A great psychologist who was also a personal acquaintance told me once that copying someone was the highest form of praise. He illustrated this lesson by putting it into action. If I was sitting with my chin resting in my hand, he would do the same. When I moved positions, he moved. This went on for several minutes before I asked him what he was doing. It worked. I somehow felt special for a while afterward. I know he didn’t know me well enough to have such a high opinion of me. He was trying to teach me a lesson. Fifteen years later, as I watch Samantha, I’m getting it. It’s how kids learn to find themselves. It’s why she repeats things people say, but usually only the people she likes.
Here are just a couple of my many “OCD habits” (as Alan affectionately calls them) she’s copying.
At the end of the day, I sometimes take my earrings out just before I brush my teeth and wash my face and set them on a little shelf in the bathroom. Tonight I noticed two sets of Samantha’s earrings on her bathroom shelf that weren’t there a few days ago.
My daily breakfast consists of Instant Breakfast and two pieces of bread (not toast, fresh bread squished in my hand for extra chewiness). Usually, I’m grabbing this as I walk out the door for work so I put the Inst Bksft in a to-go type of cup. Even though Samantha doesn’t take her Inst Bkfst with her, she started putting hers in a to-go cup. Since I’ve been home, I put my Inst Bkfst in a tall cup and use a straw. Guess what new habit Samantha has picked up? Always with two pieces of bread–squished.
While Samantha’s finding out who she is, I better watch my step carefully, even if it might be flattering to have a copy cat.