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Taking the mimic-y

November 30, 2009

Kids are a blessing aren’t they?  My son (let’s call him ‘B’ – it’s easier) is nearing two and getting more and more chatty by the day.  He loves talking and sometimes just cannot get the words out quickly enough.

Child & parent talking (image from http://betterkidcare.psu.edu)

If Daddy asks you learned it from Granny, ok? (image from http://betterkidcare.psu.edu)

As most parents will know though – once they get to this stage they’re like little sponges.  They’ll take anything they hear and repeat it – often over and over again;  sometimes at the most inopportune times.  Some parents will have felt the sting of this when they accidentally swear in front of their child and spend the next few hours trying to convince them not to repeat the expletive they’ve now latched on to.

‘B’s own skills as a mimic had a more surprising (yet nearly equally embarassing) side effect recently.

‘B’ and I reguarly go to the park to play on the swings, slides or just run around the field depending on his whim.  There are often lots of other kids there and he loves people-watching – often contentedly sitting in the swing for an age just watching all the other kids climbing the equipment, chasing one another etc.

At this age he rarely plays with another child, the closest he’ll get is jumping near them or just staring at them and smiling.

The other day, as he climbed up one climbing frame/fort as he neared the top another boy had climbed up from another ladder.  This other boy’s Dad called: “Be careful Luca.”  That was it.  ‘B’ latched on.  He looked up, looked at the boy and said: “Luca.”  I smiled and said “That’s right.  His name is Luca.”  ‘B’ grinned: “Luca.” he said again, then: “Allo Luca… Luca.   Luca.”

At this point Luca himself had gone from the smile of recognition of his own name to being slightly disturbed by the repetition.  I tried to distract ‘B’, with the slide, puddles whatever was closest to hand.  As any parent trying to erase the swearword from their child’s memory will know this was useless.

“Luca.  Luca.” ‘B’ chimed on.

At this point Luca’s Dad headed over, looking a little surprised but smiling and examining ‘B’ closely as he carried on repeating his son’s name – even as he trotted around doing other things, it had become mantra-like now.

Children hugging (image from www.bigelowcoop.org)

Honestly, they don't know each other (image from http://www.bigelowcoop.org)

“Do they know each other?” Luca-Dad asked.   “No, no I don’t think so.” I replied “He’s just copying what you said.” I explained.  Luca-Dad persevered: “Where does he go to nursery perhaps they do know each other?”

I didn’t want to be rude, but I knew they didn’t.  Luca was clearly several months older than ‘B’ and whilst I’m terrible with names, I’m good with faces (I often see famous people and think I ‘know’ them as I cannot remember their name but know their face) – I knew we didn’t know Luca.

I continued to try to explain away ‘B’s parrot-like tendancies all the while underminded by a background echo of “Luca… Luca… Luuuuuuu-ca.  Luca-Luca.  Lu-Lu-KA.  Luca. Lu-ca-ca.” from ‘B’.

I still think Luca-Dad thought I was in denial.  Still – there are worse things kids can latch on to and repeat.  I just wish they wouldn’t do it so publicly!

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