Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Toddler Rejection: The Threenager...

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Toddler Rejection: The Threenager...

"Mummy, I don't like the way you talk to me. I want Daddy!"

"Mummy, I wish I had a Mummy like your Mummy."

"Mummy, you are so mean. You are not my best friend anymore! You are mean!" (sung to an indiscriminate nursery rhyme tune)

"I don't love you anymore."

As I write these phrases down I realise that this is a right of passage. A lesser known milestone. There's smiling, cooing, clapping, crawling, walking, talking and then wounding. I had been warned that this would happen from a variety of sources on a multitude of occasions. I just don't think I believed it. I could not fathom that my beautiful, kind, empathic girl would turn into a surly monster who channels all of her inner angst in my direction as the "primary care giver" (read "sitting duck".)

The thing is, I know that it shouldn't bother me.

I am aware that there are people all over the postcode, country and world who are receiving exactly the same treatment from their offspring on a tri-daily basis merely for deigning to parent. A toddler lacks a filter and will communicate every feeling exactly as it is felt. I know this.

I wanted to believe that my disappointment in this turn of events was because my daughter was different. I wanted to believe that she was intrinsically angelic in nature; advanced in her years for her unfaltering empathy and incapable of thinking, never mind uttering, such hurtful remarks.

The truth is, it's me. I am the one who cannot take rejection in any form. I am the one who is analysing the words of a three year old. I am the one who, upon hearing the criticism, critiques my parenting abilities and finds them coming up short.

She is three. She is mad because I won't let her dress up as Elsa for the twelfth day in a row. She is livid because I used the wrong colour of plate at tea time. She is enraged because I have been the one to greet her when she wakes in the morning. She is incensed because I won't let her waterboard her little brother in the bath. She is the perfect toddler in that she is acting just as a toddler should.

She has no concept of me being a good, bad or mediocre parent. To her, I am the one who is always there. I am the one who is writing the ever expanding rule book which she cannot comprehend and which causes her limitless frustration. I am also the one who is comforting her when she is sick, reassuring here when she is uncertain and re-enacting each and every Disney princess storyline with her upon demand. I am her constant and the one upon whom she depends.

That is just a little bit harder to articulate when you are three...

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