Hello everyone. I am sorry to join in the discussion so late (again).
I have been reading these posts about the first three chapters with interest. I can understand Mary's grumpiness, not because she was intrinsically a bad-tempered and unloving/unattractive child, but I expect she would be just 'angry' because her parents 'ignored' her. It is much more infuriating for parents to be indifferent to a child, than for them to actually dislike it, because in order to truly dislike a child, one would first have to give it some consideration. These parents do not appear to have paid this poor child any notice at all and she has no siblings and so, of course she is lonely. I bet if a child like this had siblings, they would have paid attention to one another and she would then have learned how to share her affection. And I expect she would have then shown some love and affection for her Ayyah. Certainly, there are many cases, in biography as well as fiction where children have a real 'love' for the surrugate mother.
Our own Queen and her sister Princess Margaret seem to have had a very warm and affectionate relationship with their Nanny, Crawfie.
I think I felt the lack of warmth towards her Ayyah as distressing as I found the lack of interest of the parents.
I rather think that it is 'indifference' more than outright 'dislike' which causes us to freeze up emotionally.