I always thought that once Owen learned the word “No”, it was the beginning of the Terrible Two’s or a horrible stage where he said “No” to everything. He started saying “No” a few weeks ago, and, at least for now, it has been an awesome development. He can finally tell me, IN WORDS, what he does and doesn’t want to do. His emphatic “Yeah!” is still the default answer to any “Do you wanna…” question, so maybe we’re still in the honeymoon phase with the N-word. But it’s pretty amazing what this little word has done to improve our conversation/communication with Owen.
He has an opinion.
And he can tell me what he wants with WORDS instead of WHINING.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of whining. But at least many of our conversations can go something like this.
Before getting out the yogurt and mixing up my concoction of applesauce and flax seeds (which, once it is finished, makes me even angrier when Owen doesn’t want it because I took the time to make it), I asked, “Owen, do you want yogurt for breakfast?”. “No.” He replied. He has a hilarious way of saying no like a little Frenchman (“Noh!”). “Nooooooooo Nonono”. “Ok, how about eggs?” “YEAH!” “Ok! Eggs it is.”
It’s… it’s like talking to a person instead of a caveman. It’s refreshing.
Believe me, I see how this can go downhill fast (when he starts saying “No” to everything), but for now it’s just a way for him to express himself without either one of us getting frustrated or worked up or whining or crying. It is, in a word, awesome.
The explosion of new words these days is amazing. He parrots back the last word in many of my sentences. School. Coat. Shoes. Walk. Dog. Go! And then he wanders around the house shouting out the ones he wants to practice. Broom! Mop! Book! Read! They may not sound like perfect English to anyone but me, but we are communicating. And it is exciting.
When did your child go through the frustrating stage of saying “No” to everything? How did you react? Learning language and seeing the impact your words can have is an important lesson to learn, but being a contrarian 100% of the time is not something I want to encourage.
As Owen gets older and pushes the boundaries, I’m beginning to realize I don’t know exactly where to draw the line. For instance, he just learned how to throw things. At first it was so cute, and we cheered him on. Throw the ball! Throw the dog toy! But now he’s beginning to throw blocks and TV remotes and books. And he’s surprisingly strong. I’m guessing that’s not going to go over well at daycare. Similarly, Owen LOVES to climb. On everything. All the time. At home we have been letting him climb on whatever he could reach (supervised) because it makes him so happy and he’s developing spatial awareness motor skills and dexterity and balance. But recently as I saw him climb from a chair to a small table to a tiny windowsill, I realized we may need to set some boundaries around these behaviors.
Is it time? Can a kid his age understand the concept of “that’s dangerous”? Or is a simple “No. We don’t climb on tables.” the better explanation at this point? Where do YOU draw the line between encouraging exploration/learning new skills and breaking the rules?