As a first-time mom to an 8-month-old, everything is new to me, from the lack of sleep to the joys of watching her make strides through every milestone. The amount of love I have for this little one is something I've never felt before. And while I tell my daughter, Maggie, that I love her probably a hundred times a day, I also show her that I love her whether it's giving her a kiss on the head before heading to work, cuddling with her before her bedtime routine, or simply rubbing our noses together for a traditional "Eskimo kiss."
But how do you know your kids love you before they can say the words? If you ask any parent, they'll rattle off a ton of examples that are so dear to their hearts. I'll never forget the first time Maggie showed me love. She was about 5 months and I was sitting on the glider feeding her a bottle as part of her nighttime routine. Typically after a bottle she curls up into me and falls asleep. I give her a kiss and I whisper that I love her. That particular night she looked up at me through sleepy eyes and smiled behind her pacifier. She took her little hand and put it on my cheek and fell asleep. It was such a tender moment -- a moment I will hold onto forever, and look back on when she's a teenager not wanting anything to do with me!
Now that she's older there are so many things she does to let me know that she loves me. My new favorites are when she snuggles her head into my shoulder or greets me when I get home from work with open arms.
With this in mind, I reached out to parents on Facebook and Twitter and asked them to share their stories about how their kids show them love. Here's what they had to say:
Both of my boys will stop at random moments and give me a hug and a kiss. It makes me feel so loved when they do that.
My kids give me hugs and kisses. My daughter will draw me pictures and my 2-year-old scribbles pictures for me
-Bethani A. Schwartz, Bellport
Sometimes while changing his diaper or if I'm just sitting at the kitchen table, Dominic will grab my forearm, wrap his little arm around it and press my arm against his face. The arm hug ... I love it!
-Amy Lindstrom Marino, via Facebook
My daughters push all my hair back and tell me they love me a hundred billion trillion much!
-Kristi Burke-Sanchez, via Facebook
Molly comes up to me and hugs my leg so tight and then she looks up at me and smiles.
My son will just come up to me and say he wants a hug or kiss or both.
-Tracy Marie Mieszala Robles, via Facebook
Doing what they are supposed to do without being told -- that says I love you out loud.
-Marie Mazzio, Central Islip
Well I have a 18-year-old son, so it's hard to find, but he'll bring me a cup of coffee home, and yesterday, he cleaned the fridge out! If that's not love, what is?
-Helena Starr-Groh, via Facebook
My 8-month-old grabs my face and with a wide open mouth gives me "kisses" -- drool and all! And when I get home from work she flails her arms and babbles baby talk until I greet her, and then she grabs me and pulls me toward her to "hug" me! Nothing sweeter.
-Victoria Lynn Johnson, via Facebook
By their smiles. They are only 7-weeks-old though, so it could be gas.
-Karen Lelo, via Facebook
The arm hug is one of my faves.
-Seth Millman, Oceanside
-My precious 8-month-old Emma gives me kisses. She opens her mouth on my cheek and licks and sucks it -- I love it! Sometimes we are playing and she just turns around to my face and does it. Priceless!
-Maria Condello, New Hyde Park
I recently went back to school to get my Baccalaureate Degree in Nursing. One day in the middle of class, I opened my notebook to a big sign that read: "Te quiero Mama." This was from my 9-year-old, Julia. As far as Michael goes, my husband lets me sleep late in the morning and gets him on the bus. However, Mike always makes sure he kisses me goodbye, no matter if the school bus is almost here!
-Alicia Seitz, South Huntington
The kisses she gives me makes me melt, especially when they come unexpectedly.
-Tara Beal, Bellmore
My daughter shows me love when she walks up to me, hugs me, then kisses my face (with the whole "mmwwhaaa" sound included)!
-Kristen Mucha, Lake Ronkonkoma
How do your kids show you love? Comment below or follow me on Twitter @JenBergerKids.