should ever have to say no or stop to you more than once, Son. Never."

He doesn't get it. I know he doesn't. It's not serious to him. It's meaningless the things I say. He keeps coming up out of the blue, hugging us and kissing us. I say quit it and he smiles like it's a challenge. I'll bet it just doesn't seem that big a deal yet, huh?

Well, really it's all about learning to respect other people's space. That's all I want from him. But how many times has Daughter come to tell me how he kissed her cheek yet again. Or he's hugging her and not letting her go. I've told him repeatedly to leave her alone. "She's your sister. Not your girlfriend. Stop touching her when she doesn't want to be touched." I have said this. I have snorted this. I have yelled this. But just about daily I have to say the same thing and I am beyond annoyed with it.

He sits in his room now while I calm down because I have had to scream it yet again. "I'm sorry," is all he can say to me but I'm still mad. "Why? Why can't you keep your hands to herself? Can't you understand that outside of here there are going to be people less tolerant of your unwillingness to listen and take no for no? Someone is going to hurt you one day. The wrong person and you could end up in jail, Son. Or worse, dead. What do I need to say to get you to see this?"

Yeah, I talk in extremes when I do this but for me it's the same as getting it through his head that he has to do well in school and he has to be the leader or stand alone but to be careful whom he follows. He doesn't understand it yet that he is a black male and that society is not yet there when it comes to not jumping to conclusions about him and his behavior. The last thing I want to hear down the road is that he was silly with the wrong person.

I don't know. Maybe I need to hug this out of him, huh? Maybe if I let him hug me all day likes he wants to, he can get this clinginess out of his system. Maybe he's just not getting enough affection from me. Maybe I'm blowing this up bigger than I need to. Yet, I don't think so. I think he needs to learn self-control. He'll be 8 soon and these things get less cute as time goes on.

I think I'm calm now so thank you for listening.

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