Friday, August 29, 2008

Full Frontal Hug

One of the great pleasures of being a Dad to small children is being able to hug them. Both of my older boys are highly accustomed to Dad's Hug Economy around the house. There is the Stealth Hug, the Bear Hug, the Feel Better Hug, and numerous other variations.

Baby C, on the other hand, has never hugged me. He is dealing with some developmental anomalies that are probably causing some sensory integration issues that make my kind of hugging not so pleasant for him. It is also possible that my hugs are too unpredictable in their occurrence or intensity. Perhaps my voice or posture is not copacetic to his way of thinking. Whatever it is, its not working for him.

That's not to say he doesn't hug in his own way, though. He does.
When I want to have some time with C, or just let him know I'm interested in getting down to his physical level, I kneel and spread my arms out wide. This is a fairly universal gesture, I think. He will notice me, and cruise over to me. However, once he is approximately arm's length he will stop, rotate in place until his back is to me, and take tiny backwards steps until he backs into me. I, in keeping with the routine we have developed, will squeeze him by pressing his shoulders towards each other, will apply pressure to his crown, temples, and forehead, and will do some other deep pressure stuff and joint compressions as long as he will let me. Its not a typical hug, but C is not a typical kid.

Tonight, though, for the first time, I received a Full Frontal Hug! And once he decided it was okay, he grabbed on tight and we were able to hug for a good 12 or 15 seconds. Once I put him down, he motored right past me as if nothing had happened. But he and I both know that a small barrier has been broken. Next time I kneel down, he will have options. If he wants to back into me, then fine. But I'm ready for another Full Frontal Hug whenever he is.

And again I am reminded of one of the wonderful aspects of parenting. Its the little things - the things that no person outside the immediate dyad could ever know - that makes the parent/child relationship so special. Things like the Full Frontal Hug.


Do'C said...

"He will notice me, and cruise over to me. However, once he is approximately arm's length he will stop, rotate in place until his back is to me, and take tiny backwards steps until he backs into me."

My son does the exact same thing, to this day. At first, I thought it might be my breath (and it still could be), but now I just think he prefers a spoon posture.

Niksmom said...

Yes, another barrier crossed. Here's to many more on your journey together! Nik is still not a hugger; I (rightly or wrongly) attribute this too so much time spent in the hospital attache to stuff. Hugs simply weren't an option. To this day, though he will occasionally hug briefly, he wants me to hold his head in my hands; he's recently become quite fond of kisses though. Melts my heart every single time.

Bonnie D. said...

That's wonderful! What a great feeling!

Ms. Clark said...

Have you tried the autistic kiss with your kids?

mumkeepingsane said...

*sniff* That's the good stuff.

CS said...

My son started out with backwards hugs, moved to full frontal hugs, back to backwards, back to frontals. It just depends on how he feels that day.

When I saw the movie Snowcake with Sigourney Weaver, there is a seen where she smashes her cheek against her parent's cheek.

I had no idea other people did this but it is something I do with my son all the time and it was like "holy cow dung" when I saw that in the movie. I've always liked the deep pressure of the thing. We call it smooshing in my house.

Anonymous said...

Yay for the negotiating approach!

I'm almost sure it's better than a forced/captive feeling for the lil one. (Hugs used to creep me out a bit.)


Mom26children said...

Oh My Goodness,
I saw the title "Full Frontal Hug" and laughed very hard.
We have a friend who lives down the street. He is a computer programmer, married with a child...he has a hard time looking at you when he talks to you.
This man will give you the shirt off of his back....a true "good ol' boy", but for the life of him, he will not hug you "full frontal".
So we teased him...guess what?
Now, he approaches us and says, "Get ready, I am going full frontal"....Cheers me right up.