N for No means No

Growing up, I used to be a kid with chubby weeks (actually a chubby kid!). Random uncles and aunties would feel that they had every right to pull my cheeks while blurting out “Aww, so sweet!” or plant sloppy kisses on them. If my parents, especially Ma was anywhere in the vicinity, she would politely but sternly ask them not to do that because it hurt my cheeks. Well, consent and children were completely unrelated words at that time.  But eventually, I turned out to be quite a gundi and very soon learned how to keep such people at bay.

Child molestation is the sad reality of every generation. There has been a steep rise in the number of such cases over the years with the level of violence becoming horrific, to say the least. I personally feel that even earlier, most of such cases were brushed under the carpet because the perpetrator, in most of these cases was someone close to the family.

The concept of consent was introduced to me quite early on in my family. My parents would often say that I had every right to stay away from doing anything that made me uncomfortable. Even at my in-laws, my husband grew up with a strong sense of seeking consent.  So, it was but natural that after Tuneer was born, the same idea of consent would be passed on to him. 

It started with me stopping people from pulling his cheeks. While a few understood the reason, others judged me as an overprotective mother. Once he started preschool, I taught him how it was perfectly okay for him not to give anyone a hug or kiss, if he didn’t wish to. Sr. T thought it was too early to teach him these things. But I was an anxious mother trying to give a blanket of security and a cushion of trust around my little boy. 

No, I won't pose for a picture
No, I won’t pose for a picture

It was a pleasant surprise when the boy was taught the concept of good touch and bad touch in his preschool this year in January.  I decided to take it a step ahead and teach him the importance of saying no, as and when needed. “Say no when you don’t want to do something or you don’t think it is the right thing to do. And if you are still asked to do it, be loud and clear in saying that no means no.” I had grilled this into his head with respect to situations that might make him feel uncomfortable. But what followed next was definitely not what I had in mind while teaching consent to my boy.

A couple of days later he had grown to understand the reasons to say no. On a cold evening, we were revising the customary questions for an upcoming interview. He answered the first few questions related to the name and preschool correctly before we moved on to recite a rhyme. The kid has shown immense talent in making a fusion mix of multiple rhymes. His favorite way to annoy me is by using two lines from the rhyme ‘Twinkle, twinkle, little star’ and the next two from a different rhyme ‘twinkle, twinkle, traffic light’ because according to him, that sounds like much more fun. We have had many an argument on this DJ mode of his but it usually ended with the boy answering it right after a severe scolding from me. Not this time though. With a smile on his face, he started,

‘Twinkle twinkle traffic light

In the corner shining bright,

Twinkle twinkle little star

How I wonder what you are

Red means stop

Yellow means slow

Up above the world so high

Like a diamond in the sky

Green means start

Now you may go.”

This annoyed me to the bits and the conversation that followed went like,

Me: “I have told you many times before that you need to say one of these rhymes. What kind of khichdi mix is this?”

Tuneer(giggling): “I am not comfortable saying one rhyme. No.”

Me (stunned on the usage of the word comfortable): “Eh, listen you need to learn and say only those things that are being taught to you. Don’t invent your own theories.”

T: “No means No.”

By now, I thought I was going to have a heart attack next as I looked at my progeny with wonderstruck eyes. The child was grinning from ear to ear. Little did I realize that the conversation that day was just the tip of the iceberg. The statement ‘No means no’ turned out to be his favorite and was used for everything under the sun. It didn’t take me much time to figure out this was Sr. T’s brain at work.

For the next few days, they didn’t leave out any opportunity to twist its usage. For example, every time a particular dish was cooked which both of them had resented (bhindi, lauki etc), they would smirk and say “I am not comfortable eating that. No, I am not going to eat it. No means no.” Sr. T went one more step ahead and asked if I had taken their consent before telling our cook didi to make that vegetable dish. 

But a mother always has enough tricks under her sleeves to put an end to such antics. The moment I refused to buy any more Peppa pig books for Junior T,  the word consent went back to having a proper significance in his dictionary. As for Sr. T, I am giving him a taste of his own medicine these days by refusing to take my daily pills. After all, he never sought my consent before prescribing them and now I feel uncomfortable popping them into my mouth? Tit for tat, huh!

While this post found some unexpectedly funny twists, I would want to emphasize on the need to teach kids the concept of consent and good touch, bad touch at the earliest.  Keeping them safe and empowering them to face the world is the need of the hour especially when the world around us reeks of apathy and barbaric behavior.

I hope you had a good time reading today’s post. I will be back with a new post again tomorrow. Until then, you can read my previous posts from A to M here

Author: Sonia Chatterjee

Who am I? An erstwhile banker turned blogger/writer/author. Any qualifications? A Post-Graduate degree in Chemistry followed by a second Post-Graduate Diploma in Management. I completed a one-year MFA in creative writing course from the Writer's Village University, U.S. in Dec 2020. Though I must admit that I am still trying to figure out how and when I can connect all these dots. Have I done any real work? If two years in market research, six years in banking as a branch head, three-plus years of blogging, writing, and publishing a book can be considered as real work, then yes! Where do I live? After spending life like a nomad for sixteen years in Delhi, Bangalore & Mysore, I am back to where it all started from - Kolkata. My favorite things - Books, coffee, travel, food, and my five-year-old son. What is this blog about? Through Sonia's musings, I intend to explore writing in various genres, create social awareness, spread laughter, and give words to emotions. Anything for readers? You can check out my book 'Deal of Death' on Amazon Kindle. If you like fast-paced thrillers, this Detective fiction introducing the woman sleuth, Raya Ray could turn out to be your perfect weekend read.

42 thoughts on “N for No means No”

  1. Haha 😀 One smart kid he is! After reading jumbling of rhymes I tried to jumble Johny Johny yes papa & Knock Knock who’s there 😀 It’s not easy ya… In the future, he may end up taking more subjects in school & college 🙂 Coming to moral of this post; when we were kids Good touch bad touch never existed. Hence it was difficult for us. We felt shy to share anything with parents. But now in the school itself, they are teaching hence it’s a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Super funny! Kids! The jumble was awesome.. tell him so..
    But not much fun when they are saying no to us, isn’t it?
    My 1.5year old creates a scene like the whole world is falling if anyone says no to him.. we are planning to send him to acting school, as a teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha! He is so cute and I loved the new version of Twinkle Twinkle. Kids are much smarter than we think. I like the way you incorporate an important message with humour in your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I liked Tuneer’s jumble rhyme. But I can also see how it must have annoyed you. Using your well meaning lesson to turn against you is not very nice. As you say, teaching kids to understand boundaries is also important.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A very humorous piece carrying a very important message. Even we taught our daughter the meaning of good and bad touch when she was in Kindergarten. We made sure she understood the reasons very clearly and we were also happy that the school also took the trouble to teach all the children that they have to refuse anyone who tried to touch them inappropriately and also report them to the parents or the school authorities. In the context of the society being what it is these days it has become imperative to teach children such things. An excellent article that conveys a message to all parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Child is the father of man, this couldn’t be truer! I honestly loved Tuneer’s version on Twinkle Twinkle Little Star much more than the original one. You’re raising one intelligent boy, Sonia. He has not only understood the concept of ‘No’ but has learnt to use it effectively too!:)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loved the jumbling of rhymes – quite interesting that I never taught my son the word “No” for a long time when he was young – what followed was – that he was petrified of anybody saying the word “No”!! (face palm!!)

      Liked by 1 person

  7. He is so cute and smart at the same time. He knows how to use things, I must say. And the new version of the poem is quite interesting and meaningful. It’s fun to read. Enjoyed a lot! God bless Tuneer!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good to hear actually that children are being taught the significance of good touch and bad touch at such a young age in pre school. In our time, such discussions never even took place even in school.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I love it how you are able to recreate real life incidents into your posts with the exact tone of humor and distress that you might have felt during an incident. I must say that Tuneer is growing up to be one fast learner. And about teaching kids about good touch bad touch, yes we as mothers want to protect our kids and thus this hurry to teach them so.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Enjoyed reading it. I just loved this new poem. Such an interesting one and so nicely mixed with the traffic light.
    I understand how annoying it is when lessons taught by us backfire on us only. But you tackled it so well 😊👍

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Hahaha Sonia, as soon as I read that you’d taught Tuneer the importance of “no means no”, I knew where this was headed! Toddlers are ingenious at picking up what they want in a situation and using it to their advantage!! I’m glad though that he no longer brandishes it at you at the drop of a hat 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Leonardo Da Vinci will have a heart attack in heaven over the assasination of his poem, that too by a preschooler. Beautiful post !
    The concept of consent and no means no should be taught early on. Rightly said !

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The moment I read that line about you telling him the importance of saying “No means no,” I knew he would use it on you! Hehehehe….What a super smart boy!
    Loved the rhyme he made….so creative yaar! Muahh to this spunky kiddo.

    On a serious note, I agree….it’s paramount that we teach kids the importance of saying NO. I explained it to my nephew when he was in the kindergarten and then last year explained him about abuse, too, there being a marathon organised by their school to create awareness about child abuse.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. The post turned out to be a funny one towards the end and I could not stop giggling. I was so seriously intrigued till half of the post and remembering the things I teach my kiddo in order to teach her such things and what else I could learn then suddenly the backfire from Tuneer 🙂 was unexpected and I just loved his khichdi version. Mama be careful from next time, No means No..Love you Tuneer.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Such a fun ride throughout!
    Kids have a thing for “No”, don’t they? I remember my little cousin saying no to almost everything for a time, back when she was a tot. She’d say no even when nothing was asked of her! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  16. ha ha ha , enjoyed reading it something like “boomerang” were returning back to you, he had taken it so deeply and used his intellect(i guess) for his own comfort zone and desires.
    Good to know finally you gave it the right track.
    Parenting s really a tough job…good to go through your experiences.


  17. He’s a smart kid for sure, look at his creativity of mixing up 2 rhymes and the way he picked up the importance of saying no. You are doing great as a mother, Sonia.


  18. saddly we are still in the world where people want to talk about good-bad touch also and then want to be too pushy about touching, kissing, cuddling other’s child.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. He is so creative! Loved his Poem. Better than all rhymes put together 😉 And yes, important lesson to a kid there. Sr T retort of taking consent before cooking was so damn funny! Great post there.


  20. Smart mom and smarter kid 😁 Loved the jumble! It’s really good that schools nowadays are teaching about good & bad touch. I also saw this for the first time in my son’s school and it was great.


  21. Haha loved it. Very interesting version of twinke twinkle, will read out to M&M today. I am yet to teach them good touch bad touch, think its the right time I should start. Great post and a very important message, Sonia.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. I don’t know if you’ll like me saying this (one mother to another) but I feel Tuneer has a wonderful streak of creativity in him. You might have a tough time putting up with his antics now but I do hope someday he uses his imagination to create brilliant stories.
    I’ve spoken about good touch and bad touch to my 4yo too, Sonia. It is important for parents to make kids understand these things and let us know if God forbid anything untoward ever happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Tuneer is so cute and quite witty I must say. No means no and use of comfortable was hilarious. But yes you did a wonderful job introducing consent and good touch bad touch. I remember I had done the same after watching an episode of Satyamev Jayate on that subject. It is very important that we tackle these subjects with our children from a young age.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Teaching children the importance of good touch, bad touch and consent are very important. I loved the way Jr T started using No means No for his purpose. I loved his rhyme and funny moments. Hats off to you the way you are bringing up your boy

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hahaha! The kid is brilliant! Fast learner, eh? Btw, I love his DJ version of the rhymes! And your Sr. T also keeps trying huh! At least he should know better! I mean, after all these years of marriage, you’d know who’s the boss of the house, right? :))
    Find my N post @ 10 Personal Skills Of Narendra Modi That Truly Inspire Me

    Liked by 1 person

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