I posted last week about Elliott being a "little mommy". She is just too precious when she plays pretend, and her play is getting more and more creative. What I'm finding, though, is that most of what she says or does is a reflection of what she sees every day (well, duh....right?! I mean, that's how kids learn, I guess).
It hit me right in the face when she looked up at me this morning and said "oh hoonneeyy" in the exact same pitch and tone that I use with her ALL the time. My jaw dropped. It was the cutest thing I had ever heard, and with her head cocked to one side and her nose scrunched and lips puckered out.....it was also the cutest thing I had ever seen! I mean, seriously now. We had a good giggle and a sweet hug, and then she ran off to play. I watched and listened intently, and there was more.
I heard a lot of "nice" and "m'here"......both of which I use often ("be nice" or "that's not nice", and "c'me here"). It's so hard to describe this with just words, but I know that the second I pull out a video camera, she'll stop all the cuteness. I just want to remember all the cute things she does and all the funny ways she says things at this age. She had my whole family cracking up at dinner the other night when she laughed at something my dad did and shouted "dat's funny!" in the cutest little voice. No one could believe that she actually said that! Then yesterday morning she put a sticker on the end of her nose and pointed to it: "ticker on my nose....dat's funny!". I about died. Not only am I amazed with her speech lately, but I just can't believe her intonation, her cute little accent (wherever that comes from), and just her passion that goes along with her words.
Really, this is becoming a bragging session about Ellie, and that's okay.
But my point was this: toddlers repeat everything they see and hear (again....duh!). Having had this revelation this week, I am SO glad that so far, most of what I've heard come out of her mouth is cute, sweet, and encouraging. A pretty good reflection of myself.
Now, I'm not saying by any means that me or my daughter are perfect. However, seeing myself and my words through my young toddler's perspective, I'm encouraged and feeling happy.
That's not to say that there isn't the occasional moment where I want to die of embarassment over something she says or does......because I am ultimately responsible for what she is seeing and hearing and what she therefore says and does herself.
The biggest problem we've run into (for now) is that when she's in trouble and I tell her something she responds with "okaayyy" in the snottiest, most teenager-ish tone I've ever heard come out of a 21-month-old-pig-tailed-little-girl. The first time she did it, I snort-laughed.
The second and third times? I corrected her. I displayed for her the proper and respectful tone and she copied me, and then I praised her for it. Hearing her say "okay" that way made me realize that I, in fact, use that tone often when I'm frustrated or upset. If she's asking for milk repeatedly, I instinctively respond with that snotty, attitude-filled "OKAYYYYY". And? It's not okay.
It may be a small slip-up, but I'm grateful for it. Grateful that my little mirror of a child can teach me things about myself. I want to see only good in her, and to do that, I guess I have to be good, too!
Perfection is not something that's attainable, and I actually steer clear of trying to be perfect. I try to be good and right, but I will always try to admit my flaws and shortcomings. I don't ever claim to have a perfect child, and I really want to have grace when it comes to her mistakes and misbehaviors.
But that doesn't mean I'm not going to try my darndest to shape her into a well-mannered, respectful little girl who is fun to be around. I don't see anything wrong with that. And if, in the process, I'm a better person because of it, then so be it!
So this became pretty long and rable-ey, but you get my point. I hope.
Whether you did or not......go play with your kids ;)