Ashwin started giving kisses when he was 5 months old.
With his saliva encrusted face and mouth wide open, he would aim wildly in the direction of our cheek, hoping to connect with that seemingly impossible target! Sometimes he would manage and leave our cheek smeared with jollu (saliva). Other times, his kiss would land on our hair instead! I used to call him jollu baby at that time because jollu was a prominent feature on his face. These first kisses, sloppy as they were, were divinely pleasurable, even if he has had milk just before.
A few months later, his gross motor skills improved and he would flawlessly connect with the center of our cheek and we would have a baby-mouth-shaped-ring-of-saliva to keep as a sign of his affection.
Somewhere along the way, he started drooling less and his face got drier. Then, his kiss changed to a lick. Perfect doggie style lick. With his tongue hanging out, he would give our cheek one good swipe. It should be noted that he was eating solid foods by this stage and the urge to kiss could strike in the middle of a meal. This meant that we often had green peas or yoghurt flavoured cheeks!
Then the teeth came in and with it the urge to bite. His doggie-style kiss gave way to a bite. Solid bite with 4 sharp front teeth. They are not called inscissors for nothing! He would give the most frequent kisses during this time and if he was feeling particularly affectionate, our cheek would sport 4 cute, deep bite marks! Ouch! The pain we have to endure for love!
After a few months still, he learnt to give open mouthed but dry kisses. He also got very selective about it. Would only give kisses to those he wants to and when he wants to. Not whenever we ask for it, which in my case was only about 100 times a day. I was very kiss deprived.
I wish I had never taught him the flying kiss! He became anti-physical and if you ask for a kiss, he would give a flying kiss. He never understood that flying kisses are for strangers and we people who are close in his life need his jollu and bites!
Now he has perfected the art of giving kisses - the wonderful pppchha! He has also perfected the art of withholding them. I get my 2 kisses a day (poor me, only 2) in the morning when I leave for office. None on weekends though. He will kiss "adi"'s (booboos) away though, and for a while, I pretended to have an adi on my cheek so that I can steal a kiss from him. Now he has learnt to see through this too and the badava payal is saying "Kissi aana" even to "adi"s. How dare he? Am I not his mother? Don't I deserve 100 kisses a day from him? 50? 10? 2?