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No means no

First allergic reaction

This week (well, this month in general) has been particularly hard for our baby: hospital visits, therapies, and the late evening rush to Emergency due to her first allergic reaction.

Of course she’s tired.

Of course she’s grumpy.

She didn’t even have her usual 1-hour nap this morning, because we had the neurology appointment.

The whole day she has been screaming, unsettled, hungry but very distracted while eating.

She wanted Carolina at all costs. (Carolina is this Italian actress that does very catchy kids dances on YouTube, that BB absolutely adores!).

Ok, let’s play Carolina’s songs while going to the hospital. You want to listen to her coming home too? Ok. You won’t eat with any other music other than Carolina? Ok.

It’s all really annoying for me (this month has been hard on me too, you know!), but I keep smiling, I keep reassuring my baby that we can sort things out without her high-pitch screams (damn, her high-arched palate, those screams could break a glass!).

But then it’s time for the first afternoon tea, at 3 pm. And here comes the tantrum.

She doesn’t just want the music: she wants to watch Carolina on YouTube. She starts screaming, and screaming, and I’m there wondering if I should treat that as a tantrum or be more considerate of her rare syndrome and see in her behaviour the sensory and self-regulation issues that are so common in Kabuki syndrome.

“Hell no!” I tell myself.

And then I come out with an assertive (not too loud, just assertive) “No means no. We will not watch YouTube!”.

I stop the music entirely and I just stare at her, in silence. I’m not showing any facial expression: I’m not upset, I’m not understanding, I’m not sad.

I’m not trying to explain anything to her, I just want to see what she does.

First of all, she stops screaming. And right there, in my head, I’m already celebrating with a glass of spumante.

Then she complains for a second or 2 and suddenly she bursts in tears. She’s crying desperate and throws her arms at me, looking for a hug.

Of course, I immediately remove the feeding tray and hug her with all my love and affection. In silence.

I’m there for her, I always will.

But I can’t keep worrying about all the syndrome-related issues she might or might not develop. And most of all it’s not fair to her to treat her as if she already had disabilities that are not present yet.

This was a plain and simple tantrum.

And for the first time, I imparted my child one of the hardest lessons that functional human beings have to learn: no means no. Sometimes things don’t go as you want, and you will have to accept it.

There are way too many tailgaters on the streets, who can’t accept that there’s a hell lot of traffic and they will have to slow down, whether they like it or not.

There are way too many people who keep cutting queues or keep complaining with retail workers about return policies.

Not to mention those criminals who still don’t understand the basic, simple concept of consent in romantic relationships.

No means no.


I’m not sure if my behaviour today would have been approved by all those developmental experts and parenting gurus out there. And frankly, I couldn’t care less.

My baby won’t become a spoiled little princess who thinks that she can get whatever she wants, when she wants it.

She’s my little princess, sure, but sometimes she won’t have things her way, and she will have to accept it.

And if, in the future, she will be diagnosed with ASD, and serious self-regulation issues, well, then I will mould my parenting style around that.

But until that moment, my gorgeous, determined, sweet little girl, no means no.


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