It works, people! Especially on a 2-1/2 year old! Every time Dashiell and I are downstairs and I need us to go back upstairs, I tell him "time to go upstairs", and inevitably he says "no", "I don't want to go upstairs", "no thank you", etc. So lately after he says no, I'll say, "alright, stay down here. But I'm going upstairs," and I'll start up the stairs without him. 99% of the time he'll then say "I want to go upstairs" (as if it was his idea to do so in the first place) and start to follow me. Reverse psychology works, and there's your proof! Of course some day (probably very soon, I'm sure) this will backfire on me, I know. He'll call my bluff and stay downstairs, most likely when it's critical that he goes upstairs (bedtime, for example). But for now I'm using this trick for all it's worth! Take that, Mr. No!
Another trick I recently learned in dealing with all the "no": Don't ask yes or no questions! Simple, right? And if you're making a request, give two choices instead of just asking him to do one thing ("would you like to put away your blocks or your trucks?" instead of "time to put away your toys!"). Thank you, babycenter.com, for suggesting this! Every night I used to tell Dashiell, "Time to wash your face and brush your teeth!" and he'd always say no, "I don't want to wash my face and brush my teeth". Always. The past week or two I've instead asked him, "What do you want to do first, brush your teeth or wash your face?" and he actually chooses what to do instead of just saying no! Same with the toy thing--he chooses which toys he wants to put away based on the options I give him (yes I usually put away the other toy choice, but I'll take that over full-on defiance any day! I figure he's learning that people help each other out, right?). And seriously, why didn't I think of this ages ago? Of course he wants to think he has control and free will! He's 2! Yes he's still the master of "no", but we're both much happier avoiding at least a few of the power-struggles.
Speaking of making his own choices, check out Mr. D's outfit! Love it! First off, we needed to do laundry and the only long pants he had were blue fleece sweats. Then he INSISTED on wearing his "wild shirt", which is short sleeved and it was a chilly day, so we needed to layer! He thinks of sweatshirts as jackets will take them off anytime we're in the house, so this was our long sleeve option that would still let him see his wild shirt. Classic college boy. I can hear future Dashiell now, "What's for dinner, mom? I'm starved! Do you mind doing my laundry while I'm home?" Those eyes look a little droopy--too much partying? Hmm...
This is him after his nap--check out that awesome hair!