As long as we're dredging up my list of parenting fails, there's this:
Kidlet tells me, "I don't like you," at least once a day. Sometimes many times a day. And you know what? I'm cool with it.
Because, if we're going to be honest, I tell him that, too. Not quite as often, and usually when he's in the preliminary phases of pitching a fit, those moments after me putting my foot down about something but before he's totally lost control. Because, in those moments, I don't like him. He's yelling, getting worked up--it's a 50/50 chance whether he's able to listen. If he is, then he can usually be talked down. If he isn't, then it's a toddler-drama-rama all around.
Here's the thing, though: I don't tell him, "If you do this then I'll like you again." I do tell him that I love him, frequently and on a whim. He'll eventually work out that liking someone isn't the same as loving someone, and that just because you love someone doesn't mean they can't annoy the bejesus out of you once in a while.
And I like to think that he's going to internalize that it's OK not to be liked. When he tells me, "I don't like you," I tell him, "You don't have to like me. You have to pick up your cars," or whatever it is that I asked him to do that prompts the declaration of not-liking mommy. That it's OK to stick to your guns even if people don't like you. That it's OK to tell people that they're being jerks.
He doesn't have to like me when I tell him to pick up his trucks, and he doesn't have to like me when I tell him it's time for bed. He's free to express his discontent verbally, which I think goes a long way towards not having it expressed in a screaming fit. Because honestly, who in their right minds likes to be told where to go, what to do, what to wear, when to potty, how to do things, to keep quiet, not to yell, etc. all day? So yeah. He's allowed to not like me.
Because when he comes to our bed at an ungodly hour of the morning; when he snuggles between us with a contented little sigh as he waits for me to get up; these and a thousand little things through all the days is love. He loves us, we love him. Plain and simple. That's always true, all the time. Even if we don't like each other much at that moment.