They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. They also say kids learn a great deal through imitating their parents and people they spend a lot of time around. While I knew this was true since I read a lot about parenting and kids, I never experienced prior to having a child of my own. I also did not understand how amazing it would be when it actually happened to me.
If you have read some of my posts, you know I like to spend time with my son Anders and share many of the things I enjoy doing with him: karate, reading, working out, playing music, etc. I am not trying to create a clone who does everything the way I do, only better. Don’t get me wrong, that would be cool, as long as it happened organically. I will encourage him to be his own person, but at 1.5 years old, he doesn’t know what he likes yet so all I can do is share the things I enjoy in order to bond with him.
I am a very structured person. I love my routines. They center me, they ground me, they keep me sane. Having a baby changed that. No more routine. Once I figured out a new routine…pandemic. No more routine. Finally, a year into the pandemic and a year and half into having a kiddo, I have a routine again.
It is in this new routine that something magical started to happen a few months ago. My routine became Anders’ routine. My wife works at 5am most days so daddy is on the job as soon as the sunrises. Most days go as follows:
Wake up (too early most days)
Watch sports highlights/hangout/play
Go to work
Mommy pick up
The items with the “*” label above made me realize I have a mini me. Let me explain.
My daily workout routine typically consists of about an hour of HIIT (high intensity interval training) or strength training with weights. There are many programs I do, following along online on the television screen.
Due to the cold winter weather, the fact that I teach martial arts with bare feet most of the day, and we need to keep doors open at the studio, my feet get really dry and cracked. Very painful. So, before working out, I put foot cream on my feet. After I finish applying the ointment to my feet, I set down the tube. Anders grabs the tube (cap securely attached) and pretends to put ointment on his own feet. He touches the cap then touches his feet. Pretty darn cute.
I get my mat out, my weights, and some resistance bands. At the beginning of the workout there is a warmup. Running in place is a common exercise. Anders started joining in the stationary run.
When I use the resistance bands, he grabs the ones I don’t use and tries to imitate me. Typically, he ends up with the band wrapped around his head or waist, but he tries.
When I use weights, he grabs my wife’s 3 lb dumbbells, one in each hand. He curls and lifts them over his head a few times before giving up but again, he tries. He’s even lifted my wife’s 5 lb dumbbells a few times. Pretty strong, scarily so.
Without a doubt, his favorite part is the cool down. After a rigorous workout, we need to get our hear rate down. Long inhales as you raise your arms followed by long exhales as you drop your arms does the trick. Anders does the arm raises up and down and giggles while he does it.
At the end of the workout, all the participants congratulate each other, clapping and high fiving. Anders love to clap along with them and then gives me a double high five. Great positive reinforcement huh? He now claps and high fives me at the end of karate classes on Saturday when he is there with me.
After working out, we need to clean up. Anders puts the weights away (the 3 lb dumbbells) and helps me roll up my mat.
After working out our bodies, it is time to work out our minds. I try to do a daily, 10 min, guided meditation. While seated on the floor with me eyes closed, Anders is playing or finishing his snack. At some point, he makes his way to me and sits on my lap. He doesn’t last very long and needs to go play with his toys, but again he tries.
After our mental workout, it is time for our emotional workout. This is done via a gratitude journal. Every day after meditation, I try to spend 5 minutes writing in a gratitude journal. It is a great way to get in the right state of mind for the day. I highly recommend “The 5 Minute Journal” if you are interested.
After I am done, I set the journal down on the table. Anders grabs it, sits down, flips through the pages and pretends to scribble in it.
Without fail, these things happen on a daily basis. He is still only 1.5 years old so some days he does more than others, but he does do all of these things in some capacity every day that I do them.
I mentioned this to my wife, and she said, “Well, you are everything to him. He is your mini me.” And there is the inspiration for this post.