Jellybean and I have developed a bedtime kissing routine - first we have a normal kiss, then a teeny tiny kiss, then a big kiss, a bigger kiss, a BIIIIIIIIIIIIIG kiss, an eskimo kiss, a lion kiss and a kiss on the special bit (the top of his nose). We do the full routine then he has to give me all the kisses without me kissing back.
Only quite often, halfway through, one of us will find that our kiss bank is all empty!
That means that the other person has to do lots and lots and lots and lots of kisses, all over the other's face. That tops up the kiss banks and the routine can start again!
Midget Gem doesn't have the language for kiss banks yet, but he is the KING of 'duddles' and he likes nothing better than a huge squeeze - he shouts "squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze" as he does it - and he does excellent big sloppy kisses with it.
Both boys are really affectionate and I hope that it always stays with them. Some families find it harder to do kisses and cuddles than we do, and I'm sure when they're teenagers they'll back off with the eskimo kisses and kiss banks, but I hope that what we're developing is lovely grown up men who one day will be super affectionate with their own families.
I think it's important to show - demonstrate, all the time - how much love their is. We can't give them fancy expensive things or all the shiny gadgets - but we can show them every single day how much we love them, and how important they are.
When you're told something very often, daily, all the time, it sinks in to your skin and bones and becomes a part of you.
I fight every day against feeling that nobody will love me, that I will fail, that I am worthless. I fight it because I was told it, over and over and over again, and it was horrible.
I tell my children all the time how loved they are. I laugh at their bad jokes, I listen to their stories, I answer their questions. I get frustrated but when I do even if I'm snapping and want them to shut up I try to remember to say "I love you very much but I can't listen right now - but I promise I will soon" and there isn't a single night where I don't sing them a lullaby and tell them how adored they are.
As they sleep at night, before I climb into bed myself, I whisper in their ear just one last time. I say the same thing every night.
"You are so beautiful. You are funny, clever, handsome and brilliant. You are perfect. You are loved. I love you. You are so very loved."
I'm pretty sure they believe me, too. They are fairly confident kids!