When you have a child, you can’t help but wonder what they will be like. Will they look more like you, or your partner? Will they share your love of books, or cars, or music? Will they inherit your stubborn streak. There’s been much debate about nature vs nurture. How much is taught via how much is natural.
There are things we have taught Monkey. He says yum yum when he is hungry, or eating or enjoying some food, because we have been saying yum yum ever since he was tiny and he has learnt that is what you say (to a much greater extent than we would ever say it, but he has clearly learnt it from us). He has learnt to do Aeroplane arms with me and swirls his arms around all over the place. He has learnt to laugh when he falls over (unless he hurts himself) because we have chuckled at him when he slips or trips or falls over.
He can be quite reserved and shy and I do wonder if this is nature or if he has learnt it from me. We go places and I try very hard to interact with people, and I am quite outgoing when I am amongst friends. But I find it hard to interact with new people. I try and fake it some days but other days I don’t, I keep myself to myself and am wary of other parents. Is he learning to be wary because he sees me hang back. I hope not and he is definitely interacting more with children now so hopefully it was just a phase and I am not holding him back.
On the flip side, there are things which we haven’t taught. That are part of him and his personality. He likes order. He loves tipping crayons out of the box so he can put them all back in again neatly. He likes things to be ‘just so’ and in the way he wants them. You give him some tins and he will line them up or arrange them in a triangle or other shape. When he is organising something, heaven forbid that I try and help in a slightly different way, it has to be perfect and his way! I’m not sure that either hubby or I are that precise, but his Granddad is and his Uncle is so we see it as an inherited trait rather than a learned one.
He is very generous. Now obviously this is something we have always encouraged but it always surprises me how generous he is. When eating his little fruity sweets, if any of his friends come over, obviously wanting one, he will happily give them one, or even put them in their mouths. Not just one either, but all of them unless I remind him to eat some too. At a soft play centre a few days ago he was happily playing with his bus toy out of my bag but when another little boy came over, he gave it to him. They played together a bit and he was not bothered at all by another little boy playing with his toy. In the end there was a few of them playing with it and a couple of them were much more possessive than Monkey was. Occasionally Monkey would take it back, but then he’d go and give it to another one of them. It was very lovely to see him sharing without us having to prompt him in any way.
I’m sure a lot of parents would agree that this isn’t always the case with toddlers, so I am pretty sure we aren’t doing anything special and that this must be part of his nature rather than learned behaviour!!
He doesn’t like dirt or being dirty. He gets dirty, obviously, but regularly holds his hands out to be cleaned, or if you give him a wipe he will clean his own face or hands. He also likes cleaning, If he spills something on the floor, and you give him a cloth he will wipe it up. He uses bathy crayons in the bath every night and makes a right old mess, but he also has his own sponge which he uses and he scrubs the bath clean at the end of the bath, making sure there is barely a scrap of crayon left on the bath or tiles. Obviously he has seen us do it, but we don’t prompt him in any way. Sometimes hubby assumes he is still drawing and then looks and finds that he is in fact cleaning. He’s not even 2 and cleanliness is just a part of who he is. Messy play is only ever fairly short lived as he can only tolerate having sticky gooey hands for so long before wanting to wipe or wash them.
He loves music and dancing. His favourite song has been “wind the bobbin” for such a long time and so many times now we have caught him just sat staring into space, repeating the hand movements over and over while I guess singing or hearing it his head. A new favourite is row row row your boat and I catch him rocking backwards and forwards by himself a lot at the moment. Any music though can get him dancing and spinning and clapping and he loves bashing away the keys on our old piano (that hubby got off ebay and is in desperate need of tuning) and he has gone from hitting with his palms to pushing the keys one at a time with his fingers. He is surprisingly musical. Hubby’s family is very musical, but mine is not, so it must be another trait inherited from his side!
When he hears a noise, a plane or a tractor or a motorbike in the distance, he holds a hand over his ear as if to ask what is that noise? It can be noises in the house too, the shower, an extractor fan or something and the hand goes over the ear. That is definitely not something we have taught him!
I love learning these little personality quirks, love watching him grow into his own little person. I love it when he does something unexpected and surprises me by displaying his own nature or when he discovers something himself. I am very much looking forward to hopefully giving him a sibling and watching them both. To enjoying their similarities and their differences.
This post slightly tenuous link to this week’s ‘The Prompt‘ which is “That was unexpected.”
What unexpected traits does your little one have? What are your favourite personality quirks?