“Ma, do you still love me?” Why my 3-year-old asks this question every day
Why would a 3-year-old have the concept that for some reason, her mother does not like her? Was there any insecurity or fear she was battling?
It is true when they say that children are the purest form of love you can ever experience. If you already have these little angels at home, you will know that even if they make you run out of patience and get angry and frustrated at times, a simple question and an innocent look is all it takes to make you wrap them in your arms.
I have two such angels at home, my monkey angels I call them, and trust me, over the years as a mother, these two have taught me so much about love, life, relationships and my own self, that no grown up or no book could teach me.
At home as a family, we encourage each other to share our feelings and express them freely. So, if I am upset and my daughters feel it, they always ask me if I am sad, and if I say yes, I am showered with hugs.
My 3-year-old understands the meaning of being angry, happy, sad and so on. She is learning to express herself through her words as well as through her gestures and expressions. Just like any other 3-year-old, she too is very naughty, and I, as all who know me say, am a very chilled out and relaxed mother. I barely ever get angry or shout at them – those are rare moments and I prefer it that way.
However, there are times when I lose it, which is also a very normal thing to do, and it is then that my younger one asks me – “Ma, you love me na? Are you happy with me?”
The first time she said this, I was taken aback. Why would a 3-year-old have the concept that for some reason, her mother does not like her? Was there any insecurity or fear she was battling? Did I say or do something that made her feel unloved? I was really worried. I picked her up and told her, of course, I loved her. She was happy.
A few days later, she spilled a glass of milk while walking around the house holding it, even after I had asked her to sit in one place and finish it. A lot of moms will identify with this I am sure! The moment the milk fell on the floor, we looked at each other and I gave her a look which was a little stern (by this I mean I was not smiling at her, but was a little serious).
She came up to me, said “Sorry ma, it fell. You still love me na?” and that is when I realized that THIS is what prompts her to ask this. If I don’t smile at her, or if I am a little angry at her for anything, her first response is to make sure that no matter what, I still love her.
I picked her up, gave her a BIG smile and said “Of course I love you. Ma will always and ALWAYS love you, even if you do naughty every day.” And then she asked, “You are happy with me na?” which is basically her way of asking if I will smile instead of being stern.
And what do you think happened after that? I smiled at her, kissed her, tickled her and played with her, just as any mother and child will do. And I told her over and over again that I love her and her sister the mostest, that I will always love her, and always be happy with her, no matter what.
And today, even as she is almost ready to turn 4, I still tell her this every single day, “I love you, I will always love you, and I am always always happy with you.”
And mind you, I say this to my 9-year-old too, who is all set to become 10.
Love and life can be such a simple and amazing thing when you look at it from your child’s eyes, isn’t it? :)