The Infamous Toddler “No’s”

The past two weeks of my life have been, how do I say this diplomatically…


My son seems to be set on a full-blown mission to test my every last shred of patience, willpower, and sanity, and frankly, I am just left here, gasping for air and holding on to my motherhood flag of surrender in humbled defeat. 

What is it about the age of toddlers that make them want to test the limits?

I swear, I’m a good mom to babies–I can do the whole nursing, snuggling, baby-wearing thing in my sleep. Actually, now that I think about it, I actually do a good portion of that in my sleep. The older ages, the ages my girls are at, are just plain fun. Sure, there’s an occasional tantrum now and then and a few issues with some sassiness from my oldest, but overall, they are just at fun, fun ages.

But my son, at almost 20 months?

Is a little bit of a different story.

It would appear that seemingly overnight, he went from my chubby, cuddly little man to a fierce warrior with a stubborn streak. And with two older sisters to do the talking for him, there’s not a whole lot of vocabulary at his disposal to communicate his needs.

Except, of course, for his favorite word:


Our days have started to look a little something like this:


Would you like some breakfast?


Do you want your blankie?


Let’s go get in the bath!


Everything I say, everything we do or offer is answered with an emphatic, resounding “no”. Usually, with an accompanying lip pout or ridiculous, somehow still cute, angry folded arms.

I’d like to say that I am handling it all well with patient smiles of the wisdom of motherhood passed down to me through the ages, but the truth is, I’m struggling a little bit. How on earth can you reason with a toddler who defies any and all reason?

But I guess that’s the point, isn’t it?

That as his mother, it’s not my job to reason with him or to make him see the world my way; it’s to help guide him into finding his own way. It’s a confusing world out there and honestly, don’t we all have those moments when nothing would be as satisfying as screaming, “NO!” as loud as we possibly can, right there in the middle of the grocery store?

Because right now, he’s learning how to find his own two feet; learning how to assert himself into a world that seems so grown up. He has big sisters to contend with and cousins that he will surely want to steal toys from. What’s a toddler to do?

So, I guess right now, I will continue to grin and bear it, even when his meltdowns seems unwarranted and the “no’s” a bit unfounded.

I know he will find his way eventually, a way that will inevitably, lead him out of my arms and into that great, big world that he’s trying to figure out right now.

And then, I’ll practice the move I’ve been perfecting on a daily basis…

And smile. Even when a little part of me feels like crying.

Tagged as:
Add to the conversation