Isn’t it something to have your feelings hurt – really hurt – by a six-year-old? By your own offspring, no less.
In our house, we play a number of meal-time games: “Guess That Anything” tops the list in popularity (“This person is famous . . .” or “This edible item comes in many different colors . . .”), followed by the classic “Telephone.” Recently added to our dinnertime repertoire are “High-Low” (introduced by our babysitter, where you go around the table and tell what the high point of your day was and then the low point), and “The Nice Game.”
I made up The Nice Game on the spot recently when I was at my wits’ end listening to the kids bicker and tattle on each other at the breakfast table. The Nice Game requires going around the table first clockwise, with each person saying something nice either to or about the person on their left, and then counter-clockwise, saying something nice to or about the person on their right. It’s supposed to elicit, well . . . niceness.
So tonight at dinner, we started going around the table taking our turns in The Nice Game. Then it got to be Daisy’s turn to say something nice to me. And from way on the other end of the table, Annabelle pipes up and says, “You know, Mommy, nobody is going to be able to say anything nice about you. Because you’re always mean.”
Man. Like to part my hair, that girl.
It’s one thing when your kids tell you they hate you and you’re mean when you’re mid-battle with them over something. It’s sort of expected at times like that. But to be told that out of the blue when everyone is being nice? And it’s not that I need to have my kids like me all the time, or that I even endeavor to be their friend. But, jeez. I dedicate my life to them! From morning sickness and heartburn and labor pains to fighting to bring them into this world non-violently to agonizing over vaccines and preschools, to feeling my heart soar at their every success and plummet at their every stumble, to sacrificing privacy and a flat belly and perky boobs, to willingly being peed on, pooped on, puked on, bled on, cried on, to wanting more than anything else their everlasting happiness . . . I’ve invested my whole entire heart and soul into these pipsqueaks, and this is what I get? She not only can’t think of one nice thing to say about me, but she assumes that nobody else can either.
It stung, I’ll just say that.
And the real trick is not letting them see when they’ve gotten to you.