On Friday, I wrote about how children absorb and reflect their parents’ behavior, often shining a light on Mommy and Daddy’s worst tendencies.
Some of those tendencies are more problematic than others, especially when my son starts doing unconscious impressions of his parents in public. Sometimes it’s cute, sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s just plain embarrassing.
Because Detective Munch does bad impressions of me, and I don’t mean bad in a “he can’t pull it off” kind of way. He’s a gifted mimic. It’s my behavior that’s the problem.
I made a list of some of the things my kid has picked up from his daddy and subsequently demonstrated in public, one of which is actually pretty positive, but most of which are forcing me to own up to some less than flattering habits of my own.
Picking His Nose – Shut up, you do it too. Don’t judge me! Good or Bad: BAD
Manners – I joked about it at the end of last Tuesday’s post, but it’s true: my son has impeccable manners. He’s quick with his pleases and thank yous, and he even says “excuse me” when he burps! Not sure how much of it is him copying us or just plain obeying us, but he’s commented after seeing me tell a tollbooth worker to “have a nice day,” so I’m taking credit. Nothing’s better than seeing him be polite to other people without prompting from us. Good or Bad: GOOD
Farting – My son has recently discovered farting, and he takes great joy in it. I’m not exactly Fartman, but I am a guy and, as such, I’ve had some not-so-proud moments when I’ve been impressed by my own flatulence. So whether my son’s tendency to announce and/or laugh about his farts is hard-coded into his masculinity or simply a result of watching me, either way it’s still my fault. Good or Bad: BAD
Yelling – Mom and Buried and I are take great pains not to raise our voices around each other or towards our son. But it still happens. Combine that with the fact that toddlers are just loud talkers in general and you get a kid who doesn’t know his inside voice from his outside voice from his you’re-giving-Daddy-a-migraine voice. My son doesn’t yell angrily, he just yells in general. So I don’t know that this is a direct result of my behavior, but it still sucks. Good or Bad: Excedrin
Playing Air Guitar – My son uses his actual (toy) guitar a lot more than he uses an invisible one, but when that’s not handy, he’s more than happy to jam some air, especially when he’s in the car… which is where I do most of my air-jamming. I’ve caught him watching me more than once, with a mixture of fascination and disgust. Much like the other drivers. But he clearly enjoys doing it. Good or Bad: AWESOME
Most of the actions above are things I don’t always realize I’m even doing, so when I notice my son exhibiting those same tendencies, it can be something of a wake-up call for me to change my own behavior.
Especially when I see my son butcher my “Pete Townshend windmill” move and realize I need to practice harder or I’ll never make the Air Guitar Championships.
What is some of your embarrassing behavior that you see your kids emulating?