Monkey Hear, Monkey Say

See no evil - hear no evil - mm-mm-mm-mmm...
See no evil – hear no evil – mm-mm-mm-mmm… (Photo credit: Koobooki)

Children seldom misquote.  In fact, they usually repeat word for word what you shouldn’t have said.  ~Author Unknown

Why aren’t you listening to me?

Come back here

I love you so much

Maybe in a little bit, I am a little busy right now

That is so stupid!

Let me give you a hug

Aghhh I hate that

This is just a small sample of things I heard my oldest child say this morning while interacting with her younger sister.  Some of them lovely things to say, others not so much. What is for certain, is that they are all things she has heard me say. My children have always amazed me at how quickly they can absorb language and actions into their sponge of a brain. Unfortunately, there isn’t a filter on what is absorbed. My 3-year-old can quote Tinkerbell and Cinderella like nobody’s business and she just has to see me perform a task once before she is working on the same thing. The other morning she told me she would make my coffee if she was big enough to reach the tap.

Really, how many scoops of coffee would you put in?

Oh mommy, 5 of course!

She was right.  With the measuring spoon I use, it’s 5 scoops of grounds. She really watches everything!

Well, what a lovely thought.  If she can learn to the coffee what about other household work? I could give her a stool and she could make my coffee, and with the same stool she could reach the buttons on the washing machine and take care of the laundry for me too.

All kidding aside, it is a bit frightening to think about all the actual negative things that she has been exposed to that now have found a spot in her precious little mind.  There are definitely things that are out of my control such as the naughty words people say all around us, whether it is in the mall or grocery store. Yet, most of what she is exposed to in her young life I do have control over.  What programs I put on the tv, even when I think she is occupied with a puzzle or toy, what I say to her, other people or myself when she is within hearing range, those things are all up to me.

I am trying to raise children that are loving, patient, creative.  I want them to share what they have, use words to communicate and listen to each other.  In my efforts to accomplish this, I am reminded more and more everyday that the saying Do as I say and not what I do is not going to cut it with toddlers.  They are going to say what I say and do what I do.   And the quote at the beginning is true. My kids will repeat exactly word for every (embarrassing) word that I said.  Children don’t have discretion.  All I can do is make sure I do and say things that I am ok with my toddler repeating. And if that fails, I can blame some of the more inappropriate things on their dad!

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