I wrote some time back about how my oldest three children react completely inappropriately when they catch me and their dad snogging in the kitchen.
Sorry, I’ve been re-reading the sixth Harry Potter novel since the movie is coming out. Snogging isn’t nearly as dirty as it sounds.
Anyway, rather than rolling their eyes and loudly pronouncing the grossness of seeing their parents kissing, or becoming embarrassed beyond words and fleeing to the nether regions of the house, my girls act like nothing is going on and even talk to us.
“Hey mom, I was just checking my email and . . . oh . . . umm . . . I got this email from Jane that was sooooo funny! It had all these pictures of kittens and puppies and . . .” on and on it goes, despite the fact that we were just sucking face.
I have thought several times about the whole making out in the kitchen thing. Why is it always in the kitchen? There is much more comfortable furniture in the family room, after all. I can only attribute the Kitchen Kissing Phenomenon (which I witnessed numerous times myself as a child) (though I reacted much more appropriately and fled) to the fact that we tend to spend much of our time together in the kitchen. When he comes home from work I am generally in there figuring out what to fix for dinner while simultaneously trying not to eat a bag of chocolate chips, so he hangs out, tells me about his day, and helps out.
After dinner we go back into the kitchen (assuming we adjourned to the dining room to eat, which we sometimes do and sometimes don’t) to clean things up.
Then there is the fact that the laptop resides in the kitchen, and we all know it is a well documented fact that I spend eight to ten hours a day on the computer (even on days when I am only home for two hours out of 24) (don’t ask), so really? Chances are if the mood strikes for some spontaneous spit swapping, we are probably in the kitchen.
But why my girls don’t react appropriately, I will never know. My best guess is that, being sheltered by the homeschool bubble as they are, they haven’t yet made the leap of logic which leads to the conclusion of, “Oh, my word! What they are doing right now, in the kitchen, is somehow connected to what they did to bring me into being. GROSS!!!!!!”
Sidenote: The oldest two, at least, know all about how babies are made. They just don’t seem to be connecting the dots.
But this post isn’t actually about kitchen kissing. Nor is it about my girls.
This post takes place in our bedroom closet, which is actually off our bathroom. Really, people, it needed cleaned out. Badly. So we were sorting and pitching, and hanging and folding, and one thing led to another and the next thing I knew? One of us had the other pinned up against a dresser and (oh how I hope our parents are reading this) there may have been a bit of tonsil hockey going on. Okay, okay, so there was definitely a bit of tonsil hockey going on. But? We’re married after all. And? It never got past anything rated PG anyway (and if it did I really wouldn’t write about that!), and then I heard footsteps behind me, just outside our closet door.
“Dog or kid?” I whispered in my husband’s ear.
He looked over my shoulder and whispered back, “Tank Boy.”
So I unwrapped my arms from around his neck and turned around to smile at my son, who I found staring at us while unsuccessfully fighting back huge tears that dropped from his eyes straight to my bathroom floor.
“What’s wrong, buddy?” I asked
“Do you . . .” he sobbed. “Do you love Daddy more than me?”
I have no idea why Tank Boy came into our bedroom looking for us to begin with, and after seeing me and his dad kissing in the closet, neither did he.
It breaks my heart, the doubts he still harbors about how much I do or don’t love him. For a long time now he has been asking me if I love him more than . . . fill in the blank. He has asked me before if I love him or Daddy more, and I tell him I love them both as much. It is not uncommon now for him to ask me if I love him more than I love alligators or snakes. I think he likes to stick to the safe things, the things he knows won’t beat him in the love match.
But catching me kissing his dad in the closet brought up all his insecurities. So I scooped him up in my arms and cradled him like a baby as I sat on the edge of the bathtub to explain that I love them both, but in different ways. Really, how do you explain to a four-year-old why he only gets a quick peck from Mommy while Daddy gets, as Midge has called it in the past, a Dementor’s Kiss? I just don’t know for sure.
He seemed okay with the explanation that I love them in different ways, but does he really get it? I don’t think so. I am so, so concerned about Tank Boy and his sense of being loved, and I have been for a long time. Ever since he has been able to speak, it has been crystal clear to me that he associates love with stuff. If I go shopping and don’t come home with something just for him, he is crestfallen and asks if I love him.
A few days ago we went to a bookstore with McH’s (ex)step-father, who Tank Boy has met twice now (as have I and the rest of my children). Step Father told the kids they each had a ten dollar limit and could pick out whatever they wanted, as long as it was $10 or less. Upon hearing this, Tank Boy turned to him and very enthusiastically, very sincerely said, “I love you D~!” I wanted to crumple into a ball on the floor.
I am not saying he should not have some kind of grandson/grandfather relationship with the step-father. This is the man who, after all, raised my husband; was more of a father to my husband than his actual father was. But? The rest of us have only met him twice (long story). I don’t mind if my son loves him, but I don’t want him to think he loves this man because he buys the kids stuff.
How do you help a child realize that stuff does not equal love? I don’t know exactly. But I want to know. I really, really, want to know.
In the meantime, I now officially have four children who don’t react appropriately when they walk in on me and McH kissing.
And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt says hello.