The Copycat Phase: Savage Mimicry
Remember when we used to spend hours trying to get our little toddlers to repeat our words and actions? Remember how exciting it was when they did it? One of Noble’s first words was “apricot.” I don’t know why, but we must have said it once. And when he said it back, we kept trying to get him to say it. Kids are like trick monkeys that way. We try to get them to perform for us in social occasions so that our friends will admire how amazingly cute our children are. “My kid can say apricot. Noble. Noble. Say apricot. (silence) He said apricot the other day, it was so cute! Noble say apricot. Ap. Ri. Cot. Apricot. (silence) He’s so shy! Isn’t it cute how shy he is?”
Noble is older now. He’s five. And he’s in the sucky version of the copycat phase. Some people consider it to be cute mimicry. I have a hard time seeing it as anything other than total disrespect to my face. When I say, “Noble it’s time to put on your pajamas” and he spouts it back in an unflattering, obnoxious imitation, I have a hard time smiling at the cuteness. When I say, “Go brush your teeth please,” and he belittles me by trying to match my allegedly stupid tones, it doesn’t warm my heart like it did when he was a toddler. He’s a five year old now. The cute factor of blatant mockery declines exponentially with each age. So much so, that I think we are in the negatives now.
The sad thing about all of this is that I truly love imitation. I love imitating celebrities, and I love watching people imitate others. And I love when Noble imitates things other people have said, or things he’s seen on tv. It’s hilarious. But when it’s done to my face, with the seeming intent to tell me that what I’m saying is stupid, it just doesn’t make me laugh. It would probably make you laugh. Me, not so much.
How do you guys handle savage mimicry like this? Because I’m still trying to figure it out. Do you have a way of dealing with it that doesn’t involve a “Why you little” followed by a Homer Simpson choke attack? What’s your method for dealing with a copycat?