Say Ah!

Every once in a while, I find myself in the classic parent trap of fighting a battle that I don’t really understand. Last year, this happened to me with our youngest. It sounds like a silly thing to get upset over, but he had hit on the idea of saying “aaaah!” 

Ridiculous, right? Why get upset about that? It got to the point of driving us crazy. For example, we’d be sitting at the dinner table talking and he’d suddenly lean his head back, open his mouth, and say “aaaahhhh!” He could keep the sound going for a good two or three minutes.

I never did figure out why he did it. Maybe he was pretending he was at the dentist. Who knows. He did it everywhere, though – at the table, while we were walking, during the bedtime routine, everywhere. We had no choice but to put a stop to it.

We fought the battle for about two weeks. He’d lean his head back, start to say “AAAhhhhh!” and I’d tell him to stop. Eventually, he gave up on it.

A week or so after the last “Ah!” battle, we were playing trains in the den when he excused himself to go potty. I said okay and stayed with the trains while he went to take care of business. Five minutes later, he still hadn’t come back.

“Are you okay in there?” I called.


Another five minutes (or so) went past.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” I shouted.

“I’m fine!” he shouted back.

After another five minutes, my curiosity got the best of me. I tip-toed over to the bathroom. He never closes the door when he goes, so I was able to peek my head around to see what was going on. He didn’t notice me peeking.

He was sitting on the potty with his head tilted backward, his eyes closed, and his mouth open, whispering “AAAAaaaahhhh!”

“Everything okay?” I asked.

He straightened up. “I’m sorry, Daddy. I wasn’t saying ah. I was just, um…”

“Don’t worry, big guy. You can say ah if you want to, just not when other people are talking.”

“Oh.” He smiled. “Okay.”


“Okay,” he laughed.

I went back to the trains and he joined me a minute or two later.

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