When both our babies were born, my husband and I spent those first few blissful days gazing down at their tiny toes, delicate fingers and soft curls of hair. We marveled at their pink wrinkled perfection. We basked in the glow of feeling truly blessed. Our children were miracles. How astonishing that God somehow used us to create such miracles.
Wait a minute. God used us.
I remember that glorious day in the hospital with my newborn daughter, my husband holding me and our baby close. He leaned in, pointed at the rolls on her legs and lovingly whispered, “Oh, look honey! She’s got your thighs!” I laughed and whispered, “Yes, she does. And your freakishly large ears.” He chuckled, “Oh no. Those are definitely from your side of the family.” I snickered, “We both know your side of the family comes from a long line of gigantic ears dating way back into the 18th century.”
And so it began. Another generation born to parents who spend years discussing what physical traits to credit (blame) which family member. But what about our personality traits? Those quirky attributes that make up who we are as an individual? Some believe we enter this world blank slates; we’re simply chubby babbling bundles of goo-goo-ga-ga. We drool and slowly soak up the endless barrage of information all around us like sponges and this alone determines our personality.
Or could there be on our strands of DNA, right next to “bubble butt” and “laughs like a seal on steroids” traits like, “penchant for eating ice cream and watching an Ice Road Truckers marathon while only wearing underwear”? Nature or nurture? Maybe, like most things in life, it’s a little of both. And, quite possibly, like most things in life, I have no idea if this is true. But I’d like to blame someone.
My daughter has my little piggy nose, my full lips and my mousy brown hair. She also has an uncanny ability to argue endlessly when there’s no actual argument and can bring the entire mood of a room down with one icy glare. Naturally, she gets this from my husband’s side, probably his great-great-great grandmother.
My daughter is only four years old, yet I can see glimpses of other talents I can be proud of: she’s as sweet as pie, has a beautiful singing voice and can dance to a Katy Perry tune better than, well, Katy Perry. In terms of intelligence, she’s already light-years ahead of me. I asked her how she was feeling today and she said, “A bit melancholy, Mommy.” After I looked it up in the dictionary, I gave her a big hug.
My son is my husband’s “mini-me”. He has deep dimples, big soulful eyes with long lashes and a broad toothy grin. He is obsessed with cars, is always quick with a fart joke (or an actual fart) and can play video games until his hands go numb. He has a clever talent for leaving his wadded-up dirty laundry on the floor in the hopes I’ll trip over it and be forced to put it away in the hamper. He can down a juice box, belch loud enough for the windows to rattle, then nonchalantly toss the trash into the kitchen sink. Coincidence? Or is this my husband’s genetic material at work? Could my son have learned these behaviors (definitely the fart jokes) by simply watching his dad? Or was his born this way, baby?
The strange thing about our almost nine year old son, much like our daughter, is that he is exhibiting behaviors that neither of us can take credit for at all. His report card came back this year with a note from his teacher stating he was extremely gifted at math and she wanted to place him into an advanced class. After I read her note, I said, “Way to go, son! And, by the way, what does it mean when she said you earned a score of 145 out of the class average of 100? Is that good?” Next year, I plan on having him do my taxes.
My kids are still young, so we have many years ahead of watching them grow and waiting to see if they are born into destiny or if they can live better, more productive lives than we did. I have faith. My husband and I have made sure the bar isn’t very high.
20 thoughts on “Baby, were you born this way?”
On the youngest boy, it’s actually neither of your faults (though slight blame can be applied to hubby). It’s the Y chromosome. That little sucker will take a perfectly intelligent and delightful individual and turn him into a grunting, farting, exhaust-gulping, fluid-swilling hog. One Y chromosome can undo TONS of good that the X chromosome brings. I’m still trying to figure out where belching the alphabet figures into cavemen surviving in harsh environments. That, and how guys in the 18th and early 19th centuries managed to survive without a good whiff of internal combustion products.
And now, if you’ll pardon me, I must go get me a beer and watch some “Top Gear”. Now where did I leave my pants? Ah, the heck with it! (BELCH!) ‘Scuse me! 😀
“That little sucker will take a perfectly intelligent and delightful individual and turn him into a grunting, farting, exhaust-gulping, fluid-swilling hog. ”
John, you are hysterical. Thanks for that laugh. Yes, we are doomed as a human race, aren’t we?
Excellent, Darla! From having to look up melancholy to wondering if 145 out of a 100 is a good, I had a good laugh. The pictures are priceless. The first picture standing on the chairs – keepers for certain.
Joe has my quick changing mood and temper, thanks to me. (or not, as it were.) Charlie has a very pleasant demeanor. Thanks to his Dad.
Lenore, at least you can own up to those traits your kids have. I’m still in denial (and hoping and praying my daughter’s personality changes before she hits the teen years!)
I love your sense of humor, a great read, and the photo’s are of course priceless.
Thanks, Mags. The top picture of my husband and my son was just too eerily similar to pass up. We have lots of photos of both of them in their diapers, playing with hot wheels cars and they look like twins.
lancholy in the dictionary 🙂 Haha. Good read, good laughs. I guess we all do the blaming game. My hubs big ears go a long way through all three of my kids. My oldest has my stature, and the next has his dads. Baby we still aren’t sure about. Personalities are from somewhere else, and those expressions and termonology (sometimes pretty bad) are definitely from their dad. The temper, sadly, from me. It is a replay of my husband’s childhood – but there are three of him. Scary.
How did I manage to leave out the “me” in melancholy? ‘Me’ should be my favorite word. 🙂 And there probably wouldn’t be any melancholy without me.
whew, glad you added the “me” because for a second there I thought there was yet another word I didn’t know and would have to ask my daughter what it meant! lol
It is scary to see what things your kids emulate or inherit (by the way, I had to look up both of those words) I suppose we have things pretty fair in that there are two of me and two of him now. Lord help us!
I love this post. The past few months, our 8-year-old (#5) has been real impressed with himself because he makes up songs about everything. He thinks he invented this, somehow missing that his Dad does this all the time too.
I do that as well. This morning I sang to the tune of “wheels on the bus” to my daughter: “the dishes and the cup go in the sink, in the sink, in the sink!”
Goodness! Your four-year-old daughter said that she was feeling a bit melancholy? I’m curious as to who she learned that from!
I’m not sure, good question, apester! I know she gets more of her interesting choice of words from her older brother.
I could never understand how my two children could be so different. Blame it on chromosomes. Blame it on fate. It still boggles our minds.
It certainly does. It’s interesting which kid gets which personality traits. I have to admit, my daughter gets all of mine, the good and the bad.
Love this post! I’m on the nature side of the question, convinced my daughter popped out with the question “Now, what ELSE can my mother do for me today?” on her lips, and my son with “Wow, I’m going to stare at this ceiling for hours as I develop my rich internal life.”
Melancholy and math — ha!
Exactly! You’ve pretty much described both my kids perfectly!
Very cute….I love the cute stages….my kids have grown and now are in the “gunna drive you crazy” stage….
Enjoy it why you can, it goes fast…
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Thanks! I am already not looking forward to those days. I have several friends with teens and they tell me to savor these moments. ha!