On The Contrary

Ironically, while most children learn and wield the word “No” early and often, Joshua didn’t learn it for a long time and used it hesitantly even then.

This is a fond, but distant memory.

It is the exclusive prerogative of pre-schoolers to answer in the negative, even when they mean the opposite. Joshua’s latest foray into negativity has been saying “No” to offers of this or that, usually things we know with certainty he’d never reject (fruit snacks, I’m looking at you). He’ll follow this up by saying, “But I do want a fruit snack.” It’s our little glimpse into what it must be like to live with someone with Schizophrenia.

I know this is how he tries to exert control over a world in which so much is beyond his control. I know this is super-duper typical, and completely predictable. But this doesn’t mean it’s not annoying as piss.

Unfortunately, he’s not quite consistent enough about it for us to anticipate his No-Means-Yes routine. I almost wasted a banana yesterday for breakfast by cutting it up for him after he said he didn’t want it. Nope. This time he actually didn’t want it. Who knew? You have never seen anyone eat a banana so resentfully as I ate that banana. Ordinarily, a banana is one of the few foods that grows outside that he’ll eat, but it was not to be yesterday. If I could get inside his head… well, I wouldn’t go there. `Tis a silly place.

Three-year olds are maddeningly inconsistent at Life. Just when you think they know how to do something and finally have it mastered, they dump a bowl of Spaghetti-Os on the floor you just cleaned because they just peed on it ten minutes ago. (We had a bit of a time at lunch today.) My three-year old is no different from other three-year olds in this, and I’m no different from other parents in my frustration, but damnit, it’s MY frustration, so it’s more important and stuff. Of course, when asked to help clean up, you can guess his response. You can also guess that he did, in fact, mean it this time.


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