Monday, July 27, 2015

Nature vs. Nurture: My Perspective Post-Kids

I have always been interested in psychology. I fell just two classes short of a psych minor in college because I took so many classes out of a pure desire to learn. So it isn't a surprise that, prior to having kids of my own, I assumed the majority of a child's personality is formed from parental and cultural influence.

Now that I have an almost-five-year-old daughter, three-year-old son and seven-month-old daughter, however, I have changed my tune.

Allow me to explain.

Being Beautiful

Abby's future plans include butterfly mascara.
Any young girl knows the societal pressures of being beautiful. The last thing I want for either of my daughters is to be consumed with physical appearances to the point of ignoring the awesome young ladies they become. I am cognizant that I am not only telling Abby she is beautiful inside and out, but that she is smart and funny, too. That didn't stop her from discovering the beauty gene, however.

I wasn't sure Abby would be a "girlie girl" considering she wore Toy Story t-shirts for her entire third year of life, but she is evolving. Now she's taken it to another level. 

  1. She started wearing her play high heels around the house and wanted to wear them to school, so I bought her Mary Jane's.
  2. She threw an epic tantrum because we wanted her to wear bicycle shorts under her dress for a park visit. She insisted that her dress "wouldn't be beautiful" if she wore shorts under it. It was at this point that Tom and I realized something had shifted in the Abby matrix.
  3. Most recently, we were sitting in the living room watching TV as a family and a make-up commercial came on. We were half paying attention to it, but Abby chimes in once it's over and -- with total seriousness -- asks, "Dad? When I grow up, can I get butterfly mascara?"

A Love for the Ladies

Jack has taught me that attraction is ingrained at birth. He has also taught me that he is a boob guy.

Beginning at the tender age of two, Jack has shown his love for this particular feature. He has also shown that he is 100-percent willing to cross any social barriers and make himself welcome on a woman's lap.

  1. Over the holidays, Jack -- who stopped taking naps awhile back -- perched himself on a family friend's lap and rested his head on her chest. He then proceeded to fall asleep in the midst of a crowded party. I guess he was in his happy place.
  2. At a Rodan+Fields party I hosted in April, I hosted a handful of women who were "blessed" in this area. Jack welcomed each lady as she entered the party, immediately offered a hug and then followed each to her seat where he sat on her lap. He moved on to welcome each new woman as she arrived, not discriminating.
  3. At a Tigers game in early July, Jack spotted my cousin's daughter two rows up. He was already smitten with her after a graduation party a couple weeks prior, and quickly moved to her lap. What blew me away was when the crowd volume rose to a deafening roar and he just sat there, gazing at Marisa. Jack is so sensitive to sound that I purchased hunting earphones for him to block out noise at the dinosaur exhibit at the zoo. Well. Apparently the right woman can neutralize his senses.
I truly wonder if this fearlessness will carry over into adolescence and adulthood. If it does, this child -- incredibly charming -- will have no shortage of female suiters. Tom and I also predict that his sisters will avoid bringing friends to the house.

Social Butterfly

It's difficult to tell much about the baby at this point, but I will say that she is our most social child. At just seven months, she has made it clear that she is a people person. If she has the attention of others, she's happy. If she doesn't, she's mad. Not sad, but mad

I predict she will be the most extroverted of the three. Lord help us.

This whole nature vs. nurture thing is fascinating. There are traits my kids were born with, but they are also sponges. There are things I know I never told them, but they manage to pick them up. Butterfly mascara, Abby? Really? I don't wear make-up (aside from Rodan+Fields peptides, of course), so why does she care about make-up so much?

I (clearly) sell Rodan+Fields and talk to Abby about it, but not Jack. So imagine my surprise (and delight) when he said to one of his teachers last week as she was putting on his sunscreen, "This isn't my sunscreen, it's my 'fine line potion.'" 

Moral of the story: don't discredit advertising. It clearly works.

Did I mention I sell Rodan+Fields?