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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Meet 'Daniel No'

I dare you to get angry at this face!

The main bit of evidence that signals my ongoing transition from baby to toddler is the addition of my new last name - No.

I'm not sure if it is a legal name change, but in all practicality it is what I've heard several times a day for a good few months now. And the more I learn to do in life, the more my new name is reinforced, for some reason.

"Daniel, no closing doors!"
"Daniel, no opening the drawers."
"Daniel, no throwing your bottle!"
"Daniel, no throwing your chuchung!"
"Daniel, no throwing!"
"Daniel, no strangling your brother!"
"Daniel, no disconnecting Shimi's oxygen machine from the electricity!"

Yes, whether at school or at home, I have become Daniel of No. Or Lo, which is no in Hebrew. Good thing they sound alike.

My parents had tried positive child rearing, which discourages use of the word 'no' for a positive spin on things. For example, "Daniel, do nice to Lucas" rather than "Daniel, no smacking your brother in the face!" But after trying that - to no avail - several times, the quicker and sharper 'no!' increasingly crept in there to replace the positive spin. And with good reason. A loud no can get my attention while a whole sentence can be lost in the background.

But it is that loud and personal no that has caught my attention for other reasons.

See, all of this is apparently some part of an elusive learning process where I am to gather that every cause has an effect. And despite my parents, grandparents and teachers all thinking that this lesson is lost on me, I argue the contrary. I have learned the effect of my cause: When they say 'no' I get more attention! Accordingly, I have learned which behaviors are worthy of my attention and continue to hone them to perfection.

Like at school, when Gavriella is busy writing in my spy book or doing anything else but paying attention to me, I scoot over to the corner in the classroom where Shimi is sleeping. I have one hand hovering near the oxygen tank plug and one eye focused laser-sharp on Gavriella. By now Gavi has also learned cause and effect too and she knows that "Daniel, lo!" will not be enough. She must dart across the room to whisk me up and ensure Shimi's continued breathing. Then I get to be her sole center of attention for awhile and she loses valuable time describing my days' activities at Shalva in the spy book. A win-win!

At home, we have another cause and effect in action. I know that excitedly showering little brother Lucas with all my love and affection, which usually involves grabbing his shirt by the collar and shaking him with joy while loudly shrieking with delight, is a sure-fire attention getter. "Daniel! No strangling your brother!" is usually accompanied by parental intervention. Each of us then gets swept up into somebody's arms. Lucas also appreciates this and plays his part of distress rather well.

As you can see, I have made such good use of this lesson that I now in fact am teaching it to others, babies and adults alike!

I'm merely experimenting with cause and effect.
What happens when I stick my finger in Lucas' mouth?

The birichino (rascal) look as coined
by my Italian great-grandmother!

Poised for launch - on cue with the word, No!


  1. here's another language for you..."rascal" = mazik in Hungarian--my grandfather use to call my brother that all the time :)
    I miss you guys SO much! give the boys kisses from me!!

  2. He is really growing up!! Love the updates! :)

  3. Can't get enough of you! Just two more months!

  4. The "boys" are just beautiful!!