One day a couple weeks ago, Molly very calmly and without obvious emotion said, "I hate you, and I want to live with Grammy." I have reached a point in my life where I know that I should not take such comments personally, and really the words did not upset me at all. I was, however, a bit concerned about the "sky is blue" tone of voice with which she said it. Of course, the very same night at the end of the bedtime routine, she clung to me and said all dramatic like, "I'm never going to leave you." Again, I understood the polarity of four year old feminine emotions. I just kept wondering what it meant, that calm voice that seemed more interested in starting a conversation than getting a rise out of me. She didn't seem angry, and not even really cold. What does it all mean? I wondered.
I told Molly at the time, that if I let her go live with her grammy, she would end up feeling disappointed in me for not taking care of her and doing right by her. She didn't believe me, of course, and has repeated her request to go live with Grammy several times since. I'm sure this is normal. I'm sure I wanted to go live with my grandmas when I was a kid too.
But my thoughts keep going back to that moment when she sat on the toilet while I ran her a bath, and she said, "I hate you..." I think I know what's missing besides anger. Fear. She doesn't have to wait until I've made her mad to express this emotion, and she's not afraid of me. I think this means that I am succeeding in my goals as her mother. Somewhere along the way I decided I didn't want Molly to be afraid of me, because I think a fear based morality is, in the end, counterproductive. I think this means that I'm on the path I want to be on.
Of course, no one can tell the future, and I could totally be raising a psychopath. But I don't think so. And I guess we'll see what she does with the kitten we get her for her birthday. :0)