Monkey see – monkey do

Kids, especially toddlers are real little monkeys: monkey see – monkey do… And that’s why we, the harried parents, have all been told over and over again by smart books, doctors, teachers, grandparents and everybody else that we need to set a good example, and that kids learn most not by listening to us, but by observing what we do and our attitudes to things and life.  (Why oh why?!)

So I spent a little time thinking about what kind of behaviours and attitudes I would like my daughter to learn from us at home and about those things – good or bad – she already picked up, and here is another of my little lists with some wishes and some reality checks… What would be yours?

yoga toddler little bossy miss phone

What I would like my daughter to learn from me:

  • to read with pleasure (we are on our way – she already sleeps with her picture books)
  • to sleep with gusto
  • to practice controlled optimism – prepare for the worst while trusting that things will turn out well in the end
  • to love her body the way it is (even if it’s imperfect) and to understand that the true value of a person lies elsewhere
  • to speak and understand several languages including the most difficult (Czech) and to have a proper accent and rich vocabulary in all of them if possible
  • to embrace tenderness and touchy-feeliness
  • to manage her money


What I would like my daughter to learn from her dad

  • to respect others and be tolerant of others’ opinions, way of life and need for space and freedom
  • persistence in arduous tasks he cares about and the drive to improve (he writes almost every day !)
  • resilience and capacity to get up and start again after a setback…
  • to enjoy physical activity and a taste for the outdoors…
  • capacity to be quiet for long periods of time
  • to be reliable and to always keep her word
  • interest in world affairs and willingness to learn new things all the time

What I would like my daughter to learn from both of us

  • to swim !!! (this one is becoming quite urgent now she has turned 2…)
  • to eat a varied diet, with lots of veggies and fruits and not be afraid to try new food
  • love of travel and discovering different places, peoples and cultures
  • that love and partnership is about mutual support, reliability and tenderness, not about dependency
  • not to fight about petty things
  • to say sorry and reconcile after a fight, if there was one
  • to have strong personal ethics and moral values
  • not to blindly follow others, but to think about things for herself and not be afraid to be different
  • to enjoy solitude – or at least be at peace with herself/self-reliance

What I would like my daughter to learn from her older sister (24):

  • her capacity to make friends easily
  • musical ability and love of all things musical
  • her easy fashion sense and hot to put on makeup (I am not proficient in this art)
  • her strong work ethic and capacity to finish what she started even if the going gets rough
  • to be able to laugh at herself and her slightly bitter-sweet sense of humour

What she has already learned from us (age: 2 years)

  • to eat cheese after dinner and to enjoy sushi (well, mostly cucumber maki in her case…)
  • to say “Allez !” (maman/papa) when she wants us to hurry or to come play with her
  • to wash her hands when she gets home and before eating
  • to pose for pictures with a cheeky smile (her dad is a keen photographer)
  • to use my iPad to get on YouTube (to watch Pingu or Kikaninchen)
  • to call her Czech grandma on FaceTime
  • to constantly look for things misplaced (one of her first sentences is : “il/elle est la!” it’s here – used whenever mom or dad is looking for something, like keys, phone, shoes, etc.)
  • to be assertive and sometimes to order people around – in the crèche, on the playground… (my fault I am afraid)
  • to laugh and to be a clown – she knows that she can get out of any mess with the two of us if she makes us laugh… (Well, on this last one, I am not sure if this is something she learned from us or if this is something we learned from her… Hmmm… I believe we have been house trained. 🙂 )

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