Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Dear Pot O' Vinegar

Dear Pot O' Vinegar,

While I've always known you as an expression in the Chinese language, I've just come to realize that your literal translation into English makes no sense.  Because I find that very interesting, I'd like to tell the story of my little Pot O' Vinegar.  Perhaps by the end of my story, it will be very apparent what you mean.

You see, I have a Pot O' Vinegar.

Every time I sit down on the sofa next to Dear Husband, my little Pot O' Vinegar immediately runs across the room and inserts himself between the two of us.  Then he proceeds to shower me with hugs while turning his backside to DH and pushing him as far away from me as possible with his rear end.

Every time I give DH a big hug within sight of my Pot O' Vinegar, we get a swarm of little bees two little peeps rushing to us screaming, "GROUP HUG!" because he has managed to train his big sister in this endeavor.  And then, there's the four of us, huddled in the middle of the room, like the petals of a rose bud pressed tightly together.  It's a strange sight, but a very common one at our home.

Yes, you guessed it.  My little Pot O' Vinegar is none other than my One and Only Dear Son.  He came into the world attached to me, and even though his daddy severed his umbilical cord that connected us, that connection still exists figuratively and implicitly.  It is without a doubt that I am the Apple of my DS' eyes, the North Star of his sky, and the Love of his so-far life.  And make no mistake that to him, DH is merely chopped liver.  (Poor Daddy.)

It's a good thing that DH doesn't take it personally, because he is a wonderful husband/dad with a big, loving heart understands the different roles that parents play in a young child's life.  DH and DS have a great bond over fun things like playing, buying toys, and the technological pleasures in life.  But when it comes to all the other important aspects of life, DS comes to me.  I am the boo-boo kisser, the feel-good hugger, the rule-maker, the advice-giver.  The same words coming out of DH's mouth won't matter to DS, but words from my mouth are Indelible Ink.  I don't know how DH manages to overlook that in-your-face distinction on DS' part, because I know I would feel hurt if I were he.  You see, until Dear Daughter was three-years-old, she preferred Daddy over me.  Whenever I hugged DH, she would push me away and take him for her own.  Yeah, that was pretty rough for me, as a mommy and an estrogen-driven person.  But once she went to preschool, somehow both Daddy and Mommy became equally loved.  Phew!

While I'd like to bask in this sweet, syrupy joy of overwhelming love from DS, I know the right thing to do is to gently teach him that it is okay to see Daddy as someone who also comforts and someone who also knows what's best and what's right.  And whether it's just a matter of time or developmental maturation, DS has come a long way in this regard.  Suffice it to say, DH often reminisces how it didn't matter to DS whether or not Daddy existed in his first year of life.  And now, we are definitely seeing the balance tip over from that vastly unequal height toward the middle, albeit that it is still a work in progress.  

Alas, it doesn't stop me from being mean teasing my little Pot O' Vinegar from time to time...

On a few occasions, I have waited until DS is in the shower to pull DH into the bathroom where, through the glass shower door, DS can see us in a full embrace.  The poor little guy.  He gets totally undone and shrieks on the top of his lungs to show his angst because he cannot join us for a group hug.

I.  Am.  So.  Mean.

The other day, I blew an air kiss to DH.  Muah.  He quickly returned one back.  Muah.  My Eager Beaver Pot O' Vinegar immediately launched his Only-For-Mommy Kiss into the air towards me.  Muah.  It was too funny not to turn this into a Tornado of Air Kisses wherein DS gets upset that I don't return his.  I blew another kiss to DH.  Muah.  He caught onto my devious plot right away.  Muah back.  DS flung his kiss to me faster than lightning.  A few rounds of this into "fast motion" sent me into hysterical laughter.  I ended up finally returning his air kiss and having to comfort DS because he was so out of sorts.  I had to explain that we were not laughing at him, but that we were laughing because he was too darned cute.

He didn't get it.

But in all seriousness, I did have conversations with him about the significance of a family that outwardly shows affection to one another.  I explained that children are usually happy to see their parents hug each other because the hugs show their love for one another.  I said that parents loving each other does not result in less love for their children, as he might think.  DS mostly seemed to understand the implications of our talk, but was not fully convinced yet, until I added a fact that spoke his language:

Me: Do you understand why it's a good thing for Mommy and Daddy to hug each other now?
DS (reluctantly): Yes.
Me: But do you know what else?
DS (still skeptical): What?
Me: I hug you a lot more than I hug Daddy!
DS (eyes light up): Really?
Me: Of course!  I hug and kiss you all the time!
DS (smiles with satisfaction): You really hug me more than you hug Daddy?
Me: Yes!
DS (fist pumps): YES!

So, Dear Pot O' Vinegar, in Chinese, you are 醋罈子, and I'm sure you've fully come across in meaning in my story.  Honestly, it's so endearing to have a child react that strongly to my every word, move, and thought.  And even DD--being older and wiser--finds DS' "green with envy" behavior extremely comical.  I know that as his mommy I must soak all this in now, as I would only be lucky enough to get a fraction of this sourness when he is older. 

But I can hope to look forward to a nicely aged balsamic vinegar in my Pot O' Vinegar--some years way down the line. 



  1. Ha, loved this post. Probably because your DS and my Gavin are an awful lot alike ... and I can just imagine the ways this will torture my Sweets as well as how we'll torture our Gavin in the future ... out of lots of love, of course!!

    1. Most definitely, out of love galore! It is truly so hard NOT to tease a bit, you know, here and there... He gets so worked up! But it's good to know that he's not alone in this mommy-love. I'll try to be good and not torture him so much... Thank you, Nilsa!! (Thinking of you guys this week!!)

  2. Aw, what a sweet sweet post! Luckily, J doesn't get mad jealous/upset when the hubs & I show one another affection. We like group hugs though! And funny story about the firestorm of blow kisses at your house! I think it's sweet that DS hangs on your every word, but I also like that you are explaining to him that daddy is just as good. I know you'll miss these days. I sure will!

    1. It's really neat how they have such personalities at such a young age. DS is so stuck in his ways that I have to *really* try to convince him that Daddy is just as awesome. He's coming around, though, and we love how he declares his love for me, and now will add an addendum at the end for Daddy. :) I'm glad that J is good about you guys and affection--at least this way he won't get "tortured"! Haha! Thanks, Lisa!

  3. I know so many children who are like this ... and I sometimes wonder why neither of the wee ones are. They're both careful to ensure that my husband and I know that they love us EQUALLY and that no one is the be all, end all. It's sorta cute actually how they're so careful about it sometimes!

    1. That is really wonderful for both you and your husband, Michelle. It just means the wee ones are extra careful to not make either one of you feel unequal--which says a lot about them! DD has gotten to that point, but sometimes she joins in DS' club, just for fun. :)

  4. Oh, I cracked up at you and your husband hugging while your son was in the shower. That was great!

    I have two sons and I go through some of this with both of them. They play favorites and it hurts my husband's feelings. I'm all time stepping in and telling them they can't treat their dad like that. I don't let the attention go to my head, though because I know in a few short years, I'll be less appealing than liver and onions :)

    1. I think it's quite funny, too, if you're not in the mindset that I'm SO MEAN. But sometimes a little teasing is good for him, I think, because I want to let him know that it's okay to see mommy and daddy hug each other--in a spirited and fun way. It is hard for moms who have very attached boys, since we all know the stigma of a "mama's boy". I hope I will make the right choices as I nurture his attachment and stimulate his journey toward independence, all at the same time!