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Published on April 29th, 2015 | by Liz Babiak


No, NO, Noh, Nho, Nowh, Nooo…

#BabyBabiak is eleven months old today (how did that happen??) and, naturally, he’s in to everything. Why play with toys when non-toys are more interesting? He attacks the kitchen with fervour, pulling out everything he can from the lower drawers (Nalgene bottles are particularly interesting). He can spot and BOLT towards a cupboard if we’ve left one of the handle locks unfastened. And don’t get me started on electrical cords.

And so I find myself saying “No” a lot. Not for everything he gets in to, of course… but to the dangerous things like those damn electrical cords that we can’t change the placement of. And I have to say that I have a much wimpier “No” than I anticipated. It’s not authoritative. It borders on sounding compromising. It’s “O” is hesitant. Even though I mean it.

Hearing that awkward “No” escape from my lips makes me cringe every single time. So I’ve been working on it, trying to find the right tone and sound. Why am I so bad at it? Because I haven’t practiced.

“Surely you’ve said ‘No’ aloud enough,” I thought to myself in one of our midday conversations. “I’m not sure that I have,” I replied. “Hmmm,” we both said.

I don’t do many things I don’t want to (except cleaning, and I’m crappy at that, too…), but if I’m turning someone/something down I’ve realized that I sugar-coat my rejection. Part politeness, part avoidance, part tons-of-other things I suppose. But that little two-letter word? It doesn’t come out on its own very often. Fortunately it turns out I’m not the only one who’s crappy at it. Even Dr. Sears addresses the issue of how to say no. 

I do not want “No” to be the mantra of toddlerhood, but I do want little E-man to know when I mean business. When he’s in danger. We’re on the cusp of the “No” + distraction tactics being hit-or-miss already. When he wants something, he wants it. And now he remembers that he wants it. So cue other strategies and more “No” confidence.

And so we keep trucking, learning about “No” together. It’s funny the things that never occurred to me that I’d have to learn. How have you kept your wee ones out of trouble?

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About the Author

has four super-powers: cooking, creating, communicating, and obsessing. She's a traveller, storyteller, and wannabe gangsta who's almost always hungry. New mama to #BabyBabiak (aka Everest).

3 Responses to No, NO, Noh, Nho, Nowh, Nooo…

  1. Erica says:

    (In our better, more patient moments) We’re working on looking for positive alternatives. Saying yes is a lot more fun than saying no.

    Instead of repeatedly telling Matt “No, you can’t climb on the coffee table. No, stop climbing. No, I said no. No, get away from the coffee table” we try to recognize that he wants to practice climbing and we need to find a safe alternative – great opportunity for a pillow pile in the middle of the floor! It’s novel and funny and safe, and it lets us say yes.

    The hardest part for us is remembering to follow up on No with an explanation of what he should do instead (“No, we don’t throw food. If you don’t want that piece, you can leave it in this corner of your tray!”).

    • Liz Babiak says:

      YES! So well articulated, thank you. All good things we’re working on, and next up? I think we should make tees that say “Yes is more fun than No”. 😉

  2. Erica says:

    (Just realized how Dr. Sears-ian we are. No surprise, but could’ve saved me some words to just repost that link up there)

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