The 4 Things My Daughter Says That I Hate the Most

by Jennifer B. Katz
Originally Published: 

Ever since I was in my 20s, the only thing I fantasized about when it came to having a kid was having a conversation with them. That’s how I connect with people. So when my daughter Donny got old enough to start really talking with me, I was ecstatic.

But as we know, life is yin yang. While discussing each time Han Solo and Princess Leia kiss in Empire is awesome, there’s some things Donny, now 5 ½, says to me that I really can’t stand. Good mommy almost always responds, but real mommy wants to. Here’s a taste of both reactions:

1) “Mommy, will you play with me?”

Saturday morning. I’ve been up for 30 minutes tops, with only one mug of coffee under my belt.


Good Mommy: (sighing) What do you want to play?

Donny: Store.

Good Mommy: What kind of store?

Donny: Jewelry. And other stuff. I’ll set it up, and then you’ll come in and you can buy whatever you want. ‘Kay?

Good Mommy: Can’t we just do a puzzle?

Donny: C’mon! It’ll be fun.

Good Mommy: (exhaling) OK.


Donny: Mommy, will you play with me?

Real Mommy: What do you want to play?

Donny: Store.

Real Mommy: Oh Christ no! I fucking hate imaginative play. It has no definitive ending, and I’m just going to have to keep coming in over and over to buy a bunch of shit I have to pretend I want, when all I really want to do is chill on the couch and read “Who Wore It Best?” in this week’s People.

2) “My butt is itchy.”

Note: This mostly happens outdoors, rushing to school, with dozens of families and commuters walking past.


Good Mommy: OK, honey. As soon as we get to school, we’ll go into the bathroom and wipe it.

Donny: (tearless crying) No. Mommy, please. PLEASE! I grab a tissue, turn us away from traffic, and wedge my hand between her impossibly tight butt cheeks, smiling at passers-by.

Good Mommy: (gently moving the tissue around) Better?

(She nods.)

Good Mommy: I know, honey. No one likes having an itchy butt.

We hug.


Real Mommy: Sorry honey, but you’re just going to have to suck it up until we get to school.

(Crying gets louder.)

Real Mommy: OK, first of all. Calm the fuck down. Secondly, I don’t understand how your ass can possibly be itchy after I personally wiped it a thousand times last night after you took a shit. Thirdly, I look like a total freak wiping your butt on the street, not to mention how many freaking perverts might be trying to sneak a peek.

Oh, and did I mention… It’s not just her butt. I also get, “My vagina’s itchy.”

3) “Why are you being so mean?”


Good Mommy: Remember how I told you that it’s hard for me when you don’t cooperate and I’m tired? Well, you’re dilly-dallying instead of letting me tuck you in. And I just really need to go to bed.

Donny: But you don’t have to be mean to me.

Good Mommy: You know what? You’re right. I’m sorry I was mean. Do you accept my apology?

Donny: Yes.

(We hug.)


Me: Because I’m fucking tired as shit from spending the entire day in front of the computer doing work I don’t even like just so I can put food in your mouth. And now, all I want to do is smoke some weed, get into bed, and watch the latest episode of Nashville, but you’re fucking around, jumping all over the bed, instead of shutting up and listening to me.

4) “I love you so, so much.”


Oh. Thank you, honey. I love you so, so much too.

(Truth: I don’t hate this one. But it breaks my heart.)


Donny: Mommy, I love you so, so much.

Me: Oh, honey. Couldn’t we just go back to “Mommy, I love you”?

Donny: Why?

Me: Because when you say you “love me so, so much,” it makes me worry about me dying early and knowing you’ll never totally recover and be the same, wonderful, joyful girl you are now. And that makes me feel like totally sobbing.

Donny: Why would you die early?

Me: Well, because sometimes things happen in life that just aren’t fair. See when I was 12, my Dad, your grandpa, died of something called pancreatic cancer, and he was only 45. That’s my age now. So sometimes I worry that I won’t live to old age, and I’m so scared of leaving you without a mommy when you’re so young.

By the way, it fucking sucks having these thoughts run through my head. I mean, I’ve already beaten an early stage of breast cancer, for God’s sake! By all rights I should feel, even mildly, invincible. Luckily, here’s an exchange Donny and I had the other night, though she had no idea how much it comforted me:

Donny: Mommy, how old will you be in 20 years?

Me: 65.

Donny: How old will you be in 40 years?

Me: 85.

Donny: (thinks about this) That’s old!

Me: It is! I’ll probably be all hunched over, with wrinkles all over by body and my skin will be hanging off my face.

Donn: (delighted) You might even be dead!

Me: You’re so right! I might even be dead! How ’bout that?

(Donny laughs. And I do too.)

Now that’s my kind of conversation.

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