Toddler Behavior: The Fabulous Fraiberg #4 -- Why Your Toddler Says NO

Toddlers say "NO" with such glee. It's clear that they've discovered a powerful tool when they start to randomly chant "no no no...." like the words to a song repeated ad nauseum, meant to irritate us parents. Here's what the Fabulous Fraiberg had to say about the issue: Already a politician

So the toddler, with only a few words at his command, has come upon "no" as a priceless addition to his vocabulary. He says "no" with splendid authority to almost any question addressed to him. Very often it is a "no" pronounced in the best of spirits and doesn't even signal an intention. It may even preface an opposite intention. He loves his bath. "Tony, would you like to have your bath now?" "No!" Cheerfully. (But he has already started to climb the stairs.)...What is this? A confusion of meaning? Not at all. They know the meaning of "no" quite well. It's a political gesture, a matter of maintaining party differences while voting with the opposition on certain issues...."I wish to state at the outset that in casting my vote for the amendment on the bath, I am not influenced by the powerful interest groups that are behind this amendment, but I am...in favor of baths." It's a matter of keeping the record clear.

From The Magic Years, page 60. So for all practical purposes, it's important to keep a sort of "Toddler Translator" running at all times, ready to analyze the true meaning of any given "NO". I've found this helps take the grind out of the seeming constant negativity of this age. When you look at them that way, toddlers can actually be quite hilarious. Hang in there! Aloha, Dr. Heather The BabyShrink