Reasons Your Kid Will Say "I Hate You!"

If you’re totally shocked by the title of this piece, you either don’t have children yet or didn’t have a childhood.

For God’s sake, every child says those three words in that particular order at some point between age 3 and 53. Before 3, they’re just about learning to say ‘hate’ and after 53 the parents are mostly dead.

The first time my daughter, who is now at the ripe old age of 5, said ‘I hate you,’ it totally broke my heart. I felt I had let her and myself down with my upbringing. I felt I was failing in my role as the caregiver, the nurturer, the person responsible for her bright future. I was so obsessed with making things work with her, that the whole 8 hours I was at work I was designing strategies to win her trust back. When all else failed, I called my mother for advice – she did after all have the experience of raising two girls - that’s twice the number of kids I have, ergo, twice the experience; so what if only one of them is super smart and awesome! But like all mothers, she started recounting the times I had said that to her, how she never took that seriously because she knows I love her, and always will and other such usual mom wisdom. I hung up the phone, “Thanks Ma, I love you!”

But I wasn’t going to let this defining moment in my relationship with my daughter pass by. I couldn’t just ignore the elephant in the room; the emotion in the word ‘hate’ is too strong to disregard. I made a very strong strategy to resolve our conflict. It’s a whole another story that she showed no signs of recollection of ever having said those three words, when I picked her up from pre-school. This ‘life-changing’ incident took place when she was 4, and when I wasn’t as experienced as I am today. First time parents take everything seriously!

The strategy I used was, to arrive at 6:00 PM to pick her up from pre-school, instead of at 5: 45, like I did every day. Coming to think of it, it would have made more sense to arrive early and tell her who the boss was, instead of arriving at closure, because that’s what she wanted in the first place, and the reason why ‘she hated me’ – because I picked her up before her best friend was picked up by her guilty mom- at 1800 hours.

In any case, I have grown more immune, to hearing those three words, knowing I am not alone in evoking such passionate feelings from my kindergartener. I would have wished to become wiser, but then again this is my learning phase - I’ll have enough words of wisdom, when she calls me for help with her 5-year-old. That’ll be my “Aha! Serves you right!” moment.

Here are reasons you should expect your kid to say ‘I hate you’ – in case you have an under 5, this may just be your bible. 

1.       You ask her to brush her teeth.

Why would you? How can you be so insensitive as to not let her play with her markers and crayons all day long? Why would you take the fun away from her just because you can’t bear the stench coming out of her mouth? She has no problem with it, you heartless above-3-feet-person!
2.       When you walk away from her when she doesn’t brush.

Why wouldn’t you sit with your child when she is pursuing her passion of coloring the sheets of paper and threads of carpet? She wants you to see all the curvy ‘straight lines’ she draws and laughs with a stinky mouth. But you are just too narrow-minded to in this case, narrow-nosed to let the stench pass by.
3.       When you ask her to take a bath.

She loves the filth, the muddy stains on her clothes, the grass blades spiking all over her hair. And the heartless person that you are, you ask her to wash her hands? Worse, take a bath before she can eat anything? Do you want her to starve? Notice the brewing drama.
4.       When you tell her, her playdate is canceled.

Even if it was canceled because her date fell sick and her mom didn’t want to spread the virus. The phrase “Don’t shoot the messenger” doesn’t make any sense to kids. You said she wouldn’t be able to have the playdate today, which can only mean that, you caused it. You don’t want her to have fun, you’d much rather have her stay close to your hip all day, ask you a million questions, ‘help’ you with cooking and re-clean the mess she’s cleaned up. 

5.       When you throw her art away because it was lying near the trash, and you know, you thought it was trash.
My daughter makes an average of 7 pieces of art every day, yes that’s the mean, and I’ve done my math. Some she loves and keeps them close to the trash, some she discards away and throws into the trash, because it’s not pretty. I’ve tried really hard to figure out which is which, but because her aim isn’t that great yet, I find it hard to take the trash out. But then again, why should trash be taken out?

6.       You watch real people on TV.
Why can’t Dora play all day? Why won’t you love Arthur as much as she loves him? Why do you have to see boring grownups and their obnoxious kids on TV? Are you a masochist? It could very well be that you are a sadist and find it relieving to see that the parents on TV have it worse than you do, but then again, why can’t you just watch Barney and torture yourself?

7.       You didn’t make mac-n-cheese today.
What are these green yucky things you call vegetables? Why are they good for health? How come they taste so yucky if they’re good for health, and how come food that tastes so yummy is bad for you? Why do you ration Cola and chips? How can you be so cruel?

8.       You only bought a present for her friend, not for her, even though it’s not her birthday.
The rule is, when you go to the toy store, and if you make the mistake of taking your kid along, you need to buy one for her too. After all, the toy store will struggle, if you didn’t buy the fifth box of the toy that she already has and you’ve never seen her playing with at home. How could you?

The thing is, my daughter does say ‘I hate you’ now and then. Sometimes I let her be and it takes a minute of silence to convince my extremely extraverted child to realize she’s hurt my feelings; and sometimes I react and ask her to go to her room to ‘think about what she’s done.’ I don’t know if she thinks while playing with her princess castle, but she surely comes back down to apologize when she’s hungry. Like my progenitor said, I too know she doesn’t mean it, and I truly believe that I am doing my best for my offspring. After all, she does say “I love you” more than she says the other less-desirable, three words.

Oh and I forgot, does she use your laptop to ‘learn’ math, and does your work require extensive use of the keyboard? That’s an “I hate you” right there, waiting to happen!

Image Credit: Devianart

Me vs Nature

Yesterday was a big day. Too big to be true. My biggest fear (at least the biggest one in the last 5 years) came true. The moment I had been postponing, the fact of life that I was refusing to come to terms with, came true. I knew I was fighting a losing battle, but I thought I still had some time - 3 months maybe. 

But it was not to be. Nature got to me - earlier. 
In spite of my repeated pleas with D, and her best efforts, she couldn't contain her wiggly tooth anymore. That darned pretzel finally brought her first milk tooth down.

D lost her tooth at school, there was nothing I could do. I would have taken the pretzel away, if it meant saving her milk tooth for another day. Maybe D would have pleaded with me for the Pretzel, and maybe I'd've traded her a cotton candy, maybe.

When she did lose her tooth, she was taken to the nurse by her classmates. She was now the proud loser of her tooth. The fifth big kid to cross this crucial threshold of Kindergarten life. 

Tooth Fairy by veli

"I was biting on my pretzel when suddenly I couldn't bite, and it was too hard. I wasn't sure what it was, when I spat it out, it was my tooth, Mamma!" she would later recite excitedly to me and to anyone who stopped to hear the story of her missing tooth.

A parent who was volunteering at school at the time, later asked me "So how did you react to D's lost tooth?" 

"I am depressed."

"That's exactly how your daughter predicted you'll react" she smiled.

"Come again?"

"Your daughter said 'I am very excited that I lost my tooth. I am a big girl now. But my mother will start crying.'" 

"Well, yeah. I've been asking her to hold it in, but.... what can I say" I said.

"I know. I went through the same thing."

"My daughter lost her tooth at the exact same time last year", another dad tried. "I asked her to hold it back too!"

So I guess I'm not all alone. Parents don't want their kids to grow. 

In the evening when Ady walked home, D went running to him, "Papa, I lost my tooth!"

"Yay!" He screamed. "That's awesome! Let's celebrate!"

I stand corrected. Some parents do contradict their wife's feelings. 

"And you know what Papa, another tooth is wiggly."

Me - 0 , Nature -1

(Image Credit: Veli/Devianart)

What? I missed a festival again?

My father follows the Sun and the Moon like nobody's business. Reading our horoscopes, interpreting it, theorizing the consequences and offering possible solutions was his hobby and ever since he's retired, it's become a part of his blood stream.

He checks out horoscopes and calendar dates, compares the English dates with the Tamil dates, follows the planet positions and movement of the stars. 

When we were in India, he would make us come home for any religious event. On 'No moon' days he would not let me cut my hair, because it won't grow back. It was OK for me to clip it off the next day, because it's the 'growth phase' and I will have thick and luscious growth. My hair's never grown beyond my shoulders, ever since I left college. I've never been patient enough to wait 5 years to let it. 

On a few special days, he'd ask me to eat only sour food, on some other days, he'd insist I increase myu sugar consumption. I listened, then, because I had a cook and a maid.I listened because I had a nanny. They did all the work. All I had to do was pass the information on. Some days, Appa would make Amma talk to them directly.

But ever since moving to the U.S., I've asked Appa not to check on my horoscope. I just don't have the time to care. But I can't take his hobby away from him, his passion. So I've told him that he can read it as long as he doesn't tell me what's in there and make me do extra work to appease the celestial bodies. There are two other bodies I need to take care of, and they live with me right here on Earth, in my house. 

To his credit, Appa has tried. But he's never been successful. If I tell him, that I have an important appointment, he'll immediately tell me what times to avoid, because of the influence of a particular demonic time eater, Rahu.  After my 'request' he now doesn't say what time is auspicious and what's not, he just pauses and sighs. 

"What do you want to tell me now?" I end up asking and he happily lays down the most auspicious and enchanting time of the day, even if it is extremely inconvenient and nobody wants to meet at 8:00 PM at night.

But 2014 saw a change in him, and me. I didn't respond to the sighs and he sighed a lot less. I would find out about festivals and events, after they  had passed. I may not actually spend a lot of time preparing delicacies for the two beings in my house, but, you know, it's good to know. If I complained to Appa, he'd just say "You told me not to." 

This year, I missed the kick-off festival. I missed Pongal today,  the harvest festival, thanks to the non-sighing conversation.

So with the festival in the new year, there's a new deal between my father and me - "He can tell me what the occasion is, but he can't tell me what to do, and he cannot sigh."
"But you want to know?" Appa asks. 
"Yes. I want D to know about our festivals."
"But you won't make all the 'necessary' dishes?"
"I don't want to exert myself too much, when I can make do with a curry and some rice."
"OK. Your wish." He sighs. "Happy Pongal. Tomorrow is Kanu. There's a lot of stuff that you.... don't have to do."

Image Courtesy: Wikimedia