"Joseph, baby," I say mildly while getting ready for work, "please finish your breakfast."
"You don't like me!"
"You don't like me, Mommy!" Joseph jumps down from his chair and stands in front of me, his hands on his hips, chin poked out belligerently. "You don't like me and you want me to go away!"
"I'm. Leaving." He stomps to the front door and throws it open, walking out to the front stoop. I look at Chad, eyebrow raised.
"When did we get a teenage girl in the house?"
"Not sure. But he's pretty impressive." I walk into his room to put on my mascara where the lighting is far better. Joseph stands outside, face pressed as close to his bedroom window as possible.
"You don't like me, Mommy. You want me to go away and never come back. You don't love me anymore."
Chad tries to play mediator. "Aww...c'mon Joseph. Mommy loves you."
"NO! She. Doesn't," he cries as he crosses his arms in front of him.
"Yes, she does," Chad says soothingly. Meanwhile I keep putting on my makeup. Chad comes into the room and whispers, "Aren't you going to do something?"
"Baby, I have three younger sisters. The best course of action is to say nothing." Minutes later Joseph walks in.
"Did you hear me?! You. Don't. Like. Me." He stomps his feet in emphasis.
"Course I like you, Joseph, I love you. But have you ever thought that you're perpetuating drama for drama's sake?"
"I'm not PETUATING!"
"Well...either that or you're creating drama where none exists."
"Oh." He thinks about that for a minute. "Can I watch Scooby Doo?"
"After you finish your breakfast."
"YOU DON'T LIKE ME!!"
"I actually need to go to work now, baby."
"Okay! Hugs and kisses!" I give him a big hug and kisses and walk out the door as Joseph turns to Chad.
"You. Don't. Like. Me!"
"What did I do?!"
Mandy Dawson is a wife and mother of two living on the beautiful Central Coast of California. When she's not researching teenage parenting techniques for her four-year-old, she can be found blogging at http://inmandyland.blogspot.
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