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Jenna Bush Hager Says Son Hal ‘Gaslights Me All the Time’



Jenna Bush Hager has noticed a pattern with 4-year-old son Hal’s book-reading routines.

“You know how he gaslights me all the time?” Bush Hager, 42, asked cohost Hoda Kotb during the Friday, December 22, broadcast of Today With Hoda and Jenna. “You know how my favorite book is about a mother loving their son? Last night he said, ‘Daddy’s gonna read this book.’”

Bush Hager — who shares Hal and daughters Mila, 10, and Poppy, 7, with husband Henry Hager — was confused by her son cutting her out of story time.

“He’s like, ‘No this is my special book with Daddy,’” Bush Hager added while Kotb, 59, burst out laughing. “Now, guess what, Hal? Two can play that game, little buddy. … And then I hear Henry [reading], ‘Mommy says to baby giraffe, I love you so.’ And I’m, like, [annoyed].”

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She continued: “But here’s the deal. You know, he gaslights me. Guess what? ‘We’ll see’ is my way to get back at you, little buddy.”

Earlier in the Today segment, Bush Hager and Kotb were discussing how moms frequently use the term “we’ll see” whenever their kids ask for a new request.

“‘We’ll see’ is an absolute no,” Bush Hager pointed out. “Let’s just translate for the kids watching with their parents: ‘We’ll see’ means never, no. ‘Can we have a cookie?’ We’ll see, Hal.”

Bush Hager also added that a mom answering with a “maybe” is a more favorable outcome. “If you get a ‘maybe,’ things are looking up,” she said. “A ‘maybe’ is a half-and-half and a ‘maybe’ is really just a maybe.”

Bush Hager frequently chats about motherhood during Today broadcasts, including a recent confession that Mila, Poppy and Hal often call her “Jenna” instead of “Mom.”

“I take it as a compliment because it is my name,” she joked during a November episode of Today.

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Bush Hager’s cohost, Kotb, often can relate to her parenting confessions as a mother of two herself. (Kotb shares daughters Haley, 6, and Hope, 4, with ex-fiancé Joel Schiffman.)

“With Jenna, I learned not to sweat the small stuff,” Kotb exclusively told Us Weekly in May 2019 of Bush Hager’s best parenting tips. “She’s like, ‘Don’t freak out, you’re not a bad mother because you forgot to do this or you didn’t do that.’ I think she kind of reminds you we’re all a little flawed. Don’t sweat it, don’t try to get it all right because you’re not going to get it right.”

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