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by Karen Legge

Who is your child most like?

Nine months. Nine long, swollen, sleep deprived, exhausting months a mother carries her child.

She shares nourishment. She gives oxygen. She removes anything her unborn but deeply loved baby needs disposing of. So you’d hope, after being a 24-hour grocery store and waste disposal unit, that the least your little progeny could do is resemble you.

Let’s face it. It’s a 50/50 chance. I know that mums alone are not responsible for the wondrous production of a zygote cell – fertilisation is a double act. But in growing that sparky little cell in to a full-blown, moving, breathing, eating, pooping and wailing person, I think the momma’s are taking the credit here.

It has been suggested in evolutionary theory that children tend to resemble their father to confirm paternity. Caves are dark places – I can see the logic in this. You’d want to be sure it was your flesh and blood if you were risking your life for it, fending off sabre-tooth tigers. Copious modern studies made in to resemblance seem to be inconclusive – some say the baby favours the father’s looks, some the mother – and get this, some dare to say it could be a hybrid of both! Who knew!

When Harry popped out (makes it sound so simple – bahahaha), the coin landed on my side. He has been and continues to be my little mini-me.

Paternity not confirmed here! Definitely my child through & through (Granny Mo rocking the 80’s hair)

It’s quite something for the ego – to have this little person who you’ve not only cooked up but has also shape-shifted in to your form. As you watch them engaging with people and dealing with the daily trials and tribulations of toddler life, it is hilarious/mortifying when you catch a facial expression you know to be your own or a mannerism that they have mirrored. Just watch it when they start to use words and you have a road rage moment – that’s not one one you want reflected at nursery…

But as with everything parenting, don’t get too cocky. Paternity finds its way through in many ways (without having to resort to a Jeremy Kyle-style DNA test). As he has grown, my little doppelgänger has developed not only a strong personality that displays traits of both of us but also more of a hybrid visage. I’ve had far more “isn’t he like his Daddy” comments as he’s got older. I have reluctantly accepted at the age of two and a half, that he is indeed his father’s son but only because I still get the best cuddles. I’m keen to establish which parental basket has more eggs though, so let’s weigh up the evidence

Ways in which Mr 2.5 is more like me:

  1. When he doesn’t get what he wants, he throws his toys out of the pram. That crumpet that you are about to toast for him – now, means now. Wait for it to brown? You can keep your crumpet mumma! And off he huffs. Where have I seen that behaviour before?
  2. He’s loud. He commands attention. Much like his mother, this child is no shrinking violet
  3. Drama! He loves a bit of it. Thomas running on his track – hell no, there’s crashes, disasters, rockslides. Every day is like a railroad soap-opera
  4. Ability to pout when things are not to his taste
  5. General love of snacks – this kid can inhale biscuits like air – that’s ma boy!
  6. He has a love for reading and books – genuinely makes my heart melt to see, and would’ve made his Great-Grandad Robbin super proud
  7. He has a good head of hair – ouch, that one was low mummy
  8. An artistic side – he makes a mean mess, I mean masterpiece, with some paint and tools. He’s not afraid to create.

Ways in which Mr 2.5 is more like his Daddy:

  1. He will sometimes hang back and observe things happening, taking it all in
  2. He’s great with numbers “2…. 2…. 3…. 4… 5… 8… 7… 10!“. Still room for work here before dealing with global financial markets like Daddy
  3. He doesn’t like to share – have you ever tried to have a bite of Daddy’s cornetto? No chance! What’s his is his – such fun on playdates
  4. He loves a bit of Black Forest Gateaux from Patisserie Valerie – me, I’d be happy with an Almond Croissant from Tescos but not this fancy-dan pair!
  5. General dislike for posing for any kind of photos – cue Mummy leaping around like a lunatic shouting ‘smile, Harry, just look a the camera, Harry, smile… FFS!’
  6. Height – he’s going to be a big lad
  7. Not a keen broccoli eater despite momma’s best efforts to get the green stuff down him but will inhale pasta like it’s his last supper
  8. Ability to drive mumma mad with mess and the ‘I’ll do it later” approach to tidying up. If he wore pants, they’d be dropped on the floor

Is it nature or nurture? Does spending every waking second with me mean that my attributes, both positive and pouty rub off on him? Time will tell. I find it so intriguing to wait and see how he will develop: What will he love? What will his passions be? Will he be left or right-handed? Will he be useless at Science like his mum. We he be insular like his Dad, avoiding big social gatherings. Will he like more than just 80’s music – please, please let him like more than just 80’s music. And while we are at it, let him grow out of the tantrums – one diva in this house is quite enough already!

All we can do as parents is offer him as many experiences as we can, to allow him to find his own way. That means offering him opportunities outside of our comfort zones too. If he chooses to be a gothic, multiple-language speaking, vegan photographer living in Greenland, he’s only going to discover those things through exposure to them. Although if he’s going to pick golf as a hobby, it’ll be the first time I positively encourage my husband out on to the green all weekend – ‘off you go boys’, mama has some me-time to claw back! In that sense, let it all be about nurture please!

I find the nature vs nurture debate fascinating. Do your children take after one of you more than the other? How about you and your parents – did you lean towards the interests/career/likes of Mum or Dad or are you nothing like either of them. Did they actively encourage you to take after them and follow in their footsteps?

What would you say is the strongest trait your child shares with you? Have these ever caused hilarity or embarrassment? I’d love to know! Drop me a comment in the box!

Written by Karen Legge for her blog, The Unyoung Mum.
Follow her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.
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