Monday, September 12, 2011

Gratuitous Hugger

Just after Sabine turned two, she started approaching and hugging random strangers. Constantly. And wherever we go.

At first, it was mostly women (she's hugely fearful of grown men) with children or babies. I thought maybe she'd just decided that all mommas deserved her love and affection. But then she also started hugging ladies sitting alone on benches. Did they have food or a drink that she was trying to trade for friendliness? Sometimes, but not always (in general, Sabine should always be wearing a shirt that reads, "Do NOT feed me.")

Previously, when Sabine would embrace a random stranger, say, once a month, I thought it was generously sweet. The recipient of said affection would always beam and smile like they'd won the lottery. And in a way, they had--a hug and a smile from a temperamental toddler whose diaper you don't have to change; whose mouth you don't have to feed; or whose tantrum you don't have to survive--who doesn't just want the sweet stuff?

But now, the fact that Sabine is not at all discriminatory makes me insane. Neither I nor Kadin like hugging people other than very close friends or family. We don't love the kiss-on-the-cheek greeting either (I remember living in New York, where so many people would present you with the double kiss--one on either cheek). And I'd much rather have a thoughtful conversation than meaningless small talk. So how in god's name did we, of all people, end up with a child who showers perfect strangers with affection? I want to tell her that that stuff is special. You dole it out carefully to people who deserve it; people you trust and have grown to love--not every weirdo walking down the street.

Sabine and I need to have a talk. I don't plan on crushing her spirit or anything. I mean, I want her to be who she is and as loving as she's inspired to be. But seriously, not everyone is as nice as she apparently thinks they are. And I cannot trust random strangers with my little over sharer even if she feels like getting her love on all over the place.

Presently, we like to close the blinds; hang out in our pajamas for too long; not invite people over; and give but only a quick wave to the neighbors before closing the door behind us. I'm starting to see a future with the blinds up, lots of knocks on the front door, playdates and far too much socializing for our tastes. Sabine's touchy-feel-y quality combined with her must-have-everything-organized-and-in-its-place propensity is really throwing us for a loop. It would be SO much easier to have a doubtful, messy, unregimented child who was just like us.


Alice B. said...

Totally hilarious.

Cathy said...

Mine is the complete opposite. She's exhaustingly skiddish. I guess the grass is always greener!

Zoe said...

This post is so so funny. I died laughing. I'm not a big hugger either unless I really know the person :)


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