I have had to learn to put up with a lot of things since becoming a parent. The unwanted advice from the more ‘enlightened’ mothers, the stains that mysteriously show up on carpets, I have even become accustomed to the disgusting things that my four year old has begun saying out loud to random strangers. But just recently both Lars and Sophie’s vocabulary has developed, to include the word ‘hate’ and I am not sure how many more times I can stand hearing them tell me they hate me.
We have all heard it, the age old saying, ‘Hate is an ugly word.’ I had never taken much thought to the adage before though, because I too have been guilty of using the word.
It is noon o’clock and I have been telling the kids all morning that we will go to the park on this beautiful sun shining day. I finally pull away from the laptop, scolding myself for not being a very diligent mother this morning, and hop straight into the shower. Sophie is not far behind, bugging me from the other side of the steam covered curtain that she would like to have a bath. I plug the tub while the water rains down on me (Something I used to think was really gross, but now that I pay my own water bills, do on a regular basis) and throw her in after I am through.
Lars is getting antsy so after getting myself haphazardly ready I load him up in his snow gear, because we can’t be that lucky that the snow is even close to being gone. It is nice enough though, for me to keep the patio door open, so he can go into the yard and play by himself. Meanwhile I am running back and forth from the bathroom to the kitchen every minute or so to check on Sophie in the bath, then Lars in the yard.
It has been thirty minutes and Sophie’s bath water is ice cold, but she still splashes in it gaily. The backyard has run its course for the boy and he again fervently asks to go to the park.
“Maaama, we go to the park now?”
“Yes Lars we will go, but I have to get Sophie out of the tub and get her ready, so we will be a bit.”
“I want to go now! I hate you Mama.”
“I have told you Lars, you cannot say that to people, it’s hurtful and is not the way to treat your friends.” This is a little trick I learnt from his Pre-School, calling everyone ‘friends’ I guess kids really relate to this.
My plea is not heard though over the incessant blaring that now is coming from the bathroom. I turn my back to Lars and move towards Sophie, who has heard her brothers fit, and in an idealistic manner has joined in on his ‘hatred’ for me.
I realize that they are too young to understand the magnitude of the word, but it still is a defeating feeling when your two and four year old constantly voices this sentiment towards you. I get to the bathroom and the entire floor is covered in water, Sophie looks up to me with a smile and in the sweetest voice one could ever imagine says, “I hate you Mama.”
“Do you even know what that means Sophie!? It hurts Mama’s feelings, and we will not be going to the park if you two keep saying this.”
“It okay, I hate park, I hate swing, I hate Yary (Larsy), I hate Daddy, I hate bathtub….” I hate, I hate, I hate, I hate!
It goes on like this while I yank the girl out of the tub, strap on her diaper and pants and pick out a shirt that she obviously hates. Right through lunch and into the afternoon’s activities I am hearing the word buzz through my mind. I am ready to also use the word out of its proper context and tell the both of them that I hate my life right now, but I suppose that would just fuel the fire.
I would love to be writing down right now that I have resolved the issue, that all is well once again in the Brown household. Unfortunately this is not so, I continue to get the word hurled in my direction. I have made it clear to the adults in the kids’ life to try their damndest not to use the word while around the parrots, and for the most part they oblige. It hasn’t helped, so my censorship has been in vain.
I’m still not sure what it is about the word that hits my ear in just the wrong place. There are plenty of other words out there that I am sure my kids have or soon will be indulging in, not that I will be all too happy about that either; it is just this word, that boils my blood. Maybe it’s because there are so many alternatives that could be used; revulsion, extreme dislike, detestation, loathing, repugnance. Oh Thesaurus how I love you (As I’m sure you have realized by this point in the blogging game).
I think that the root of this problem is not with the word itself, but what it holds. I worry that they will grow to be adults who quickly jump to hatred instead of learning all sides of a story. The individuals who are too lazy or self-involved to delve deeper into real issues, but find that blindly hating can diminish all sorts of problems. I am concerned because hatred can connect with prejudice, and prejudice leads to all kinds of trouble. I worry because the other bad words of life are just that, words….But hate is a feeling, and can easily become a way of life. I never want my children to live that type of existence.
But right now, to these two small people, it is only a word. A word that has a vague connotation with anger. I will never be able to know what is in store for the future, but I do hope that with love and perseverance we will be able to teach these babes that life will hold much more promise without hate guiding their way. For hate truly is one of the ugliest words out there.