I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Maybe She's Born With It

Last night DH and I had to fill out some forms about one of our kids. It asked for information like "at what age did the child sit up independently? At what age could they form 2-3 word sentences?" Needless to say my kids early childhood experience is not one I remember clearly - I was in an endless cycle of diapers, feedings, sleepings or not sleepings, and myriad other baby-related activities which never seemed to stop. Somewhere in that fugue, I knew that one day, my kids would want some detail about their baby and toddlerhood. So every few months or so, I would take the time to write down things about them - what they liked or disliked, how well they played together (or fought together), what words they could say, what new skills they achieved.

Lucky for me I kept those notes because it enabled me to answer the questions on the form! In looking through those note books, I started to re-read the things I had said about them. It seems like a lifetime ago that I wrote about them at 9 months, 12 months, 19 months, 2 years old, and so on. Reading these snippets of my children's lives, brought me to a very interesting conclusion: they were born with their personalities. Their special quirks, attitudes and likes/dislikes I noted at early babyhood age were no different at 2, 3 4 years old and into now. They were essentially the same people then that they are now - albeit more vocal, and more physical, and much more able to defend themselves. At only a few months old I described one DD as a "drama queeen who loves to dance" ...and she now does ballet and Oscar-worthy drama performances on the unfairness of life. Another DD I described as "a real Houdini and monkey girl" and SHE is now not only doing gymnastics, but adores all forms of hide-and-seek games. DS was "very lovable, ticklish, but moody and overly sensitive"...and it's not great surprise that the very same could be written about him today. It was almost eerie, reading the words I'd written. It made me wonder again about the whole nature vs. nurture argument.

In my goldfish bowl of a household - where everything is observed three times and under (mostly) controlled conditions, it's seems obvious that the answer is NATURE. We've raised them with the same values, the same access to resources, the same love, the same people, the same places. So if the nurture part of their lives is more or less the same, then it must be their nature which has made them so unique.

This then begs the question - are we born with our "nature"? Are we somehow 'hard wired' before birth to like or dislike some things? To behave in a certain way? To react emotionally to things differently? Alternatively, are these things somehow learned or gained after we are born, as a result of external influences? It's an interesting question. I can only say that in reading those babyhood entries, it would seem my three were born with the quirks and nuances which make them so interesting to watch grow up. It also makes me feel foolish - I often say "if I only knew then what I know now" ... the reality of it is, I did know then what I know now- I just didn't realise how useful or telling that information would be.

In some ways it is comforting to know that they won't change much. They are who they are, and that's it. At the same time, when DD has said (for the tenth time today), "But Muuuummmm, it's NOT FAAAAIIIIRRRRRRRRR!!!!" I can't help wishing I could somehow get that drama queen out of her personality and bash her over the head with the Oscar.

In some ways, it is comforting to know that I won't change much either.

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