Now I am not saying that he sits by me all day, truthfully he is like a jumping bean and lives his life by the motto "why walk when you can run" - in fact he's often covered in bruises and scrapes because of this (nobody said moving everywhere double time didn't lead to more personal injuries). The thing is, he has a problem with personal space and I am beginning to wonder how he can possibly get past this when I am so often in his face, smothering him in kisses and cuddles.
I was trying to get off a plane once when there was some kind of hold up and we were all left standing in the aisle. Now I am not a smaller breasted woman myself but I don't want to be feeling anyone else's either. So as we stood there waiting in this airless space the woman behind was so very close to me that I could feel her breasts pressed against my back. So I moved forward as much as I could to allow for some space (as you do) and she came up again behind me bazoombas pressed squarely into my back. Inside I was screaming "back off lady" but as it was an incredibly close space I didn't want to make the whole thing any more uncomfortable than it already was. So I bit my tongue and she continued to use my back as some kind of resting space for her boozies. Maybe it was cultural, maybe she just had no concept of personal space - I don't know what the deal with that was.
Whilst reflecting on this story it got me thinking about kids and personal space. How can you expect them to learn it when you're in their faces all the time?? Sometimes when me little guy (whose two) and I have a bit of a tumble and play together on the floor, I will pin him down and say "Now what will it be?? Would you like to be smothered in kisses or tickles??" - he always used to pick kisses but as he gets more of a grasp on the language of the natives he often picks "cuddles", which wasn't actually a choice but seems to give him a bit of a breather.
I have noticed that as he grows, learns new words and develops an understanding of the world - personal space is not something he's actively working on. Any time I am at his level he is in my face, there are no two ways about it. I think, he thinks that's just how it is and as he sometimes likes to play at being a dog this has resulted in my face being licked on more than one occassion.
When he is not strapped into his high chair at meals times he wants to sit on my lap and eat from my plate. I have tried to remove this issue by creating the same dining experience for him on his own plate but apparently it doesn't taste as good when it's not coming off someone else's plate. He often grabs my face and smoothers it in wet sloppy kisses and is always trying to steal my sunglasses ... while they are still on my face.
My nine year old on the other hand has now got to the stage where he won't hold my hand while we walk to the bus stop. Actually, I should say he will hold my hand - just not when anyone else from the bus stop is looking. Although he still accepts cuddles and will magnanimously let me give him a kiss before he gets on the bus.
I guess I should probably make the most of it, licks and all. One day they will be teenagers and probably won't even want me to stand next to them - I guess we'll all be getting enough personal space then.