Friday, March 5, 2010

Things I Didn't Teach Them

So I'm having one of those basic realizations today. We're getting to the point where not everything my kids know are things I've taught them or exposed them to.

For example, where I can claim the credit for teaching the importance of sharing or difference between red and blue, I cannot explain why my 2-year-old is terrified of bugs. Its this odd and sudden-onset phobia: she sees a no-see-um flying harmlessly in the backyard and is instantly hugging my leg for dear life. If a whisp of her curly blond hair tickles her neck unexpectedly, she shrieks. And while I'm not a big fan of the class Insecta I know for a fact that I've done nothing to instill this fear in her. Hopefully she'll soon grow out of it, but it's a strange and (mostly) cool thing to see her very own traits and personality glitches develop. We all need glitches, after all.

Oh, and then there's the shopping thing. And not shopping just anywhere. "My favorite store is Old Navy. Wanna go to OLD NAVY, daddy? I miss Old Navy...." I seriously shop like a man. I have my list; I go in, find my product, make the purchase, and head out. Not this girl. She caresses the manikins on her way to the toddler section. Her face truly glows as she takes items from off the racks exclaiming "Oh this is TOO cute." She'll carry them around until mom decides it's time to leave. Then she hangs each of them back up on the correct rack, smoothing wrinkles as she goes. It's one of those things; I never imagined I'd have a kid who would work in retail one day but it seem to be innately her thing. Well, at least at the ripe old age of 2.

Let's not forget about the Claire-bear. If everything she knew and enjoyed came directly from me, she'd have a science brain drawn to the puzzles and toys with interesting gadgets and levers and whatnot. I mean you should see her room - it's filled with blinky-lights and low-level educational entertainment options. But no. Her happy place is with a super plush lovey and relaxing tunes. She coos and grins and her eyes roll back in her head with pleasure when she can sink her face into a stuffed lion or puppy dog. And while I like music, I've never been particularly musically-inclined or gone crazy over any band. She will be different; I can tell already.

These are small steps away from the apron-strings, I know, but I am still struck by them because I've spent 2 years of my life and the entirety of their lives directing experiences and information flow and all of a sudden the influences are coming from outside and from within them. It's not all about me, again! (I learn this lesson a lot.) It's good. It's the way things should be. I'm excited to see their next development of loves and hates. But I know I'll need reminders that when I can't drive and direct it all, to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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