Friday, July 15, 2011

Nature vs. Nurture

I have a 21-month-old daughter. I was there and aware when she came out of my womb, but often, it's hard to know she's my kid (the most obvious being appearance: she is brown as a nut, I am pale with reddish areas of "tan.") As parents, we struggle regularly with the effect our parenting choices have on our kids, and call ourselves "good" or "bad" parents based on our kids' behavior. I am learning to let this go. My daughter is a unique individual with a big personality. She didn't want to sleep that first year not because I was a bad parent, but because she liked eating and being with people and who were we to convince her otherwise?

She is exhibiting other traits that are also clearly not mine. For example:
1. She is a glamourpuss. I was a borderline tomboy as a kid, and though I do like pretty things, I am not that girly. I rarely shop. My shoes are usually quite practical (read: brown or black). I don't understand why people spend money on purses (the $10 purse holds just as much crap as the $200 ones, and I'll feel less guilty about putting it on the floor of my car). My daughter, however, adores sparkly things, dresses and hats. She loves shoes; in fact, "shoes" was one of her first words. Currently, she sleeps in her shoes, as this is not a fight worth having. (Last night, after waking with a dirty diaper at 2am and having a bottle, she requested we put on new shoes before returning to bed). She currently refuses to wear anything but dresses or the pink Lily Pulitzer pass-down from her closet (no shorts or tees from the drawer, thankyouverymuch). Yes, I said it, I am taking clothing cues from a less-than-2-year-old. But again...these fights are not worth having.
2. She is not cuddly. My daughter tolerates hugs, but does not choose them. She will often request that I pick her up, but then get annoyed that my face is too close to hers. When we snuggle up to read books before bed, she'll often move my hands off of her, so that she is barely balancing on my lap but free of the confines of mama's arms. Instead of kisses, she gives zerberts.
3. She is a drama queen. Well OK, maybe this is from her parents (who did meet in a theater class), but I'll pretend it's all her so as to make myself feel better.
4. She is fearless. Mark my words: this kid will be in the X-Games. She is strong, coordinated and quick: she scales walls, balances well and leaps across caverns. On top of that, she has no fear of falling, of failing, of injuring herself. When she does get a scrape, we usually point it out to her: she is not perturbed in the slightest (there see, her mother's version of drama queen involves lots of hemming and hawing over health issues). Though I am athletic, I was never a great skier, since I fear going downhill fast, nor was I a good biker, as I don't like speed. Sylvia, on the other hand, does not understand fear. As her mother, I find this is awesome in concept, but terrifying in practice.

On the other hand, she shares my love of chocolate, animals, nature walks, laughing, dancing, eating, and the beach. Maybe she's a bit related to me after all.

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