I’m going to open by stressing that I could not love my daughter anymore than I do; it’s not possible. I love every bone in her body through to every crazy hair on her little head. I know it doesn’t happen immediately for everyone, but I loved her from the moment she arrived. And as she has grown that love has changed and evolved from not only just being raw and maternal but also love for the little person she is becoming. I’m hoping that comes across in most of what I write on this blog. However, in the last few weeks I have found myself having moments where…*whispers under her breath*…I don’t always like her.
I remember when Little H was born and she was a simple being doing just the instinctive things. Sometimes, I’ll be honest again, that period could get a bit boring as I didn’t get anything back. Then she started doing more and moved into toddlerhood and she became a lot of fun; her personality started to shine through and we would have such laughs together. But she still looked to mummy for help and support. I couldn’t understand how parents out there would say they were having a day where they didn’t like their offspring.
Then, about a week before her second birthday, something changed in her head. A wireless ‘Toddler Update’ perhaps to install the ‘Terrible Twos’ programme?! Whatever it was, suddenly everything became a drama. Everything became a battle. Anything could induce a tantrum for no discernible reason at no notice and in any location. Within the space of two of my ‘at home’ days with Little H the following ‘went down’:
•• She wanted to go up the aisle in Sainsburys. When I headed that way, she wanted to go down. Then up. Then she laid down on the floor and yelled.
•• When I gave her some raisins in a bowl for a snack, she threw some on the floor. I asked her not to throw or I’d take the bowl…so she threw more. I took the bowl. She burst into hysterical tears. 5 minutes of explaining what she did and asking what was wrong she finally dribbled the word “Bowl” out because she wanted…you guessed it…her raisins.
•• She laid down on the floor in John Lewis under a clothes rack because I asked her to hold my hand. She did it again in children’s clothes in Sainsburys. (When I told her how a passing little boy wasn’t doing then in an attempt to get up, the mum looked at me and said “He used to that!” with a sympathetic look. Thanks fellow mum for reassuring me I wasn’t alone!).
•• I gave her her post-nap milk and she threw it on the floor. As I cleaned it up, she picked it up again, glared and me and threw it on the floor. I asked her to not throw. She did it 3 more times (each with a stronger glare) until I took the milk and she had a tantrum.
This sudden and extreme change has shocked me. I knew it would get tougher as she developed her independence. What I didn’t expect was for it to happen like someone flicked a switch. It’s exhausted me and emotionally bashed me. Mainly because at least once a day right now I look at her shouting at me, throwing something at me or crying at me for trying to take care of her and all I can think is “I don’t like you.”. It could be for a fleeting second, for minutes through to the entire morning. But it’s there and then it’s immediately coupled with Mum Guilt for thinking that about my little amazing person whom I absolutely adore!
But then I reminded myself that she’s a person. A small person but a person nonetheless. She not only has her own personality but she is learning and developing at an astounding rate. There isn’t a single adult person in my life who I haven’t had the “I don’t like you.” thought about at some point or another…including my husband. Including myself! So why would Little H be any different?! The most important thing through all of it is that she still has the love of her mummy. It’s that love that makes me to take a deep breath and endure it, forces me to step into a different room for 30 seconds to calm down.
So I say now in a non-hushed tone: I don’t always like my daughter. But my love for her is never under question.