Samaira had learned to say yes before she learned to say no. All the kids around me were learning to say no first. And it is so darn cute. Where is the fun in yes? And what is cuter than a baby uttering in their ever sweet voice the word “no”. Very few things, I can promise you that. But here is the catch, it is cute so long it is happening in other families. Samaira did learn to say no, eventually. Now she prefers it to yes. In a lot of ways I am thankful. Thinking that she will say no when she does not want something and it is a very important skill to have. Many of us don't have it. We don't know how to say no. We don't know when to say no. So saying no is important. I really really value no.
Until it becomes a statement that my toddler chooses to use in response to pretty much everything and anything. Here is what our conversations look like these days.
Me: Samaira, are you hungry?
Me: Do you want to play?
Me: How about we sing a song?
Me: So what do you want to do?
Me: Sammy, really wh…
Me: You want no?
Me: Samaira no
She thinks this is funny. Most of the times it is. But it isn't always funny. Sometimes it is exactly the kind of conversation that will push you over the edge. But those edge moments aside I am proud of kids and people, pretty much all humans, who can say no.
Like when I tickle Rehan and he isn't feeling up to it, he immediately responds with “No mumma. I don't like it.” It makes me so proud.
Or like when I am trying to put cream on Sammy after shower and she responds with “No. I don't want to be touched.” While it makes me proud, sometimes the timing could be tricky. In my head I could be saying “Girl, you need this cream on your body. You skin is dry. It is scratchy! Put some firkkiin cream on it.” But she doesn't want to be touched so I follow that. Mostly because she doesn't like the smell or the idea of cream at that point in time. So I talk to her until she feels like putting cream is the right thing to do.
The point is, Sammy and Rehan love to say no. They make it ample clear. While their timing annoys me sometimes, I am mostly jealous of their ability and alacrity to say no.
Siddharth is the kind of person who does not hesitate to say no. The reason is because he does not really process yes or no as a yes or no. He processes it as what he wants and what is in his head. What is in his head will invariably be on his lips. Without going through the pre-processing of what it could be interpreted as, the repercussions, the intent, the impact. A no comes out as a no. The reasons of saying no are plain and simple with no extra coating. A yes comes out as a yes. Same logic.
I on the other hand spend a lifetime pre-processing and two lifetimes post-processing a simple yes or no. Should I say yes or no? Can it be interpreted the wrong way? Will it hurt someone? Will it hurt me? Should I say one way or the other? Is it fair? I don't like to lie. That is a whole another topic I could write about because I have a lot to say about it. But do I feel the need to defend myself when I say no? Yes, I do. And that is the problem. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't have to defend myself. An unqualified no should be just fine. In reality, I don't think it is. But that's the point. To look away from what is expected and say what you really want to.
It is so much better to be a child (or Siddharth) when it comes to complicated matters in life. A yes means a yes and a no means a no. What is in your heart is on your lips. There is very little to no pre-processing. There is honesty and rawness. It obviously comes with a bunch of side effects. But a part of me prefers these side effects to the fakeness of a yes. A no may be hurtful. But it definitely deserves a lot more respect.
Not sure if that made any sense. But feel free to say no if it didn't :).