Last night it happened. The revolution began.
Rigby has been babbling for a year – having full conversations with us without actually using very many words. About a month ago his vocabulary started to expand seemingly overnight. Over the past week it has exploded. It’s as though each time you talk to him he picks up another new work. He has started answering questions (How old are you? Teeewwww! What’s the dog’s name? Stewwa.) And he gets true joy out of the fact that we can understand him – he finds it hilarious. I’m in love with this phase. He’s so much fun and the new words are simply adorable. In the bathtub he not only recited his numbers, but he picked up some blocks and counted them. He’s so eager to show us what he knows and we are a more than willing audience.
Last night after his bath we were combing his hair (just try to do it without his help…I dare you), and he’d apparently had enough. He picked up the brush and yelled “NO!” as clear as day and reached up to put the brush back on the shelf where it belongs. I stood at the changing table staring at him, stunned. Rigby has never said that word before. Nana confirmed that I heard him right and I knew life as we know it will never be the same. Out little boy has started to rebel. My mind raced to a 5-year-old Rigby, standing in his room refusing to put away toys. And then to a 10-year-old Rigby who just says no to homework. Next I saw the teenager who won’t come out of his room. And before I knew it, he was a full-grown man shouting about how out-of-touch his old moms are and telling us NO…NO…NOOOO!!!
I had been so proud that “no” wasn’t one of his first words. I’m pretty sure I said it early (and often everyday since) so when his first words were things like dog, apple, violin (!), flower, and a strange combination of syllables that may sound like a New Englander asking for a beer but actually means please, I was thrilled. All these words are so happy and are said with such a sweet little voice. NO isn’t happy. And it wasn’t said sweetly. It was shouted loudly, with intent, and in my mind it represented such a huge leap in development that I couldn’t see my little baby anymore. He’s a tiny person with opinions now, and he is finding the words to express them.
So I took a breath.
I decided to bask in his no. This is progress. He’s not defying us. He’s just asserting himself. And besides, a year ago he barely understood what that word meant when we said it. Now he understands it so well that he chooses to use it. Toward his mom. Who loves him. And only wants to brush his hair. Ugh…NOOOOOOO!!!