The ‘n’ word has become a bit of a house guest within our four walls. This is a progression from 8 month old Thalia whose only method of communication was shaking her head to my melodious chanting of ‘no nooo noooo’ – often sung completely out of context, I just thought that her little snake dance was adorable. Now, whether she knew back then that a head shake means ‘no’ is debatable, and I would like to assume that it was simply a mimic of my dance infused ways of lovingly asking her not to throw her food all over the kitchen. Babies are the best of copycats after all.
Back to the present, and it is completely undeniable that she understands exactly what the ‘n’ word means. When she attempts to rip the leaves off of one of our many beautiful houseplant babies, she gets a loving ‘no’. When she starts to stand up in the bath, she gets a slightly panicked ‘no’. When she reaches out to upend my patiently waited for glass of wine in the
afternoon evening, she gets a somewhat stern ‘no’. And each time she will freeze, try her luck again, see my eyebrows raise, and then find a new interest in something else totally unrelated to items that are actually designed for baby entertainment. With the occasional glance towards the forbidden object and a death stare directed at yours truly.
It wasn’t until watching ‘workin’ moms’ during one of Thalia’s blissful nap hours that I realised that some parents choose not to use the ‘n’ word.
On a side note, if you haven’t watched this series (especially, but not only if, you are a mum) then you must start now.
I would like to highlight in advance that I am totally aware that this is a fictional Netflix fabrication. But also that, as much as we don’t like to admit it, anything parenting related is absorbed by us mums, where it gets compared to our own mothering skills, and then lovingly welcomed, rejected or put in the box of ‘things that make us feel like a terrible parent’. Of which mine is way too big.
Funnily enough, talk of the ‘n’ word has come up in mum conversation a couple of times following this Netflix lesson. In hindsight, this may be to do with the fact that we all watch the same series… But nonetheless it got me thinking. Is no too negative a word to use against, yes it can only ever be against, a one year old? Does it’s one syllable harshness make it more stern that it needs to be? Will Thalia’s first word be no?! Ok, that would be a disaster. But I am really interested to hear what your opinions are about this. I personally think that a loud ‘no’ can mean the difference between life and death when our little explorers are about to stick one of their tubby fingers into a plug socket, or put a rogue coin into their mouth (though rocks tend to be the preferred snack of late out here in Thailand). Let’s be honest, do we really have the time to string together a gentle sentence along the lines of ‘darling, you shouldn’t do that’ when in the leadup to a baby-led disaster?! And if we were to only use ‘no’ when absolutely necessary, would they ever actually learn what it means for those times when we really need them to understand?! Let me know! And don’t forget to subscribe with your email address a little further down the page so you don’t miss a post!