Mama Be Present: Love Code Mode

Gimme 5, stay alive.
Gimme 4, shut the door.
Gimme 3, let’s have tea.
Gimme 2, take off a shoe.
Gimme 1, let’s have fun!

Thirty-three years later, I still remember the secret handshake that my uncle and I made up.

I also remember what my mom and I would do before we said goodnight: We’d pinky swear, kiss our fingers, and tap each other’s foreheads. 

During an awkward or boring situation, my dad would look at me and pull down the outer corner of his eye. I’d do it back. It was our funny way of saying lots of things without saying anything. 

All of these exchanges took seconds, yet they’re still imprinted in my memory. They were just as special as hugs – if not more. 

So, if you or your kiddo aren’t big on embraces or kisses, all is not lost when it comes to the love language of physical touch. Something as simple as a secret handshake or special hand gesture could be just as impactful.

Right before tucking JeeWoo in, we used to do a thumbs up, hang loose, and some knuckles. This top-secret tradition would make all of us smile, even after the most sweat-inducing, hair-pulling attempts to get Little Man to bed.

These days, the pre-slumber sendoff consists of David tossing 100 imaginary M&Ms into JeeWoo’s mouth before he blows him some “Kit-Kat-Oreo kisses” from the door, and let me tell you…JDub LOVES it. 

Not only is it something that he expects (Toddlers thrive on predictability!), but it’s a special invention that only he and daddy share. It’s their thang. It’s their unspoken code for “I love you.”

What about you? Are you recalling things from your own childhood? Or reminded of what you already do with your kiddo/s? Perhaps you’re inspired to add some magic to a mundane routine.

Wherever you land in Love Code Mode, I hope these tiny traditions melt you into the moment each time they’re acted out.

This post is part of the Mama Be Present series:

A joy-sparking journey + free community for moms who desire simple yet impactful ways to connect more with their little ones.


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