Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mystery Solved

Nurture vs. Nature. It's an age-old question, and one that is bound to come up in the lives of my children. Storm and Faith are fathered by the poster child for the American Melting Pot. He most closely identifies as African-American. William and Ray are fathered by a pasty white Brit. Unfortunately, the children don't see them as often as any of us would like because the guys are both in the Army and have spent so much time overseas.

It's an interesting arrangement, no doubt. We get LOTS of questions and avoid many others. My favorite? "Which ones are yours?" And I say, "All of them." And Bitchy Ignoramuses say, "No, I said 'Which of the children are yours?'" And I say, "Yes, Ma'am. And I said, 'All of them.'" And they say, "Oooooooooh!" in a sing-songy way that betrays both their surprise and disapproval. I cut my eyes, smile and twirl Faith's hair around my finger.

So I spend a fair amount of time studying my children. I not only revel in their smiles and squeals and questions and answers; but I LOOK at them. I look for Dawn and Big Storm in Storm and Faith. I look for myself and Jack in William and Ray. Physical features are easy, but still need to be catalouged. The kids like to talk about where their eyes came from and how they got their toes and "who has hair like me." It's also good for the guys, I think. They need to hear about the obvious presence of their DNA when all else fails. Storm looks EXACTLY like Big Storm - perfect smile and Fred Flintstone feet, and William and Ray ARE Jack from the neck down - narrow shoulders and soccer-player legs.

What plagues me, though, are the weird habits and preferences/obsessions. One, in particular, really irks me. I have watched Storm do this for a couple of years now, and have been close to throwing-up for a couple of years now. He twitches his nose and then, with his palm parallel to his face, starts with the tip of his middle finger and rubs his entire hand and forearm up his face. This behavior has been a total mystery to me. I have NEVER, in my entire life, seen anyone else do this. Until tonight.

We found a new-to-us beach dive. Open-air, fresh seafood, good beer on tap, a little band - our kind of place. The kids were playing on the beach and Dawn and I were enjoying a rare moment alone. I was in mid-sentence when her nose started twitching. Her strong, capable hand came up; and as I held my breath and did my best to keep my eyes from popping out of my head, she performed the manuever.


That's one less thing I can blame on THEM.



  1. oh! go ahead and BLAME them!

    i must say that in addition to the lengthy space between his nose and upper lip and sad eyes with the crazy long lashes, my little boy has some habits (a very particular sort of chewing with his mouth full, head tilted back...i funny flirty eyebrow wiggle) that are PURELY his dad. nothing like the gestures of my family. frightening to see it in action.

    the funny thing is that he's only met his father twice, the last time being when he was 18 months old.

    absolute nature...sends chills up my spine sometimes.

  2. FUNNY. i had to perform the 'maneuver' to understand it... im such a dork. you gals are so great together...:)

  3. Yes. There is never a time when we don't look at our kids and see where they come from. Before I had children I was a much bigger believer in the "nurture" part of the equation.

  4. Oh yeah. When mine were younger and super blondie, I'd get lots of second looks, especially when to referred to as "mommy". We used to live in an obnoxiously well-to-do town (got outta there as quick as we could) where I'm sure I was assumed to be the nanny. Much more diverse area now, but still get 2nd looks sometimes. What causes ME the second look is when I see my oldest give a shy goofy smile with his head cocked down and to one side and looks just like my brother...and my mother's brothers whom he's never met. Or the way my middle one paces when he's thinking, and is hooked on other cultures and countries, just like his father's brother. Kwazy stuff

  5. LOL. I bet they act like Dawn too. Genetics only get a kid so far .. it's the environmental aspect too!

  6. Haha! YES! Nurture wins again!

  7. That is funny. I'm sitting here on the couch trying to mimic that maneuver so I can get the full picture. I'm glad the mystery is solved!