Babies are cuddly. They are small and frail and helpless, and they rely on you utterly. It’s nice to snuggle with your teeny-tiny newborn or your four-month-old. It’s terrific when they look at you knowingly. It’s even lovelier when they smile at you. But it gets better.
Now that she’s nearly eighteen months, the Bean is a lean, mean, rationalizing machine, equipped with molars and the ability to walk backwards. She has also learned another neat trick: showing affection.
Go in to see her first thing in the morning, and she chirps at you, stands up, and holds out her arms. “Hug!” she crows. When you give her one, she returns it, patting your shoulder. She also gives kisses now. A little while ago, Trev was upstairs hanging curtains, and during a break he lay down next to Bean, who was playing on the bed. She flung herself across him and kissed his face.
This afternoon, while I was plating up her lunch, she embraced my leg, saying “Lo, lo, loff!”, and when she was in her chair, tried to make the signs for “I love you.” Stuffed animals get hugs and pats, and the cats, (now addressed by name, not just as “gat” or “goggie”), are told they are good: “Goo Kinn! Goo Zeno!”
It has its downside too, this gift of loving others: she looked positively green when I was cuddling her cousin William the other week, and she tries to butt in if Trev and I are hugging or kissing. But it’s nice to be affectionate, so I don’t blame her wanting as much of it as possible.