Should I be happy he dances like me?

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LESLEY KEATING: A white-knuckle pursuit ending with a lesson in trust

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If imitation really is the sincerest form of flattery, should I be happy that my toddler dances like me?

Jack is just over a year old and in the past couple of months has changed massively, from a bumbling helpless baby into a full-blown, ‘I want to take on the world’ toddler. He’s brilliant.

Only today he started throwing down a few moves that I’ve never seen him do before, yet they look strangely familiar.

Children love to imitate, whether it’s from the TV or copying us, their parents. They enjoy learning and then bootlegging the actions of others, incorporating them into their own little repertoire.

We’ve always got some form of music on in our house, which is normally accompanied by some sort of dancing.

I’m more than happy to go on record and say that I am a very poor dancer – I say dancing, it’s more like running on the spot whilst pointing.

Jack has shown a few head-bobbing tendencies thus far. But imagine the pride and hesitant jubilation on my face when he started pacing on the spot in a cumbersome manner and pointing at me.

It was as if he was motioning to me, saying ‘you gave me this gift and I’m going to use it’.

He’s also become a real demon in the car too. From the safety of his child seat, he’s seen my wife and me taxi him around like Lord Muck.

Secretly he’s been watching our every move and plotting his chance to get behind the wheel.

Bear in mind that he’s of an age where he occasionally thinks a spoon is also a telephone.

When I’m washing the car, I lock him in and let him run riot in the cockpit area. Apart from the obvious downsides of everything being manhandled and curious smears appearing on the rear-view mirror, it’s interesting to watch him get to grips with the controls.

He tries to clunk the belt into place and then stands on the seat working the steering wheel like a fisherman at the helm of a trawler.

I’ve noticed he occasionally reaches down to move one of the indicators, which shows good technique and adherence to the Highway Code. This is shortly followed by looking, pointing and shouting twaddle for no particular reason - which shows poor technique and would be frowned upon by purveyors of the code.

Ultimately, we’re at a point again where we have to start being responsible for our actions.

What we do in the blink of an eye could be moulding Jack and affecting the person he’ll become in the future. Hopefully we can do better than a ranting, gesticulating fool who likes to march on the spot when the music comes on.