Jet has reached the age when the answer to any question must be “no.” At nearly two years old she may want to say “yes” with all her heart, but her need to assert independence is usually stronger.
Although I was expecting this stage, I was taken by surprise when Jet rejected her naptime story. “Would you like this one?” I asked.
“No.” she answered. I moved on to the next book, and the next. All were soundly pushed aside. By the time we reached the end of the pile I had come to the realization that her babyhood was also at an end.
The classic workaround to this stage suggests offering options in lieu of questions, but I have plenty of time and opportunity to indulge her need to say “no” and hopefully help her learn the worth of “yes.” So, whenever possible, I have continued to ask questions and grant her the power of decision. For example, when she refused an opportunity to go outside, I calmly accepted the automatic negative response to an activity she actually loves. I accepted that she didn’t seem to want her favorite pineapple for lunch, either. Once her surprise had passed, of course, Jet asked to go outside and asked for her pineapple.
Yesterday, Jet expressed frustration when the dog walked away from her very enthusiastic expressions of affection and tried to call her back with a forceful “Marcy, come!” To my astonishment, the dog obeyed.
“Isn’t she a good dog!” I exclaimed.
Jet, of course, answered with a knee-jerk, “No!”
My astonished response was genuine, “What? YES she is! She IS a good dog!” Jet looked at me, thinking this over. “Are YOU are good girl?” I asked.
She began to shake her head from side to side and her lips formed in preparation for the obligatory negative. Suddenly, the light dawned. “YES!” she said. “YES!”
“Yes you ARE! “ I agreed.