I'm so estatic, I can't believe it...
No, it's not the first time I've heard these words, because as you might have read in my "My First Hug" post, he has been saying "I love you" as a mimicked response to my saying "I love you" since he was about 2.5 years old.
But NOW he has started saying, unprompted, "I love you Mommy!" A couple times it was at awkward random moments,and I wondered if he was just testing for a response, and then repeating behavior which garnered a good response, but most of the time it occurred during "us time." We might be snuggling together, eating together, watching a movie, etc. Often, when he's said it, he throws his little arms around me and then gives me a kiss too.
He's 4.5 years old, and this is music to my ears!!!