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Friday, February 4, 2011

No and Beyond

My girls turn two and a half next week.  For the past six months it seems like I have heard nothing but "no."

"Let's use the potty!"


"Time to read stories in our room!"


"Can we take a bath?"

"No. No wet head. No!"

For a while, I thought, this is not so bad.  So what if they say no?  Good for them, asserting their ideas and independence.  We still do what Mommy says we're going to do, anyway.  Let them feel as if they have a bit of control for a few minutes.

Of course, within a few months, the whining began.  It starts around 8:30 a.m.  "Choco mook."

"No, not choco mook. We have to have our yogurt first."

"No yogoo. Choco mook."

"First yogurt. Then you can have chocolate milk if you're still hungry."

"No! Choco mook!"

Cue the face.  You know the face.

That's the face of doom, right there.  And the sounds that accompany that face are much worse.  I sometimes feel as if my ears will start bleeding from the pain of the toddler whine.  But, from their point of view, what else can they do?  They have what they feel is a valid point, and they are being ignored.  It's tyranny.  It's not their fault they wear their emotions on their sleeves.

Lately, though, I've been given a bit of a reprieve.  The babies have added another trick to their repetoire.  Sometimes, if they want to do something, and it's time for us to do something else, they will think around the problem.  They will use logic.  They are honing the skills we use every day as adults.

A few days ago, they wanted me to climb into the tunnels at the McDonald's playland.

"Mama, come in.  Mama, come!" They pulled on my hands.

"No, mama can't come.  She's too big."

"Have to!  Have to.  Mama, come on.  Have to!"

"Well, okay, but this will be our last time.  Mama will go in, and then we go home."

They suddenly changed their tune.

"No. Stay.  Too big, mama.  You stay.  Babies go in."

They thought my going into the tunnels was the factor that would make us go home, not realizing that it was simply time to go.  They saw their two choices: they could play with mama like they wanted but only once more, or they could play by themselves in the tunnel and go on forever.  They made an instantaneous choice and stuck to it.  They thought around what they perceived the problem to be.

Did I give in?  Not really.  We still went home.  But they did get another three or four go-rounds in there.  I don't look at it as spoiling them.  I look at it as rewarding them for their critical thinking development.

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