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No. Nein. Nyet. Nope.

We’ve hit that stage in
Maddie’s development where the answer to every question
– even if you haven’t asked a question – is

“Maddie, do you want to get
dressed?” “No.” “Maddie, do you want to
read a book?” “No.” “Maddie, would you like
some applesauce?” “No!”

Often she’ll string together several nopes, just to make sure
you understand. “Maddie, shall we put your crayons
away?” “No no no no no no no!”

Of course, it’s our fault for phrasing orders as requests.
We’ve learned not to give her an option – to simply
say, “Maddie, it’s time for bed.” The reply is
still, unfortunately, a resounding “No!”

I blame Maddie’s friend Naomi for this latest personality
quirk; Naomi’s six months older than Maddie and started the
“no” phase a few months ago. I have yet to see Naomi
grow out of it, which means my household is just settling in for a
long winter’s NO.

Seriously, I know all kids go through this. And Maddie says no,
even if she means yes, which means she’s begun gathering a
repertoire of nuances to her “no” performances. A slow,
quiet “no” means, “I think so”, while a
snapped-off “no” means “And that’s my final
answer!” There’s even a cute, clear “Nope!”
which means “No, sirree bob!” We’ve learned to
tune out the no’s for the most part and go about our daily

And in a way, it’s kind of fun. We can ask her all kinds of
questions just to hear the answer:

“Maddie, do you know any words other than no?”

“Maddie, are the Giants going to the Superbowl this
year?” “Nope.”

This one is a particular favorite of my Cowboy’s fan of a


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