I’m not a tactile person. I don’t touch people a lot, and I certainly don’t like to be touched a lot by other people. While I do and will hug people I care for, I otherwise possess a personal bubble I would greatly prefer if people would respect.
Exemptions exist, of course. I loved cuddling my babies. I loved nursing. But even some days I would feel totally “touched out” by the end of the day. To this day, they still cuddle into me on the couch. I’m mostly okay with it. I can also handle longer periods of cuddling with my husband. For a bit. You know. I have limits.
My boys have some of my personal space issues. When other kids get too close and in-their-face, their eyes find me. I can read their minds. Sometimes I’ll lend them a hand if the situation seems out of control, but I’ve also watched them back up and handle it fine on their own.
They don’t seem to have touch problems though. At all.
In addition to loving to cuddle THISCLOSE to me at all times, I also say the following phrase eleventy billion times per day: Stop roughhousing.
Sometimes I add in things like, “Keep your body to yourself.” Or, “Don’t lick your brother.” Or, “I don’t care who hit who first.” And so on. All day. Every single day. EVERYSINGLEDAY.
I’ve attempted to understand their need for all the touching. I recognize their need for physical contact. I don’t get it on a personal level because when they want to roughhouse with me or pile on top of me on the couch in a way that isn’t really cuddling and is more like dog piling, I kind of suffocate. I can cuddle. I can’t deflect kicks and hits and fight off the dog and two boys and manage to ward off a panic attack too.
They’re them. I’m me. It’s all good.
I try to give them time to get all their energy and need for contact out of their system. I send them downstairs to roughhouse or play war or tackle each other for no reason. When the weather is cooperative, their outside football games inevitably become some sort of wrestling match. They hit each other with lightsabers and large Nerf swords. I even let them roughhouse upstairs while simultaneously playing with the dog while I huddle in the corner of the couch and hope they don’t touch me. Like so. I say little prayers that they don’t knock out teeth or legitimately hurt each other.
Tonight I spent time with friends—and a ton of boys. Or, six total, including my two.
Within seconds of arriving, the brood set off running through the house. As I sat and talked with my friends, I watched through the doorway and saw boys tackle each other, roll on out of view, and keep on truckin’. All evening. A few tears happened at one point or another, but otherwise they body slammed around for two and a half hours.
When we got home, I looked at BigBrother and saw a scratch under his eye.
“What happened to your eye?”
“Oh, you know. We were just roughhousing.”
This is what they do, apparently. I’m okay with it, mainly because it wasn’t me they tackled tonight. I don’t get it, but I’m glad the boys have each other—and friends—with whom they can crash through life. I’ll be there when they need the cuddles.