The Case of the Copy-Cat Brother

JSL adores his older brother.  He looks up to and emulates him whenever possible.  Lately, however, this has become a problem.  You see, JSL has been picking up on things that get his brother in trouble and mimicking them.  This is nothing new, mind you, he’s been doing this for as long as he was able to parrot his brother’s actions.  However, in the past, he wasn’t really punished for them.  How do you send a 1 year old to time out for doing something his brother does?

Now that JSL’s nearing 4, he’s getting a good lesson in the meaning of the word “consequences.”  Saying you don’t want to eat what’s been served (after I went out of my way to make you what you asked for)?  Don’t expect to get dessert and don’t expect me to make a second dish.

JSL will see his brother declare that he doesn’t want to eat what’s served and then turn around and demand dessert.  As if having dessert is a right all kids have guaranteed by the Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide M&M Cookies to all kids…”

Even though this tactic doesn’t work for NHL (“I’m full.” “Ok, then leave the table.” “I want dessert!” “Ok, then you must be hungry enough to eat your food.”), JSL still sees his brother using the tactic.  And since JSL not only must copy his brother, but out-do him, he turns into Mister Uber-Picky Eater.  Foods that he will scarf down multiple servings of one day will get a reaction as if they were yuckiest dish imaginable the next day.

JSL sees NHL eat his pizza by peeling off the cheese.  So JSL peels off the cheese on his pizza.  However, while NHL eats his cheese after finishing off the crust/sauce section, JSL turns his nose up on the cheese.  The same cheese that he devoured when I gave him a few slices before baking the pizza.

JSL also picks up on noises and phrases NHL uses.  NHL, from time to time, will make an annoying “nyah nyah” sound.  Mainly to JSL, he knows better than to make it to us.  JSL, though, has no such fear apparently.  He “nyahs” at us over and over until he winds up in his bed crying.

You might remember last Friday when I blogged about NHL’s fear of dying.  Since that day, nearly every night as the boys go to sleep.  I’ve had to confront “I’m afraid I’m going to die.”  Not from NHL, mind you, but from JSL.  It’s clear that JSL has no concept of what “dying” is.  Unlike NHL, he’s never known someone close to him who passed away.  All JSL saw is that NHL said “I’m afraid of dying” and Mommy and Daddy consoled him and he got to stay up a little later.  He’s clearly trying to stay awake just awhile longer.  (This isn’t a cry for attention because the “afraid of dying” will come along with repeated drink requests, declarations that he isn’t tired, repeated questions on semi-random topics, and various other delaying tactics.)

JSL can be the sweetest kid in the world.  I love that he insists on being my helper (even when we don’t need help) and I love his “kiss attacks”, but there are times when it seems like “Intentionally Annoying JSL” is out an about too much and taking too many notes from his older brother.