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…About the Dreaded Word No

by The Momma on August 19, 2011

The Daddy: Saying “No”: Utterly Adorable or Already Frustrating as Hell?

The Momma: Well, I don’t think it’s frustrating…yet. In fact, it’s mostly 1) adorable and 2) helpful (I cringe even writing that, lest the parenting karma come back and bite my ass with it tonight).

D: Well that’s my thought. Much as I hate to jinx it, his current “no” is both adorable AND helpful. It hasn’t transmogrified into full on obnoxious tantrum mode, and it’s nice to get even the slightest bit of civilized communication after months of grunts and hand gestures.

M: Frankly, I think it’s kind of cut down on the tantrums, because he can share his opinion with us. I mean, yes, sometimes I think he says no just because it’s fun. But it’s been SO helpful to know that he doesn’t want that shirt before he just freaks out about it.

D: Yeah, that’s some of the cutest stuff, when it’s a “no” as answer to simple questions. I think he’s definitely appreciated the ability to mitigate some of that frustration. Plus, I think it helps when you’ve been giving him choices lately. It takes some of the sting out of a frustrated “NO!”

M: I don’t kid myself though that it won’t someday become a pain in the ass. Our kid, he has a will of steel, and that NO is bound to be just one more tool for him to exert that will.

D: Indeed. Now is the nail biting time. Will his pretty laid back jovial personality handle the new language skills with the same grace as he’s shown so far, or will it become a gateway to newfound willful jackassery? I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about this more often than I probably should.

M: Well, you wouldn’t be you (and we wouldn’t be us) if you didn’t over analyze!
M: I don’t know. I do know that since he started gaining some more words, including no, he’s been (omg, I’m so afraid I’m going to jinx it) less of a pill than he had been for a few months there. So maybe the key really is the ability to communicate.

D: Man, can you imagine? That would be truly awesome, instead of the fear I think we both have that the beginning of communication is the beginning of the REAL terrible twos/threes etc. You know, when he can express his will in the most obnoxious irritating, specific sort of way. But if not, wow, that would be pretty great.

M: Oh, I’m pretty sure it will be filled with obnoxious and irritating. But I also think that at least KNOWING is a fairly huge help. Even if it’s knowing that NO he doesn’t want that milk.

D: Here’s hoping!

M: Of course, I reserve the right to change my entire stance when he learns “Why”.

D: Oh wow, THAT one for sure I’ve thought about countless times. Here’s what I’m hoping in advance: When he says “why” over and over, I’ll do my best to answer, until it becomes apparent that he’s asking just to be a turd. Then I plan on asking him if he really wants to know, or if he’s just being a turd. If he says yes, then I’ll ask him what I’ve already told him, to make him both A: Reflect on what we’ve been talking about (get HIS brain working rather than just grilling me for answers) and B: Make sure he’s even listening. If he’s not listening, I’ll end the conversation right there. If he is, I like to think I’d be happy to keep answering his questions.
D: Let’s see how fast I eat THOSE words.(sorry, brain dump!)

M: I think the only problem with your approach…I think that may work fine for a 6 year old…but a 2 year old? You might be SOL.

D: Yeah, I think you’re right on that one, but I’m still gonna try. Then I’ll just resort to “ASK YOUR MOTHER”. Just kidding! Ha!

M: That’s because you’re an ass! :-P

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

shasta August 19, 2011 at 9:14 am

Haha, I LOVE this conversation. And I can confirm that kid frustration does die down a bit once the language burst starts. Mittens is very verbal, so as long she’s encouraged to speak instead of grunt or whine (e.g. “Tell me what you what.”, “Do you want THIS?”), it seems to subvert tantrums or crying.

And FWIW, the jackassery doesn’t go away, it just becomes peppered with words and phrases along with the crying and/or whining.


shannon (the daily balance) August 19, 2011 at 10:16 am

this is fantastic! we still have a few months to go, but I anticipate my Mister and I having very similar conversations!


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