In high school, my friend Alesia and I spent a summer in Mexico living with host families and practicing our Spanish.  One conversation I’ll never forget was with our dear friend Yayo.  Yayo had a new girlfriend who had signed a note to him, “xoxo.”

“What does “soak-so” mean?” he asked us in Spanish.

“Soak-so?”  We were perplexed.

“Oh!  XOXO?  Hugs and kisses!”

Fast forward more years than I care to count.  “Hugs, Mama, hugs.  Teeses.”  I have to say, Jakey has turned into a truly talented hug and teese giver.  At school, Miss Dulce is always commenting on how friendly and sociable our little Romeo is.  “He’s been giving hugs and kisses to everyone.”  I just can’t understand why I’ve been sick off and on since October…

And just recently, he finally warmed-up to Miss Leti.

Miss Leti seems to be the only person Jake has ever encountered that he didn’t immediately take to.  Every morning she would greet him and he would cry and cling and refuse to go to her.  I’ve personally had my own challenges with a Leti who stalked and bullied me for weeks in eighth grade… so really, I can’t blame him.  But then, a week or two ago, Miss Leti told James that Jakey is the best kisser… he really knows how to give a good smacker.

I too have noticed considerable improvement in his embraces and smooches.  His hugs incorporate that all important, genuine squeeze.  And whereas his first kisses basically involved him opening his mouth and putting it on your face, or sometimes over your nose, leaving you wet and slobbery– his more evolved pecks do not leave you reaching for your shirt sleeve.

Some mornings when he’s woken-up at 5am and he’s made his way from his crib, into his favorite place with his head in the crook of my neck and his feet kicking his Dad in the back, he’s sometimes overcome with affection.  I’ve had a handful of morning wake-ups with almost a dozen kisses planted on my cheeks and forehead.  And then mouth-to-mouth whispering, “Mama, baba, Mama.”  It’s the sweetest thing.


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