To my dear children, I am so sorry.
I know that once upon a time you could do anything you liked, (pretty much because you couldn't figure out how to move yet) and that everything you did accomplish, filled us with smiles and cheers.
I know you felt amazing.
But lately, I realise you've been hearing that "no" word quite a lot. In fact I'm pretty sure you feel like you can't do anything now that doesn't result in the 'no' word.
"No, you can't have everything, no, you can't get thrown in the air right now, no, you can't push your sister over, no, you can't eat that, no, don't touch that, no, we can't go outside, it's bedtime, no, stop trying to climb up that, no, don't snatch."
I bet you're getting as sick of the "no" word as I am.
I realise now that this change must have seemed so sudden to you, to me it seems like we went from laughing and playing one day, to constant adjustment the next. I'm sure you feel like you can't seem to do the right thing to make us smile or cheer again, no matter how hard you try it always seems to result in that pesky 'no' word doesn't it...
Sadly you're too young to understand full explanations, and I'm too busy putting out too many fires to come up with clever ways to teach you to overcome these issues and so we potter on.
I praise you for the silly things that really aren't that special, otherwise I don't think I'd have much left to praise at all. I spend time sitting and showing you how to unstick your carefully wedged toys from containers that are two sizes too small, how to open boxes you bring to me every few seconds because you've closed them...again. And I try to do this with a smile, with patience and without the word no getting involved.
But it's quite an addictive word really, always cropping up in the things we do together, always on the tip of our tongues.
I hate that you have learnt it.
I'm trying to remember that you're one.
Some days it's so easy to forget how little you are as you do so many things that make you seem so big now.
You can't say yes, but you can firmly tell me na,na,na,na,na when I try brush your hair, when a sibling takes a toy from you, or when you have to do anything that you've decided that you don't want to do.
I want you to know it's okay to tell someone 'NO' if they pull your hair, or steal your biscuit, but telling them no just because they stood on your shadow, sat where you didn't want them to or breathed in your general direction....well that get's me and that 'no' word involved again I'm afraid.
I'm trying to remember that you really aren't doing these things to rob us of our sanity. I'm trying to remember how happy you are when you do something deserving of praise, and not how sad you are (or how ridiculous your tantrums can be) when I have to tell you 'no'.
And I'm trying to remember how hard this is for you, when it seems like all the rules must constantly be changing, and how sad it makes you that not everything is and can be yours, and that what you want to do isn't always possible, and that you can't seem to do just the right thing to make this 'no' word go away.
It must be very, very hard to want to do so many exciting things, but to have someone always stopping you...
(but trust me, electrocuting yourself isn't as much fun as you seem to think it is)
Know we are just trying to keep you safe, kind, and fair to others and that we know you will manage to grasp all of these things one day. Know that we don't want you to never have any fun, but there are limits to the fun you can have safely. And most importantly, know we won't always hold you back from your mistakes, mistakes are only worth making when you can actually remember the results, so for now, we are doing the remembering for you...
So, even if our words are firm and our gestures quick, even if our smiles are few and ours frowns are many, know, that we love you all so very, very much, that they haven't even begun to find a word to describe it yet.