Tonight my kid broke my heart a bit. Not in that “awwww, so sweet” way, but in a way that cut deeply to my heart and made me cry.
It all started this evening. I had brought a treat home from Starbucks for him after work, and when I got home, he was watching a video and having a snack. No problem. Since he was doing that, I decided that it would be a good time to watch the football game I had on the PVR from yesterday. It was all fine until he decided that he didn’t want to watch the movie anymore and told me to “log off”. I turned it off for me, and he started to play. Noisily. Right next to where I was sitting. It was fine, I didn’t want to interrupt his playtime. Then he started asking for things. Not just asking though, demanding. Even asking him to wait a minute until the next stoppage wasn’t good enough for him, and if I did get up from what I was doing to get/do/go where he asked, it still wasn’t enough. He kept getting bossier and bossier, and more and more demanding.
This continued for a while, until shortly before bedtime. There were toys literally all over the floor, and you couldn’t even walk from the living room to the kitchen without having to step over them. I asked him nicely to pick them up, and instead, he decided to move them slightly to the left of where they were before. I explained to him that he needed to listen, and to pick up his toys. I also told him that if he couldn’t pick them up, I would start taking them away. Not my proudest moment as a parent, that’s for sure, but I had to do something. His response? “Ok, you take them away then. Put them in the garbage.”. I’m not sure he quite thought about what he said before he said it, but I was shocked. I told him that he was lucky to have the toys that he does, and asked him if he would like it if I gave them to other kids who weren’t so lucky. He was shocked at that suggestion, and it quieted him a bit. He started to out his toys away, but then got sidetracked and started putting them elsewhere again. I knew that he was tired, probably a bit overtired,but it was no excuse for the way he was acting.
Next up came bedtime. I asked him a question and he proceeded to ignore me. Since he was acting like he didn’t want me there, and only wanted to boss me around, I gave him a kiss and said goodnight. He melted down and started sobbing. I only went in to the other room, but when e came out, I asked if there was something that he should say to me. He said no but told me that I needed to read him a story. Told, not asked. Things kept going downhill from there, and ended up with me attempting to give him a kiss and say goodnight. He refused, so I left the bedroom, fighting off tears, and as I walked out, he began to howl again. “I want Mummy to read me a story!!”. M talked to him about doing nothing but ordering me around, and he continued on his “I want…I want…I want”. I went back in to give him another chance to be nice, and when I went to talk to him, he said to me “I want a different mummy. I want Gavin’s mummy.” This was enough to get me to leave the room immediately, and at least made outside the room before I start to cry.
His words cut straight through me, and hurt worse than anything he has ever said to me. I was shocked and hurt and sad. All I could do was sit there and cry. M was still in the room and talked to him about how his words hurt me. Eventually, he came out of the room to give me a hug. When he came out, his little face was streaked with tears, and he had his hands clamped over his youth, as though he didn’t quite know what to say. He looked at me with my tears running down my face, and I could see his heart breaking a bit too. I reached out and took his hand, and he sat down on my lap, wrapped his arms around me and buried his face in my neck. “I’m sorry Mummy” he said. “it’s ok, buddy”, I replied. “Do you want me to tuck you in?” “No, Daddy will do it”, and he walked back into the bedroom. M followed and tucked him into bed.
About 15 minutes later, I could hear him ruffling around. I went up and layed down on the floor beside his bed, placing my head on his pillow and laying my arm over top of his. “I love you little one” I whispered. ” I love you Mummy” he whispered back, taking his hand in mine. We lay there for a little while, and he asked if I could read him a story tonight. I said that we wouldn’t be reading one tonight and that we would just cuddle a while, which we did. After a while, I gave him a kiss and a hug and he squeezed me tight and kissed me back. “I love you”, he said.
An hour later, I’m still feeling a bit shaken up by his words. I don’t think that he realized the impact that his words would have on me, but I don’t think that I would have done him any favours by hiding how hurt I was either. He needs to understand that words can hurt, and to choose them carefully. This was a hard lesson for both of us to learn, but an important one. I just wish It hadn’t happened so soon.