Stop. Pinching. My. Cheeks.

I don’t get cheek-pinching. However cute the child, however tempting his/her cheeks, however yielding he/she may be, however oblivious his/her mother may be to the fact that, it is, in fact a violation of his/her space.

Re, born to me (skinny) and the OPU (skinnier) has cheeks. Always had them. It is the one feature none of us can take credit for, and it is the one thing that advertently or inadvertently always gets touched. By people we love. By people we don’t love. By strangers. By anyone who gets into a touching radius. He doesn’t like it. We don’t like it. He hasn’t reached that point of verbalising that he doesn’t like it, although he scowls really hard at the offender. The point is, they never get the message, and the pinching continues.

It’s as though they have been lying in wait for a suitable cheek-pinching victim.”Ah, there comes a child with cheeks, let me go on and feel them.” Surprisingly, a huge population of the offenders are parents themselves. I often wonder if they would be okay if someone did that to their child. And it turns out, they usually are. It almost feels like they are gauging the chubbiness quotient of your child so that they can go home and work on theirs. It feels like they are touching it to remind themselves what a chubby child feels like. Whatever the motive, I think it’s uncool. And so does Re. So there!

I can still get it if someone from my amply skinny family did it, as it is something of a novelty in my Iyer clan. “Cheeks? Us? Let me check to see if they are real!”

I wonder how no one finds this odd behavior amiss. I mean if you were a grown man or a woman and you saw a really pretty face or someone with other pretty body parts, would you just touch it to show your love? If you would, you are bloody weird, let me tell you.

No wonder children are wary of socialising with grown-ups. They never know how much cheek-pinching is in store. In Re’s case, there’s also the curl-ruffling, but that’s another story altogether.

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13 thoughts on “Stop. Pinching. My. Cheeks.

  1. Yes Lalita, its really damn annoying. Neel now just ‘cleans’ his cheek after the person has finished and then says “don’t do that!”.. i love it 🙂

  2. Cheek pinching is indeed intrusion of autonomy of a baby/toddler. I see this intrusion right from birth when a parent who loves the baby so much just picks the bottom of the baby to change a diaper. Have you noticed most babies hate being diapered and cry while the cleaning act id being done. All human being are born with a immense sense of dignity and attacking this dignity seems to come naturally to us and it really does take immense amount of self control to not:
    1. Adjust your school going child’s uniform.
    2. Ask her to use the washroom in front of others.
    3. Not understanding the cue of baby showing done while feeding. Force-feeding is intrusion. and many many more.
    Its hard for most of us to begin to see little children as little people but what is important is let people around you know when your child feels this way and information with compassion will hopeful get through.~ Effath Yasmin

    • That’s a great way to look at it. I am glad the diaper days are over, and realise now, how invasive it must have been over and over again. Giving a bath is another area i am still grappling to make peace with.Thanks Yasmin, for your wisdom, as always.

  3. Hi lalita ,
    I cudnt agree more with you and yasmin I remember vedant being upset over wearing his diaper, and now wanting to dress himself or brush his hair, I let him, v run late because of that, but hopefully v will get quicker soon .
    My son hates cheek pinching, kisses from strangers, requests to do or say something.please their people jst like us, can v respect their intelligence?
    But rarely have I met adult who has let children BE 😦
    But glad are other s who think alike! Cheers

    • I think letting children be is one of the rarest things I have seen. People always want to touch them, to see if they are real, talk the silly baby talk, rearrange their hair, face, clothes, thoughts. I wonder why they let adults get off so easy.

  4. The way I see it, it’s our way of preparing the child for a life in India. All through your life, we’re saying, annoying aunties will invade your personal space… and you’ll have to smile.

  5. Oh, don’t get me STARTED!

    My daughter is now 22. She has a disability, which somehow makes people believe she is a child. Cheek pinching, caressing, and patting are like a gauntlet she has to endure every single day. She has sensory issues and simply HATES when anyone touches her face. Yet her disability doesn’t allow her to fend people off, so it’s left to me to be her champion. Occasionally she drools on their pawing hands – I love it when she does that!

  6. I am 55 years old. Obese most of my life, especially in childhood. People always pinched my cheeks. When my family was rushing the door to greet out of town relatives visiting to spend their vacation at our home (free hotel, w room service!) for their Disneyland fun, I was standing back, hoping they would overlook me. And my cheeks! I have a pair of permanently red cheeks. People think they have the right to share their opinions of me as freely as they pinched my fat cheeks in childhood. Do you drink? no. Got too much sun today? no. If you loose weight you won’t turn red going up the stairs. My cheeks are red because people like you pinched them. Hard. It broke the blood vessels in my cheeks. Fifty years later it is still a point of attention, however unwanted or deserved, still pointing out things that are none of your business. Mommies and daddies and caregivers of children, protect their little faces, they will one day be adults. Don’t allow the damage to occur out of stupidity of others.

    • I hate cheek pinching. I was grown and engaged. My almost F- I-L wouldn’t stop it, saying no didn’t help, neither did pulling away, and my fiancé thought it cute. Needless to say I got out of that relationship even though I liked the guy. He didn’t stand up for me.

  7. Pingback: Cheek pinching and why it’s bad news | mommygolightly

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