His lips brush my cheek, ever so lightly, yet with careful deliberation. The child has appeared from nowhere, materialized into my space.
"You're my sweet goo goo," he half-whispers, a sort of stage whisper he has acquired for these kinds of moments. Perhaps he means to whisper, but is instead using the tones demonstrated to encourage him to whisper in certain contexts. I could go into the origins of the odd intimate-title, but it would be pointless, the origins have no meaning into his use of the words now. He pauses for the expected and anticipated reply.
"You are my sweet Joey-Boy," I complete the exchange with a kiss on his cheek. He rubs his face on mine, nose-to-nose, cheek-to-cheek, then brushes the lips again.
"My sweet goo goo," he repeats. He leans his head against me a moment. Then he is gone, back to play his Poptropica or with his Toy Story figurines.
In the midst of anxiety and craziness, Joey has also hit a lovey-stage. He wants lots of hugs, lots of attention, lots of closeness. He is doing this to one of his teachers, too. As Andy has hit the "Mom-leave-me-alone" stage, having Joey to smooch on is lovely; but like so many other shifts in behavior and attitude, I worry. Is he feeling lonely, or left out, or needy, or somehow downtrodden? Does he need the deep pressure, or the attention, or both? Is this another sign of depression?
I try to make no snap assumptions, but try to give him what he is asking for- lots of hugs and kisses, lots of assurances that he is still a sweet, handsome, intelligent person. I take the opportunity of having him so close to my face to give him specific praise ("I was so proud of you for getting dressed so nicely this morning!", "Thank you for throwing out your chip bag, that is so helpful!", "I saw you got a 100% on your math quiz, great job!") I let him run his hands and face over mine, an exploration that he has delighted in since he was a babe. I so desperately want him to know he is so very loved, so treasured, so wonderful.
I want him to carry that understanding with him even when this lovey-dovey mood is gone. I will miss it.