The Sponge Effect

I love observing my child, especially from a distance.  I love watching how he interacts with other people, how he reacts in different situations, and how his personality can completely transform in the blink of an eye.  Our little man is a good mix of outgoing and independent; he fares pretty well in a group setting, but can also find complete contentment alone with some crayons or a few books.  At 20 months he is definitely going through a clingy stage, so it is quite interesting to watch him go from total blabber-mouth in the car, to a total momma’s boy stuck to my leg once we arrive at our destination.  I know this is extremely normal, but it’s perplexing nonetheless.

People often say that children are sponges.  They soak up what they hear and then say it; they soak up what they see and then do it.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  This is one of the best reality checks a parent can have because it’s a good reflection of what YOU say and do.  For example, I had no idea how often I said “allll-right” around the house.  Kitchen finally cleaned up?  “Allll-right, dishes are done!”  Finished with bath time?  “Allll-right, time to get into your jammies!”  Time to leave in the morning?  “Allll-right, let’s go buddy!”  I never realized it was such a common term until my son started saying “allll-wight” whenever he finished doing something.  At that moment I became keenly aware of how much I curse…  The sponge that is my son’s brain probably won’t filter out the four letter words.

Right now I think the sponge effect is a good thing.  When my little one is shy and unsure of himself in a new setting, he usually absorbs the positive energy of the other kids around him and loosens up.  It may take a little while, but it eventually happens.  I would love to know how his little brain processes it all.  What is the catalyst for him to release the death grip on my finger and go mingle with his peers?  Every sponge is different and I’m really getting a kick out of mine right now.  Alll-right, that’s it for tonight.

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