The word no is such a wonderfully simply word. Easy to say, and we've been conditioned to understand its meaning via sound and tone. That of course is true if you have had a few years of experience with it, and some, like Lord Vader, who is sensible, practical and absolutely brilliant at keeping me (and the kids) grounded in reality, are excellent exponents of the word.
However, when you're a baby the word 'no' is often something to giggle at, as are most other words. It's said that 'no' is the first word after their own name that a baby learns. It's probably true too. Afterall babies are inquisitive beasties, always exploring their surrounds and invariable getting themselves into things which you would prefer them not to get into.
The mouse has a couple of favourite things to get into and she is fast learning what the word 'no' means. Firstly there is the bottom drawer in the kitchen. No not the stereotypical drawer or cupboard full of pots and pans that can be lifted and dropped (although we do have a bottom drawer exactly like that, but the mouse has shown very little interest in it), she much prefers the one with an assortment of stuff in it. Mostly paper based stuff, but stuff nevertheless. The yellow pages is her favourite. She opens the drawer and then 'reads' it. 'Reads' each page, individually, after being removing it from the book. Once that is done with (and the yellow pages really has no need for a cover and index pages anyway) there is the take away menu folder; lots of fun pulling menus out and tasting them. Then the box of resealable plastic bags; what a lark! But finally the little tube like cannister of unused dog poo bags. Blue bags in a little round plastic thing. Brilliant because you can get you're fingers right in and then pull the bags out. Fantastic fun!
The second thing to 'get into', really more touch and fiddle with are the boy's guitars which are on stands in the living room (to remind us to remind the boy to practice). The cutest one loves to pluck the strings and pull the music stand down (I suspect to get at the very interesting sheet music, I'm sure she thinks it would be tasty).
The net result of this, other than soggy torn paper and bags thrown about the place, is that the little one is learning the word 'no'. At first I tried the firm 'no'. She giggled at me, enjoying the attention she was getting, and tore another page out of the yellow pages just to demonstrate how clever she was.
Then the playful 'no', the one where you speak in a friendly tone and drag out the 'o' sound. That brought on a smile and a few more bags on the ground.
But finally I settled on the 'a tad angry, bit of a growl, a bit loud, and short and sharp' 'no'. Excellent result with that one. She stopped, she looked at me, the bottom lip quivered, and then she bawled. A nice loud scream accompanied by real tears. Ok, at this point you may think me a monster for making her cry, but I'm not. I don't enjoy it (mostly) because I hate to see her upset, it pulls the heart strings. But, in a way it gives me a sense of satisfaction. Firstly because she actually stopped what she was doing, the thing I didn't want her to do, and secondly, because she is beginning to understand what not only the word 'no' means, but that she shouldn't do whatever it was she is doing. And that my friends, is great. Comprehension, understanding are all part of learning and I love watching her develop.
The trick is to be consistent. When she does something I don't want her to I can't molly coddle her with a weak pathetic 'no'. I have to use it the mean way, the effective way, and I have to be repetitive. Plus I have a great excuse for a soothing cuddle after.
Of course, we could use childproof locks and fences or playpens but we didn't do it for the other kids, and they turned out ok, so why start now, or we could move stuff, but where would the mouse's lesson be then. At least this way the mouse is going to learn something.
Bugger! She's in the drawer again....'NO!'