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No Means NO…unless

By on Oct 31, 2011

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your name is Zoe Alexandra Nevels!

Zoe has been testing her boundaries these last couple of weeks. Now that her army crawl has turned into a turbo boost scoot, she’s been exploring every inch of the house. It has finally gotten to the point where I’ve started to tell her the most socially stifling word known to man…”No.”
One particular day, I was holding her on my lap and getting my morning fix of facebook. While I was engulfed in the computer, she was enthralled by its power cord, and kept disconnecting it from the computer. She continued to yank it out and I continued to pry it from her hands and push the lap top further and further away. Finally, when I could no longer reach the computer I told her “No.” Our little altercation went something like this:
Zoe: reach, reach, grab, yoink,
Mommy: reconnect power cord, push computer an inch away
Zoe: yoink
Mommy: “Zo- Zo cut it out”, push computer another inch away
Zoe: yoink, gummy smile
Mommy: “No Zo”
Zoe: yoink
Mommy: “No”, reconnect power cord
Zoe: reach, reach yoink
I swear this persisted for like 5 minutes when finally I let her free from my lap. She then crawled off straight toward an OUTLET! Immediately I say “NO Zoe” and she broke out into a wail complete with tears…and so did I. I scooped her up in my arms and gave her kisses and hugs and explained to her how important it is that she doesn’t touch the outlets in the house. She looked at me with her round, glassy eyes and my heart broke all over again. I guess she’d finally had enough of the word “NO.”
Was it too early to teach her “no”?
Later that evening I told Papa Nevels about our little encounter and his response was “that explains a lot.” Apparently, when I’d left the house for yoga class, Zoe had found a ton of tissue and Phil caught her munching on it and ripping it to shreds. He said that he told her “No” and that she looked at him with those round eyes, stopped what she was doing and pulled the tissue slowly from her mouth. He proceeded to round up the shreds of tissue and that was that. Had she gotten the gist of the word “no”? Could she really understand that “no” means to stop doing what you’re doing?
I’m totally in suspense about this whole discipline/child rearing thing, but one thing that Phil and I decided was that we would continue to move things out of Zoe’s way and save “no” for the big things like electrical sockets, hot liquid, the stove etc.
It seems that now Parenthood is really starting to kick in. It’s no longer just about keeping a good feeding, napping and cuddling schedule, now I’ve got to really instill boundaries. But the truth is that once she flashes a smile or a giggle my way, I’m totally putty.
I still feel bad about making her cry the other day, even though Phil has given me a pass. He says that he read how babies don’t have a memory until age 2, but what about Mom’s. :-(
To all the Mommas and Papas out there, when did you start telling your little one “no”? When did you incorporate the dreaded hand tap?
p.s. In retrospect I think I now understand what Zoe was trying to tell me. Could my new obsession with Facebook be the beginning of the end? We’ll save that one for a future blog entry. LOL!
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