Friday, September 16, 2011

A Chill In The Air

The chilly morning I awoke to today reminds me of the cold, calculated way that my 18 month old says "NO!" just about every other word.  I'm not sure what started her fascination with the word.  It's a simple word that isn't even that challenging to say.  She says far more complex words like octopus, elephant, and yesterday we learned antidisestablishmentarianism (just kidding, that's next week).  As I type this blog entry, she is yelling "NO!" at the TV because Elmo has left the screen.  She is at that age where she has realized that she has a voice, and she demands to be heard.  She has also started grabbing for my wallet whenever I take it out to pay for something.

Summer has ended.  The carefree way in which we relate to our daughter is over, and the winter winds of serious parenting are just around the corner.  I was kind of hoping for a few more months of innocent bliss.  But I'm glad that my daughter is smart enough to test us, and hopefully, she will be smart enough to listen to our desire for peace and quiet wisdom.

I know that the way I respond to these new, fascinating character traits will determine how she acts during her teenage years and beyond.  When she says "no" to something she doesn't want, I let it go.  She is allowed to have an opinion.  She is allowed to have likes and dislikes.  I just teach her how to do it more politely by telling her to say "No, thank you."  When she says "no" to daddy telling her to do something, I nip it.  She is not allowed to say "no" to mommy and daddy because it is in her best interest to listen.  When she grabs for my wallet I simply say, "You haven't earned that yet," and put it away.  It is never too early to start teaching her the value of money.

Fall is here, and the leaves will soon be turning and dropping to the ground just like the innocence of a child slowly fades away over time.  The leaves that fall off of the mother tree eventually rot into a compost that feeds the tree for the next season.  Maybe kids are the same way.  As they begin to lose their innocence, maybe the process actually helps them become better human beings, as they learn through hardship and grow into a beautiful tree that is fed by the years of hard-learned wisdom laying at their feet.


  1. Hey don't worry Matt...the NO gets louder and more emphatic when they're teens! Enjoy her NOW! Also, before SHE discovers boys and YOU discover your inner Rambo!

  2. Thanks Bruce! When I told a friend that I had a baby girl, he said, "Great, now you have 16 years to learn karate." Without hesitating, I said, "Yes, but I only need 21 days to buy a handgun!"



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