Me: Please tidy your toys away.
OB (sobbing loudly and draping himself over me like a wet blanket): Cuddle Mummy! I need a cuddle!
Me: Could you please eat your peas instead of flicking them at the baby?
OB (flinging himself face-first into my lap): I'm sooooo tired Mummy! I neeeeed a cuddle!
It's very annoying. I love a cuddle as much as the next person, but I don't really like the sort of weepy, droopy, dishrag drapery that passes for a 'cuddle' under these circumstances, especially when it's accompanied by siren wails and a fair quantity of snot.
And that's another unfortunate aspect. While the thing I said that prompted this display might have been said in a normal tone of voice, the response is anything but! No, enhanced volume is definitely key to OB's tactic here.
This has resulted in several, very public, performances where any bystander, having not heard my reasonably-worded request to tidy up, use cutlery, stop smashing other toddler over head with toy, etc. will only witness a Very Mean Mummy refusing to cuddle her crying and obviously very distressed child!
Yes, I am that woman holding a crying child at arm's length with an irritated look on her face and I have heard your tut and registered the stratospheric height of your eyebrows. Please move along now.
Of course, I have tried giving the cuddle on request. I thought, you know, maybe he just needs reassurance that I'm not cross with him, or maybe he's nervous about what I'm asking him to do.
It doesn't work. All that happens is that we get locked in a seemingly unending embrace (with lots of wriggling, climbing, snivelling and wailing) and when I finally untangle him, hoping to get back to my initial request, OB sets off for round two. You see, he doesn't want a cuddle. He just wants to distract me from whatever I've said to him.
So I'm holding out. No cuddle until the job is done. Amazingly, once the job finally gets done (and believe me, this can take a very, very long time to achieve), it turns out he doesn't really need a cuddle any more.