Thursday, September 16, 2010

Oh Hell NO! Learning the language of Girlio

Boy-o was, let's just say not impressed, when his sister Girlio arrived on the scene.  Though he managed to move past shouting "Put her down!  Put her on the floor!" and other thoughts in a similar vein, he progressed to shouting "NO!" at her everytime she tried to make noises or movements in his general direction.  This too has gotten better, slowly but surely.  However, the result of all this constant "No"ing on Boy-o's part has resulted in Girlio really enjoying the word NO.  She uses it ALL OF THE TIME.  Even when she means yes.

 For example today, I asked her if she wanted to breastfeed (and to put this question in context, I think Girlio may still be breastfeeding well into the college years).  And she looked me right in the eye and proclaimed "NO!" right before launching her face like a human projectile and smacking me right between the breasts with her whole head.  No indeed.   

So now we've learned that we have to learn to read her facial cues more carefully when we're asking her questions or trying to figure out what she needs, as she's developed her very own little negative language.

"No!" with toothy grin or eye twinkle actually means "yes." 
"NO!" with a nod also means "yes."
"No" with a determined look, poop face or grimace definitely means "no."
"No!" with the Elvis lip curl seems to indicate a certain amount of extra emphatic "No"-ness.
"NO! NO! NO!" with a coinciding shriek means she's having a toy scrimmage with her brother and I should probably get my butt in there to referee.
"No?" sounding like a question could mean "maybe" or "I don't know what the hell you're going on about."  "No..." with a blank face means "ask again"!  

We've also learned to differentiate between the sounds of different "No's."   Some are long and drawn out (usually being goofy and/or totally ignoring the question), or the timber in her voice goes up and down to match the exaggerated shaking of her head from side to side - "No-o-o-o" (emphatic). 

Then there's also the "No's" that don't come in response to Yes/No questions.  For instance:
The "No" with the point, means "I would like that thing up there on that shelf!"
"No!" with a snicker - means "I've just done something I shouldn't have and I don't want you to know so now I'm being sneaky."
Or the current favourite dinner-table "NO!" in which she wants something and will shout NO! and point vociferously until we finally figure out what it is she wants to eat.
Or my own personal unfavourite, which involves her new game of chucking miscellaneous bits of food off of her tray and proclaiming dramatically (hands on her cheeks) "Ohhh NOOOOOOO!" with a particularly cheeky look on her face.

Never, ever have I heard so many variations of one small tiny two letter word.  Though Girlio actually has a pretty impressive vocabulary for a 15 month old - "No" is by far her favourite and most varied to date.  Not only is she quite excellently equipt for holding her ground with her big brother,  I also believe she's well prepared for the ages of two and three to come, where her dedicated commitment to finding new and unusual ways to say and mean "No!" will really come in handy for her. 

(Heaven help her poor moms...)