Toddler Emotions: I Love You

In the video, Sam tries to “quantify” his love for me by saying he loves me “big as the sky and big as the house.” He throws in as big as “the tree” for extra emphasis. The “I love you” game becomes a bit of a competition between him and me (I have done this with all of my kids, and they all enjoyed trying to “out-love” me!) as I tell him I love him as much as the “moon and the sun and the planets.” He comes back with the fact that he loves me as “big, big as a giant.” When I ask him to show me with his arms (I was secretly hoping for a hug!), he stretches his arms up as high as they will go to demonstrate how “big” his love is. I use the opportunity to provide him with a synonym for big, by saying that his giant-like love for me is “huge,” which he quickly follows up with the hug that I was hoping for moments before.

When he finished hugging me, he told me “You’re the best mommy in the whole world!” Even though I know he’ll tell me the opposite as well as “I hate you” when he doesn’t get his way today and possibly every day from now until he learns to understand and control his emotions, I know that his true feelings are that he loves me more than his words can say and that he really does believe I am the best mommy ever. I know it is typical for a toddler to say “I hate you” or “You’re the worst mommy” when I don’t make a choice that he would make, which is why I always respond with “I’m sure you’ll change your mind later” (in a calm voice). Up to this point, he has concluded that he actually does love me much, much more often than concluding that he doesn’t, so I’ll stay consistent with my actions and responses to him until the odds shift unfavorably for me!


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