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?