Oh, The Humanity

Yesterday, in the car on the way to Flora’s last soccer game of the season, Kate declared, “I just hate myself.”

I freaked out a little bit.

“What? Kate, that’s a terrible thing to say!”

“I know, but I just hate myself.”

I got mad. “Stop saying that!”

“It’s true. I just hate myself.”

I tried to be reasonable. “You don’t even know what that means.”

Things went on in this vein for a little bit.

“Wait a minute, where did you even hear that? Not from me. I don’t hate myself. Does Flora say she hates herself?”


“Did you hear that at daycare?” And from whom for goodness sake?


Finally, Flora piped up. “It was on TV.”

Wait, what? My girls do not watch tween shows (which I would think would be the culprit here — although as we don’t watch them, i don’t know that to be the case.).

“What TV show?”

“Phineas and Ferb.”

I had to think a little bit. Phineas and Ferb is one of our favorite shows — very adventurous, funny, and entertaining. I (gently) critique the female characters occasionally (Candace is obsessed with busting her little brothers, Isabella wears pink and is a little girlie) but as they get their moments to kick ass and take names, I roll with it. I have never heard either of these female characters utter a line like, “I just hate myself.” Isabella is quite confident of herself (and of how adorable she is) and Candace… well, she’s a bit a control freak, but otherwise okay.

Notice how I assume it’s a female character.

Turns out that the person on the show who uttered the line is Perry the platypus’ boss, Major Monogram. He says it when he told he was too hard on Agent P (really, you have to see the show) and thinks Agent P has quit. (He’s hasn’t; he’s just stuck in the hose. Again, watch the show.)

“Well,” I said, absorbing this information. “First, Kate, you shouldn’t even say you hate yourself. It’s a terrible, ugly thing to say, and you should love yourself. You’re a wonderful little girl.

“Second, I’m going to have to think about us watching that show. We might have to talk about that later.”

Finally, though, how do I know if Kate does feel that way? Can a 3-year-old hate herself, or is she just mouthing dialogue (and seeing my reaction to it; “hate” is not a word we’re allowed to use in our house)? Should I ban a show that we all enjoy because of this one-off situation? (I know, probably not.)

Where do we go from here?

2 thoughts on “Oh, The Humanity

  1. I’ve never seen the show, but it’s interesting that she identifies with a character who sounds like an authority figure. Maybe she recognizes similarities between her personality and this character’s — a go-getting, take-charge kind of person? Maybe she identifies too with one trait that can come with being a management type: being “too hard” on someone she cares about.

    Could be reading way too much into things but those were my first thoughts.

    Actually I think it’s cool, if that’s the case, that she already knows enough about herself to make that connection, if not consciously. She sounds like quite a unique little person.

    The only problem is the “hating” part. I guess everyone feels down on themselves sometimes, and you have to learn to treat yourself the way you’d treat other people you love when they’re down.

    • Oh, my Kate is unique, all right. Most of the time delightfully so; sometimes, in challenging ways.

      Actually, your observation about her identifying with someone who is being too hard on someone else may hit close to home. She can be tough for me to parent sometimes, especially now, with ongoing fatigue and nausea issues. (please hurry, second trimester!) I will have to look at my responses/reactions to her when she is, yes, being hard on me.

      I just wonder if 3yos have the self-awareness (or “other” awareness) enough to get down on themselves? And I don’t know the answer to that.

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