Here’s a conversation that my friend narrated to me. She was blushing even as she told me about it. This was a conversation that she had with her child.
It went like this…
This four-year-old screamed at his mom while punching the air: You don’t love me.
Mom: What happened now? I love you more than anybody else in this world.
Son: You love daddy more than me.
Mom: But I gave you the same number of kisses I gave daddy!
Son: No! You are not kissing on my lips. No! Not this way. I want you kiss me the same way you kissed daddy yesterday.
The mom didn’t know what to do. She perhaps managed the situation with a kiss on her son’s lips and convinced him that she was kissing daddy the same way.
Thereafter, my friend told me that they were conscious about PDA in front of their son. Because they knew that their son would demand exactly the same thing from the mother (my friend) the next day.
When you have a small child at home, like we have a three-year-old, there are a lot of difficult moments, but the most difficult of them all is the intimacy bit.
Related reading: No sex, please, we’re married
Co-sleeping with kids
Take my son for example. He invariably chooses to lie down between me and my wife on most days. He can’t sleep alone and he has to sleep with his mother beside him. If by any chance, if he finds his mother hugging me, then he starts crying until his mom turns around and hugs him the way she was hugging me. He also has a strange way of sleeping: he sits on the bed and rests his back on his mom’s belly and continues to sleep in the “sitting” position, unless his mom readjusts his position. But that happens only if he is in deep sleep.
When you have a child, the first thing that goes through the window is the intimacy that you are so used to. Yes, we have consulted therapists and doctors who have bombarded us with countless listicles of advice about how the child should be dealt with and how the intimacy between daddy and mommy should be portrayed in front of him.
To be honest, it doesn’t work all the time.
After a hard day at work for both of us, it gets a little difficult to follow those listicles.
Related reading: Does marriage take the fun out of sex?
Revolving around the child
We come back home and then we start the ‘work’ for our son. Like me giving him a bath during summers or playing with him for a while so that he is happy and occupied and his mother can tend to other things. She also gets him to finish his dinner and by the time all of this is sorted, we are too tired to even sit down and talk for a while. Our daily conversations take place around the morning chai which is briefly and frequently interrupted by my son racing up and down our small flat on his bicycle (that has recently been fitted with rickshaw horns). Sometimes the mornings seem like mayhem.
My wife and I had a live-in relationship for almost two years before we got married. For us, evenings were all about intimacy. Whether we would go for a film, a dinner or just spend time in the bedroom — it was all about us feeling secure in each other’s company. This routine was followed for the most parts for close to three years.
These days, our lives are different. They have taken on a different trajectory.
No, I am not complaining. I am also not saying here that my wife and I suddenly lack the intimacy that we need. No, absolutely not. We, like always, have found a way around the ‘problem’. That’s not the point I am trying to make.
The point is that you need to change everything when your child starts growing up and most children start reacting differently to their daddy-mommy getting intimate in front of them. These situations, I have learnt, have to be dealt with properly in front of the child, otherwise he or she can get you in an awkward situation later on.
Learn to be circumspect
For example, I watched in horror how a little girl started describing how her daddy was once beating up his mommy in the dead of the night.
A little later, we discovered that the little child was not exactly describing a domestic violence scene. It was quite the opposite of it that she had chanced upon because she had woken up at the wrong time. It was not only an awkward situation for the elders but also for her mother who blushed beetroot red when told about it.
The equation between a husband and a wife changes when a child arrives. It is beautiful.
But if you don’t handle the issue of intimacy in front of your child, be prepared for a few awkward blushes.