Sunday, May 14, 2006
WARNING: Objects in mirror are closer than they appear
I’m going through a phase in my own development in which I am repeatedly forced to ponder the primordial and often painful parental question: "Where did she come up with that?"
As my little mime walks in circles, chanting "I know, I know, I know," I am actually staring into a tiny mirror. Almost everything that leaves her lips, from "Oh, wow!" to "Sooooo cute," comes from hanging out with me.
Much of what she repeats is immediate. As soon as the words “OH, DARN IT” fall from my mouth at the exact moment whatever I am holding catapults to the ground, the same words and inflections tumble out of hers.
And it's not just speech, either. As we left a coffee shop the other day, she put the lip of her sippy cup between her teeth and smiled widely as I juggled the tot, a diaper bag and my own cup of java dangling from my mouth and dashed across the street to the car. Monkey see monkey do.
Most parents don't think their kids are watching as closely as they do. The standard joke: when the call from the teacher comes to report Junior has slung the most repugnant of all four-letter words, the constantly cursing parent wonders where he bleepin' picked that up.
I marvel all the time that Ittybit's first regurgitated words weren't some variation of human waste products. The slips on my part have occurred far too often for them to have gone unnoticed.
Of course, more egregious mimicry has occurred. On the occasion of an unavoidable social function, which she was also attending, I snidely informed her we are going to meet some "annoying people."
She immediately grasped that last couplet and ran. "Oh yay! Meet annoyyyyyying PEEEEEPLE." And I spent the rest of the day trying to convince her that we were actually meeting NEW people. "Can you say NEEEEEW people?"
What toddlers choose to repeat and how they do it is fascinating. As she sits and talks to herself, a rambling stream of conversation she’s recorded in her VIMEO memory comes to life.
And while some influences are evident, others are more elusive.
I know most of the behaviors she displays are based in something she’s witnessed and somehow adapted for her own purposes.
The other day, our sitter reported through peels of laughter, that Ittybit was smashing a play hammer into a bean bag dog, flattening the toy time and again.
"Ahhhhh. All better," she was quoted as saying soothingly, while wrapping the toy dog in a blanket and continuing to apply her medicinal services to any and all exposed parts.
"What are you guys doing at home?" the sitter laughs into the phone.
"I’d tell ya, but then I’d have to … well, tell ya. And to tell you the truth, I really don’t know."
Posted by toyfoto at 10:58 AM