Thursday, February 4, 2010

When No Means Yes: The Toddler Edition

In the course of my professional training, a number of years ago I stumbled across the amusing revelation that toddlers, madly in love with and drunk off the power of the newly acquired word: NO, will sometimes use it inappropriately.  For example: when they mean yes.  And now I can vouch personally for the accuracy of this factoid.  I think I should get some professional development hours for this.  Can I figure out a way to add them to my timesheet, and earn a little extra cash money for verifying the research?  It seems only fair.

Yesterday, to wit:

My Little Raincloud, newly awakened and on the cusp of a terrible storm:  Whine!  Whiiiiiiinnnnne!!  WHIIIIIINNNNNNNE!!!

Loving Mother:  Are you hungry?  I bet you are.  Is it time for a snack?

LR:  Noooooo!!!  *Shakes head vigorously*  NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

LM:  Here are some crackers.  *Holds them out to child*

LR:  *Shakes head even more vigorously, while waving hands back and forth, palms out, which mother believes might even be the universal sign for the word no, but just in case the message is unclear:*  Nononononononononononono Mommy!  NOOOOO!!!

LM:  Here you go.  *Sets crackers down beside child*

LR:  *Munch, Crunch, Chomp*

And then:

Sudden Ray of Sunshine popping out from behind that Raincloud:  *Big smile*  Tankoo! 

Only moments later:

Repeat entire scene, substituting juice for crackers.


Repeat again, with storybook.  Adamant denial of any desire to hear story persists until midway through page 1, when nonononononononono ceases, and is replaced by sudden, avid interest in every detail, lasting throughout book.

Then he says: GAIN! (short for again, pronounced without the a.)

You want me to read it again?  I ask.

NO!  he cheerfully insists, as he nestles into my lap, turning his attention back to the book.  And so we read it again, and peace prevails in our crazy kingdom.  What a relief to be fluent in toddlerese!  The natives always seem so uncivilized when we don't understand their customs.


  1. Stopped by after reading your brilliance on BHJ. Will be back!
    p.s... fellow upstater.

  2. There is nothing like a toddler drunk on the power of no.