Wednesday, July 30, 2008

No Contest


My two-year-old does not like it when I say the word, "No." He likes to say the word, "No." I do not like to tell him, "No," because, when I do, he cries. It's not that I can't bear to hear him cry. It's not that I feel like a horrible mother. It's not that I worry about crushing his little ego, damaging his self-esteem. It's that the crying is annoying. It's loud and obnoxious and dramatic and pitiful and it gives me a headache.

I have heard other mothers suggest that we should not use "No" because toddlers hear it so often, it doesn't really mean anything to them. They have offered substituting a word like "Stop" or "Danger." (Insert eye-roll here.) Whatever.

At lunchtime, a light went on and I developed a new technique. I will now simply omit the word, "No." If I say to Benjamin, "No, you can't have a donut until you eat your turkey," he will stick out his lip and begin wailing like a banshee. If I instead say, "You need to eat your turkey first and then you can have a donut," he just eats the turkey and then asks, "Donut now, please, Mommy." Life is good. I am good. I should write a book.

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