Thursday, 13 September 2012

The getting of attention and affection, by whatever means possible. .

Mostly, they love each other.
Kids demand affection. Tactile, constant, touchy, feely attention.  The ways they demand attention and affection are not always lovely, or gentle.  But they all stem from the same need to be noticed and important.  And of course, in my distracted day, they sometimes slip off my radar for, maybe a nanosecond.  Here are eight inventive and time honoured ways the Christensen kids and possibly kids everywhere, wangle their parents attention.

The lean in- this occurs when you are talking to another adult at the shops, school or the rugby field.  It is a (mostly) charming habit where they just come up and gently lean on you while you chat.  If this was all they did, it would be divine.  But at times they seem to think you might want to hold them up too, as well as yourself.  This is unfeasible.

The totem pole - a less favourable version of the lean in.  It is more violent, usually requiring you to hold on to them, preferably turn them upside down while still continuing your interaction.  Often the other adult has a similar sized person requiring the same attention.  If they are kinder than you and allow themselves to be treated as a human climbing frame you feel bad if you don't at least make a token effort.  Kids are expert at exploiting this guilt.

The couch cuddle-  If you sit on the couch, for more than say...thirty seconds, someone will come and sit on you or beside you.  They will steal your throw rug, they will move you over so they can be most comfortable.  If you have one child on either side, the third one will turn up within seconds and carry on like a pork chop and eventually sit on my lap, dislodging my book, meal or computer. (Because I should have been paying attention to them in the first place.)

The screaming arm pull- occurs most often in the supermarket, or sometimes at school if the post drop off chatting has gone on too long.  Brace both feet on the ground, grab the nearest hand and pull.  Screaming at the same time enhances effectiveness. It also guarantees punishment, but it would seem achieving the goal of parent removal from the scene makes any punishment worthwhile.

The one, two, three- every time any child in the universe (usually under 6) achieves the holy grail of holding a hand of each parent (or a parent and another random adult will do) the one, two, three and swing in the air is requested.  The key is to agree but negotiate stopping after 4 or 5 or your arms fall off.

The parent infiltrator- whenever foolish parents think they might have a bit of a cuddle, just them.  Just a cuddle.  Children have very high sensitivity to a cuddle they're not a part of and will come in low and enter the cuddle at knee level, worming their way in and then looking up at you both as endearingly as possible.  This has a 100% success rate and can be a canny move after they have just been in trouble for something heinous.

The morning cuddle- before any type of functioning is possible everyone needs a cuddle. If I am still in bed they will come in with me, if I am up, they will find me and cling on, usually until I sit down and take them on my lap properly.  Except, sadly, Sarah is now more of a stand up cuddler unless injured or particularly upset.  She, who used to fit in a crook of my arm.  (wail, gnash, sigh).  The morning cuddle must occur or the day simply does not start correctly.

The hand hold- I love this one, when, on the way to school or at the shops, a little hand slips into mine.  I love that neither of my big kids are yet self conscious about hand holding and kissing/hugging goodbye in front of their friends.  Yet.  Issy, in her rightful position as baby, does monopolise one of them so the other two have to work it out.  I just wish I had three hands.

One of the cutest hand holds I've ever seen.

The injury cuddle-  Once you've heard the bang or the crash, and you have started running towards the sound, you have about 10 seconds before the screaming starts.  This is because they need time to take in enough breath to really scream out a good one.  The screaming is important because a. it means they are still alive and b. if you haven't yet found them, you can tell who it is and can adjust for the type of weight you're about to lift.  I am a cuddle first and ask questions later person which means I have often lifted their head up off my shoulder to find it covered in blood (nosebleed, cut over eye), or by the time I work out where the egg on the head is, it's already sticking out a mile.  (Note to self: stop via freezer just in case).  This cuddle needs to last as long as the injured person needs it.  Which can be tricky if the dinner or the iron is on (yeah, like the iron would be on at my house).  And also at our house, there is often a post injury lolly.  Often the siblings get a lolly too.   It's an ill wind and all.

A plethora of cuddles and attention seeking behaviours.  Practiced daily by our little heart stealing progeny.  All power to them I say.