The other day, my wife walks downstairs after reading to Madi before bed and says with a wry smile, "That child is SO your kid."
"Huh? Whaddya mean?"
"I just read her a Transformers book. I mean, what six year old girl wants a Transformers book read to them? YOUR six year old girl. You'd think maybe she'd want to hear something about animals, Barbie dolls....but noooo. Our daughter wants to hear stories about warring alien robots that turn into cars and things."
It offers a chuckle, but also a sober reality check. We pass lots of things on to our kids physically: genetic traits, physical traits, height, weight, etc. A lot of times proclivities and habits. Madi and I are suckers for anything crunchy (IE. snack foods), sour (we both love to drink pickle juice), and we sit the same, stand the same, even have the same mannerisms. The other day, Madi calmly told me in a discussion, "That's PRECISELY what I'm talking about, Daddy."
Now, a little explanation: over the summer, Madi and I discovered the awesomeness of the HUB channel. Plays old, "off the air" cartoons like the original Transformers, G. I. Joe, Conan the Adventurer, JEM, etc. And, though she definitely is a JEM fan (what girl would pass up a show about a do-gooding maybe alien glam-girl rock star with pink hair? Apparently the pink hair was the deal sealer...), Madi has become an avid fan of G. I. Joe, as mentioned Transformers, and, amazingly enough...Conan the Adventurer (although, again...I highly suspect that's because Conan's on right before JEM).
Of course, she didn't just HAPPEN to start watching these and like them instinctively. I sat down and started watching them myself, with the comment: "Wow. This is awesome. Daddy grew up on these cartoons."
And TA-DA! A fan of retro cartoons was born.
Now, Madi does share my tastes for anything "different" and "out there." Predictably, she's a HUGE Dr. Seuss fan. But the kicker here is she saw me do something, heard me pass my approval on it...and she went right ahead and appropriated this thing, and assimilated it into her life.
Cause hey...kids copy us. Especially OUR kids. That's why the old "do as I say not as I do" rarely, if ever works, and if you think it does work...it's a sham. Because let's be honest: our kids will do what we do. Almost every time. That's why the old adage still proves true: "actions speak louder than words".
I try to do as much as I can with Madi. Play with her. Read to her. Just hang out with her, and chat with her. So because of this, she's decided that Daddy is worthy of imitation. This, at once, is humbling, awe-inspiring - definitely flattering - and incredibly FRIGHTENING.
On a humorous note, I had to adjust my dinner habits this summer, make sure I always ate veggies at dinner, because quite simply if I ate them, the kids would. Again, a funny story, but it makes you wonder...not without a heavy gram of seriousness...
What ELSE about me are they going to copy someday? And will those be good things?
And will I ever come to a point in which I have to GIVE UP something, so they won't do it?