Yes. No. Maybe?

Posted by Stacy Chandler on February 14, 2013 

"I don't want to read a story tonight," Nora said at bedtime the other night.

"You don't want to read a story tonight?" I was incredulous. Kiddo would rather read than eat or breathe air or do just about anything in the world. So maybe it shouldn't have surprised me when she answered my question with:  "Yes, I do!"

Huh?

So go a lot of our conversations lately, which I guess is a common side effect of being 2. She says one thing, then changes her mind, then changes her mind again. It's an annoying habit (not the only one -- did I mention she's 2?), and we're trying to put the brakes on it.

Unfortunately, the brakes have to be applied the hard way. Whenever possible, we're trying to make her stick with her first choice. One day, she said she didn't want a juice box, which, oh please. She *never* says no to a juice box. So I said, "OK, great. No juice box today, then." She quickly amended her statement to "Oh, I *would* like a juice box!" But then, in a move of shattering cruelty, I served her juice in a plain ol' sippy cup instead and said "You said no juice box, so here ya go," I said. I KNOW. Worst. Mother. Ever.

But I figure teaching a kid to say what you mean and mean what you say is a life lesson you can't impart too early. Maybe after a few more instances of me going with her first response, she'll learn to think before she speaks and she'll learn that her words have power. It's one of those parenting things you have to do that's tough, but necessary, like removing a splinter or explaining that pantslessness is not advisable outside the house.

It's hard to be sure, but I think my strategy is already working. The next night at bedtime, I asked Nora if she was ready to read a story. She thought about it carefully, and then responded, with no equivocation: "Yes, I DO want to read a story PLEASE!"

Atta girl. Now on to the next thing.

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