The speech therapist who comes to our house to work with my daughter has an assessment questionnaire that she fills out every so often. At this point in the game we answer no to most of the milestones in the survey. One of the questions asks if our daughter shakes her head to say no. We'll we've seen her move her head to one side or the other in order to evade the spoon or a cup, but never really shake her head as a form of communicating. That is until the last couple of days.
In fact last night as I was trying to feed my daughter dinner, I had barely gotten the spoon out of the bowl of food, when she started shaking her head back and forth very quickly. She definitely didn't want what I had and had said "no" to the offer. I guess we can now answer yes to that question in the assessment.
Now my question is, should I acknowledge my daughter's head shaking as "no" and not give her what I was going to offer her? If that's food, she'll realize the power of no and never eat again. Or should I force the food on her even though she's saying no and risk her not understanding the meaning of a head shake? I suppose I'll have to walk the middle ground somewhere in there so she'll get enough food, but that when she says no, Daddy does indeed understand the message she's sending. Seems that's a lot of what parenting is about, walking the middle ground the best you can. Why do children never learn "yes" first anyway?