When I was pregnant with our first child, Dan and I went to one of those classes where they present you with the hard facts about childbirth and parenthood — one where they simultaneously comfort and terrify you.
My favorite part, the part that made me want to kiss our instructor Kiki on the face, occurred near the end of the session. She was talking about the postpartum woman's diminished sex drive when she looked at the men in the room and said, "Your wife's hormones will do some crazy things after she gives birth. Life will be stressful. She probably won't want you physically for the first six months, so if you get anything, you'd better kiss her feet and say thank you. She's really showing you her love."
Kiki was right. My body was different after childbirth and I craved sleep with more fervor than any other activity. Although my youngest child is now almost 2 years old, I've yet to re-achieve the level of warmth I possessed during the first few months of our married life. This has been an ongoing mystery for me that I came one step closer to solving this week.
Laylee and Magoo like to touch me. Often. Well...pretty much all the time.
They hang from my clothes, hug me around the legs, and when I sit down for a rest, they enjoy fighting over my lap. My body is their body and my privacy is their privacy.
The other day I ran into the bathroom to take care of some business. Laylee slipped in behind me as I closed the door and stood against the wall grinning at me.
Laylee: I just like to be with you.
Me: I like you too but I really want to be alone for a minute and use the potty.
Laylee: I know. I shut the door so Magoo couldn't get in with us so we could be alone.
Me: Erm... Thanks.
Sometimes when I'm quick enough to make a break for it, get in there and lock the door behind me, they bang on the door and stretch their fingers under it as far as they can. "Can you see my fingers now, Mom? How about now? I can see your feet."
I love to cuddle them and though I've never been a naturally physically affectionate person, I make a conscious effort to snuggle, hug, and caress them many times during the day. What drives me nuts is their desire to hang from my limbs while engaging in a monosyllabic whine ("Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh. Unh...") the moment I start doing anything that requires concentration.
One evening last week, my over-stimulated brain had reached its breaking point just as Dan pulled into the driveway, and I swore I would LOSE IT IF ONE MORE PERSON TOUCHED ME.
Enter my loving husband.
Dan came over, slipped his arm around my waist, and kissed me tenderly on the neck.
It took a moment to register that the scream was coming from my own mouth.
From the look on Dan's face, it wasn't exactly the reaction he was expecting either.
Then I asked him, "Do people ever touch you at work?"
"If they did, I'd report them to human resources," he laughed.
Since I spend most days being pushed, tugged, groped, and squeezed by my adorable coworkers, by the time Dan gets home what's left of my personal space can be found cowering somewhere behind my kidneys.
I'm sure there'll come a day when the kids are sick of touching me, or me touching them, when it will be embarrassing to be kissed by their mom in public, and I'll look back longingly on the days when they adored and needed me so much. Maybe I'll console myself with a hearty make-out session with my husband. I'm fairly sure Dan would be ready and willing to comfort me in any way I desired.