There, I said it.
No. And I said it again.
In fact, over the past thirty or so years, I’ve said it a lot. I raised seven children after all. Not single handedly, but still. I had plenty of opportunities to use the word. And I took full advantage. And I was good at it too.
Can I go to the mall alone with my friend (at age 12)? No. Not old enough yet.
Can I stay up till ten (on a school night)? No. You need a good night’s sleep to do your best.
Can I have some friends over while you’re out tonight (so we can do things we can’t do when you’re home)? No. For obvious reasons.
So, I used the word often. And I used it proudly. No. No. And no. Because saying the word no is an integral part of parenting. A necessary part. A crucial part.
However, lately, I’ve discovered that I can no sooner utter the word no than I can leave the house without wearing makeup. And the reason for both of these limitations is one and the same. Yes, folks, I am now a full-fledged, card-carrying, photo-yielding grandmother.
The inability to say no did not occur in the first year of grandparenthood. It grew. It developed. Along with my grandson. In fact, the more he acquired vocabulary, the more mine faltered.
An example: He asks, Nanny, can I have an Oreo? I answer, Of course, honey, here’s one.
Then he says, No Nanny, more. And I, answer, Yes, honey. How many?
He then (adorably) holds up all the fingers on his right hand and says Five, Nanny. Which I, in turn, happily hand him. C’mon. The kid knows he has five fingers on his hand. The least he should get is the corresponding number of cookies to eat.
Example two: At bedtime, he says, Nanny, I want to watch Wiggles. Wiggles, I’ve recently discovered, are what Raffi would have been if he had three friends who could sing, cute outfits and some dance moves. Anyway, regardless of the time, if my grandson asks for Wiggles, especially if he wants to snuggle while watching, the answer is yes. Every. Single. Time.
Now, I am fully aware that children need limits. I was the queen of limits. Just ask my kids. They’ll be more than happy to tell you about it. My son loves to remind me that even after his friends turned twenty-one, they were still afraid to have a beer in my house. Good. Ha! I’m proud of that.
But when it comes to the grandkids, all bets are off. Let the parents set limits, and let me make up for all the years I stood my ground. All those years of No this and No that were exhausting. They were stressful. And, don’t tell the kids, they were probably often unnecessary.
So I’m a new woman now. I’ve earned it. I’m on the yes train and I’m not getting off.
Wait…What honey? Excuse me, my grandson says it’s treat time. And the answer is…yes!