As a parent, we know that Valentine's Day consists of much more than an aphrodisiac-inspired dinner and romance and lingerie. Of course, we definitely love romanticized nights but, nowadays, Valentine's Day is often a family affair.
In the past, we may have obsessed over the perfect gift for our lover and then analyzed the gift we received in return. However, this year, as a new parent, we are not getting handpicked gifts from our infant, so that leaves us with recognizing their first affirmations of love. As a mom or dad of a tiny tot, we know that they already feel love, but how do they their show love?
1. Deep stares: From the beginning, a newborn baby can recognize their mother's face, voice, and smell. The next step is linking the sounds and smells they connect trust with to something visible. That's why your babe will start examining your face as if they're memorizing it. They are learning what comfort and love looks like.
2. Smiling faces: You know the first time your baby gives you a real, true, fabulous grin. As they mature, they have the ability to smile when they are sincerely happy. As a parent, it's a magical milestone, and worthy of feeling the love.
3. Sleeping beauties: After a full night of sleep, your child gets so excited in the morning when you enter their nursery. Before the lights are even on, they can smell you and sense you are about to begin a new day together.
4. Reaches for you: When someone else is holding your baby and you walk up, they will stretch out their little arms towards you, to cue you to pick them up. Although many babies love being held from birth, it typically takes around six months until they have the physical and cognitive abilities to ask for a pick-me-up. It's an expression of how much they've come to trust and love you.
5. Comfy cozy: Think of hugging a loved one (spouse, parent, sibling, etc.) vs. hugging someone like a co-worker. Huge difference, right? You can now feel the difference from your tiny tot. They adore you.
6. Stuck like glue: At some point through your baby's first year, you will notice that he / she is not comfortable with your absence. When you exit the room, you will hear crying, but when you reenter, you'll get a heart filled smile. You are their number one person, and they want you around.
7. Big (or little) kisses: Sometime between six and twelve months, your infant will understand what giving a kiss is. It may not be consistent, but a baby giving a kiss is a huge indication of their affection and love for you.
8. Copycats: Maybe your tot repeats the words you say, duplicates your dancing, or mimics your silly hand motions? Imitation is definitely the most sincere form of flattery, especially for infants. They copy your behaviors because you are the most important person in their little lives.
9. Celebrates your return: Whether you're away at work for hours or leave for a quick errand, when your infant sees you walking through the door, they let out an ecstatic, contagions laugh and smile.
10. Safe zone: In a new environment, your exploring infant may alternate between investigating the scene and returning to you for comfort. You are a safe and encouraging place for your tot to return to before exploring even more.