When Annie is older I want her to say no to drugs. I want her to say no to strangers who offer her candy, no to boys who only have one thing on their mind, and no to emails from Nigerians promising her riches if she’ll help them out of a bind.
I want her to say no to telemarketers asking if they could speak to her father, no to texting and driving, and no to the girl at her high school who says, “OMG! Your parents are out of town? You need to throw a party!”
“No” is going to be a very valuable word in Annie’s vocabulary during her lifetime, and I hope to raise her in a such a manner that she is unafraid to use it when she needs to.
But right now? Girlfriend needs to STOP. FREAKING. SAYING. IT.
“Annie, can I hold your hand?”
“Do you want some fruit?”
“Time to change your diaper, Annabel.”
“No, no, no!”
It is so frustrating to hear her say that one word over and over. I realize she doesn’t exactly have Shakespeare’s vocabulary, but she does know, like, nine or ten other words. Can’t she throw in “doggie,” “hi,” or “night-night” here and there during her no-apalooza?
Last night I decided to use situation to my advantage, so I sat her down and had an important chat with her.
“Tell me, Annie. Do you think there is ever a time when you should talk back to an adult?”
“If you want a toy and Mommy or I say you can’t get it, will you make a scene over it?”
“I didn’t think you would. Are you ever going to get a tattoo on your lower back?”
“Date a guy who rides a motorcycle?”
“How about one who speaks about himself in the third person?”
“Lie to your parents?”
Very good, Annie. Lastly, do you accept that daddy is always right? Say no if you do.”
I filmed the whole thing on my iPhone so she totally can’t say it didn’t happen when she’s a teenager.
All kidding aside, it is driving me a little nuts. I realize that many toddlers go through a phase where they become rather fond of the word “no.” They are getting a sense of their own independence, and saying “no” makes them feel like they are in control of things a bit. That doesn’t change the fact I hate hearing my little munchkin say it though.
Someone told Heather and me that we should say “stop” instead of “no” when we want Annie to stop doing something she shouldn’t, and we have started doing that. Unfortunately, we can’t go back in time and unsay all of the “no’s” from before that got us here.
Any suggestions on how to deal with this? The sad part is she doesn’t even know how to say “yes” yet.