A few weeks ago–after hearing the phrase directed at him well over seven bazillion times–Charlie said, "I love you." (Well, really he said, "I yuv you." But you get the idea.) I wasn't sure he understood the meaning of the words, but it was a wonderful thing to hear. He would say it every time we said it to him, even adding a "too" to the end of the sentence: "I yuv you too." So sweet.
One night at dinner, Brett the Dad began his nightly ritual of grabbing three cookies from the cookie jar. (After he had eaten but before his milk was gone, of course.) He sat back down at the table and handed one cookie to Charlie.
Charlie: "Tank you."
Brett: "You're welcome."
Charlie took a bite. He smiled and added a high-pitched "mmmmm!" Then he said:
"I yuv cookies!"
Later, as Charlie tries on his new summer sandals for the first time at home, he says with delight:
"I yuv my shoes!"
The next morning, driving homeward, Charlie and I turn onto our street.
Charlie: "Mom, home."
Me: "Yes Barley, almost home."
"I yuv home."
Well sheesh. I suppose it's quite obvious now. This little boy knows the meaning of love.