As R is closing in on his second birthday – yes, it’s still a few months off – he’s starting to develop more and more of his own personality. Setting aside the spots where I haven’t the foggiest what to do with an NT child, since he’s hitting milestones that I’ve forgotten to watch out for, it’s definitely an interesting process.
Of course, involved in this is the issue of being a second child, which means that he’s also playing a lot of monkey-see, monkey-do.
And that’s where we’re trying to intervene as quickly as possible.
The Monster sometimes toe-walks – it’s infrequent, but he does it. So R toe-walks at times as well, if only because he’s seen the Monster doing it. (It’s like how both of them imitate my hands-clasped-behind-my-back at-ease posture.) Both of them are perfectly capable of walking and running normally, but because the big one’s doing it, so is the little one.
The Monster also tends to have all kinds of behaviors when he’s excited. He’s prone to shrieking/screaming, and occasionally will signal a need to go to the bathroom in lieu of other stimulations (flapping, spinning, etc). We’ve noticed R doing likewise. It’s very cute now and again when a 20 month old is gripping the front of his pants as if he needs to go to the bathroom (he’s not shown any readiness yet for toileting), but not so cute when the pair of them are doing a feedback loop of shrieking.
We’re trying, as gently as possible, to ween R away from imitating some of the Monster’s problematic behaviors. It’s been important to get him to use words, to talk to us about what he wants and needs. And, when he’s by himself, he tends to not do most of those behaviors that we’re concerned about. (The toe-walking still happens.) By doing this, I’m somewhat hopeful that it’ll also end up with a reverse direction of transfer – that the Monster’ll start to imitate some of the things R is doing and have some kind of reinforcement for the better behaviors. Plus, R genuinely loves being around his big brother, and it’d be nice if that’d rub off too…