What is it about little kids that they are just sponges?
They take every little thing you do and they make it their own. If you walk or move a certain way, they emulate that walk or those movements. If you stretch in the morning, they stretch too. If you talk on the phone, they hold the phone up to their head and talk.
That last one is especially adorable. Our girls say "Hi" followed by some indecipherable gibberish all while holding our iPhones to their ears. It totally makes the times when they put the phones in their mouths worth it.
This is the reason why I try my best to not curse around them. A little toddler dropping F-bombs while incorrigible is also not the best reflection of mom and dad.
My wife warned me that we shouldn't use the word "No" around the girls unless absolutely necessary because of their spongy nature. She said that we should try using their names or say "uh-oh" instead. And I've tried. Really I have. But when they're putting rocks in their mouth or reaching for an electrical outlet, I just can't help but saying "No". It's a reflex.
So when Ana started shaking her head and saying "No" to random things, Erin wasn't too happy with me. In fact she told me that she is totally blaming it on dear old dad.
I'll own it. It's on me. But so is them knowing peekaboo, so I'll wear it like a man if it means getting credit for both.
And really is knowing the word "No" all that bad? Sure this is the gateway to them disagreeing with Erin and me, but this was going to happen at some point. And maybe their early knowledge of the word "No" will help them later on in life. Maybe it will keep them out of a gang some day. Or maybe that douche in high school that pressures them into doing something they don't want to do will be met with a firm "No" that they've been practicing since 16 months. I get that it's about choices and making your kids own their decisions and grow into their independence. I just think it's impossible to not say "No" to them at some points.
I'll do my best to give them options instead of closed or opened doors, but it's still damn hard. Sometimes "No" is just the most appropriate word for a given situation.
At least Nancy Reagan would be proud of me.