Sunday, March 10, 2013

Monkey See, Monkey Do

I had always been told that parents are the greatest influence on their children and now that I'm seeing it in action on a daily basis, I'm realizing how true this statement really is.  What started with looks and mannerisms between Sidney and Glenn has progressed into talking, sighing, and body language at a whole new level.  And with more frequency, he is copying me as well.  It is uncanny, flattering, and scary all at the same time.

Throwing stones in tandem

From the first moments I laid eyes on Sidney I immediately saw that resembled Glenn in so many ways.  His dark blue eyes come from me, but everything else was all Glenn.  Sidney's newborn strawberry blond hair was the exact same shade and texture as Glenn's as were the exceptionally long eyelashes and even the crinkly curve on one ear.  While his hair has now lightened to a blond that resembles what my own hair was like at age three, his untamable cowlick is undeniably the same as his dad's. At a few days old when Sidney, still a tiny baby hooked up to numerous NICU monitors, rubbed his eyes with the knuckles of his curled fists, I almost fell over.  Glenn does the exact same thing---and I later noticed that Glenn's father has the same mannerism as well.  Sidney still does this, sometimes immediately after Glenn has but other times when Glenn is not even in the same room.  What is nurture, what is nature, what is genetics, and what is just unexplainable?

Decorating for Christmas; notice the identical hair

Toasting in Germany

Riding the rails; you can't see it but Glenn's right knee is also propped up

Waiting for a sausage lunch in Munich

Chilling together in Pristine

For some time now Sidney has been mimicking Glenn's physical actions and postures.  If Glenn is sitting in his chair with legs crossed Sidney does the same.  A deep sigh from dad is followed by a smaller sized deep sigh from Sidney.  Glenn's "hmmmmm, hmmmmmm," in response to something he likes, has now been transformed into a tiny version.  Sometimes I can see that these actions are deliberate, but other times it seems as though they occur unconsciously.  When faced with a new dinner item on his plate, Sidney looks to Glenn to see if he is eating it before taking the first tentative bite. If Glenn won't eat it, it doesn't go in Sidney's mouth either.  (I'm the least fussy eater in our house so why can't Sidney be taking his cues from me on this one?).

Pizza and the same lean in Prague

And yes, more pizza

Lately, Sidney has been copying me and it isn't in the best of ways.  Much to my delight, he loves to help me in the kitchen and even when he is using his own play kitchen,  from the tilt of the pan to the stir of the spoon, his actions are identical to mine.  That part is flattering, but others are less so.  In a country filled with dirt, dust, and too many inedible objects to count, my biggest struggle is to keep Sidney from putting things in his mouth.  Usually he is good, but early on I labeled off limit items as "nasty" or "icky" as a way of separating the good from the bad.  So what are my little boy's favorite phrases as of late?  Yes, you guessed it. Everything has become icky or nasty and much to my chagrin, these labels are not being used correctly.  In fact, they are never used correctly.  I never realized how much I used these phrases until I started to hear them come from Sidney's mouth on a daily basis.  I've always tried to watch what I say but now more than ever, I find myself choosing my words very carefully.  You never know when little ears are listening or eyes are watching.  Our children are sponges and absorb everything they see and hear.  As parents, it is our responsibility to be positive role models.  It isn't easy and it is certainly the hardest task I have ever faced.


  1. They are indeed our sponges. The pictures are just too cute! Your little man is just adorable. Thanks for your incite and thanks for sharing. Angelia @

  2. Congrats on such a loving family. I know what you mean too. We are children's first teachers. I enjoy reading your blog. Mary Hill