May 10, 2010

The Art of "No"

Since Jane's become mobile, we've been practicing our "nos"... and by practicing I mean that basically all day I chase after my little monkey saying "noooooooo", "Jane, no", and so on and she ignores me, laughs at me, or stops what she's doing only to do it again five seconds later.

Everything becomes a game. Yesterday, she started trying to turn the tv-audio-thingy-me-bobber off and on and pressing all the other buttons (no idea what these buttons do). So, I started with my "nos". "Jane, no". Jannnnneeeee, no", and "Jane, noooooooo" while pulling her hand away from the buttons. Yeah. Not so effective. Initially, she'd reach for a button, I'd say no, grab her hand and and she'd start cracking up laughing. After 3-4 times, she was laughing evilly even before she reached for the button. That's when strategy number two comes into play... distraction. Distraction is the key to parenting after your baby passes the six month mark. Once distraction is possible, life gets easier. Baby falls, baby cries, Mommy dances like a nutball, baby laughs, the end. Simple. Baby gets grouchy in the car seat ten minutes from home, Mommy sings a crazy song, baby laughs, the end. Distraction is your best friend.

Ok, I got side-tracked as usual. Back to "no". Dan, God love 'um, is sometimes less than fabulous as practicing his "nos" with Jane. A few weeks ago, I mentioned that he needs to start using it more. His response? "Jen, she's 11 months old, she has no idea what I'm saying". Seriously? Duh! That's why we're saying it nutball! I'm definitely the disciplinarian in the house which sucks because that means I'm always going to be the "bad guy". BOOOO. :p I'm sure I'll probably get a few "that's not right" or "it should be balanced" comments on that sentence but this is life - it's also not fair that I'm not loaded rich and don't have the metabolism of a 13 year old boy too. C'est la vie. :p Not helping my cause AT ALL was the fact that last week, Jane was chewing on the edge of our magazine table and Dan started saying "no" and Jane cried. ha ha ha. Definitely did not help.

Regardless, I'm holding firm on the "nos". One of my pet peeves is undisciplined kids... you know them. They come over to your house, run all over, grab things, break things, go places they are not allowed, and no one says anything... WHAT? The parents say nothing. WHAT? They ignore the misbehavior. WHAT? I know. Drives me mad. You're left disciplining another parent's children which is just uncomfortable and inappropriate. When I was growing up, we didn't do these things. Why? Because we knew my Mom would have killed us. Not literally, obviously. But, we would have gotten one "no" and, if we pushed it, that was it. Say bye, bye. We're going home. Fun's over.

I am going to try to get a video of my "no" games, if possible, this week. Because it really is hilarious and, let me just say, the hardest part is not cracking up laughing yourself. Most of the time I'm biting my lip as Jane laughs mid-way through my disciplinary "session" so she doesn't see me laugh. My parents tell a great story about heading to church one Sunday, my sister and I in the backseat fighting about something and I called her a "slut". I was probably ten. My Dad started laughing until my Mom hit him, asked me if I knew what a "slut" was (which I didn't) and proceed to tell me it wasn't a nice word. HAH. Can you imagine? I'd have a hard time keeping my composure as a parent during that scene.

Good luck with your "nos"... another fun part of parenting! :)

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Amanda said...

LOL - you can tell your hubby that yes, 11-month-olds CAN understand the word "no." And if he still doesn't believe you, you can tell him you have it on authority from one of your readers who is also a speech-language pathologist!

I try to pick my battles when it comes to "no." I'd like to save it for the big issues, like safety and such, but I do find myself using the word more and more these days now that our little one is into EVERYTHING. With consistency, we HAVE managed to get her not to play with the cat's food dish - it's a start, at least!I also feel that I'm going to end up always being the "bad cop" while my hubby gets to be the "good cop."

Anna A. said...

I've started reading your blog a bit ago. I find it fun to follow along with your parenting journey! This is one that I wanted to weigh-in suggestion for the "no" lessons is redirection. As a teacher I have found this invaluable! We often tell our children what we don't want them doing, however, we rarely stop to tell them what would be an appropriate replacement behaviour. (Same with social interactions and what to say and what not to say.) It's somewhat like your distraction, but going to a new level. So, it would go something like this, "No, Jane. You don't play with the TV buttons, but you can play with this." Putting the appropriate toy in her hand, engaging her in the fun aspect of the toy and quietly turning/moving her away from the "taboo" task. As she is getting older you can start to explain "that's mommy's/daddy's; this is Jane's", which leads into my next comment.
She will also undoubtedly see you touching these buttons and want to mimic...perhaps a "only mommy/daddy"-like phrase when you do it.
Just my two cents and something to provide another perspective.

Kate said...

Annika just started crawling last week and I feel like I'm saying 'no' all the time!

Thanks to you and your readers' comments for all the tips!

P.S. I received my cleaning products in the mail today - thanks!

~*Cee*~ said...

We have alot of baby only she has her own cellphone (an old one from years ago)...her own tv remote...yet another oldie that died in battle. But I don't have locks on cupboard doors. She just doesn't care to get into the bad cupboards yet. She has her own broom and swiffer duster (from the dollar store...and as 'mini' as I can find them) because she likes to help with everything. They're in a 'safe cupboard' and it's the only one she goes to, oddly enough!
But I've definitely found that saying 'no' just fuels her along. So I save 'NO!' for things like getting too near the stove, or yanking on the cat's tail. I try (my damnedest, for the record) to give her alternatives, and give positive 'we only jump on the floor in our house' when she's jumping on the counch...and then we have a crazy jumping race up and down the hall, on the floor! E is only 15 months, and it's an uphill battle in the pissing rain most days...but sangria keeps me sane, as does the notion of a VERY well behaved 5 year old!

Anonymous said...

Im lucky so far as my little guy really hates to upset Mommy, so when No! gets used he often stops what he is doing and has a small meltdown, poor thing. But when it is, No dont bite Mommy! he thinks that is funny.....hmmmmm lol.