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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

Stop Copying Me!

Anyone with kids knows the frustration of a child who feels as though a friend or sibling mimicks their every move.

“Stop copying me!” they exclaim in exasperation.

It might be in mannerisms, speech, clothes, or special interest.  Being a trend-setter at a young age is not always easy.

So the million-dollar question is:  how do we cultivate a kid’s uniqueness, while still keeping him within certain societal norms?  I mean, pink hair and full body tatoos are attention-grabbing, but usually won’t get one far in life unless aiming for a freak show, or a “reality” show.

Our youngest daughter, the only ‘tween we still have in the home, with pretty, long blond hair and winsome features, one day considered the benefits of a mohawk, talking out loud a as she usually does… and which normally leads to her downfall.

“A mohawk?” her father echoes.  “Oh, that’s so ‘yesterday’.  The latest is the ‘nohawk’.  We simply shave your head in a stripe down the middle.  Where there would have been a mohawk… there’s a nohawk!”

“PA-pa!”

Our oldest son likes to collect rocks of any kind, be they fossils, geodes, semi-precious stones, with the occasional shark’s tooth thrown in for good measure.  And there’s his younger brother tagging along, hanging onto his coattails for all he’s worth.  These are not kids with ten years between them, there are only two month’s difference in age.

I know that the younger has enjoyed the handful of foreign stamps he’s been given by the older over the years. I try to play that up.

“You know,” I confide in him, “the post office sells commemorative stamps that you may want to frame.  It’s like an entire sheet on one theme.”

“Mama, could we go sometime and see what they have?”

“Sure,” I try to point him in his own direction.

Somehow, both his father and I end up taking him on two different occasions, to two different post offices, and end up purchasing three sets of stamps for him… with our own money.  Small purchases, but bigger implications.  So much for “his” newfound interest, though he does express enthusiasm, while reciting to the penny how much money he still possesses that’s apparently still burning a hole in his pocket.

When his older brother announces that he’d like to make the annual trek to his favorite rock shop, fortified by a few birthday shekels, Number Two is right there, tagging along.  And sure enough, he gets a rock, too.  And a fossil.

-Sigh.-

Some habits die hard, and some kids are more followers than leaders.  I guess that’s okay.

As parents, we feel like we owe it to the kids to develop their uniqueness, even if they kick and scream all the way.  After all, why grow up in someone else’s shadow when you can shine in your own light?

 

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