“He always wants to copy me!” My oldest griped about his younger brother. We were walking out of baseball camp after I insisted for the last time that they “get out of that cage right now, “Mommy has work to do!” and my middle son had just announced that he likes pitching after all. The day before he wanted to be a catcher. “Can’t you tell him he has to be a catcher so we can play together?” My oldest wants to be the pitcher.
I told him, “you’re not gonna be on the same team, so why can’t you both be pitchers?” It made me think of years ago telling them that they could both be Red Ranger or Spiderman, they were using their imaginations anyway, so what difference did it make (which is why I have duplicate Red Ranger, SpiderMan, and even knight-in-shining-armor costumes)?
“But why does he have to copy me. He always wants to copy me! He says he wants to play the clarinet, too!”
“So? Did you know that mimicry is one of the most sincere forms of flattery?”
“Well, he wants to be like you because he admires you!”
“That’s why you have to be careful about what example you set…”
The ride home was agonizing. “He’s copying me!” “No, he’s copying me!” “Bet you can’t copy this!” “Well you can’t copy this!” (one can whistle, one can snap fingers, but not vice versa).
Mimic, challenge, tattle, whack. They created some sort of hand jive routine that appeared to be a cross between “rock-paper-scissors” and “Miss Mary Mack.” This is where the whacking part came in. They were already flailing, it would be just about impossible not to make contact.
The whole way home.
Upon arriving, they dropped their coats and accessories all over the floor.
“Boys, Mommy has work to do.”
I popped a pizza in the oven for them and headed for my office, my housework blinders on as I passed by the dining room table with laundry draped (not yet folded) all over it.