And words? Oh HELL YES they can hurt me. Particularly when they come from the mouth of an angelic 3-year-old. Especially when the chosen words are…
“I DON’T LIKE YOU.”
Seriously. It’s a near-fatal knife blow to the back, through the heart, down and back up the spine, dinging every rib to finally make mince meat of the brain.
I know I have 38 years on a three-year-old. I know I’m supposed to be a rational human being, one who has worked through all my childhood issues, one who is loving and empathetic and above petty tantrums, one who knows that young children are simply testing boundaries and have yet to discover the use of their middle finger for anything but retrieving hardened snot from their noses. But…
I may never recover from the emotional devastation wrought by a well-timed, “I don’t like you.” It is far more effective than an adult, “FUCK OFF.” And there is no appropriate come-back.
I am (just) stable enough to refrain from a sharp, “Well, I don’t like you either, so there.” But I did think for a few minutes that it would take up permanent residence on the tip of my tongue.
I should be rewarded for my control. With chocolate. And maybe a stuffed animal.
Of course, the Kid got over the whole drama within five (or fifteen) minutes. I, on the other hand, may be truly traumatized by his tantrum.
Are we friends again? Are we? Are we?