Dominic and I always talk to Olivia like a little person, we didn’t want to implement much baby talk because we wanted her to learn how to speak the right way, as soon as possible. We ask her full questions, and try to teach her how to respond correctly. A few months ago, when we first realized that Olivia was trying to repeat all of the words we were saying to her, we’d practice a little bit more. My sister started teaching Olivia this thing where she puts up her pointer finger, waves it back and forth and says, “No no no no no!” It’s really cute, although Dominic didn’t like that we were teaching Olivia the word No.
But realistically, Olivia has been able to tell us No for the longest time. Except not with words, but with the simple shake of her head. Regardless, she was telling us no.
Just last week, I was sitting at home with Olivia and I asked her, “Olivia, did you go poo poo?” And where I’m used to her shaking her head, she instead looked at me and very clearly said, “No”. I was in shock. My baby just used the word No in the correct form.
When Dominic heard her say it, he was upset, and he bluntly pointed the finger at me by saying, “This is because you and your sister taught Olivia to say ‘no no no no’!” I defensively shot back, ” I KNOW you did not just try to blame this on me! Do you realize how often Olivia does something and you and I respond by saying, ‘No Olivia, don’t do that! No, Olivia, you can’t play with this!’ We say it so often, how could she not have picked it up by now?!” And then of course he just sat there, because he knew I was right.
And then after a few minutes he looked at me and said, “So now what?”
Dominic and I have been warned time and time again about this “no” stage. Just wait until she starts telling you “no”. It’s gonna drive you crazy, and you’re going to feel out of control. So his question didn’t come as a surprise.
But my reaction to the situation? That is what came as a surprise. To me, anyway.
I kinda thought I would freak out over it. Oh my god, my child is telling me no, I’ve lost all control of her. What on EARTH am I going to do?!
But The way I’m looking at it is that my 20 month old daughter is a baby genius.
Just kidding, kind of.
But she really is so smart. How could I be upset with her for using the word No correctly (most of the time), especially when she balances the word out by using the same amount of Yes ? She is at the very start of forming her personality, her likes and dislikes, what she wants and doesn’t want….I think it would be unfair of me to form that little budding personality for her.
If we were to be upset with Olivia for using a certain word, we’re teaching her that it’s not an acceptable word to use and that is just absurd to me. I want Olivia to be brought up in a world where she can make her own decisions, and using the words “yes” and “no” are a huge part of that. I don’t want her to be afraid of using that word, or any word, really.
Besides, there are a lot of things that we are going to teach her that require the answer “no”, along the road (talking to strangers…drugs…drinking and driving…onions in her food…).
Dominic and I are very calm people (for the most part) and we try to be very calm in the way that we parent Olivia. We try to do as little yelling in front of her as possible (although we definitely have our moments), we try to talk to her in a calm voice, and most importantly we let her tell us what she wants. Within reason of course. We love that she knows (or at least think she knows) what she wants, and can tell us so. And can I just say that in parenting her in this calm way, Olivia is a pretty calm child. Because she’s so calm, she knows right away when something is wrong, and gets really upset about it. If someone is crying, she starts to get this very worried look on her face (and if a baby is crying in the store we HAVE to go to the aisle that said baby is in to make sure he/she is okay) and if someone is yelling, she goes, “HEYYYYYY!!!!! STOP IT!!!!” and more recently, “Nooooooo!!!! No No!!” because she just wants all of the hostility to go away.
Sure she’s a baby/toddler so she still obviously has her moments (i.e. Screaming like a drama queen when I take away a pen that she’s found on the floor…she runs around for a few minutes yelling , “No! No! Nooooooo! Like we’ve just ripped the head off of one of her Minnie dolls), but for the most part, she is very calm, and I am very proud of that. We both are.
So….our kid is telling us No and that’s how we’re handling it. And before I end this little ramble of a post, I’m gonna leave you with something a little cray cray: hearing her say Yes and No is probably one of the cutest things ever. She says “Yaaaa” for yes and “Noooo” or “Nahhh” for no. It’s the best.
So now I ask you, how did you handle when your baby started saying No? Do you think we’re wrong in the way that we’re looking at it? I’d love to hear your stories!
P.S. One of my favorite moments since she’s figured out the word No………I was giving her a bath the other night, and I said to her, “Okay, Olivia, it’s time to get out. Let’s go put on your pjs and get some milk!” Without any water any longer in the tub, she quickly replied, “noooooo” (and if she knew how, she probably would’ve added a five more, minutes mom!) and laid on the floor of the tub, pretending she was sleeping….snoring and all. She is so funny and her personality shines through unlike anyone I’ve ever met.