Parental Rites of Passage:
Being peed on – usually right in the face if you have a baby boy.
Walking around with poop on your hand or your sleeve and realizing it after saying at least twice, ‘WHAT is that SMELL??”
Catching puke in your hands.
Late night repeatedly checking symptoms – should we go to the ER or shouldn’t we?
“But dad/mom said I could.”
First day of school.
The first time your “baby” doesn’t want to hold your hand in public.
And…the first time your ANGEL, your darling, your sweet, sweet lovemuffin says, “I HATE YOU.”
And if it hasn’t happened to you yet, you’re either a) lying or b) in for a nasty surprise.
The children’s book The Day Leo Said I Hate You by Robie Harris and illustrated by Molly Bang takes on this delightful moment in parenting history.
My kids are 9 and 6, and even though the book is targeted at much younger children, they got into it. Thing one read it to all of us, and when Leo, enraged at being told No No No so many times in one day, shouts at his mother, “I HATE YOU!!!!” both kids were appropriately aghast. And let’s just take a moment here for a silent thankgodforsmallfavors because had they laughed uproariously my worst fears about my own parenting would have been confirmed.
The book, which is illustrated in collage-style and filled with bright colors and kid and grown-up pleasing graphics, delivers the “it’s OK to say you hate things but not OK to say you hate people” message in a way that is so much more effective than whatever tired old pablum I’d been handing my kids.
I think what I’ve always said to them is what was said to me, “Hate is a very strong word.” Which is about as meaningful to them as, “Purple onions equals seventy four.” It doesn’t register and certainly doesn’t make any point about what it means to tell someone you hate them.
My kids are very verbal and have been from early on Gee wonder where they get that, and I’m always grateful for help in teaching them to navigate and make choices about the language they use. So, thanks Leo.
As for things I hate, currently, I am hating dryer lint because my mother and husband have instilled in me a deep-seated fear of dryer lint caused fire. I also hate the noise my dog makes, oh, pretty much constantly, that either means, “play with me or I’ll eat your other couch cushion – you know, the one I didn’t already eat,” or “I’m about to pee on your floor.”
What do you hate? Make me laugh and I’ll send you the book!