What Does "I Love You" Mean Anyway?

The other morning, as Hubby was leaving for work, the three older boys yelled, "Love you, Dad!"

Then a little tiny 22-month-old voice parroted, "Wuv you, Dad!"

As cute as it was, I was incensed! My baby is supposed to tell me he loves me first!

I mean, c'mon, Dads get to hear "Dada" first (only because it's easier to say, right?). The least these children can do for all our hours of blood, sweat, and tears and all the times we wake in the wee hours of the night to comfort them is to tell us moms they love us before they say it to Dad.

Baby E is still little - not even two yet. I know he was just repeating what his brothers were saying. And I know there is plenty of time for him to express his undying love for me, his mom, the woman who gave birth to him.

The other night, as I was getting him dressed after his shower (cause, you know, he has to be like the big boys and shower), I did what I always do and illustrated what I was doing. "Ooo, you have cars on your jammies. Look, a green car. Vroom, vroom!"

"Mommy," Baby E broke in. "Mommy!"

"What Baby?"

"Mommy, I love you."

Oh mah gah, my heart melted, and I hugged that little toddler so tightly!

Never mind the fact that none of my other boys ever said 'I love you' that early. And especially never mind the fact that Baby E is so routine driven. Every night is the same thing: diaper, jammies, illustrate what we're doing, smell the toes to make sure they're clean (you know you do it, too), and say, "I love you so much Baby E."

If I skip a step, he lets me know - he'll pick his jammies, he'll get the diaper, he'll hold his feet in the air if I haven't smelled them yet.

And apparently that night, I didn't say 'I love you' quite quick enough.

Or maybe, he feels it, too. Maybe, I have finally raised a super sensitive, ahead of his age on every curve little man. Yep, that's gotta be it.

The next morning as I was cleaning the kitchen, Baby E had some toy cars next to his breakfast plate of bacon (Hubby's thing, not mine). I overheard him say, "I love you."

Oh, what a darling boy who worships his mom! I smiled and turned around ready to respond. Then, I saw that he had a piece of bacon in one hand and a car in the other, and he was looking at both with extreme fondness.

Oh well. Really, what does 'I love you' mean to a toddler anyway?

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