Children · education

Learning not to say NO

Sometimes I feel little P’s vocabulary is limited to NO. There are very few times he actually says yes. I wonder if this is because the first word babies pick up is NO. When a baby reaches out to something that is likely to break, immediately we jump on him and stop him in his tracks and say “NO”. When he wobbles and waddles towards the top of a staircase or shows intentions of going out on the road, we shout a loud “NO.” When he wants to throw food or kick the ball in the living room we again say “NO”. It is no wonder then that babies think that the natural response to any question is NO.

So I have this little game with him:

  • Do you want to sleep?                                                     No
  • Do you want to go down?                                                No
  • Do you want to read a book?                                           No
  • Do you want a chocolate?                                               No.

Suddenly he realises what he’s done and immediately says NONO NO NO NO meaning yes yes yes yes yes – I said no by mistake! Ha, ha, ha, I chuckle thrilled with the knowledge that I tripped him up and he looks on glowering most unamused.

Over the past few months, I’ve watched little P’s communication skills grow from gurgles of happiness to cries of displeasure. He’s had chuckles of glee and frowns of distress. And monosyllables and gestures to tell what he means, his slowly growing vocabulary describing his everyday things. From Baba for Father to Abu for Grandpa. He even says his own name – which only he can understand.

At first it was only things and people that had names . Then came verbs like sit and go. He soon learnt adverbs like in and out but last week when I asked him if he wanted some soup he said ” NO LIKE” , amazing me with his perception and identification of emotion!

Gradually he is beginning to understand the nuances of the questions that are put to him and doesn’t just say NO instinctively as a natural response to any question.

My little baby is growing into a big boy after all!



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