Oh, my goodness gracious does Jimmy love cheeks--primarily mine. This was cute for a little while, but no more! It began as a bedtime ritual when I would put him to sleep at night. He just wanted to hold my face with his two cute little hands while he fell asleep. Innocent enough until he slowly started rubbing them. I don't normally freak out when someone touches my face, but I just couldn't handle this. It started to feel like nails on a chalk board to me. I would ask him to stop and then he would whine and suddenly what used to be a nice way to fall asleep became a battle between the two of us that only proceeded in keeping him awake much longer. Then it got worse. He discovered that I have ever so lovely moles on my face (I told him they were freckles). Every night we still battle over not touching "Mommy's freckles." I even had to tell a little white lie that it really hurts every time he touched them. I look at this as something that could be true in the future so therefore is not completely dishonest. I mean at the rate he would like to be rubbing them, they would surely fall off in no time. Now I tell him that he makes me sad for not listening to me which has sort of helped, but not completely. I think threatening time out has been more useful. Also, if I start touching his face he seems to cool it for a little while because he temporarily realizes how annoying it is. Honestly I don't think he is trying to be naughty; he just can't help himself. When he tries to sneak one past me (which is often enough) he either says "I wasn't doing it!" (LIES!) or "Mama, its okay."--by which he means that I should in fact allow him to do it because as he says, "I just love to touch your freckles so much." The worst is when he starts to rub my cheek and I give him a preemptive, "Don't touch my freckles!" and he says to me in such a sweet little innocent voice, "I was just giving you a little bit of love.".... then I sigh and let those little hands hold my face.
I don't know how normal this is for kids to get fixated on such things, but at least I know he is not the only one in the family. His cousin Jack can't look at a baby or small child without rubbing their cheeks and if you ask Jimmy who loves to grab his cheeks he will answer, "Uncle Pete." Surely, they all do this out of love right? This is what Jimmy tells me at least: "Mama, I love you because you have soft cheeks." I hope that is not the only reason he loves me especially since I am not the only one (I am just the lucky one who puts him to sleep at night). I have also frequently heard, "I love Lulu because she has soft cheeks." I guess I can attribute Zach's beard to playing a role in Jimmy only wanting me to put him to bed at night. According to Jimmy, Daddy only has one soft spot and it is at the very top of his cheek below his right eye--not a suitable replacement for softies. Sorry if this story is getting a little long and out of control because at this point, I am sure I am just rambling to myself. If you are still reading this, then maybe you can relate in some way or at very least you enjoy the ranting of a crazy person. I don't know why I really feel the need to share this on my blog seeing as it is not something I am likely to ever forget, but maybe this way Jimmy can read about it someday and take pleasure in the grief he brought me.
PS- Any expert parents out there that want to offer some related advice since I am definitely lacking on the expert part? How the heck to you teach your kids to sleep by themselves once they have spent almost three years doing it with you next to them? At this point we are way past the "cry it out" stage and he usually thinks he is being punished when we try to leave. I try the tricks like going to the bathroom or going to get water or changing the laundry, but my kid is pretty smart and isn't easily fooled. Once I have been gone for too long I am usually summoned back with protests about what I was doing. The battle just never seems worth fighting because I want bedtime to be a happy experience. Unfortunately, he also takes forever to fall asleep so these tricks have much less chance of working. They only do when he is already exhausted from skipping a nap and I am not ready to cut out nap time just yet. I just hope now that we will be able to play outside more often he will be more exhausted at the end of the day. I am going to start making him run in circles or something. I keep warning him that things are going to change once he has a new little brother or sister, but I see myself spending a lot of evenings nursing the baby in the rocker in his room while I wait patiently for both of them to sleep. Well, I guess this is my life and it ain't so bad, but Jimmy sleeping by himself would be such a blessing. At least he is finally potty trained.