No. It means No. No questions, no conversations, just No. Miss 2 doesn’t seem to get that, unless she’s the one saying it.

When she hears ‘No’, she hears:

Maybe just one more or two more. Maybe mum will do her crazy yelling thing if I do it again. She doesn’t really mean no. Of course it means do it again. It’s totally ok to keep pulling the dogs ears.

No! It means I’ve had enough of saying No, and I’m now yelling it because:

There is an impending accident. There is a close call. Her drink is about to go flying off the table, again. She’s poking the baby in the eye. She’s smearing bright red mashed raspberries on the white bedspread. She upended the talcum powder bottle on the floor.

No? It means I’m questioning her own defiant no back at me. This is an example of the old Mexican stand-off – who will break first? Who has the most patience and will to win at this exact moment.

She’s stubborn, but I’ve had more practice.

The glisten in her eye is an innocent and playful cheekiness, you can see the cogs turning, trying to justify what she is doing and get her way.

No. This ‘no’ is one where I’ve been cut off mid sentence. I’ll be enjoying a rare adult conversation which must end abruptly to save someone or something from disaster. This is usually accompanied by a run (or a hobble depending on how my old bones are feeling at that moment), a dive, a lunge or some other superhero move that would typically result in an Olympic gold medal. It’s either an epic save or a tragic, tragic fail.

And Noooooo – disaster has struck. It’s possible there’s blood, smashed glass or something has changed colour. There could be a fall down the front steps, the dog snaps and scares the crap out of everyone or even a choking incident with a grape.

At any rate, there’s yelling, swearing, crying, tears and make up cuddles and kisses. Tiny hands wrap themselves around your neck and give a kiss that only has one meaning – I’m sorry mum, and all is forgotten.

Do you relate to this? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

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  • Ohh yeesss! I had experienced it with my first child. Once I had my second i had looked into other parenting tips to try other approaches. I’m now a mama of four and i never went through it again the other 3. What i had found worked was not using the word “No” and replacing it with a mixture of: ‘stop’ ‘wait’ ‘don’t’ ‘try this way’ ‘uh oh’ and ‘uh uh uh’


  • oh yeah, my boy is nearly too, its started already! very definant
    everything is a battle


  • We all relate to this. That is why the books by Virginia Miller about the bears George and Bartholomew are so popular.


  • Haha. So true. Take heart though, it doesn’t last forever and soon they’ll be arguing you into a corner. Sometimes a one word argument is easier!


  • Hahaha this article is fabulous and so true! I have a little 2.5 yr old mr and he’s all this.. My 1 year old says no smiling and whilst it’s cute omg a picture into his future lol


  • I am soooo lucky! My son never went through the no phase. Probably why i am not game to go for number 2!


  • Oh yes, they will always try :) However once I said no it stays no and they know that


  • I most definitely can relate to this yep.


  • I wish I could say that this changes, but my 15 year old will not hear NO. He goes off when we tell him No. My husband and I often chuckle and say it reminds us of when he was a toddler. We’re allowed to say no to things – for all the same reasons we did when he was 2. For his safety, his sanity, because we know best. I thought I’d finished saying NO, but obviously not.


  • we are working on behaviours and no means no! in my household atm…i definitely hear you!


  • No with a frown really meant no in my household. My eldest son once bought a tee shirt for my youngest son – there was 7.5 years between them – which proclaimed “I thought my name was NO’
    Loved the tee shirt and my kids were good. – The frown saves the day with the word NO


  • Every single day ! Glad i’m not the only one


  • Yes! I can relate to this!!!!


  • Omg, I can definitely relate.


  • Isn’t it fun teaching them the meaning of no? I tried but I have to admit I caved a few times and my ‘no’ became a yes. Some days, you just need to pick your battles and choose the easier route


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