A Personality Emerges
“Mommy, ‘kay?” One evening, I was in the kitchen starting dinner when I coughed. Micah was on the floor playing with some plastic containers. I wasn’t really sure what he said, so I went about my veggie chopping business. I had a lingering cough that surfaced again. This time, I understood exactly what he meant when he said, “Mommy, ‘kay?” My dear little angel was inquiring if his Mommy was okay. I scooped him up and gave him a hug, assuring him that yes, I was fine. As he continues to grow and develop, I revel in these moments when I get a glimpse into his emerging personality.
During infancy, so much of a baby’s behavior is determined by his physical needs. Gas, hunger, teething, sleepiness, and sore muscles from new movement - all of it dictates the disposition. During this period, Micah was content to relax and watch the action. He sat back and took it all in, silently observing those around him. There was a running joke that he couldn’t have grown inside of this mama who tends to be excited, passionate and busy, busy, busy. I was happy to have another mellow man in addition to hubby around the house! Well, Micah must have been taking notes because as he traveled deeper into toddlerhood, he began to exhibit traits similar to mine. While he squirms out of my wanting-to-cuddle arms, I get to observe him interact with his environment and watch him grow his own little personality.
For some time now, my observant little man has begun to emulate the behaviors of those around him. When I pat his back to help him drift off to sleep, he in turn pats my arm with the same gentle caress. Last week, while practicing somersaults on the carpet, he bumped into one of our dogs. Rocky was completely unaffected, but I heard Micah say, “Sorry, Rocky” as he rolled across the floor. Certainly a busy one-year-old would be forgiven for bumping into those around him, but through observation, he learned the appropriate discourse for this particular situation. Suddenly, leading by example becomes increasingly important for Hubby and me. I understand the sentiment of other parents when they say having children makes you a better person. If I want my child to grow into a kind and compassionate individual, I must exhibit those behaviors for him. In social settings, Micah seems particularly attuned to those around him; at this rate, it appears that he will be able to understand his own feelings and the feelings of those around him long before he will be able to have a conversation about them.
Micah is an expert in the game of “Monkey See, Monkey Do” as I’m sure most toddlers are. I know that he is always watching, listening and waiting to learn something from my actions. The pressure of always acting in the best possible light sometimes weighs heavy on my shoulders. I’ll admit that I am far from perfect, and if my child weren’t around, I might be tempted to say some things I should not. While Micah learns what seems like 20 new words a day, they have all been virtuous! However, that same evening while prepping vegetables in the kitchen, I nicked the side of my finger while peeling a carrot. It was one of those surface cuts that hurt like crazy, and I said something I should not have. Micah immediately began repeating what he heard as I jumped around, shaking the pain out of my finger. He must have read the situation and realized I was hurt. He stopped, looked me in the eyes, and said, “Mommy, ‘kay?” That let me know we were both okay. “Yes, Micah, Mommy is okay!”