And I was FREAKED OUT.
Don’t get me wrong, toddler kisses are the best. Especially the ones that leave a little bit of slobber and PB&J on your cheek. But this, this was something else entirely.
It had been bedtime as usual. Teeth brushed, jammies on, story read, prayers said.
“Give me a love!” I said. She reached out her long arms, and with a tight-lipped, innocent smile, she leaned in, head tilted.
And she planted one on me! Swiveled her head back and forth. Held my face to hers for a long time. It was awkward. It was that squirmy awkward you feel in the pit of your stomach. I corrected her in the gentlest way I could.
“When we kiss Mom, Dad, and our family, we give quick kisses, like this!”
Took about three minutes of practicing, but we finally got back to those special, little-kid pecks.
After we got her to bed, I sat with my husband and racked my brain about where she would have learned it. I mean, her technique was flawless.
“Has she seen us kissing? Why would she randomly do that?”
“She must have see it from one of your shows or something.”
“My shows? She doesn’t even pay attention to… Oh.”
The cartoon “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was the culprit. I think the characters kiss, like, three times or something? But I knew in my heart that was where she had picked it up.
Now, you can criticize my TV show choices for my 2-year-old, or you can get out of this post what I got out of the smooching incident. It is this: Kids are so observant. Like little parrots, they mimic what they hear and see. This is so scary to me. I’m around her almost 24/7, and like my bad posture testifies, I’m hardly hyper self-aware of what I’m doing all the time. Only every once in a while do I check myself to make sure I’m being a good example.
That’s not what I want for my family, though. I want us to actively seek out things that uplift us and give us something to work toward. I want us to be the type of people we are in front of company, even after that company is gone. I want my girls to keep their voices down even when they’re angry, because that’s what Mom does when she’s upset.
We are totally not at that point in our lives yet. I don’t know if we’ll ever get to that perfect, “Leave It to Beaver” family status, but I do believe there is something to be said for trying. Hopefully it doesn’t take many more shocking mother-daughter make-out sessions to keep me on the path of progress, but if it does, at least it’ll give me something to blog about.