Not only is it heartbreakingly cute, but it was also a welcome replacement to the frustrated whinge he had been using to get picked up. As he's got bigger, he wraps his little arms around, no longer a passive recipient, but an active component of the hug.
But as with all things in Ethan-world, leave it a week and he'll have evolved, learned, progressed. He soon dialled that 'hug' got him off the floor and closer to the things he finds interesting in a much more predictable way than his wordless whine. Light switches, computers, shiny knives, hot pans on the stove could all be within reach with a simple 'hug'.
So we had to be a bit heartless sometimes. When I'm cooking and Ethan comes along , arms up, chanting 'hug, hug!' I have to say, 'In a minute...' He doesn't like that and resorts to the wordless whine. It feels mean, but hug requests while I'm cooking have almost invariably led to him using me as a scaffold to reach out and see how hot the stuff in the frying pan is. I'm left thinking, Hey, where's that hug?!
So he's employed another word for use when the hug isn't getting him closer to the action - Walk. Which means 'let me down so I can go to where you won't let me'. The other day in the grocery store, he wanted to touch everything, throw eggs on the ground and dig into old ladies' handbags. Proper naughty. He wanted to grab at something high up and demanded, 'Hug!' I picked him up, pushing the trolley along with my free hand. He was not pleased that this 'hug' wasn't actually getting him any closer to the object of his desire.
'Walk! Walk!' He cried. I carried on, the shop was almost done and this little man was about to turn monster. He got more and more upset, struggling against me to get away, until in sheer desperation he turned towards total strangers to help him get to what he wanted. 'Hug!' he yelled at an old woman walking past us in the aisle. I giggled nervously, hopping the woman wouldn't think he's being kidnapped. Clever little guy, it was almost enough to get me to give in and let him run riot amongst the old ladies and canned goods. I can tell I'm going to have keep on my toes with this hug monster!