Thursday, October 12, 2006

Follow the 18 month old...

The setting is this: three kids in pajamas in a dimly lit New England ranch. The oldest, a boy, has on superhero pajamas that intermittently expose his bellybutton. But he's a superhero, so he can get away with it. The middle, the oldest girl, is in a warm sleeper, purple with pink edging. Her hair is pulled up in what is left from the french braid after this morning's bath. The youngest, another girl, is also in a sleeper, aqua-blue with similar pink trimmings. Mom has just served no-bake cookies for dessert, and asked them to please settle down as bedtime is nearing.

Oldest and Middle are racing around the kitchen, we're following the leader they sing over and over (and over) again. They are, incidentally, doing a great job of trading who is the leader.

Enter the youngest, the 18 month old in aqua and pink. Someone (was it Mom?) says, now AquaPink is the leader. The two oldest jump at the idea (maybe sugar before bed isn't such a bad idea). They begin to carefully follow closely behind. AquaPink, trailed by PurplePink, followed by superhero. Around and around the kitchen. AquaPink glances behind every few seconds to see what her brother and sister are up to. Delighted at the funny house mirrors.

Then she catches on. She sees and tastes the power. All of a sudden she sits on the floor. They sit on the floor. She lies down. They lie down. Feet up in the air. More feet up in the air. Roll over. Roll over. Peek-a-boo. Peek-a-boo. She deliberately gets more silly and more creative. AquaBlue squeals. SuperHero and PurplePink squeal. AquaBlue pretends to hiccup (REALLY!), the others hiccup. It lasted like this for twenty minutes, with Mom sitting on the couch giggling with the rest of them.

AquaBlue was by far the most talented and interesting Follow the Leader leader that I have ever watched. And the insight that I gained into her personality.... priceless.

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