Land of No

land of no

Pata likes to do things for herself. She wants to brush her own teeth and comb her own hair and feed herself cookies that Mommy and Papá break into maddeningly tiny pieces for her, while taking giant bites for themselves.

Pata still doesn’t have many words but she just recently learned a magic one that allows her to assert her growing sense of independence.

“Can I have a kiss,” I ask her, “a little one?”


“Would you like to come with Mommy now?”


“Can I have my keys? We need to go inside now.”


Pata likes to say “no” but she doesn’t care much for hearing it.

She knows to wait until I’m distracted to start doing things I’ve already told her not to do. As soon as I notice, I call her name and say, “No no.”

She turns to look at me. Ooooh,” she says every time, shaking her finger. Then she makes a little speech I can’t understand. She goes back to what she was doing, repeating to herself, “No no no no no. No no!”

Sometimes, perhaps to demonstrate that she feels she really is a big girl now, she doesn’t even wait for me to express my disapproval first. This morning as I was hanging the wash to dry, she pressed every button on the washing machine, telling herself, “no,” each time.

Though maybe that had more to do with courtesy than independence. Seeing that I was already busy doing something else, she thought she’d be considerate and save me some time and energy.


9 responses to “Land of No

  1. That’s so funny that she decided to tell herself “no”. Obviously she knew she wasn’t supposed to be doing that. How cute!

  2. She makes me laugh whenever she does that. I try not to, because I know it doesn’t help, but it’s so funny.

  3. She is soooo cute! Luca’s heart breaks and he throws a fit if we say no… we have had to eliminate that word when we talk to him! We just try to distract him with something else. How did you get her to accept the word no? I would really like to know! (My other kids didn’t react this way to “no”… but it’s been way too many years to remember what I did differently. It is so funny to think of Pata saying “no” to herself! :)

  4. Amber, at first Pata was just like Luca, she’d cry whenever she heard it (and make a really exaggerated sad face too!) I even thought about not saying it anymore but then she started the backtalk, so I figured it wasn’t upsetting her too much anymore.Thanks, Gail! And you’re welcome.

  5. i love hearing about little Pata! esp. since we got to know her before she even came into the world!take care, have a great weekend!

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