It’s Not All Mary Poppins

The Plight of the 2-year-old

Ki-woon is not, in fact, two. Not even close, a mere sixteen months, but oh, the boy is verbal! When he’s not talking, he’s babbling. His vocabulary includes, “shzz”, “jiss”, “momma”, “dada”, “moe”, “dahn”, “ess”, “no”, “ta-ta”, and “caca”, among many others.

He is tremendously easy-going, preferring to laugh over any other response almost every time.

Yesterday, though, we saw what might be the dawning of toddler negativism. The children were at the coffee shop. Haley approached with a tray of drinks and muffins. Ki-woon, an enthusiastic eater, greeted the approach of the tray with evident delight. Hands started flapping, legs kicking, little grunts puffing from those oh-so-fat cheeks. “Ah! Ah! Ah! Ah!”

Haley smiles down at him. “Heya, Ki-woon! Do you want a muffin?”

“Ah!AH!” Flap, kick, wiggle. “Ah! Ah! NO!”

It’s hard-wired in, I tell ya. The almost-two, the two, they say “no” because they must. Haley, knowing this, is unperturbed by the disconnect between verbal and physical communication. She knows which to believe.

“Oh, good. Here you go!” Hands him a piece of muffin.

It vanishes in seconds.

© 2006, Mary P

July 20, 2006 - Posted by | behavioural stuff, Developmental stuff, my kids


  1. ah yes, the word NO! is such a nice word to a toddler, regardless of meaning.

    LMD can sit there pointing exitedly at a toy, yelling “dat, dat, dat” (that), and jiggling around with anticipation, while all the time shaking her head furiously & screaming “NO!” to anyone who tries to give her the toy:-)

    Comment by Juggling Mother | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  2. NO is most definitely one of Grace’s favorite words. She uses it constantly and then thinks its the funniest thing she has ever heard when Daddy or I use it…..No Gracie. No hitting Mommy” is usually met with 5 minutes of laughter. Ahhh, the joys of toddlers!

    Comment by So-Called Supermom | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  3. I don’t suppose there’s any chance that my 5-month old daughter will be different from every other toddler in the world, is there? Please?

    Comment by dreadmouse | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  4. mm, muffin.

    can I come hang out in your daycare, Mary P?

    I’ll be good…

    Comment by Sassy Student | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  5. I had such fun with my 2.5 yr old nephew when his family was here a few weeks back.

    Though I have two kids and my sister has three (this nephew is the youngest), she kept reminding me that he didn’t really mean “No” though that word still made up much of his conversation. He said it all day, with a HUGE smile right along with it.

    It IS fun to watch until they get old enough to know what no means.

    Comment by LoryKC | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  6. It’s much easier to pronounce than yes and they’re probably used to hearing it often.

    Comment by Granny | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  7. Even preverbal children shake their heads no, rather than nodding yes. It’s easier and more fun! And the reaction from grownups – it’s just what they want!

    Comment by Angela | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  8. Sounds like Haley may have men figured out already. They say one thing but they mean another. I am already in love with Ki-woon – “no’s” and all

    Comment by Sunshine Scribe | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  9. Oh my goodness. Isn’t that the truth? My daughter did the same thing at that age. Though now, when she’s closing in on two, she has learned to say “yes.” What a relief.

    Comment by abogada | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  10. Maya learned “yes” before “no” — but we’re in this stage now, for sure (see the “No” posts on Maya’s blog for examples. I’m following her verbal requests (even when I know she doesn’t *mean* no), because I want her to learn that her “no” means something to me.

    Lately, it’s always this one:
    M: Peees? Peees? (rubbing chest, signing please also)

    A: Maya, are you hungry? Are you ready for lunch?

    M: No!

    A: Okay, let me know when you’re hungry!

    It’s fun. It gets old fast, but it’s still fun.

    Comment by Alli | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  11. Hahaha! Quinn is 3 and still says “no” first no matter what – but he’s old enough now that he says no, thinks about the question, then changes his answer. LOL.

    Comment by Kristen | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  12. I’m still stuck back at the part where you took them to the coffee shop. You all go so many places. I am afraid to set foot out the door with mine! 🙂

    Comment by KEP | July 20, 2006 | Reply

  13. Yeah, pumpkinpie sometimes says, “no. mmm- yes!” It’s like the no is automatic, then the question actually reached her braiin and got processed partway through so she had to change answer, moving also from a head shake to nod.

    Ki-woon could be my new favourite.

    Comment by kittenpie | July 21, 2006 | Reply

  14. Juggling Mother: Weird little critters, aren’t they?

    Supermom: Gracie’s unusual in that she thinks it’s funny when YOU say it. More often, they’re outraged! Not sure her good humour about it helps you in your disciplinary efforts, though…

    Dreadmouse: Highly unlikely. Sorry about that! (But some of us find toddlers endlessly entertaining, so it’s not all bad!)

    Sassy: Sure! You and Haley can hang with the kids, and you can pick me up at Mexi’s on your way back. I’ll be the one in the corner, hiding behind my extra-large slushie lime margarita. :p

    Lorykc: Generally by two and a half, they know exactly what “no” means, so I think your lucky sister just has a very cheerful little man on her hands!

    Granny: I’m sure you’re right, on both counts.

    Angela: Savvy little things, aren’t they? They are so good at the social interaction stuff.

    Sunshine: This wise mother will make no comments nor assumptions on her daughter’s love life. And Ki-woon? I’m in love, too – and mourning the fact that he’s just for the summer. Boo!

    Abogada: I find the knee-jerk “no” stage pretty funny.

    “Do you want this cookie?”
    “Oh, all right then.”

    Heeheehee… Life is much easier when they outgrow it, though, no arguments from me!

    Alli: You and I are obviously on the same page on this one. Taking them at their (confused) word is not only entertaining for mommy, but teaches them a lesson in accurate communication. So, a win-win!

    Kristen, Kittenpie: Fun to watch those wheels turn, isn’t it? They say “no” to establish their autonomy, to assert their little selves, and then they say, “Hang on a minute. I’m shooting myself in the foot here!”

    See why toddlers are fun??

    KEP: A large part of that, I’d bet, is the difference in numbers. You have seven or eight, I rarely have more than five. It makes a difference!

    Comment by Mary P. | July 21, 2006 | Reply

  15. I’m all too aware of the word “NO!” Cracks me up!

    Comment by Mamacita Tina | July 21, 2006 | Reply

  16. Haha. If only my understanding of 2-year-old men transfered to 20-year-old men.

    Comment by Haley | July 21, 2006 | Reply

  17. My 19 month old son actually learned yes before no. So I’d ask if he wanted something, and he’d say “ya…ya…” and then i’d give it to him, and he’d push it away.

    My husband is still amazed, though, when our son says NO NO NO to milk, and I still manage to get him to drink half his cup.


    Comment by Naomi | July 30, 2006 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: