Denial – The Earlier The Better

I like to think I’m helping to teach our toddler a few important life lessons.  Denial, for instance, can be a useful tool.  It takes years to learn the nuances, but I’m pleased to say I see signs that the three year old is well on her way. 

I cite this example: 

It’s a long drive, the 400 mile journey to visit my family.  It’s a trip I make every few weeks.  After our initial greetings, I often like a little quiet time.

Recently I said hello and then, to the jumping, hopping, running, climbing little girl, I said Hammy is tired from the drive.  I think I might need a nap.

The very thought mobilized the three year old, who hasn’t napped since she was two.

“No!”  She was adamant.  “No nap!” 

I reassured her that no one was trying to persuade her to do such a thing. 

You don’t have to nap, I said.  You can play, but Hammy is tired.

“Will you read me a story first?”

Okay, one story.  I sat down on the couch. Why don’t you go pick a book and bring it to me?

“No, you come too.  Please, Hammy.” She skipped ahead of me and tugged at my hand.  “Let’s go to my room.” 

We started down the hall.  Making herself perfectly clear, she turned back to remind me.  “No nap.  I not tired.”  

We knelt by the bookcase.   I picked the first title I saw, How about ….

But before I could make a suggestion, she had quickly pulled out three different stories that cover similar subject matter – saying goodnight.  A couple of the “moon” books and another about tiny creatures in the animal kingdom getting tucked in by their parents.  

She plopped the books onto her bed and scrambled up. 

“Come on Hammy,” she said.  “Let’s read a story on my bed.”


“Lying down.”


“With a blanket.”

I’m so proud.  She’s already adept at denial.  Her classic I’m-a-big-girl-I-don’t-need-a-nap ploy is proof that my work has not been in vain.  

Ó By Anita Garner 2008