Ryan's just a boy who can't say no.
He is notoriously bad at answering yes/no questions. Faced with a yes/no, he will say Yes almost every time, not because he's agreeable by nature or eager to try new things, but because he does not seem to make the connection between his words and their meaning. If I say, "Do you want to play outside?" he will invariably say Yes; but sometimes that Yes is immediately followed by crying, whining, screaming, throwing himself on the floor, and hiding in the corner - his alternative ways of saying No.
We've been working on yes/no for the better part of the last year, with limited success.
Ryan, Stu, and I were at a playground this afternoon. At our prompting, Ryan was swinging from a low bar on the jungle gym (because it would never occur to him to spontaneously swing with his arms, and we want him to strengthen his grip). I noticed a rather high row of hanging rings and encouraged Ryan to climb up the stairs to the platform near them. I showed him that if he wanted to, he could grab the nearest ring and swing from it.
"Here, do you want to swing like a monkey?" I asked him.
With fear in his eyes, Ryan emphatically cried out, "NO!!!"
I grabbed Ryan off the platform, held him tightly, and told him, "Baby, you don't have to do anything you don't want to do." As he ran off to jump off his favorite rock, I started sobbing all over Stu's shoulder. That moment has been so long coming. We were probably the only parents at that park who were totally thrilled to hear their child screaming No.