For months we’ve been reading the same bedtime book, Snuggle Up Sleepy Ones. Ezra loves looking at the animals, and has developed a few favorites, kissing the drowsy lion cubs goodnight and giggling along with the mischievous monkeys.
One of my favorite pages is the second page:
Whenever we read it, with Ezra sitting on my lap, I wrap my arms around him and give him a big hippo hug.
A few days ago, we were playing in his room, looking through books, and I pulled this one down so we could look at the animals. We sat next to each other on the floor and I flipped through: here are the monkeys, here are the porcupines, here are the leopards. When I got to the hippos, Ezra, without even thinking about it, gave himself a hug. He put his hands to his chest, where mine usually sit when we’re reading, and squeezed.
His sudden association of “hippo” and “hug” is adorable and hilariously well-established. Just say the word hippo now and he reflexively hugs himself. I can’t get enough.