She Says… “I Was Askin’ For…”

In contrast to the current phrase du jour (“I don’t like ‘dat“), Owen has also started using another new favorite phrase. “I was askin’ for ____”.

Sometimes he uses it very appropriately. In the morning when we talk about what color his vitamin will be (for those who missed my post about that, he ADORES taking his vitamins and takes great pleasure in dreaming of what color he will get each morning), he always wishes for red. Red is (as of late) his favorite color. When he sees red, says, “Red! Rojo! Just like I like!”. Anyway, when he does actually get a red vitamin, he always beams and says, “I was ASKIN’ for red, Mommy!”. Like he made it happen simply by wishin’ and hopin’ and “askin’ “.

Similarly, in the morning when we drop him off at daycare we’ll often talk about which teachers might be there. He has one teacher who he adores, far more than the others. Whenever she is there, he runs in the room and shouts, “I was askin’ for you!”.

Other times he pulls this phrase out in ways that make me laugh out loud. The other day at the grocery store he said in his loudest voice, “Mommy! Get broccoli! I was askin’ for broccoli!”. He had never really asked for broccoli prior to that moment, but hey, who am I to deny the kid his broccoli?!

I like this phrase so much more than “I don’t like dat”. But that one is still in regular rotation as well. In fact, Owen has recently started testing out what happens when we extends “I don’t like…” to people. Ahem. Not so nice. When I was telling Owen we were going over to a new friend’s house for a playdate, the first words out of his mouth were, “I don’t like him”. “You don’t KNOW him, buddy! How can you not like him?”.

My knee-jerk reaction to hearing him say “I don’t like so-and-so” is to say, “Yes, you do” or “We don’t say that about people”. However, even as I say those words, I know it’s not appropriate for me to tell him what/who he does and doesn’t like. There are things and people that all of us don’t like, and that’s ok. I don’t want to send the unrealistic message that you have to like everyone, or everything. But I do feel it’s important to let him know that it hurts people’s feelings when you say that out loud. Again with the whole “he has to learn to use his filter” lesson.

Owen has actually said it to Benjamin a few times recently (a la our old “No Daddy” issue) and I don’t really know how to react. I’ve told him that hurts Daddy’s feelings. I’ve told him it’s not a nice thing to say. He immediately turns sad and furrows his brow or even cry/whines and offers a hug and says, “Are you ok?”. He is deeply empathetic and immediately remorseful. But still, the “I don’t like you”s continue.

I am certain, as with pretty much everything else, this is a phase. It’s a test, to see what happens when he says it. It’s a way to him to express his emotions. But, like his biting/pushing phase, it’s not very nice. And it makes me, as his mother, feel guilty and embarrassed when he shouts that he doesn’t like someone right in front of their face. Like I’m raising a little bully. Like I am failing at teaching him how important it is to treat people kindly.

Thoughts on kids expressing that they don’t like someone, or something? How do you react?

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2 responses to “She Says… “I Was Askin’ For…”

  1. So, we went through a round of “I don’t like” and a little later some friend introduced “hate” into our vocabulary as well. And also calling things yucky or some version of it. Like you, we did not want to tell Miss A what she did not like, but also it just isn’t very appropriate for a very small person. They don’t know. They might not appreciate something today and love it tomorrow. They might need to taste it a few more times before they know. They might be using the phrase in the wrong way (like saying they don’t like the potential playdate friend, when what is probably meant is ‘I want to stay home and have you to myself, Mommy’). And so on.

    We introduced “not to my taste” and “don’t want” instead of “don’t like” or “hate” and we worked hard on “today”. As in, “Mommy, this juice is not to my taste today” or “I just don’t want tacos today”.

    Please note, this will crack other adults up to no end if your child tells them that orange juice is not to their taste.

  2. I just yesterday heard my 3-year-old say for the first time that he didn’t like someone (another boy in his preschool class). I was so surprised that I didn’t know what to say. I said something to the effect of “well, he’s a really nice kid, and you don’t know him very well so maybe you’ll grow to like him.”
    But I’m not sure I really got any message across with that.

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