10,000 Kisses

The introduction of this post must be prefaced with what seems like what has nothing to do with kisses, let alone 10,000 of them. Hang in there, it’s a short truancy from the subject, but quite necessary to the point.

As an athlete, you often hear it takes 10,000 repetitions of a new skill in order to truly know it as second nature. This is true for any skill, whether that be playing a musical instrument, flipping pancakes or learning to apply a triangle in jiu jitsu. To learn a triangle takes only a few minutes, you can be taught how to do it rather quickly. But to use it during a sparring session or during a competition, it requires approximately 10,000 repetitions to be adept at it. Yes, you can catch someone in a triangle after only 100 repetitions, but probably with someone who has fewer reps in the technique than you and it would not be second nature as it flowed from another technique that was not appropriate or did not work in that situation. It’s not surprising then, that this would make me think of perfecting the act of kissing. But with my son, I have learned that when it comes to kisses, 10,000 repetitions has a little more at stake in the long run.

This morning, while trying to come up with blog ideas for the week, my 2 year old son was trying to get me to work on puzzles with him. He had brought a couple into the living room and was dismantling them on the floor as I scribbled in my notebook. I was becoming more agitated that I wasn’t coming up with any quality blog topics that someone other than my mom and husband would care to read. Gray finally determined an intervention was necessary and was now hanging over the arm of the couch, where I was sitting, and insisting I play with him. I had snapped at him not fifteen minutes earlier and was trying desperately not to let my writers block take it out on him again. But just as I thought I might snap at him again, he began kissing my face, over and over again. Sweet little pecks on the cheek, the temple, the side of my head, until he grabbed my face in his two hands and turned it towards his so he could kiss my nose, my forehead, my lips. As I giggled through the kisses, it occurred to me that my little muse was the one I was blocking, not the other way around.

I pulled Gray over the arm of the couch into my lap and returned the little favors over every inch of his face and neck. Sometimes I hold Gray down and kiss him all over when he’s crabby. It pisses him off at first, but typically, he begins giggling eventually. He used the same technique against me and my grumpiness and I would like to think that all of the repetitions of affection since he was born prepared him to utilize love and affection to counteract agitation. There must be more than 10,000 kisses that have transpired between he and I and he and his dad.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Gray hits out of anger and frustration like any toddler, and he has certainly been swatted due to my anger, frustration or fear, but a ratio of hugs and kisses to swats are disproportionate in such a way as to ensure kindness, love and understanding. I have no doubt we have surpassed our 10,000 kisses quota, but like any mastered technique, it takes repeating those 10,000 repetitions to remain a master of the skill.

I only have a little time until Gray decides I can’t kiss him anymore and he won’t want to get my attention at all, let alone with kisses. I wonder how many kisses we can squeeze in between now and then? How much time do I have until all of our kisses have to sustain him until his own child requires he pass along the skill, as my parents did for me?

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