Your love for your child makes your heart ache, but let's face it - it can sometimes feel unrequited. After all, when your baby rips the hair from your head - or when your 2-year-old literally bites the hand that feeds him - it's easy to suspect that the mother/child romance is more like a solo tap dance than a two-person tango.How to tell your baby loves you! A recent BabyCenter.com poll bears this out: Nearly 40% of moms admitted to wondering if their child loves them back.
Been there? Despair no longer. Our kids do love us - they just have a funny way of showing it. Here are four of the top signs that the adoration isn't so one-sided after all:
Your newborn stares into your eyes
Does your baby bestow gappy grins on everyone from Daddy to the neighbor but save her resolute, grim-faced stares for you? Be glad! When your baby stares into your eyes, she's memorizing your face - and, yes, this is a sign of love. She knows you're important, so she's absorbing everything about you.
Related on BabyCenter: Bonding with your newborn
Your toddler throws wicked tantrums
After a day of pushing your toddler on the swing a thousand times, reading dozens of his favorite books, and performing multiple renditions of "Old MacDonald" - complete with animal noises - you're treated to a 30-minute scream-fest because you won't let him play with the toaster oven. Love? Absolutely. If your child didn't trust you deeply, he wouldn't feel safe enough to let you bear witness to his overwhelming emotions. (This is why some kids hold it together at daycare, only to lose it as soon as you show up.)
Related on BabyCenter: How love blossoms between you and your child
Your preschooler wants your approval
Preschoolers can be decidedly puppy-like in their need for approval. Whenever they do something good - whether it's sharing, putting dirty socks in the hamper, or flushing the toilet - they want you to notice. So when your little tail-wagger shrieks, "Mommy, look at me!" for the umpteenth time, take it for what it is: a sign of love. Like a suitor trying to impress you, she's currying your favor.
Related on BabyCenter: The first thing I said to my baby
Your grade-schooler confides in you
You pick your grade-schooler up from a birthday party, and not only does he shun your hug, but he complains all the way home about losing the scavenger hunt. It's easy to feel rejected, and even a little used, but the fact that your child sees you as a confidante means he trusts you, which is (you guessed it) a sign of love.
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More from BabyCenter: Discover three more signs that your child adores you.