*Warning: This is a pretty long post. If you don't want to read a long post, feel free to skip it. :)
It amazes me how many of my son's actions and traits mirror my own. I go through the motions each day, feeding and caring for him, but I never stop to think about how each and every one of my actions has an impact on him. It's the little things that he picks up on most.
My thoughts on the subject began two nights ago, when he had asked me to draw each person in our family, from grandma and grandpa, all the way down to the dogs. I had done this about four or five times in the past week and didn't want to do it again. After some pestering, I relented and got to the task of drawing little stick figures for each of the 15 family members. He went off to doodle and came back soon after, showing me a picture. He had just drawn his first stick figures (of him and me) all on his own!
It was disorienting at first, because I had never seen him draw anything but scribbles. To tell the truth, I thought my nephew might have drawn them the last time he was visiting, and Monkey was saying they were his (yes, yes, I know, how terrible of me!). I was proved wrong. I watched closely as he drew another family member, and saw that his motions were the exact same as mine. He started with the head, drew a line for a body, made an attempt at a triangle skirt, added legs, shoes, arms, hands, and then eyes and a smile. The exact order I drew my figures every time. He had learned all this by observing me draw.
From then on, I noticed more and more of these "little things." He brushes his teeth in the order that I brush mine. He even cleans his tooth brush with one thumb, like I do. He reads books with an animated voice, makes up crazy-imaginative adventures, and sings all the time. He uses the same words as I do, including the archaic ones that annoy most people. He also gets angry when he doesn't get his way, and is very good at selective-ignorance. Just. Like. Me.
I never noticed how much of a difference every interaction I have with him can make. I didn't even begin to realize this when I wrote the post last year about becoming more of the same person. Even then, I had no idea. He continues to amaze me each and every day. He learns so much, and takes every thing in, good and bad. It makes me think twice about those things I do that don't exactly set the best example. It makes me think about my bad habits, and whether or not I'm giving them to him, too. He is like a reflection of myself. A mirror. Showing me the kind of person I really am. Showing me the good, the bad, and the ugly.
And at the same time, he manages to do it in his own way; to be his own person. He takes everything he learns from me and changes it in some way. He makes it his own, and it becomes part of his personality; different, but the same. I am literally in awe at the learning process going on here, and it just keeps getting better. I cannot wait to see what next year will bring! I cannot wait to see who he will become, and who I will become because of him.
Painting #1 Mother and Child by Albert Edelfelt
Painting #2: Young Mother Sewing by Mary Cassatt
Drawing by Monkey!