I work at a school that currently only has kindergarten and first grade students. Little people love to hug so trust me when I tell you kids are hugging each other and staff all day long. I try to avoid this love fest for a myriad of reasons, but mostly because I know how suspect my own kid is when it comes to his germ management skills. Add over 90 suspect five and six year olds and you’ve got a recipe for a stew that I have no intention of eating. That’s why the other day when a cute little kid decided to hug me it was quickly photographed (sorry, can’t post the photo) and emailed to colleagues with the caption “I don’t do hugs, kid,” which is what I said over and over again only to garner a tighter grip.
When I got home from work I showed the wife and kid the photo. My wife laughed because she knows how I am (no touchy please), however Dev was a little more circumspect. His expression said “um, who the hell is this hugging my dad?” He tried to muster a smile but he was clearly not amused. His mother asked him if he hugs daddy. He replied “I give daddy bro hugs and you get regular hugs.” Then he asked me if I do regular hugs too.
At that moment I realized that kids have short memories just like the rest of us. After Dev started kindergarten he decided that it was uncool to call me Daddy in front of his friend, or give me hugs. For months he would only give me high-fives at school and at home – even at bedtime. Then earlier this year I introduced him to the manly bro-hug. You know the one, it’s like a handshake/hug combo. He seemed to like that as an alternative so that’s what we do now. But the fact that he forgot that he was the one who decided to nix hugs is typical six-year-old. At this point it is pure jealousy that has made him ponder the rationale behind his decision.
There is no indication thus far that he will be reverting back to standard hugs. He still seems content with bro-hugging daddy, and that’s fine with me. However, I do wonder if a few more strategic photos of random kids hugging the finance guy, aka Daddy, will sway him. [Insert wicked laugh here.]