My Toddler and the Power of “NO!”

Heeeeeello you guys!!!
First of all,, I have to say, THANKS SO MUCH for following me and schlepping alllllllll the way over from People to my personal site!!! I totally appreciate it and was SO pleased to see your comments! It makes me smile to see all your  stories and feedback. You guys are awesome!

Now, on with the Bloggity-Blog!!

This week’s topic: my Toddler and the Power of “NO”!

Ok,,, I am sure you veteran moms can tell many,, MANY stories about this word! Your children picking it up on the playground, or at school and wielding it wildly like a sword-of course at you- or maybe in a loud shout, or possibly while running away from you in the isle of a crowded grocery store. Fun right? Um.. No.

Well, for me and Luna Marie, the beginning of the “No” phase started a little differently.  Why you ask?? Well, because, believe it or not, I HAD to teach it to her!  I know, you Moms are probably saying, “What are you doing Constance? Are you crazy?! If she doesn’t know it, or use it yet,, Halleluah!!, just don’t “F-up” a good thing!”

Well,,here is our story…

As I wrote in my “in the trenches” blog.  I am part of a Mommy Group that is truly great. This Mommy Group is run by a psychologist who guides us thru the many stages of Mommyhood.  Luna Marie and I have been in this group since she was 4-5 months old I think. (My Mommy Brain just can’t remember! Yes! I still have Mommy brain, I hear my brain will return to normal when the kid goes to college! I HOPE!)

Anyhoo, this psychologist warned us moms to not “over use” the word “NO”.  She went on to explain that when parents use it too much the kids actually start to block it out, and don’t even hear it,, and even worse, they actually start to laugh and think it’s a game, when the parent says it.!
If that were to happen, that would SO  NOT work for me. :/

In the group, we were taught to do something called “ALP”, and to start doing it while they are still young. For example when the baby is upset 1) Acknowledge the baby is upset. 2) Limit set 3) Problem solve or distract.

Here is an example:
A- “I understand you are frustrated and don’t WANT to change your diaper.
L- “BUT your dapper is stinky, leaking poop and so, we HAVE to change it”
P- “After we finish, we can go play with your train, bike, or whatever, and oh look! Here is your teddy bear to play with during the change!”

I know, sounds very “touchy feely” but seriously it works! At least for Luna Marie.  I firmly believe anything that helps calm the  screaming, kicking baby and can stop the wrestling match so I can get the damn diaper changed, works for me!! I am all for it!!   Once I do this ALP thingy, and explain the process to Luna Marie, her expression on her face is like “Oh! Ok, I get it, thanks for explaining Mama.”
Then she usually- and I mean “usually” not “always” chills out pretty quickly.

So, for the last 18 months I did a lot of explaining, and I didn’t teach a lot of “NO”

And so it went for many months. It was working pretty well until…….. The Toddler Phase.

Luna Marie started trying to let us know when she didn’t like something. But her only way of expressing her dislike was to stomp her feet, and start to cry and fuss……basically a mini melt down EVERY time she disagreed with something. Ug.
I thought ” Oh boy! This is gonna get old quick” :/

Then DING!  It dawned on me,, she didn’t know the word “NO”…or how to use it.
Odd right? All her friends had NO problem saying it a lot. (Pun intended)
Luna Marie, not so much!

So in swoops Mama! Hoping I am not doing a “bad” thing, I just explain to her, if you do not want to go outside for a walk just say “NO”.

Well,,, she froze like a little deer in the headlights,, like a little bell went off in her head. DING! And thus began the “No phase” at our house. Of course, it took her a couple days to perfect the word.  Her little lips learning to curl up like the beak of a little duck. Every day she tried her hardest to enunciate the word and make sure we got it!  But after a few days, she was a pro! It was like she had been given the keys to the city!!!

It was SO unbelievably cute! It made me laugh every time she said it! She was so passionate about it!  I know, I know, I laugh now but I am sure I will learn to hate it in a few months, or worse, when she is a teenager.!! BUT what I love is she feels a little bit of power.  The power to make choices, to express how she feels about things. And she now has a sense of “Control”. Come on! Us girls LOVE a little control right!!?

I truly feel this is an important thing for her to learn in her life and ultimately her future.  My goal is to raise a smart, thoughtful, independent woman, who feels she is empowered and not a pushover. I would LOVE it if she becomes a woman who makes choices for herself, and doesn’t let others do it for her.  In this day and age women have SO much on their plate, we need our power! Whether in a job situation, on a date or someday in the White House!!.. We need our power! The power to choose.

I want Luna Marie to have the power to say:
“YES! I, Luna Marie, will travel the world, or go to college and live my dreams!”
She can say, “NO! I, Luna Marie will not succumb to peer pressure in school or anywhere else!”  I want her to know that the direction of her life, is hers to choose!

I know,,She’s just a baby!! She isn’t there YET, but she will be someday.  I believe the training for empowerment begins now. I want her to know it is ok to express how she feels.
Don’t get me wrong, I know this is gonna be a nightmare and really tough on me as a parent but,, so be it. My dream is to not squash her spirit. Not yet anyway ;)

So, here is a little sample of what you would hear at our house:
“Luna Marie do you want to take a  picture for Mommy’s new blog?…. “No”
“Luna Marie is your diaper wet?”……………. “Nooooo” (of course, it was!)
“Luna Marie, let’s go upstairs and take a bath” “Noooooooo!”.
“Luna Marie, do you want more milk?” “Noooooooooooooo! This one is usually followed by the traditional “head whip” away from the milk. I swear she does it so fast the poor thing might get whiplash!!

I know I am probably a bit insane, but I find it Soooooooooooooo cute and funny,,,, she is really into it! I try not to laugh, cause I want her to know I take how she feels seriously. But come on! She really does look like a little duck!

So there! That is how it goes for us this week! Wish me luck!
I would love to hear your stories of “No” if ya got one!
Take care, and remember everyday YOU have the power to decide who you are and what your life will be! If not you then who?
:) CM

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14 Responses to My Toddler and the Power of “NO!”

  1. Shamantha says:

    My daughter has started saying “no” when she knows she’s doing something she’s not supposed to. Today she was saying, “no” when she was heading over to pick out a DVD (she’s only allowed one a day, and she knew she had already filled that quota), and she did it again when she found Q-tips, “no, no, no.”

    I think it’s cute, too. Just the way she says it, it sounds so sweet. I’m sure it will get old eventually, but, I like it for now.

  2. Jorge huerta says:

    Your baby is spool pretty u only have one are you planning to have more?

  3. Traci says:

    Your pictures are so cute!:) Thanks for sharing. And I love your story about No:) I dont have a child but I hope when I do I have as much patience and calm that you have:)

  4. Renate says:

    Too cute. My lil guy is only 6 months right now,however, I have already began the ALP method. I was first introduced to it in the Dr Sears baby book, and soon got more literature. Can’t wait to see it pay off, plus it helps get those 30,000 words a day in. What with all that explaining. Love your blog Constance, don’t always comment, but read it every week. Thanks.

  5. Colleen says:

    I find that when you need to set limits, and don’t want to say “NO”, that using “That’s not for babies” works well. I save “NO” for dangerous things like running into the street, trying to turn on the hot water, climbing dangerously, etc. All other times (where appropriate) I use “not for babies” and explain using the “ALP” system.

  6. Mi says:

    I used to work in a daycare centre, and one of my toddlers was a very active and curious little boy, always in to things. While I have always tried to refrain from the word NO unless I have to because I have noticed that the effect of the word diminishes with each use, but I guess his mother used it quite a lot, because one day, when we were on an outing, an old lady asked the boy (who was about 19-20 months at that time) what his name was; he looked at her and answered honestly “No Fred, No!”. The boy actually thought his name was “No Fred!” which explained why it was so difficult to get his attention when you just called him Fred! (I tryed it out later that day, and he really did respond better to the “No Fred” than to just Fred (In this case Fred, do you wan’t an apple?)

  7. Loren says:

    I am not a mother yet, but I throughly enjoy reading your baby blog! I am a People transplant over to your blog. I just could not get enough of your baby stories. Luna Marie is so precious. I really look forward to Wednesday’s just so I can get my “Luna fix” haha. Keep up the great work Constance!

  8. Joanna says:

    I really enjoyed reading your blogs on people and I am so happy you kept writing them. I am going to give ALP a try with my 1 year old. One question where did you get that cute toy kitchen?

  9. Krista says:

    Hi Constance! I love your blogs I look forward to reading them every week. Thank you for sharing all your experiences with us. I find you to be one of the BEST if not the BEST moms out there and usually moms like yourself intimidate me a little but for some reason when I read your blogs it doesnt. I feel like you really just want all of us mom’s to be ourself and do our best without judgement. Thank you for that.

  10. Chus says:

    I love your blog. I don’t have any children yet, but I hope I can remember all your advice for when that day comes. Keep up the good work, and thanks!

  11. Marie says:

    My daughter, Zoe, is 15 months old and just started saying the word “no”. But she’s being real original about it — she doesn’t just say “no”. She says “no no no no no no”, with pursed lips, thank you very much! It kills me! When she started doing that, I wondered, “where did she get this? daycare?”, just to realize that, when she does something I don’t want her to (like play in the cat’s food dish), I usually go “no no no no no no!” Huh. Guess the joke’s on mama, right? ;)

  12. Jess says:

    I love the picture of your little girl cooking with the helmet on…I agree, Luna Marie, cooking is a very dangerous thing! ;)

    My best friend always tells her little girl “No ma’am!” when she is doing something she shouldn’t be. Now when she hears no, she mostly pouts, but for the longest time she would do the same thing whenever she didn’t like something or thought you were doing something wrong. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told “No ma’am! Jess, no ma’am!”

  13. IDALIA says:

    I always say “no” to my 16 month old daughter from standing in the bathtub, worried that she will slip and fall. And since she loves organizing and unorganizing her bath toys she grabbed the smallest one and put it in the washcloth holder mounted on the tile of the wall. You know the feature, no one uses? Anyway, this “little people” doll kept falling, and again she’d put her back, until finally after the 100th try she goes “No!!!!” I couldn’t stop laughing.

  14. currywhatley says:

    i wished u guys show was still on ,you really did a great job ,oh and of coarse your so pretty