I got my first "I hate you" from my three year old this week. I know she probably picked it up from another kid and most likely, she doesn't even really know what those three words meant, much less how they stuck a knife in my heart and slowly twisted.

She's been obsessed this week with "the stage" and has tried to climb on everything she could, announcing to the world "I'm on a stage" and dancing around. This has resulted in her falling off multiple things and times: her bed, several chairs, back of the couch, the kitchen table, ledge by the bay window, cat post... and making her body look like a bruise collection, boasting different sizes and colors.

Yesterday, she was trying to climb up on a popcorn tin with about enough room for one of her feet and not much extra for moving feet around. I told her in as calm a voice as I could that she needed to get off of it before she fell again and got hurt... like when she fell off the table twenty minutes ago. She looked me right in the eye and said, "No!... I hate you!"

I'll admit it... the greater part of my psyche wanted to yell back "I hate you too, you little brat! Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah!" and stick my tongue out. Then next biggest part of me just wanted to smack her little bottom; I don't care if it is sweet and precious. For some strange reason, logic took hold and I was able to step outside of my brain for a second. In a quiet voice, I sent her to her room and took a break before responding, which probably surprised her more than anything else I could have done. Then I came back when I'd had a moment to calm down and we had a long discussion about what those words mean and why we don't say them to each other. At the end of it all, she said, "I'm sorry momma, I don't hate you right now." OK, maybe not exactly what I was looking for, but I'll take it.

I knew that this day would come, but I was hoping to put it off for at least a few more years. I fully expect an eight year old to resort to insults in a moment of extreme frustration, but honestly did not expect her to be doing this at three.

What does this say for when she's sixteen? I'm going back to bed now.