34 Weeks Pregnant: A Pregnancy High, A Parenting Low

Today I am officially 34 weeks pregnant, a triumph considering that I have placenta previa, which caused pre-term bleeding starting my 25th week. At this stage of pregnancy, my baby boy has a 99% chance of survival, according to the March of Dimes website, so I was on an emotional high all day. But tonight, for the first time, my 5-year-old son said, “I hate you.”

I knew the “I hate you” would come eventually, for most of my friends have children much older than my son, and they’ve warned of the devastation of “the first time.” They assured me, however, that during some childhood developmental stages, the “I hate yous” come so often that, as a parent, you become immune.

I knew the “I hate you” would come eventually also because my son has been telling me of his hatred of others since the fall. If his friends won’t share with him, he tells me he hates them. When his older brothers, my 14- and 15-year-old stepsons, don’t play with him, he tells me that he hates them too. When we’ve gone to pick up my stepsons for our visitation time with them, only to have them not there, he’ll tell me that he hates “the boys’ mean mom.” When my husband wouldn’t agree to Luke being the name of our baby, my son yelled, “I hate you,” to him.

So I knew I would be the recipient of the “I hate you” soon enough.

Tonight, he told me that he hated me because, after he’d read me two chapters in his reader, he started making mistakes with words that he knows. He was stumbling over words because he was tired, so I set his reader on his nightstand. He insisted that he was not tired, because, in his perspective, he never is.

But arguing with an overtired 5-year-old isn’t productive, so I simply said, “We’re done,” to which he responded, “I hate you.”

Getting mad at an overtired 5-year-old also isn’t effective, so I said, “You get some sleep. I’m going to take a bath.”

As I walked down the hall to the bathroom, he yelled, crying, “I just want you to sleep with me for a few minutes.”

I responded calmly, “You just said that you hate me, so I’m not going to sleep with you for a few minutes tonight,” for, while getting angry at him would only have escalated the situation, he does need to know there are repercussions for bad behavior.

“I was just kidding,” he answered.

“Not when you said it.”

When he realized I was really going to take a bath, rather than lie next to him, he lost his sense of humor, screaming, “I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.”

And surprisingly, my bath, a simple warm bath, made me recover from my first, second, third and fourth “I hate yous” very quickly. So now, as I relax on the couch, readying myself to watch last night’s Grey’s Anatomy, I feel blessed to have a child who sometimes hates me—and another on the way.

It took nine cycles of infertility treatments—and two high-risk pregnancies—to conceive and carry these two sons of mine, so I do appreciate both the parenting highs and lows. Even the “I hate yous.”

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