What is love to a child?

One of my friends sent me on a mission to ask Vera this question: what is love?

So I did.

Her answer came in the form of a hug.

I was a little surprised. What, so simple? (Yup, that’s it!)

To a child, love is as simple and as tangible as a big warm hug. No more, no less.

Wait…maybe there’s more.

We used to have the habit of singing Barney’s “I love you, you love me” song, so to Vera, that has special meaning too. Till today, she sometimes makes a request to sing it together before bedtime. And of course, it’s something we can never say no to.

So, to our little girl, love is a hug and a song we sing together (which btw, calls for a “great big hug” and “a kiss from me to you”). What else?

I think a child really needs to experience love with all her senses. At an age where words take on new meanings each day, “I love you” is still a vital thing to say. Love is something audible, tangible, huggable, feel-able, and oftentimes…edible.

Like whenever I make pancakes or cheesecake or jelly for Vera – just some of her favourite yummy things – she would immediately gush “mummy, thank you…I love you!”

Love is yummy alright.

This month of September, I’m focusing on the topic of love. From loving yourself to what a man needs most from his wife; from giving yourself some time to cool off after an argument, to remembering our love stories, and finally, to the touchy topic of making more babies in Singapore.

I hope you’ll join me as we embark on this love journey…

love to a child

Photo credit: Steph Tan Photography

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  1. says

    What a beautiful photograph of Vera and such a great blog intiative for Sept! Looking forward to read all about it. Dana would always punctuate her sentences with ‘Mommy I love you, bless you!’ but I wonder too if she knows the meaning of Love…I shall endeavour to ask her about it tonight
    Angie recently posted..Around the World in 18 Days: Taiwan!My Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      It’s funny how kids always seem to be able to teach us something new and different…especially when it comes to such “grown-up” matters like love and relationships. Btw if you have any posts that you’ve shared before on love / relationships / marriage, please feel free to share them as we go along. 😉

  2. says

    Love from a child’s perspective is really simple, it’s just that it gets complicated as they grow up? I love what you say about how a child should experience love with all their senses – it’s a great point you brought up there. Something I find a bit of challenge is in telling him about God’s love. Any insights on that? Will look forward to reading your posts about love this month! A great theme!
    Ruth recently posted..Visit to Singapore’s Last KampongMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Hi Ruth, thanks for your comment and question. I think when it comes to helping kids understand God’s love, perhaps the key lies in making it tangible since they can’t see or feel His presence at such a young age. But talking about God’s love in natural ways that you’re probably already doing in your daily lives, and reading children’s bible stories about His love are possibly small but good ways to start.

      You also just gave me an idea to explore the topic of love with Vera using 1 Corinthians 13:
      “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – Breaking down “LOVE” into different characteristics may help to provide handles for the little ones to grasp and understand it from a variety of angles.

      I also think that we often associate God with our own earthly fathers…so I think daddies really have a key role to play in exemplifying God’s love in the ways they love and spend time with the kids! (This doesn’t mean that we mums are off the hook of course…)

  3. says

    Love your September theme and am looking forward to hear you share about about the topic of love. To kids, love is so pure and so simple and I love how they are the ones teaching and reminding us everyday. Just yesterday when we were writing cards for her teacher, I wrote, “Thank you for teaching me ..” and she added “for loving me too!”. I smiled and am so glad that she’s been blessed to have such great teachers.
    Susan recently posted..Motivational Monday – Getting back my baking grooveMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Sophie is so sweet. I think she hit the nail on the head when she said thank you to her teachers for loving her. She wasn’t concerned about whether they “taught” her or “played with” her, but it was so real to her that they LOVED her. I’m glad that she feels loved by them too!

  4. says

    What a great topic! The simplicity of the children’s idea of love is always a reminder of how ours should be.

    I suddenly feel very guilty! My kids have been leaving little notes of love on my pillow, saying stuff and doing things for me, but in our busyness, I forget that this is big demonstration of love for them.

    I’m going to ask them this same question too! Thank you.. I look forward to reading your posts on love! 🙂

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Your kids are really sweet and such blessings too, Jiahui. You’re right, I too agree that it’s the little everyday expressions of love that count. I’m already thinking of the funny answers you might get when you ask them the question. Be sure to share these in a post someday! 😉

  5. says

    Yup, such a simple yet neglected concept in my parenting, I find! Susan’s comment reminded me of this teachers’ day, when I was thinking of getting K to write “happy teachers day” or “thanks for teaching me”… but before I could ask her, she had already written “K loves u” on little pieces of paper and she said they were for her teachers! I slipped them into the pressies. Aww!

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Awww…hey you’re not alone in thinking that it’s something we often neglect. I think the way we’re wired and the way we live just doesn’t give us a lot of space to slow down and appreciate love the ways kids do. In our children’s world, we are everything. In our world, ideally, they are everything too, but in reality, there’s work, responsibilities, societal obligations, cultural maxims, household chores, friendships and Facebook, and everything else. It’s something I need to be more conscious of too, and am learning to do so every day.

  6. says

    Recently heard a talk about the 5 love languages for children at a parenting course. It was really enlightening to learn about the different ways of discovering the primary love languages of each individual child. I’m still discovering my own child’s. He is still young so I think his primary love language is still in the development stage. But we endeavour to shower him with love at all facets so he gets a chance to experience the full spectrum of love in all sorts of ways as he makes his discover. Looking forward to reading your series on love this month.
    Serenely recently posted..Family kissing on the mouthMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Hi Serenely, you’re right, it’s really helpful to discover our own primary love language and to be aware of our kids’, although as you pointed out it’s a bit early to tell and it’s good to “not know” anyway just so you can experiment giving love via all the 5 languages. I know it’s not a better-or-worse thing, but wouldn’t it be nice to understand and appreciate all 5 of them? That way, we can easily express and receive love with our spouses/loved ones too!

  7. says

    I asked K the question what is love, he shrugged and then grinned and say, “I just farted…” he added “Love is me farting in front of mommy,” and we LOL-ed together. Seems very irrelevant to the question, but it’s quite a funny perspective coming from him. How I see it from his response is that love allows u to be so comfortable with the one you trust and love that u be able to be yourself without the fear of being judged. At his age, he still thinks that it is funny to fart, totally have no inkling that it is embarrassing yet 😛 It’s quite strange how sometimes our children’s perspective can have little lessons for us hidden in them.
    Rachel Teo recently posted..Why Moms Blog (Blog Train)My Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      You got me lol-ing with that fart-icious reply! Haha, it’s so true isn’t it? They say couples don’t really know know each other until they are comfortable farting in each other’s presence. I suppose pregnancy immediately catapults us into this stage because we can’t really help ourselves can we? Such a precious funny memory, thank YOU for sharing it here! 😉

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Thank you, Maureen. I love hug-time. The way kids hug is different because they fling themselves on you, it’s almost like crashing… :p

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Indeed, love is simple and complex at the same time…I tend to always think of it simply but I know there’s a lot more behind it than just emotions and will. Love requires commitment, decision, sacrifice, trust and mutual respect, and so much more. I like the way you put it as building layers because it points to the fact that we need to build a foundation before anything else. Thank you 🙂

  8. says

    I love how kids express their love in moments when we least expect it. My son threw up twice while we were travelling to KL (thankfully, we had plastic bags with us). I then moved to the back of the car to sit beside him and just hold his hand. He looked at me and said, “I love you Mummy”. They are little beings that need us to express God’s unconditional love to them so they will ultimately know his perfect love. I am excited about your series!
    Jasmine – Gift Wrapsody recently posted..Matchmaking Issue 1 :: Gifts & CardsMy Profile

    • mamawearpapashirt says

      Thank you for that beautiful and simple reminder that we are His representatives here on earth and that our children will first and foremost experience God’s love through us. We have big shoes to fill but all by His grace…

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