Comments 5

“No” Means Everything

Colton cracks me up. At 19 months, he says about two-dozen words, including “cha-cha” (chocolate), “eh-fant” (elephant) and “go-go” (yogurt).

He says “bash” for “spicy water”, which is our family reference to seltzer. Such an East coast thing. Seltzer burned my throat as a kid, now I drink nothing but. So Ellison called seltzer “spicy water”. Colton loves it, Ellison doesn’t. So Colton asks for “bash, peaz?” and drinks up. (We make great use of our Sodastream. We don’t put any flavoring in it.)

He says “shoes, bat (bath), buh-sh (toothbrush), car, purple and yellow.”

But he will not say “yes.”

He never hesitates to say “no.”

He will acquiesce to offers with a full-body nod, starting from his waist, to demonstrate “yes”. That’s when we TELL him, “Colton! Time for bath!” or “Time to go for a walk.”

But if we ASK, “do you want to take a bath?” He says, “No.”

Then he skidaddles to the bathroom.

Far be it for me to compare my children…but I will. Ellison was a “yes” man. He agreed to everything: water, diaper changes, supply-side economics. He didn’t always mean it, but he always said “yes”.

Colton’s the direct opposite.

The exception is stuff he really wants. And that elicits the full-body nod.

“More raisins, Colton?”

Full-body nod.

“You want more bash, buddy?”

Full-body nod.

But he will not say “yes”.

Ellison’s in on the full-body agreement. I told him to ask Colton if he wanted to take a bath. (Colton was busy with his favorite activity: standing on the toilet, leaning on the sink and playing with the water.) After asking, Ellison popped his body out of the bathroom and said, “Daddy! Daddy! I asked him and he said…

…at which point Ellison did the full-body nod.

We amuse ourselves by posing Colton a litany of questions:

Do you want dinner?


Do you want a snack?


Do you love me?


Do you love Maddie?


Do you want to play trains?


Do you like cars?


Do you see the couch?


Do you see anything?


Do you want to be a millionaire?


Do you want to go to Florida?


And then…

Do you want to say “no”?


Never once has he fallen for it for our trick. He has total focus on the questions. He never slips up. He merely remains silent when we ask, “do you want to say ‘no’?”

He never says “yes”.

I’m sure it’s a sign of genius.


  1. Jane Brackney says

    I love learning more about your little ones. Thanks so much for sharing.,,,made me smile!


  2. He may not be able to form the “y” sound yet. I know those abilities develop over time with different children. Does he use other words with the “y” sound such as “yellow”?

    But of course you should assume he’s a genius. You should. 😊


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