Saturday, August 7, 2010

I have been told that my inability to tell G "no" will come back to kick me in the butt. But I am just not good at it. I know I should tell her no when she tries to feed herself oatmeal in the morning. I know I should tell her no when she stands on the dining table chair. I know I should tell her no when she cries to be picked up when I am washing dishes. And that's just the beginning: I should tell her no to cookies, Gatorade, eating only the chocolate chips out of my chocolate chip muffin, to climbing the spiral staircase at the beach, to walking down the city street barefoot, to throwing her toys (she has an amazing arm), to dragging her blanket through puddles, to falling asleep on me, to eating crackers off the floor, to drinking water out of a glass, and definitely from demanding escape from her stroller in the supermarket.

I don't.

I have a little part of my brain that is devoted to the word no. It holds all the bad memories of the times I have heard the word spoken to me in the last few decades. It's a space full of disappointing moments with voice teachers, editors and friends, and I would love to be rid of it, but I just can't seem to drop it, and I find myself retreating to that space when I feel lame or defeated.

G has no such space. To her, and to her parents, her life is only about yes, what she can do. There is no can't. She doesn't understand that word. Her life is this blank sheet of paper on which she can write anything she wants. It's almost overwhelming as a parent. It's up to us to show her everything out there!

I know that no matter how smart G is, how coordinated she is, how outspoken she is and how smiley she is, she will hear the word "no" someday. She may even have a small space in her head devoted to it, although I hope not. But for my part, I have decided to save that word for her and use it sparingly. She will hear it soon enough someday, from strangers, from friends, from bosses. Until then, why not let her see only what is possible.