i started an experiment a couple months ago. we were all in one room, doing our own things. i decided to say out loud, "i love you," to see if anyone would say it back. without hesitation, malia responded right away, "i love you!" i knew she would. i kept saying it and she would say it back. by the 4th time, micah caught on, then roel.
of course i frequently tell them all that i love them. but i like to do it randomly, without addressing anyone in particular. and now they say it back without hesitation. even better, they start the "i love you" gesture first.
i want them to know that it's okay to say "i love you" any time, any place. we'll see if they will still be comfortable saying "i love you" through the teen years.