“Are you copying me?” I hear this question from my 5-year-old dozens of times each day.
Wondering where he heard this phrase, I asked and to my surprise, he said Bluey. It must be the one and only episode of the three seasons that I have not seen yet, but it brought back memories of playing the same game with my older brothers myself.
I can admit it now that we are all grown adults and live in separate states, I used to intentionally copy and bug my older brothers. I would hit them, then cry when they hit me back, and they would get in trouble. I would repeat what they said in different voices just to get under their skin. I’m not proud of this at all, just finally admitting that the gig is up for this little sister and the baby of the family.
The truth is, I wanted to be just like my older brothers.
I followed in their footsteps by playing soccer, taking piano lessons, joining the band, you name it – if they tried it, I did, too, and it drove them crazy that I was copying them.
While my 5-year-old asks me on repeat if I am copying him, repeating what he says to bother or taunt him, there is so much more than meets the eye with this copying phenomenon.
My 5-year-old confidently copies everything my 9-year-old does, from the words and phrases he uses to his inappropriate behavior. He wants to dress like him, talk like him, get in trouble just like him, and have the same mannerisms. It drives his brother crazy (mom and dad, too), and we repeatedly tell him we want him to be the best Eli he can be and let Max be the best Max he can be.
“So why is he copying me?”
We remind Max that his little brother is copying him because he wants to be just like him and it is really a compliment and a responsibility. When we copy someone, we see something in them that we like or want to emulate, and we see things in who they are that we want to copy and be more like them. Good or bad, positive or negative, we copy and have a responsibility to set a good and positive example.
“Are you copying me?” “Are you copying me?” “Ugh.” “Ugh.” “You stink like a monkey’s butt.” “You stink like a monkey’s butt.” “Stop copying me.” “Stop copying me.”
Thanks, Bluey, for the great reminder.