Sunday, November 11, 2007

Spanish Lessons

Last night Kasia was -- as very night -- resisting bedtime, and blurted, "I hate you!"

I adopted a hurt expression and told her that 'hate' was a strong word, that it hurt my feelings, and it wasn't appropriate to say she hated me just because I was the bearer of the bad news that it was bed time. And proceded to put her to bed regardless.

After the usual stalls ("I need a glass of water"; "I need my other pillow"; "I need my other blanket"; "I need more water"; Can I have a kleenex?"; "I need to go to the bathroom"; "I don't want a blanket, I'm too hot"; "Where did you put my blanket, I'm cold"; "Can I have more water?"; "Where is my good pillow, I don't want this pillow any more;" "I am sleeping Dad, *snore* *snore*) I kissed her a final goodnight and told her I loved her.

There as a long pause and then, "I love you too, Dad."

"Oh great, because you said earlier that you hated me."

Kasia sits up in bed. "Dad! I think you completely misunderstood me. When I said I hated you, I was speaking Spanish! 'Hate' is Spanish for 'Love'. So when I said I hated you, I was speaking Spanish! I love you Dad!"

What could I say to that? Another kiss, "Okay!" and "Goodnight".

And out of the room as fast as possible before bursting into laughter....
That was a new one on me, but the last month or so I've been getting, "When I said I hated you, I wasn't talking to you, I was talking to Doego! Doego was bugging me. Did you think I was talking to you?" Doego being her imaginary friend. So disclaimers, but no actual apologies or taking responsibility for her temper.

Kasia, coming up on her fourth Birthday, does not approve of anyone saying the word 'no' to her. I have never come across anyone so single-minded. We could always distract Tigana and get her to choose a different option, but if Kasia has decided to, say, stick her fingers into a toaster, you have to practically sit on her to stop her from doing it. Then her feelings are hurt (which we always studiously ignore so as not to reinforce) and only eventually will she come back and say, "I'm happy now", for which she is duly acknowledged and we can move on. But we have to put the toaster out of reach, or she'll simply wait until we are not around.

But it is getting slowly better -- I take Kasia's making excuses as at least an implicit acknowledgement that she gets when her behaviour was unacceptable, and we do get the occasional spontaneous apology from time to time if she thinks she hurt our feelings. I figure she will make the final transition to taking responsibility and being polite about the time Tigana moves into her final 'bitch teenager' stage (we're already well into the pre-teen 'attitude' stage), to maintain the household karmatic balance.

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