As you may have guessed, Robbie does not have any tolerance for cuddling. He’s down for kisses because they are quick and he can be on his way. I also thinks he gets a kick out of how kisses sound. But hugs? Forget about it. They require actually stopping what he is doing. He can kiss and walk, which is acceptable.
I, on the other hand, have always dreamed of having a baby (err… little boy) who loved to give hugs and cuddle. So, being a mom who likes to conform others to fit her expectations, I have begun training Robbie to cuddle with me. How? (I know you’re out there! The other moms with kids who don’t want to give hugs) Easy. I made it a game that involves rapid movement, one of Robbie’s favorite things.
I started a few days ago hugging him close to me, saying “Be a cuddle baby!”, and swinging from side to side so his legs bounced around. There are a few key things here. First, it was important to hold him close the way I always pictured my little boy hugging me (you guessed it: head on my shoulder). This way, he knows what to do when I say the trigger word (can you tell I’m the one who trained the dog?). This leads me to the next point: you need to have a name for the game. For us, it’s “Cuddle Baby”. This lets Robbie know what he should do when you say that word. Kind of like he’s figured out how to bow when Zhining says, “Thank you” in Chinese. And, finally, I swing him from side to side because he thinks it’s hilarious. That way we both get something fun out of the experience.
Is it possible that this actually works? Yes. Well, most of the time. There are times when Robbie is too busy to even think about Cuddle Baby. But then there are the times that he thinks it’s fun, and I love that he leaves his head on my shoulder for a few extra seconds after we finish playing. Soon enough, he’ll be crawling into my lap to cuddle while we read books together… Right?