Ever heard of the phrase, Monkey See, Monkey Do? Normally it’s when your toddler imitates what you do. Not so much in my case. Apparently, I am made out to be the monkey by my very strong-willed, intelligent daughter.
Actually, I first started using the phrase “Like Mommy” to get her to learn certain things. “Brush your teeth… like mommy!” would be one example, so that she could learn to brush her teeth by herself. “Wear your socks… like mommy!” would be another one, so that we’d avoid protests on sock-wearing. I would end up wearing socks and rubber shoes too, mind you. Eventually, she would call it out when she’d want to do something and she would want me to do it too. It got to the point that if I had to make her eat her vegetables, or wear a hoodie, then we’d both end up eating the same thing, and wearing the same thing. Our neighbor once saw us walking out the door and he had this strange look on his face — we were both in hoodies, both in jeans, and both carrying Minnie Mouse dolls to the car.
Maybe if we both do it, she feels it’s acceptable, or it’s the right thing to do. Or that she knows there is safety in numbers. I hear that’s what you call incidental parenting. And while it is cute and funny and flattering to have someone watching your every move, it tells me just that: that there is someone who is watching my every little move and taking it all to heart. The good, the bad, the ugly, the funny; all of it, without filters. I must say, it’s quite an effective feedback method. The problem is when she picks up something that’s “wrong” — how do you correct it, when she sees, monkey’s already done it?