Lately, it seems Jack’s vocabulary has hit a figurative and very negative wall.  As in, the “no, no, no” wall.

Cute at first, the habitual “no” has become something we can’t really avoid.

“What’s your name?”

“no”

“Where’s mommy?”

“no”

“Would you like to eat?”

“no”

Ugh.  I no likey the “no, no, no” phase.

But when we visited the pediatrician last week, per usual, they gave us a checklist of “normal” development for kids this age.  At 20 months, Jack could easily be pegged as the poster boy for said checklist. But truthfully, even though he has no idea what he’s saying half of the time, the endless stream of “nos” is starting to get to me.

"normal" development checklist 18-24m

When I’m the main person he sees and learns from on a day to day basis, I’m absolutely conscientious of the person he’s becoming. 

Thanks to the reinforcement from family, (“Well, it’s no wonder, all he hears is no.” and “Do you say anything besides no?”) I was convinced my parental choices and discipline tactics were backfiring.

But before I get all boo-hoo-y about it being “all my fault,” this is good to know:

Parents Magazine said that a recent study in Child Development showed that 2- and 3-year-olds argue with their parents 20 to 25 times an hour.

Before a kid can completely verbalize their feelings, it’s normal for them to repeat what they hear.  “No” might be heard a lot as Jack scales bookshelves and eats days-old cheerios found under the couch, but I do my best to offset that negativity with hugs and high fives when the situation calls for it.  When other little boys his age are either running away from new friends or pushing to assert themselves, my son, the hugging bandit, can often be found befriending kids and hugging and offering friendly smooches.

There’s always room for improvement; the boy and I are always learning. As we begin to face the beginning of the Terrible Twos, (we’ve already had a full blown, red-in-the-face, head-turning tantrum on the way home from the park the other day) we’ll continue to work on the “no no no’s” and turn negative scenarios around to inject some positive reinforcement. 

But dudes, really, it’s a phase—one that I can’t wait to pass. Hug me.

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