It’s pretty common for younger siblings to mimic everything the “big” ones say or do. And there’s a certain amount of adoration that I think, if you’re lucky, comes naturally among brothers and sisters. It’s a phenomenon I witness daily when Ciara (now 3) wakes up and groggily utters “Where’s Liam?” These are her very first words seven days a week. Not “I’m hungry” or “Good morning.” Not “Hi Mom,” “I have to pee” or “I don’t want to get up.” Just a sincere, concerned and eager “Where is Liam?!”
She worships him. Her big brother is two years older and has introduced her to everything from Santa Claus to silly bands. In fact, one of her first words was indeed “Santa.” In any case, she is prone to eat what he eats, repeat what he says, follow him wherever he goes and hang on his every word.
Now that our triplets are 19 months old, they have heroes of their own as they follow Liam and Ciara around like little ducks in a row. My “big” kids definitely appreciate the attentive audience that a trio of one year olds provide and are prone to put on a good show for them. Occasionally however, the triplets just want to do their own thing. As one might have predicted, these little fellas have a language of their own and take the “monkey see, monkey do” dynamic that Liam and Ciara have mastered to a whole new level.
A few weeks ago, we were visiting friends for dinner. They had a massive swing set in their backyard that I was sure the “babies” wouldn’t go near. As I relaxed with a glass of wine, I looked up to see Declan climbing up the slide -- a seven foot slide! Quicker than I could cross the lawn, Kevin and Cormac were climbing right up behind him; the Crocs they were wearing must have had some sort of super non-slip grip because all three of them somehow made it to the top. And then, all three of them started clapping and chanting some sort of a self-congratulatory cheer – because, whatever one of them does, the other two can’t help but follow.
Having just one toddler has its challenges but with three of them tripping over each other and at times literally tripping me up, I have dubbed Summer 2010 the "Summer of Peril." Since Memorial Day (which I believe was only a week ago?!), I’ve already pulled slippery babes out of the kiddie pool, yanked obstinate tots out oncoming traffic, and put a stop to the jolly good time they had dancing on the picnic table in the backyard. I’ve said “no, no, no” more times than I wish to admit as they tore freshly planted flowers from the ground and tossed clean sippy cups on the dirty floor. Needless to say, I’m a bit of a killjoy. But, with toddler group-think ruling our roost, I don’t see any other choice!
There are upsides to this constant parrot-like mimicry. When one brushes his teeth, the others follow. When one heads in for a bath, the others follow. When one sits down for a snack, the other two plop down next to him in a neat little line. Now, if I can only figure out how to get one to load the dishwasher or fold the laundry, well, I’d be all the more willing to embrace this “Monkey see, Monkey do” mentality!
Note: this post originally appeared on http://www.parentsask.com/