I had one of those out-of-body perfect-mother moments the other day. You know the ones: when just for five minutes (seconds?) no-one is screaming, no-one smells of poo, there is baby mush brewing deliciously on the stove, your children are all playing beautifully together, and in your head you're wearing white linen, miraculously uncrushed...
Anyway, L, who has recently discovered her imagination, was playing with two of her teddies. The teddies were having a lovely time, having a party if I remember rightly, and talking about their forthcoming trip to Canada. I watched, indulgently, thinking "isn't she cute" sort of thoughts, when one teddy turned to the other and said:
"I hate you".
I crashed out of my white-linen-festooned reverie with a bang.
L knows about hate. And hating. And she's heard, in her cushioned, cocooned, cushy life, someone say to someone else, "I hate you". And she's internalised it sufficiently that her teddies are now saying it to each other.
And it made me realise that I don't want my daughter to know about hate. I want to protect her from hate and hating and people who hate. I want to teach her that there are more powerful, and much, much more important things than hate.
Hearing those words from L gave them astonishing force. I felt just as shocked as if she'd sworn. So I sat her down and we had a serious chat about not hating, and how that was not a nice thing to say, and how I didn't want to hear her saying it again.
And then this evening I found myself announcing to the world that I hate sorting out the laundry... Whoops.