The way my son Charlie reacts when he's angry or frustrated with me has evolved so much over his short four year lifespan.
I'll never forget watching him when he was about nine months old, trying to fit a large toy into a small box. After several failed attempts, he threw the toy across the room in utter frustration. It was the first time I saw my baby behave like a "real" person, and while I can imagine this was one of the hardest things he'd ever had to go through up until that point (bless his heart) I couldn't help but smile at witnessing first hand his budding personality.
As he got older and more vocal and opinionated, he would verbally express his frustrations. First they were grunts and screams, but around three, he became more articulate. When he was angry with something I did, for example, not allow him to jump off the four foot retaining wall, he would retort with an angry "mommy, you're YUCKY!". I laugh just thinking about how that word meant the absolute worth thing in the world to him.
But now that he's getting older, and his vocabulary is growing, his angry words are changing. A few months ago he moved from calling me yucky when he was mad, to telling me that I wasn't going to be invited to his birthday party. Which is kind of hilarious because who the hell does he think makes the birthday party happen in the first place? If only the kid knew how much my presence was integral to the success of the big event.
But the other night we turned a corner, and this time I wasn't laughing. He was angry at me for God knows what (#becausetoddler) and he said "Mommy, I don't love you anymore".
Dagger to my heart.
Now of course, logically I knew he didn't mean it, and within five minutes his mood changed, and we were snuggling in bed. But I'll be honest, it made me so sad. True or not, no person likes to hear that, but more than anything, it was the realization that my son is learning that things we say can really hurt, and love is something valuable that can be taken away, that saddened me.
Fortunately his love was more than apparent the next day at daycare drop off, when he requested extra kisses.
So we're good.
For now at least.
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