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