No means, NO! Except to a toddler, then it means… Whatever, I can do what I want.

There is a growing problem going on in my house right now; Confusion over the meaning of the word no, and the number of times I use it in a row. Basically, the issue is, I say “No!” to Oliver, and most times he just kind of stares at me, clearly trying to decide what I am going to do if he does not listen.  Then nine times out of ten, I say “No!” ten more times before anything happens. I know what you are thinking, if “No!” means, “Stop that right now!” then why do I say it 10 times in a row? I will tell you why, because of these two reasons:

1.     “No!” to my sweet son really means, “What? YOU want ME to stop? Like right now? Make me!”
2.     And well... at times, my parenting style is lazy doormat. Meaning, I’d rather say, “no,” 10 times then get up off my lazy ass.

So you see... when you combine those two things, you get me saying “NO!” 10 times from the couch, while Oliver gives me his best, make me mommy, cheeky face look.  Yes, I am completely aware that this is bad parenting. But no worries, I have a plan!

There is this joke between FTD and I over my mother and her dog, Pepper…

Everyday my mom stands at her backdoor calling for Pepper to come inside and it goes something like this…

Pepper… pepper… pepper… PEPPER!  Pepper… pepper pepper pepper pepper pepper…PEPPER YOU COME IN NOW! (No loop it five or six times)

Seriously. This chatter will sometimes loop five or six times in one callingSo the joke is that whenever my mom calls, FTD sits in the background doing the Pepper loop. Funny, yes, but sooooooo hard to talk to my mom with all of that going on!

The really sad thing about my mother’s “Pepper loop” is that, Pepper, RARELY comes.  She knows my mom is going to play her loop 44 times before she actually goes out into the yard to get her, so why stop rolling in something gross?

So now when I sit there on my comfy couch telling Ollie, NO…no…no… NO!... No no no no no… until I ultimately get up and stop him from touching/climbing/ throwing/ or smashing something he should not, I see this horrible parallel between my mother and her dog, and me and my toddler.  Not good. 

Of course Oliver knows when I say “no,” I want him to stop doing what ever it is that he is doing, but that doesn’t mean he is actually going to stop. Now, being that I really don’t want a bratty little punk for a kid, so I know I have no other choice than to teach Ollie that, “no”, means BOY YOU BETTER STOP BEFORE I COME OVER THERE AND MAKE YOU STOP!  Or at the very least, Dude, come on, stop that now, because it’s not a good one.  Which, it will probably be the latter because I am sill a fan of rationalizing with my toddler not yelling or spanking.  (Yes, I know you cannot rationalize with the irrational, but I really think I am making a breakthrough!)

So what’s my brilliant solution? I am only going to say “no” once, and then get up off my lazy ass and sort the situation out if I have to. No more ten no’s before I take action!  Hopefully this will work.  And for the most part, I try to choose my battles wisely to limit the number of no’s I need to drop daily. I let him explore, climb and touch things to either cure his curiosity, or learn a lesson. Still, the kid always manages to go back for more, inevitably making me have to bust out the, “No!” loop. 

Well not anymore!

The one NO! rule started this morning, and so far… I have gotten some great exercise with all of the ups and downs.  I know that since Ollie is just a toddler, teaching him I mean business through rational conversation (not yelling and little ass and hand taps) is going to take time and patience, but in order to not end up like my mom and Pepper, it is worth the effort.  

I’ll let you know how this works out for me… Dammit  I really hope I grow a set before this kid out smarts me. 

P.s. PLEASE HELP!  Are you dealing with/doing the same thing?  What's your solution?

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Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com


Alissa said...

Ahh yes... What gets me is when I tell James "No!" and he turns around and laughs at me.... Seriously?!?! How am I going to teach him to not do what he's doing if he thinks it's a big joke? Oh and he's started repeating "No" back to me... apparently I say it a lot. I have no tips for you. I am interested to hear what other moms have to say.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Oh yes, I get the laugh too. It's so hard for me not to laugh back. Ugh, sometimes I feel like a kid raising a kid!

Kristy J said...

We are kind of going through this, AJ pushes the limits like crazy. Our solution is...we don't say no. We say "we don't do/touch/hit/etc... that" He gets two times of that then it's time for action. Once he sees us get up and come towards him he corrects himself right away.(Granted this did take a time or two of getting his booty patted firmly) He's getting better, I know he's young but I also know that little bugger totally understands what he is and is NOT supposed to be touching. Good luck with Ollie. He's so cute I can understand wanting to rationally talk things out with him. I tried rationalizing but I'm just not prepared to 1)have a brat kid or 2)him embarrass this shit out of us when we meet the big brass for the husband's job.

Jess said...

Oh boy I can't wait! Right now Arianna is just starting to figure out what "No" means, and when I say it she cries. Big ole crocodile tears come rolling down her little cheeks! I do my best not to laugh. But if I don't, I'll cry, cause the little booger has exactly the same attitude I did when I was younger. I am so screwed! But I think you're on the right track with only one "No!"

AussieMummy said...

We're a "no touching", "gentle", "careful" and "don't do that".. Alongside "no". He understands all those phrases and its helped prevent him saying "no" to us (my nephew is 18 months and he says no like its a big joke so I'm glad I've managed to avoid that). But Cooper still laughs in my face 50% of the time and he's just so darn cute that its hard to not smile at him!

Christy G said...

I am the same way, it is my instinct to be more of a door mat. I like to nurture my babies. However, I know when I need to take control of the situation and not let my child be unruly.

Unknown said...

We use 'no' to alert Spud to the fact that he is making a dumb choice, followed by a brief explanation (hot, icky, not yours, gentle hands, blah fricken blah, etc etc). At best he usually stops what he is doing for a second, considers it and then resumes. Interestingly enough, I have found that if I drop to a crouch and cry "Come give mummy BIG HUG" he'll forget what he's doing and come running. It works when he's touching something naughty, but doesn't seem appropriate when he's belting his brothers ('belting your bros? c'mon, get a hug!' Ermmmm no.)

Unknown said...

Hahahaha... I don't know how I missed this yesterday. Oh wait- that's right- because I was busy yelling the same! As far as Pepper goes? Yeah- I have had it with all creatures in the house- especially the human ones- so after the damn dog rolled in a dead bird last week for the second time, I had it. I left her ass outside for a couple hours. And the other dog before that? She is busy pretending she has advanced hearing loss now, so she sat outside and missed her dinner. So you better believe the two of them are now racing back to the door because I'm DONE! As far as the kids go? Trying to figure out the magic formula for each kid is nearly impossible. Kaely's kryptonite is "hurting her feelings," Chase goes with isolation- separate from Mommy and it's like you just threw him in the fire. Nathan? Well... working on that. He reminds me of Ollie- with the "dare me" face. So... try all the paths until you find the right one (LOL- sorry, that sucked)