When Caleb was a baby, he started this quirky little habit of scratching my fingernails. At the time, I thought it was just a funny distinction about him, but NOW that he's older it’s a little …
I’m generally not great at seeing how my kids are like us. When people say Kenzie is a mini me, I sort of see it and I sort of don’t. I sometimes see Luke in Caleb’s big eyes and thick lashes. Both kids have such distinct, interesting and sometimes unexpected personality traits that I often find myself thinking, where did they get THAT from?!
But there’s no denying it – they are more like us than we think. Take the chunks of fruit thing. I believe I am the only person I know who can’t eat things with chunks of fruit in them. Apple pie? No way. Yoplait yogurt with the little strawberries in it? I gag at the thought. As a baby, Caleb never knew of this, and yet, when I presented him with his very first spoonful of strawberry yogurt, he took a bite, then proceeded to pick out every strawberry one by one. He doesn’t like fruit in things! Like me! Needless to say, I’ll never be the only “ice cream only please” person at the table when our family has apple pie for dessert.
Then there’s Kenzie. I’m sure over the years we’ll discover more and more ways that she’s just like us. For now, I know she has powerful emotions. When she first sees us after school, she gets so excited that her entire body shakes. Her hugs are big and long and lingering as if she’s trying to demonstrate with one embrace the depth of her love. When she is hurt or disappointed – and these emotions come easily – oh, the big crocodile tears, the eyes shut tight, the mouth frozen wide open to emphasize her pure shock. From what I hear, I was this kind of a child. Sensitive and very attached to people.
And then there are those dark curls of hers. Thanks to me, she’ll be brushing those curls out of her face for the rest of her life. Those kind of confirm that she’s mine.
Both of our kids are surprisingly hilarious. They make up sayings and inside jokes and songs and games. They crack each other up, they crack us up and there is a lot of laughter in our house (which totally makes up for the a lot of crying part). They definitely have a great humor, silliness and light-heartedness about them. And that is definitely Luke.
They each have parts of us and parts not of us that make them so wonderfully, uniquely them. I hope when they are all grown up, they’ll find that they kept the very best parts of us inside of them and left the rest behind. The truth is I have little control over what I pass on to them and how they’ll develop on their own, but I do know that God is involved in all of it. So I’m reassured.
Last night I was looking at my poorly painted nails while our family watched “Up” on the couch with a bowl of popcorn. I hardly ever paint my nails because I have a habit of picking off my nail polish, one finger at time, until it’s gone. I had successfully picked off the polish on my index and middle finger and decided to start on my ring finger while I had the downtime. This conversation ensued:
Caleb: Why are you doing that?
Me: Because I want to get my nail polish off.
Caleb: Don’t you have something that takes that off?
Me: Yes, nail polish remover. But I like trying to scratch it off myself.
Caleb (after a few moments of watching me scratch my nail polish off): Hey, you’re scratching your own nail! It’s not even me this time!
Oh yeah. That weird habit my son has? I may have it, too.
And as for biting his bottom lip? Let’s just say growing up, I had a retainer, rubber bands, headgear and braces. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that I may have bit my bottom lip or done some other thing to sabotage myself into obtaining an overbite. Don’t worry, buddy, mommy will start saving for the best orthodontist in town now – because if you’re anything like me (and you are) – you’ll need it.