One thing that Nugget most definitely is incredibly affectionate. She hugs with ferocity. She gives toddler kisses with meaning. She snuggles happily, and closely. She is a sweet, affectionate, kind little person. Heck, most of the time, she even freely exclaims her affection.
That “most of the time” is pretty important.
At least, it is to me. But that’s just because it seems like getting her to say, “I loves you, Daddy” is almost as difficult as getting her to not use broccoli as a vehicle for delivering ranch dressing to her mouth.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no doubts that she does love me, and love me at the same levels that she displays her love for other things. She doesn’t shy away from the tight hugs, and bedtime just isn’t bedtime unless she’s able to give me a goodnight kiss. It’s just getting her to actually say the words that’s difficult. It’s like she’s already a teenager, except shorter (not by too terribly much), and she still displays SOME affection towards her parents.
For example, on Monday, Nugget and I were taking a walk. During this week, we passed a great many trees. And, for probably at least 2/3 of these trees, Nugget walked up to them, wrapped her arms around tight, and whispered a quiet, sweet, “I loves you, tree”. Then, when she was sure the tree had heard her, she would move on to the next tree. This process repeated for the entire walk, including her moving to give a hug to a tree that she’d already hugged once. Clearly that tree just needed a pick-me-up, and Nugget wanted to help it out with good feelings.
Then, on Tuesday, at soccer practice, Nugget made a point of hugging some of the soccer balls, expressing her love for them (maybe that’s why she doesn’t want to kick them?), and this continued when some foam noodle gates were set up for the kids to kick balls through, or run under. To make sure that the point was really driven home, she also spent most of this week saying “hi” to the dog before hugging it with a strong “I loves you”, and she has said it to Mama a bunch of times.
Now, again, I know that she loves me. She doesn’t say it often, but she shows it in her own way pretty much every day. That said, I’d be lying if I said I don’t long to hear those words from her more often. After all, it’s only a matter of time before she reaches an age where saying that to her parents, in public or in private, is a huge faux pas that cannot be allowed to stand. Trust me, I know, because I’ve lived through it, myself.
In the meantime, I’ll just keep being jealous of those darned trees. Not only do they produce oxygen, but my daughter tells them how much she loves them. Sure, I’ll never be turned into paper, but let’s just call that a wash, shall we?