I hear from people all the time about how much my boys are like me. How they look like me, act like me, um…. smell like me?
You get the idea. One has my dimples, sings nonsense songs, and loves to make people laugh. One has the light blond hair of my childhood, and addiction to carbs, and loves monkey references.
I hear it a lot. And it’s no surprise, of course. They spend a lot of time with me, so clearly they’re going to pick up on a lot of my mannerisms and phrases and such.
What most people don’t get to see though is how much they take after their mom too. Especially as our oldest son Tucker get older (he’s almost 4), it becomes clearer and clearer to me. I’d like to share just a few things that I have noticed and appreciate my wife Anna for passing on to him…
I have been shaving my head for roughly 12 years now, but when I did have hair (or DO… I sometimes get lazy and skip shaving for too long) it is pretty dang fine. Not so with my dear wife, who has this crazy thick, full head of hair that never stops.
Tucker has, it seems, inherited her hair. I’m hoping this means he will not start balding until he’s, I dunno, 80? And he may even be the first Routly male ever with a respectable ability to grow facial hair. Maybe he’ll even get a little peppering of gray in there to make him look distinguished (and/or a little bit like Mr. Fantastic)! The downside to this hair is that sometimes washing it could take a while, because when it gets really long he has some sort of water-resistant undercoat, like he’s a beaver or a duck (hmm… maybe it comes from Anna’s Oregonian upbringing…?).
Although Anna got her degree in biomedical engineering, she minored in theater, and has a lot of fun acting and generally just being dramatic. I mean that in the best possible way, too! She comes from a family of storytellers, and over the years I have seen her retell a story multiple times, where each time it is almost identical to a previous telling, but with minor changes and a little bit of finessing to give it more dramatic punch or a bigger laugh.
Tucker seems to have picked up the talent. Yes, he was expertly pulling out the fake tears from a young age, but this manifests itself a lot more in how we play and have fun together. In fact, one of his favorite things to do is act out “Death Scenes” on the living room floor (which usually culminates in being reanimated as a zombie).
Years ago, Anna and I read a book called The Five Love Languages which talks about determining your “love language” — a primary way of expressing and interpreting love– that may be Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Gifts, Quality Time, or Physical Touch. I won’t get into details on the book beyond that, but suffice to say that Anna’s primary love language is definitely the latter of the five, and recognizing that has helped me be more aware. We like to joke that Anna’s love language is “Cuddles.”
Tucker would fall into the same category. I hear the words “I want you to hoooold meeee” more often than just about anything else (it is likely only second to anything starting with “Why…?”). I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times when I am annoyed at needing to hold him for seemingly no reason, when I have other things on my list of “To Do’s,” but I have no doubt that I will miss it a lot when he outgrows wanting to cuddling up with his parents.
Anna can nap at almost any time, any place, and will jump at the chance almost any time it is given (and sometimes when it is not.) She comes from a family of champion sleepers, and actually participated in a sleep study once where she amazed the technicians with her ability to jump into deep REM sleep almost instantly. She has been known to *swoon* and get that “I have the best husband ever!” look, when I tell her it’s okay with me if she goes and has a nap, or heads to bed early on any given evening.
Tucker is now almost 4 years old, and has been a good sleeper since day 1, napping well and becoming one of those “sleeps through the night” babies ridiculously fast. Early on he started shouting declarations of “Yaaaaay naptiiiiime!” that set the tone for them pretty well. Sure, he wakes up a little early now (thanks a lot, summer sun!) and his morning nap is a distant memory. But he still naps well almost every afternoon without much fuss, and bedtime at night is very, very rarely a battle. I am SO incredibly thankful for this!
I often joke with Anna about how much more competitive she is than I am. It’s an exaggeration, but in general she plays to win, while I play because playing is fun. This manifests itself in lots of ways, from her pursuit of high marks in school, to fake “awards” in apps like GasBuddy, to training for and running a 5K. Healthy competition is a great motivator for her.
I’m noticing the same thing in Tucker. Not in the sense that he must always win or else break down crying, but that making something a competition is a great way to motivate him to action. I can ask him 10 times to clean up his toys, or put on his socks, or get to the table for dinner, or walk faster so we don’t miss our flight, etc. and he will seemingly ignore me. But tack on a “I bet I can do it faster!” or even just a simple “on your mark, get set, go!” and it is amazing how quickly he will jump into action.
Well, maybe he gets this from both of us. Let me try again…
Yep, that’s the one.
What great traits do you see in your own children that you know come from your spouse?
Are there traits do you see in yourself that you know came from one of your parents?