Getting Real with Kira Hazledine
I love showering Hallie with hugs and kisses. It’s my favorite hobby. I can’t get enough squeezes, but Hallie would disagree. Hallie, even in infancy, loved her personal space. She likes to be left alone sometimes to explore on her own, which is why I found myself referencing what an independent lady she is. I’m only slightly sarcastic, because it’s true.
Unfortunately, even moms are not immune to the word “no.”
It’s a work in progress, but I’m starting to ask Hallie if I can give her kisses and hugs. Her nana already talks with Hallie about how “no means no”, but for some reason I didn’t think it applied to me. It only took a few smacks in the face to reconsider. Hallie hits me when she doesn’t want to be touched, which is not appropriate, but didn’t I deserve it a little?
Teach Safety First
I want Hallie to be polite and kind and hitting and biting is not a part of that. Under no circumstances is Hallie allowed to hit, and even if I did deserve it, she is still disciplined. But when I think about how I can stop Hallie from hitting, I have to consider changing my own behavior. She is only hitting me (usually) because I invaded her space. She can say “down,” when she doesn’t want me to hold her anymore, but her speech is still limited. Hallie can’t tell me that she doesn’t want kisses right now, at least not yet.
Politeness Comes Later
I used to tell Hallie to say “no thank you” if someone was doing something she didn’t like, but it wasn’t sounding right. It’s a great phrase that I want her to know, but definitely not the only phrase. Now, I’m also teaching Hallie to say, “don’t touch me.” I’m teaching Hallie that “no” applies to mom and dad. That if she doesn’t want to give a hug to say “sorry,” she can use words instead.
Why Does It Matter?
It matters in the world of #metoo. Hallie needs to know from the very beginning that her body and space is her own, and no one is entitled to it. “No thank you” seemed way less important when I remembered that I really don’t give a shit about Hallie being polite. I care about Hallie being able to stand up for herself, even as a toddler, and especially as she grows from a young girl into a woman. Hallie is independent, and I’ll keep saying it as often as I need to. It’s a reminder to myself as much as it is to her.