They say imitation is the biggest form of flattery and whilst I agree with the ‘taking something good’ sentiment from someone copying you, it has in the past irritated me, especially when it was something I had put a lot of work into.
However recently I have the opportunity to think about the phrase on a more personal level. In the last few weeks I have noticed something. I have a new fan! This particular fan is dedicated to the core, and willing to sometimes risk breaking their neck in order to get close to me, or even touch whatever I am touching.
My new fan is my daughter.
Willow is twenty months old. She is my baby girl. My youngest child, and the one who needs her Mummy the most. I hold her hand, I help her cut up her food and I cuddle her when she becomes frustrated that she cannot reach something. Willow is a determined soul. An independent child, and perhaps this is why these change in her behaviour has come as a surprise!
It all started when she became obsessed with my handbag. Sneaking off to drag it about, going through the contents, playing with my make up, keys and phone. She will sit for hours, happily touching the contents of my bags and belongings!
I took Willow shopping a few weeks back and bought her her first handbag. She lost it in the Trafford Centre within ten minutes, but that’s beside the point- she became so excited that she had her VERY OWN BAG! I couldn’t believe just how excited; she was just like her Mummy.
I felt mean when I realised Willow had lost her bag so I bought her another. Her very first Cath Kidston number in fact. So far so good, she hasn’t misplaced it yet anyway. The bag now goes most places with her, which I’m surprised about as she’s not what you would call a ‘girly girl’ but, I suppose there are no rules when it comes to handbags!
Next came the obsession with my glasses and wanting to sit wherever I am sitting. Sobbing if I didn’t move, or let her wear my glasses, despite her clearly not being able to see through them and them being too large for her little face.
Willow wants to eat what I eat and drink what I drink. She knows that I like chocolate digestive biscuits and so loves nothing more than wandering around eating them!
Then, I noticed she wanted to follow me about. ‘Go with Mummy’ has become a regular sentence in our house and car. She also likes at the moment for me to carry her everywhere, especially if we are in a shop, an cries if I try to put her down. I think it’s because she like to feel we are ‘shopping together’ and looking at items with me, probably seems exciting to her. It’s really, really sweet.
We have began, due to this new interest of hers spending time together as Mummy and Daughter, and I love it! We are now able to go for coffee (me) and cake (Willow) and what’s amazing is that she genuinely seems happy just to hang about with me, there’s no need for an agenda.
Of course, all of this was bound to happen. I know little girls like to spend time with their parents and will be likely to have a special bond with their Mummies. I remember when I was younger I wanted to be like my Mum so much that I attempted (when she wasn’t in her bedroom) to wear her contact lenses..
But, I suppose I had never imagined how it might feel, to be the one that Willow WANTS to be like. It’s a really lovely feeling, someone else loves you so much unconditionally that they want to imitate you, they look up to you and find everything that you have and do exciting.
But sometimes it makes me feel a bit sad. Because sometimes, I have to say no. I can’t take Willow on the ‘choo choo train’ to work in the morning, she cannot drink my wine, and it isn’t safe for her to hold my cup of coffee.
It doesn’t stop me feeling guilty though, because she cries and is quite clearly hurt. Her little face when I have to say no breaks my heart. But, when that happens I just think about all the fun we will have as she grows up, and it’s exciting!
Another aspect of the situation is also the ‘pressure’ I suppose to BE that good role model. Willow is copying me because she wants to be just like me. Obviously, I want her to be her own person, but if she were to have similarities to me, I don’t think it would be a bad thing (in SOME ways anyway!)
The point is, that I have realised that someone is watching me. Someone is learning from me, and whilst Gabriel is doing this too, he is much more interested in copying his Daddy! It’s a huge responsibility, and perhaps I think, the hardest part of parenting.
When life get hard, you’re stressed at work and there’s jobs to be done sometimes it all gets too much. I’m busy, and I have a stressful job; those things won’t change. However how I cope with these problems isn’t more important than ever now! I want the best for my little girl, for her to learn how to deal with problems and cope with difficult situations. Everyday at work I interview people that do not have this skill set and I think it’s more important than ever to be able to look after our own wellbeing and to also acknowledge to our Children that life is not always easy.
So from now on I am in full role model Mummy mode. Those little eyes are watching after all..