Little Zoomie, who will be two years old at the end of June, is clearly in the "Monkey-See-Monkey-Do" phase. And with three older siblings, it seems like there is always something going on for Monkey to watch and imitate.
When I walked into the house a couple days ago for an early Valentine's Day visit, I was literally swarmed with valentines. Sooby was first, with a nice coloring page she had mounted on blue construction paper in her first-grade classroom earlier this week.
I marveled at the color scheme, commented on the novelty of the blue, and thanked her profusely. I was happy to think that she had singled me out to receive this particular work of art by printing "to googie" on the outside in blue crayon.
Next came Bootsie, who is three, with a heart cut from red card stock and decorated with crayon in what we will call a more abstract design. "What a pretty little heart," I gushed, duly noting the artfully scalloped edges. "This is just the right size to put on my refrigerator," I said, and Bootsie beamed.
Meanwhile, with eyes at their normal height of about a foot and a half from the floor, Zoomba watches this flurry of exchange with interest. He notices the pattern, and he wants to be a part of it. People are handing things to Googie, and everyone concerned is obviously happy about that.
Quickly he looks down at the toy he is holding in his hand. It is the lid of a shape sorter containing holes for circle-, pentagon-, and flower-shaped pieces. Without losing a beat, he clutches the toy and thrusts it upward to Googie. Clearly, he has no intention of being outdone by his sisters.
He does this with such a look of earnesty that I can't help making a fuss similar to the one I made over the girls' valentines. "Is this for me too?" I ask him, and with that cute little "uh-huh" of his he assures me that it is. But he is only getting warmed up.
Having perceived success with the shape sorter lid, he scans the room for the next thing to bring me. It is a Spiderman house slipper. As you can imagine, I am completely overcome with joy. It perfectly complements my set of valentines, although it disappeared from the scene before I was able to get this photo:
In the hours following the fanfare of this most noteworthy arrival, Zoomie's official "Monkey-See-Monkey-Do" status confirmed itself time and time again. Having done a lot of watching in past months, he stands poised just outside the circle of his siblings ready to jump into the fray.
His legs are longer too, making his ambulatory style less duck-like. He's had his second "little boy" haircut now, and without those baby curls, he is looking more like his brother.
By next Valentine's day, I suspect he, too, will have graduated to the crayon style of valentine. I will look forward to that. Meanwhile, I will keep my "oohs" and "aahs" at the ready. No matter what his next valentine for me looks like, I'm sure it, too, will be perfect.