My kid literally "can't like" anything these days. His favorite toys, foods, clothes, going to school…even me, at times. It SUCKS! All toddlers go through a growth period when they are changing and developing and some children are more sensitive than others, and that's ok. There is an ever-growing list of shit that my toddler just "can't like." A few weeks ago I made his favorite meal of mac'n'cheese, he threw it in the sink and wouldn't eat it. I try to put his favorite pjs on him; it's like wrangling feral cats. Loves the bath, then hates the bath. Plays with the dog, then tells her to go away. Wants to snuggle with me and in the same breath tells me he doesn't like me. Freaks out at me if I try to leave, but doesn't really want me to stay. It's kind of a mind-fuck, to say the least. And as much as it bugs the shit out of me, it must be driving him a little bonkers too. I mean really, WTF?? The transition from two to three is tough. Some days my only respite is cranking up Steve Winwood's "Back in the Highlife" very loudly and belting out the lyrics in the shower and cry-laughing like a crazy person. My only advise is to breathe and to repeat to yourself that they do grow out of this phase. I give positive attention and positive reinforcement for positive behaviors and positive words. Negativity and words like "I don't like you" or "I love so-and-so best, not you" are just attention seeking behavior. Remain calm and share with your kiddo when they are hurting your feelings, then drop the subject. Ignore it (although I know you're silently really pissed or hurt.) Won’t eat dinner? Than I guess he gets hungry. Don't want to wear pjs? No big deal. Won’t wear his nice shirt for school? I guess he will just cry. Doesn't want to go to school? Well, Boo just has to cry until he's done crying.
Crying is OK. Cry out those frustrations or anxieties (both of you…I just prefer crying in the shower.) Tears are just fine with me. Eventually these episodes will subside and he will eat, and wear pjs and do whatever. But for right now…this blows! I ask Boo to take a deep breath and we keep doing that until he has calmed down. I don't do temper tantrums anymore, and by that I mean, I don't stop all that I'm doing to play into his conniption fits. Once that became my philosophy we have had A LOT less of them, well…in public anyways.
As a single parent I recognize all of my "invisible work" just isn't something my son can appreciate, yet. He will one day. He will be a strong, confident, and well adjust kid. So for right now, go ahead kiddo. It's alright if you don't like me at times because I know you'll always love me…and I will always love you.