Tired at the end of a long day with Jacobi, I say to him, "Alright buddy, you have about ten minutes and it's time to get ready for bed."
He's trying to take the back off the TV remote, completely absorbed, but he still manages to say, "Almost...but not quite!"
It doesn't hit me until a few days later when we're at the grocery store. I'm pushing him in a cart down one of the isles towards the check out stands.
"We're leaving now?" he asks.
I say, "Almost...but not quite."
As soon as I said it, I realized how often I say that to him. For a split second, I thought I was imitating him. I was wrong. As with most things, he was imitating me. I simply forgot how easily he picks things up. Worse, he can pick up virtually ANYTHING I say, not just the "bad" things. I've been reminded these last couple weeks of this fantastic element to parenting. Like almost everything about parenting, it's something I didn't expect, but it's the best thing that ever happened to me. Why? Because what he does is imitate, and they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
This is still going on, but it's subsided considerably in the last few weeks. For a while there, it was in Jacobi's vocabulary hourly. This one came from Jen, although, I'll admit to using it from time to time. She would often say "remember?" to him when he would ask about something she'd already explained.
Jacobi: "Why do you put spray in your hair?"
Jen: "Remember? It's so it stays in place."
A couple days later and Jacobi is saying "'member" for everything.
Me: "How was school today?"
Me: "No. You haven't told me yet."
Jacobi: "I told you last morning. 'Member?" (FYI "last morning" is Jacobiese for "yesterday")
This one's completely on me, and it crosses into the territory of a bad habit. For whatever reason my brain, mouth, and ears process words differently. Someone will say something to me, and I'll hear them perfectly, but before I actually come to understand them, my brain tells me YOU DIDN'T HEAR WHAT THEY SAID. So I say "what?" moments before I figure out what they said. Stupid. I know.
Unfortunately for Jacobi, all he knows is that's what I say after anything he says. Sooo...
Walking through the mall
Me: "We should get moving so we can get home and see Mom."
Me: "We should get moving. Mama's waiting for us."
Me: "Are you messing with me?"
Jacobi: "What what WHAT?"
RUB MY BACK
Jen gets this one. Always the obstinate one, "Rub my feet" or "Rub my back" is Jen's way of letting me know I should rub her feet or rub her back. Sure, it's demanding, but I know it's her way of asking "nicely". It's the goofy little way she's done it since we first started dating. She's knows full well that I might say, "No...you rub your feet." Jacobi does not have this history with me. He comes across as simply demanding. Worse, as annoying as it is, I have a hard time denying his request.
He's just crawled into bed, and I've tucked him in.
Me: "Goodnight, Jacobi. Sleep tight."
Jacobi flops onto his stomach, upending the blankets I tucked around him.
His face is muffled into the pillow.
Jacobi: "Rub my back."
I do it because...well it's friggin' cute.
The funny thing about this one is that he started doing it to his teachers at daycare. When he first started going to daycare, he had a hard time going to sleep at nap time. One of the teachers went over to comfort him, and he told her "rub my back" as soon as she approached. He learned quickly that they don't jump at his demands the same way dad does...unless he asks politely, of course.
I might complain about all these little words and phrases (there's about ten more regulars that I didn't put in), but the truth is I cherish what Jacobi says even if I think they're annoying sometimes. The important thing to remember for me is that he says these things because he thinks I know what I'm talking about. He looks up to Jen and I. He uses our words as we use them not to be annoying, but because we're his parents. It's startling and beautiful, and it's one of my favorite parts about becoming a parent.