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Baby See, Baby Do

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"I have an idea. If Lily imitates our bad behavior, let's just give her some better behavior to imitate."
Lincoln Loud, The Loud House

Babies like to copy. It's how a lot of them learn. Sometimes, it even leads to them saying their first word!

If a baby copies another person, it usually means (or is taken to mean) that they like that person,note  so the other characters will find it adorable, even if the one being copied doesn't like it. Sometimes, a character will make a remark about how the baby will grow up to be like the one being copied. At times, it can overlap with Licked by the Dog if the person being copied is or has a reputation for being tough or evil and the surrounding characters believe that babies copying someone means they like them.

If the baby copies an undesirable behavior (swearing is a common one and it might lead to Little Brother Is Watching if the baby copies an undesirable behavior from their older sibling), quite often, the older people will try to get them to copy a better behavior, and some adults might try to get their babies to copy them if they want to make them talk.

The trope is named from the expression "monkey see, monkey do". This article will define a baby as anyone two years old or younger. Anyone three or older (unless they're a species that's still considered an infant at that stage) is not an example.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Sekirei: Kusano is a much older example, but she's the youngest Sekirei in the main cast, and often mimics the mannerisms of the older harem members, usually Tsukiumi.

  • In one of his specials, Christopher Titus told a story about him driving with his two-year-old daughter and swearing at another driver. The daughter copied the swear and Titus knew he would have to explain it to his then-wife. A week later, he is driving with his daughter again and also gets angry at a driver, but even though he doesn't swear, his daughter does, and it's the phrase "son of a bitch" which he's never said in front of her.
    Titus: And I said, "Oh, we're gonna be having a chat with Mommy when we get home!"
  • Robin Williams had a bit in his standup about getting cut off while driving and shouting "Fuck it!" only for his infant son sitting in the backseat to start repeating it. It comes to a head when a lady in the neighborhood to gush over the child only for him to shout "Fuck you!" To which she just says, "Oh, must be the Williams boy."

    Comic Strips 
  • Baby Blues: Even though baby Zoe took a while to say "Mama" and "Dada", she learnt to swear immediately after Wanda bangs her knee painfully and lets out a curse.
  • In a Peanuts strip set when Sally was still a baby, Snoopy is dancing and Sally starts dancing too, so Snoopy thinks, "Suddenly, I feel like the Pied Piper!"

    Fan Works 
  • Boldores and Boomsticks: A newly-hatched Whisper copies Wiess' technique while fighting off some Team Rocket Grunts. This becomes her main fighting style until their different abilities mean she has to Be Herself.
  • Kedabory's Muppet Mania: After Beaker explains via meeping why he and Bunsen are covered in glitter, guest star Chiho Nagomi, who is not yet one, copies him and says "Meep!".
  • The Loud House:
    • In the fanfic Lisa's Birth, baby Lisa starts repeating words on her first day. First her name after being named, then the phrase "talk right away" after her parents express surprise at her being able to do just that.
    • In Don't Say, "Dannit", Lynn Sr. fears that Lily will copy him or the radio saying, "Dang it!" and when she does say it, he blames her siblings.
  • In the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls fanfic Suncered, when Sunset is babysitting Flurry Heart, she accidentally teaches Flurry her first word when she curses out loud after spilling hot milk on her own arm. The rest of the story is about Sunset trying to get Flurry to stop saying "Sunva bish!" before Twilight comes to pick her up.
  • Mocked in Rise of the Save-Ums; all of Ben's dialogue is comprised of him repeating words said by the other characters.
  • In Something Wasn't Right So We Left Harry copies everything his father does during Christmas dinner. Then Neville's father says "Damn, I was eating that" after dropping a piece of chicken and Neville says "Damn".

    Films — Animation 
  • Incredibles 2:
    • When Dash says that he wants to fight bad guys and mimes fighting, Jack-Jack also mimes fighting and shouts out some gibberish that ends in "bad guy".
    • When Jack-Jack is being left with Edna Mode, he makes his hair look like hers with his Shapeshifting powers. Later he is seen imitating her walk and holding a lollipop like how she holds her cigarette holder.
    • At the end of the film, Jack-Jack is also seen imitating Winston Deavor pointing his finger when he wants to emphasize what he is saying.
  • Jack-Jack Attack: When Jack-Jack is left with Kari, she shows him a flashcard of a fire and he uses his powers to go on fire.
  • Monsters, Inc.: When Mike says a line of dialogue that includes his first and last names (Mike Wazowski), Boo repeats it. She keeps repeating it until it becomes sort of her catchphrase (along with "Boo!" (how she got her nickname) and "Kitty" (what she calls Sully). She also copies Sully's "Shh" when he tells her to stop laughing.
  • Steven Universe: The Movie: Upon being hit with a weapon that causes Identity Amnesia, Amethyst, unlike the other Gems affected, becomes a Blank Slate who mimics whatever she sees others doing in front of her. It's implied this state is connected to the circumstances of her birth, having emerged from the ground centuries after she was supposed to.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Adventures of Pinocchio, earlier Pinocchio displays this kind of behavior, imitating words and actions of those around him. Justified, as he's technically newborn and is experiencing the world for the first time.
  • In Nanny McPhee, Mrs Quickly, the villain who the father is about to marry, tells the children to "behave" but Agatha "Aggie" Brown, the baby, copies it but pronounces it "Beehive", inspiring her older siblings to sabotage the wedding by pretending that bees are attacking them.
  • In Meet the Fockers, Little Jack's first word ends up being "asshole" after Greg mentions the word in front of him.

  • In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, the Duchess is singing a song about beating her baby son when he sneezes and the chorus consists of only "Wow wow wow!", which the baby joins in on.
  • In Babysitting Mode, a book based on Incredibles 2, Jack-Jack does the trick of making his hair look like Edna's to bypass her security system.
  • The Berenstain Bears: In "Sick Days", the one-year-old Honey Bear says, "Bedder!" when her family talk about Sister Bear getting better.
  • In the Dirty Bertie story "Bum!", Bertie shouts out the book's title in surprise and baby Molly copies it, saying her first word. He tries to get her to say a different word but it doesn't work.
  • Fudge:
    • Tootsie's first word was "yuck", copying her brother when he was changing her diaper. Later, she tries to say, "New York" after hearing her parents talk about said city and says, "Nu Yuck".
    • When Fudge says "Goodbye" to his shoe, Tootsie says, "Bye-bye, Sue!" which surprises a police officer whose name actually is Sue.
    • When Fudge, Peter, and Tootsie's mother says, "That's enough, Fudge!", Tootsie says, "Enough, Foo!".
  • In Horton Hears a Who!, the joey copies the mother kangaroo's "Hmph".
  • In the Marley books, the baby copies his older siblings whenever they say, "Please", but he pronounces it "Peas".
  • In one of the Ramona Quimby books, Ramona sticks her tongue out at baby Roberta, who copies.
  • Roys Bedoys: In “Don’t Say Bad Words, Roys Bedoys!”, Roys swears in front of his two-year-old brother Loys, who later swears.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: At the end of "The Reptile Room", Violet and Klaus are talking about how "brilliant" the murder victim was, to which their baby sister Sunny says, "Brilliant!".
  • In The Witch Family, when Old Witch starts shouting about a spelling bee, Beebee (Hannah's baby sister) shouts, "A bee! A bee!".

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Drew Carey Show: While babysitting a baby boy, Drew ends up Flipping the Bird in his presence. To his horror, the baby starts imitating the gesture.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: When Worf does a Klingon chant while he and Dax are babysitting O'Brien's one-year-old son Kariyoshi, Kariyoshi starts saying the chant.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Dinosaurs:
    • At the beginning of "Out of the Frying Pan", when Fran makes breakfast, Baby pretends to do the same and imitates her. At first, she finds Baby's impression of her cute, but soon she finds it too accurate and unflattering. This later comes back to bite the Sinclair Family even harder when Baby starts picking up on the Myman frying pan commercial producer's showbiz callousness, firing one of his attendants for petty mistakes using the exact same tone and phrasing.
    • In "Working Girl", after seeing the trailer for Exploding Cop II, Baby decides that he wants to explode just like the titular character. He instead ends up pooping his diaper.
  • Sesame Street:
    • When the Count was singing to Natasha, she sometimes appeared to copy him (for example, when he mentioned kitty-cats, she said, "Kiddy-dats!").
    • Natasha's first words were "Oh, dear!" copying Snuffy.
    • Inverted when Humphrey copied Natasha once with her babbling.
    • In "Elmo's Potty Time", Baby Bear talks about "wee-wee and woo-woo" (his words for pee and poop respectively) and Curly begins to chant, "Wee wee woo woo! Wee wee woo woo!".
    • In one episode, Curly Bear shouts, "Dinner!" after Baby Bear mentions that his parents are going out to dinner.
    • At one point, a girl tries to get her baby sister to say, "Tortellini" by repeating the word to her. At first, the baby can only say the "ini" part, but when the big sister leaves, she succeeds.
    • One time, Ernie was trying to find similarities between himself and his baby niece Ernestine, and she copied his Signature Laugh. In another instance with Ernestine, Ernie tries to teach her to say his name, but she simply babbles. Then Bert walks in, and Ernie casually says "Oh, hi, Bert." Naturally, Ernestine immediately cries out "BERT!"

    Video Games 
  • Animal Crossing: Female kangaroo villagers always come with a joey in their pouch. The joey mimics their mother's facial expressions at all times.
  • In Super Mario 64, if Mario dives in front of a baby penguin, the penguin will do it too.
  • Super Meat Boy Forever has a cutscene where Meat Boy and Bandage Girl's infant daughter Nugget sees Dr. Fetus Flipping the Bird and emulates him by giving the finger to butterflies. Meat Boy is aghast, while Bandage Girl laughs.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, Kudzu is the baby son of Hilgya and Durkon, two dwarf clerics. He's introduced shortly after his mother has used the power to Turn Undead on vampires, and Kudzu is seen imitating her.
    Kudzu: Tunn unn deh! Tunn unn deh!
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal: One comic is a dad trying to get his kid to imitate him (namely, going to the bathroom sitting down).
    Watch me pee, child! Learn my ways! Please!

    Web Original 
  • Some websites have lists of unusual first words, a few of which explicitly stem from copying:
    • This list of unusual first words, one of them was "fongool" (a phony cuss word) that came from the baby repeating the submitter.
    • This one has "garbage out" from the mother reminding the father to take the garbage out, "okay" from the father saying, "I'll see you later, okay?", and "cool" because it was sort of the mother's catchphrase.
  • This one is about how one-year-olds learn from imitating their parents.

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur: In "Shelter From the Storm", the Reads pass a message on via whispering in each other's ears, then Kate whispers baby gibberish into Pal the dog's ear.
  • In an episode of Family Guy, Stewie lets loose a Precision F-Strike (which is treated as his first word) in church after hearing that he won't get a cookie during the post-Mass coffee service. A horrified and embarrassed Lois accuses Peter of swearing too much in front of him, saying that he obviously learned it by imitating his father. It isn't until Lois herself lets out a Cluster F-Bomb later in the episode that she realizes that she's the bad influence.
  • Gabby’s Dollhouse: After getting his diaper changed, Benny Box does Baby Box's popping trick and says "Peekaboo", after so much time of seeing her using said trick to make Benny laugh.
  • The Loud House:
    • Subverted in "Potty Mouth". The kids think that Lily is copying them saying the "D-word" but really she just wants a donut.
    • Played straight in "Room With a Feud" when Lily copies Lori saying, "literally".
    • In "Changing the Baby", Lily's older siblings want someone to share their interests, so they try and get Lily to copy them.
    • Carlitos Casagrande's defining character trait is that he is often seen mimicking the movements of the other members of the Casagrande family.
  • Martha Speaks:
    • In "Too Much Martha", when the Lorraines are saying, "No!" to Martha when she tries to eat their food, baby Jake joins in.
    • When the Lorraines and their dogs are watching a TV show where a singer sings, "Baby baby yeah!", Jake starts saying, "Baby baby baby!"
  • Milly, Molly: When Ella Bella Boo (Aunt Maude's two-year-old niece) was staying with Aunt Maude, she put on Maude's boots and pretended to work in Maude's garden.
    Ella Bella Boo: Me Maude!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows", Mrs Cake does a "shh" gesture, which Pumpkin Cake copies.
  • Rugrats (1991):
    • When Stu hits his thumb and starts sucking it in "Thumbs Up", the babies copy him.
    • When Tommy sees a Food Fight in "Little Dude", he throws food when he gets home.
    • In "Piggy's Pizza Palace", Tommy gives a dog costume some commands in Yiddish. He doesn't understand them, he's just doing it because he's heard his maternal grandfather, Boris (who's Jewish), say that to Spike a few times.
    • At the beginning of "Naked Tommy", Didi puts a sweater on Spike, which he takes off. Tommy then decides to go naked like Spike and convinces his friends to do it too.
    • In "Finsterella", Kimi plays a game where she decides to copy whoever she sees. She first copies her pet poodle, Fifi, by scratching herself and licking Chuckie's face, then she later imitates Angelica's behavior, which leads the babies to believe that she's being mean to Chuckie, like Cinderella's stepsisters.
    • In "America's Wackiest Home Movies", after Stu complains about the winner of the titular Show Within a Show's contest not being very funny, he sees Tommy copying Spike scratching his body with his hind leg.
  • The Simpsons:
  • In the Sonic Boom episode "Role Models", Sonic and his friends toss the wrappers from their food into the trash like basketballs. Lady Walrus's infant son Chumley tries to do the same with his bottle but misses the trashcan. Lady Walrus sees and tells off Sonic and co. for being bad role models, but then lets Chumley play on a ledge.
  • Steven Universe: In "Greg the Babysitter", a then-infant Sour Cream can be seen imitating the hand gestures of his mother, Vidalia, as she talks to Greg.


Video Example(s):


Three Gems and a Baby

Baby Steven places his hand on top of Garnet's open palm.

How well does it match the trope?

3.44 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / BabySeeBabyDo

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