By Allie Wade
I feel like I’ve officially become a mother. Today. It happened. I received my very first “I hate you.”
For a kid who I have never heard use the word “hate,” he sure had a list of things that he hated.
He hated me.
He hated our car.
He hated our house.
He hated our dog. He hated his car seat.
He hated his school.
He hated his shoes.
He hated everything.
He even told me that he wanted a new mom and that he would no longer like to be my son.
This all started at our PEPS group meeting. He had to use the potty but decided that he did not like the toddler potty seat that was sitting on top of the white porcelain circle. I stood in the bathroom with him, asked him if he needed help, told him I would stay or go, offered to find him a different toddler seat, convinced him that the sink would be an absolute blast to use and then started threatening that we would have to leave if he didn’t either use the potty, or go back to our friends.
After 10 minutes of negotiating in the bathroom, I made the executive decision that we would have to leave. Our conversation was going nowhere and we were headed for tantrum-ville with a population of one. Mr. Baylor Wade.
Screaming and crying he refused to put shoes on, didn’t want to stay, didn’t want to go. I picked up all 36 pounds of thrashing toddler and hauled him to the car.
“I HATE THIS CAR! I HATE THIS PLACE! I HAAAAATE YOU! I WILL NOT BE YOUR SON! I WANT A NEW MOM! I HATE OUR DOG! I HATE THIS SEAT! I HATE THIS BUCKLE!”
The bummer with a big kid booster is that he can undo the seat belt. As he kept unbuckling himself I would re-buckle and finally got the car moving so that he would leave it in place.
SCREAMING is all that happened. After the fifth time he told me he wanted a new mom, I turned my blinker on, turned into the grocery store parking lot and calmly said, “ok, Bay, let’s find a nice lady to be your new mom. You can go climb in her car. Sound good?”
Maybe not the most conventional parenting moment, but he looked at me and calmly said, “NO. I didn’t mean it. I don’t want a new mommy. I don’t hate you.”
I explained that I knew he was upset and that I’m sure he was very mad that I made him leave before he was ready, but that words we say can hurt people and that we must remember who we are talking to, even when we get really mad. I explained what “hate” meant and he switched over to “I don’t like my seat…”
I am aware that I may have a few more “I hate yous” headed my way. I’m sure he will be so mad at me that he’ll threaten to run away or tell me how unfair I am. Even though I know it’s in a time of madness and his prefrontal cortex isn’t even connected to the rest of his brain, it still stings a little to know that the little person I would die for could say, “I hate you.” I remember the feeling it gave me when he first said “I love you” and thinking about the day the middle word would change to hate. I thought I had 10 years, at least!
So, if you see us in the grocery store parking lot shopping for a new mom one day, you’ll know why.
Kids…. always lookin’ for the next best thing, including moms.