I Love You
Three little words, ‘I Love You’. From most people they probably mean a lot, I know when my husband says it it’s coming from a genuine feeling of love and funnily enough it usually follows me cooking his favourite dinner.
From Girl it’s a little bit more complex than simply expressing an emotion of love. Take for instance, on Friday night Girl had a sleepover at her grandparents house. She really enjoys a sleepover, a lot of adopted children don’t, it can put the fear of god into them but I think it gives Girl a bit of peace and quiet and some one-to-one time that she desperately needs and that we can’t always give her having a very needy two year old in the house.
Each end every time she has a sleepover the day she returns is filled with some very badly acted, over-dramatised, simpering ‘I Love You’s’. ‘I Love You Daddy’, ‘I Love You Mommy’; lots of kissing of arm, hands and faces and some very over the top, dramatic hugs but also interspersed with some very sulky, petulant behaviour. Now, I am very sure she does love us but for Girl this isn’t simply a need to tell us she loves us, it’s more complex than that (of course it is, what did you expect?). She needs to know that we love her too. It simply can’t be as straightforward as her saying ‘mummy do you love me?’ because that would be far too scary for her. Girl is never good with a direct question. What if we gave her an answer she did not want to hear (we never would)? I think by her telling us that she loves us over and over again she understands that she will get a reciprocation of affection. It’s not quite so effusive (I was never good at am-dramatics) but it is genuine. ‘We Love You too Girl’. Simply put and matter of fact.
We also get this same behaviour after contact, especially recently with much more contact with her poorly grandad. She often goes into the old game of playing ‘I love you to Asda and back’ when she is struggling. When she was a toddler and we read the book with Nutbrown Hare in it Asda was as far away as she could think, so in return I would love her to Sainsburys and ba
Yesterday was different. After us all being poorly over Christmas we decided to venture out and blow the cobwebs away. Girl loved it. We haven’t managed to get out for a good walk for at least a month as that’s how long we have been poorly. She was happy and needed to show it. ‘I Love You Mommy’ she ran shouting, ‘I Love You Daddy’, ‘I Love You Boy’, ‘I Love Nanny & Granddad , ‘I Love the dog’, ‘I Love my other nanny and grandad’…It was an overwhelming expression of happiness. I would probably have ran shouting ‘woohooo I am sooooo happy, fresh air yeehaaa!’ but with Girl there was still that need to include everybody she loves in her happiness which I am definitely not grumbling about but I did find eccentric!ck and we still play the game now but sadly the game now usually comes from a place of fear but also I think from a need to regress and be babied a bit.
So with Girl ‘I Love You’ is rarely a simple expression of pure love but that’s really OK because I don’t need to hear the words to know she loves us and we love her in return. The love is expressed in her concern when we are poorly, the moments shared with a blanket on the settee, the jokes and teasing and holding hands on a walk. It’s all there and that’s enough for me.
Happy New Year x
SW Social Woker
PASW Post Adoption Social Worker
SALT Speech & Language Therapy
CP Community Paediatrician