I didn't think it would come so early--the day my own child would shout those muffled words, "I hate you!" in the midst of an angry conflict. What??? Where in the heck did he learn that? It wasn't like I was being particularly hateful at the moment, either; in fact, it seemed pretty tame. I wasn't even yelling.
Jabber had grabbed Monkey's water cup and was drinking it. Monkey was screaming to have his cup back. I said, "Jabber, please give Monkey his cup back." Monkey screamed roughly the same thing. Jabberwock smiled around the cup but continued to drink out of Monkey's cup. Monkey continued to scream, and now added in some physical attempts to remove the cup.
Jabber started screaming in response (screaming is getting to be a real problem around here, seriously), but he still refused to give back the cup. I repeated my request, and when Jabber refused, I reached over and tried to take the cup back myself.
Jabber flailed his arms around, screaming, still gripping the cup in his teeth. I was (amazingly) still calm, and I said, "Give Monkey his cup, please. If you're thirsty, what could you do?"
I got Monkey's cup away from him, and he screamed, "I'm thirsty! I'm thirsty! I'm thirsty!"
"Well, we don't just grab other people's stuff. Go have a seat over there for a minute and see if you can figure out something else to do when you're thirsty."
"ARGHHHH!" he screamed, and then in a very muffled voice, "I hate you!"
I didn't react, or let him know I heard him, until he went over and sat down on the "fiver" spot--the bottom step. After a little while, he said, "I could get something to drink out of the fridge, or I could ask you for some juice."
"OK, sounds good," I said. "And maybe you could apologize for what you said to me that hurt my feelings."
"Oh," he said. "I didn't think you heard me when I said I hate you, Mom."
"Well, I did."
"Oh. Well, then I'm sorry. I really am."
Good God, what will adolescence bring?