I still remember the first time my daughter, Syona, gave me a kiss. She was six weeks old and I was holding her, when she put her open mouth on my cheek. We were lucky enough to have a camera handy and actually got a picture of it. (Who am I kidding? We’re first-time parents. We ALWAYS have a camera ready.) I’m pretty sure she was actually just hungry and looking for milk, but I count it as her first kiss, nonetheless.
Those early weeks with a newborn are tough. With Syona, they were especially so after a complicated start in the NICU. While we were so happy to have her at home with us, the lengthy feedings and consistent crying were taking a toll. To have her do something that was anything other than crying was a thrill. It made me feel that she finally knew who I was and that she had officially decided she loved me.
Her first kiss happened well before Syona was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. At the time we didn’t know that the spasticity in Syona’s muscles would make it difficult for her to close her arms to give us a hug. Or that a kiss would be the main way she could express her love for us (and in the process, get lots of praise for doing so).
Thankfully, I’m a big kisser, too. In our family, they are always on the cheek and doled out freely. I always kiss my mom and dad hello and goodbye, and to this day, my two adult-aged sisters beg me not to kiss them every time we greet each other. My husband wasn’t quite as touchy-feely when we met, but he’s become a lot more affectionate after our five years together.
Syona’s now 21 months and kisses have turned into a game. If someone is holding her and another person is close by, she’ll often take turns kissing one person, then the other. And the game doesn’t really stop until someone moves away. If she’s crying for no reason and I need to distract her, asking for a kiss usually (thankfully) works.
We recently spent a week with my husband’s brother, his wife and their two kids (eight months and 2 ½ years old) in Vancouver so Syona could spend some time with her cousins. It was pretty adorable to see all three kids kissing each other. (They also appeared to be trying to squish one another, but the kissing was cute.)
I know that a time (a.k.a. those wonderful teenage years) will come and she really won’t have a whole lot of affection for me, much less want to kiss me. Since her kisses are one of my favourite things in the world, I’m stocking up now!
Do you remember the first time your child kissed you (or someone else)? How did it feel?
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