There are few more classic symptoms of the terrible twos than this phrase, which Alex has started saying lately. He doesn't so much say it as he does bark it like a dog trainer or German soldier. It's so curt and stern-sounding that it is obvious if it were being typed, it would be in ALL CAPS. It's mostly uttered in reference to a cherished toy or piece of candy, and it's usually said in the expected context -- if he fears something is going to be taken away from him, either by us or by another child. We're trying to cope with this as we have any of his other "terrible" stages -- correct when possible, ignore when necessary, divert and distract when all else fails.
Sometimes, though, "NO! MINE!" comes out at strange and (since this is my blog, I can say it) really darling times: at the dinner table, right after he's helped himself to something off my plate, or at random moments throughout the day, like recently when Nick heard Alex say the following:
"NO!!! MINE!!!" Then a pause. Then, in the sweetest, most polite tone of voice ever, a chirpy little "Thank you!"
Mind you, Alex said this to nobody in particular. When he was playing all by his lonesome, with unchallenged access to every single one of his earthly possessions.
The little guy may be in his terrible twos, and he may be developing a real sense of territorialism. But you can't say he isn't being polite about it.