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The Power of "No" - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
The Power of "No"
Something I'm not very good at in my life is knowing when to say "No." It's one of my greatest flaws, and, in some ways, one of my greatest strengths - depending on who you ask (and when you ask). It means that I take a great deal on in my life - usually too much. It's a trait I hope not to pass on to my children. Learning to judiciously use the word "No" is an important character trait, in my opinion, and one I wish I possessed.

At the same time, I work hard not to let "No" be a prevailing word in the world of my children. I try to find other ways to let them know when something they're doing isn't acceptable. "Zeh Lo Tov" (Hebrew for "That's Not Good") and "Not Okay" are two of my first two choices to let them know that what they're doing isn't appropriate. "Stop" or "Freeze" also work. "No" is my last resort. Nevertheless, there's no getting around the fact that "No" is a phrase they hear a lot, whether it's from me or other people in their lives.

A couple of weeks ago, Abigail started saying "No" very clearly. It was not a surprise that Abby was the first to say no - she's our most contrary child and she's been saying no quite clearly since her early days in the NICU - she's only just now found a way to articulate the word. She's very cute when she says it because she gets this "otherworldly" tone to her voice when she says it and she gets to be quite emphatic. She says "no" when her siblings get near her, eye her toys, touch her things, or, you know, breathe the air near her. She's getting to be quite pushy and grabby, too. If one of the others is holding a toy that she wants to play with, she'll stomp over and swipe the toy out of their hands while declaring: "NO!" It seems that "No" is a fine substitute for "Mine" (which she hasn't learned yet).

Speech delays or not, it was inevitable that they'd learn this word eventually, right?

I did get my shining moment shortly after Abby learned the word "no", however, when her speech therapist was working with her and Abby was digging through the therapist's bag of toys. She pulled out a toy she wanted and she said, "Yes, yes, yes!" It was the first, and only, time I've ever heard her say "yes" ever, but I'll take it!

Even sweet, compliant Ellie has learned to embrace the word "No" in a way that her mama is nearly jealous of. On Shabbos, she was playing with some mega blocks on the floor, and Abby and Sam had both given me some smooches, so I looked over at Ellie, who is always willing to give me smooches (!) andI said, "Ellie! Will you give mommy kisses?"

Ellie didn't even look at me as she continued to play with her blocks and she said, quite clearly, "Nooooooooooo!"

Wait, what!? My compliant, angel of a daughter just refused me smooches!? Really? What? I must have heard her incorrectly. Right? RIGHT? Of course right.

"Ellie? Can Mommy have kisses?"

"Noooooo!!" she responded immediately without looking up from the two blocks she was intently trying to stick together.

My heart broke. I was simultaneously proud of my daughter for making this enormous leap in receptive and expressive language skill all at once, and yet... a little hurt (okay, a lot hurt!). But really, hey! My daughter heard a question, understood it, and responded with a brand new word and in context! How cool is that?

Even Sam - sweet Sam - the most delayed of the three. Sam has only 3 clear words, and one... maybe word. But even Sam is starting to catch on to the "No" concept. He shakes his head "no" if he doesn't want something, and he's started to make the "N" sound if he doesn't want something. "Na-na-na," he'll say, while shaking his head. Clearly an attempt at saying "No" despite not quite having the word in his personal lexicon yet.

My babies are... growing up. They really are. *sniff* How did this happen so fast?
9 comments or Leave a comment
eyelid From: eyelid Date: August 5th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
and yet... a little hurt (okay, a lot hurt!).

lol. toughen up, ma! ;)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 5th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
I know, I'm totally teasing about the hurt. :) I was much more proud than anything. She clearly was just having fun with the fact that she got a reaction out of me.
From: have_inner_lady Date: August 5th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
There are a lot of years yet to get those smooches; don't think that her refusal indicates any kind of pattern.

Yay for their growing and learning!
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 5th, 2009 02:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I know. It was actually *really* funny. (just a tiny bit sad for me to see my baby growing up and asserting her independence!)
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: August 5th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Now that I think about it, I dont really use no that often as a stop doing things type of thing. I use it when answering questions. Most of the time I'm like "uh uh!" or stop.

ellie is so cute :) she's busy mom! geez!

they are growing up fast. i guess it's time for more? ;)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 5th, 2009 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
they are growing up fast. i guess it's time for more? ;)

If it were that easy, then sure. But it's not like I can just say, "Hey, I'd like to get pregnant" and make it so.
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: August 5th, 2009 09:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
i guess that's good and bad. gives you time to seriously consider instead of spur of the moment ya know? :)

i hope that didnt come off as insensitive or bitchy...
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: August 5th, 2009 09:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
There's nothing good about it. Someone who doesn't suffer from infertility doesn't think twice about getting pregnant. Someone who doesn't suffer from infertility doesn't have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get pregnant. Someone who doesn't suffer from infertility doesn't have to wait years to get pregnant. Someone who doesn't suffer from infertility can often take for granted that when they do get pregnant, they'll take home a real live baby 9ish months later.

To date, I have had 6 IUIs, 4 initiated IVF cycles, 1 miscarriage, 1 hellacious triplet pregnancy, 1 set of triplets who spent nearly a month in the NICU and one delicious foster son - who isn't legally ours to keep (legally, his mother could whisk him away at anytime and it would take court action to enable us to stop her). We have had about $70K worth of fertility treatments since 2005, much of which, thankfully, was covered by insurance - but not everyone is so lucky.

I would have given my left arm to have gotten spontaneously pregnant in the first year after my triplets were born. Or the second year. Or ever in my lifetime.

If you hadn't known about our struggle with infertility, I wouldn't have remotely thought there was anything insensitive about it - but yeah, I do think your comment was a little cavalier.
journeytoernie From: journeytoernie Date: August 5th, 2009 09:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
i didnt mean to be insensitive. i'm sorry. i didnt think about all that stuff.
9 comments or Leave a comment