5/19/2012 10:03:00 PM Column: Children are Mini-Me's waiting to happen
Photos.com Filling Casey’s shoes involves equal measures
of prevarication, surrealism and goofiness.
Casey Martin Courier Columnist
All parents want their children to take after them to some degree.
Relatives spend hours hashing out whether Junior is a gearhead like Dad, or has an affinity for ballet like Mom. In fact, we sometimes stretch the possibilities of genetics to a ridiculous degree in order to find some similarities.
"Oh, look. She thinks that 'Twilight' is overrated, too. Just like Daddy."
I'm no exception. But, as I've often pointed out, as a grown man with four young daughters, our interests are divergent. Not that I'm solely interested in manly pursuits like caber-tossing or wild boar wrestling. But I do like a lot of decidedly adult pursuits, such as horror films and bike racing, which I can't share with the little tykes just yet.
I have a lot of friends who brag about what their kids can do at an early age, just like they did.
"Little Murphy can already ski, and he's only 3 years old!"
"My Chauncey can play concert piano, and he's just gotten out of diapers." Impressive, until you realize that Chauncey's 15 years old.
"How about your kids, Casey?"
"When my kids turned 3, they learned not to wipe boogers on me. Most of the time."
Don't get me wrong. My kids are each extra-ordinary in their own way. However, almost all of those ways are hilarious.
Our 11-year-old is adept at manipulating words to avoid blame. Just earlier tonight, our four-year-old called the seven-year-old a "butt."
"Daddy, Izzy told her to call me a 'butt.'"
Izzy denied it. Over and over again. Now, the thing to bear in mind about Izzy is that she's typically a very forthright and honest child. So the truth, as it were, was eventually exposed.
"I didn't tell her to call you a 'butt.' I just told her that you are a 'butt' and she told you." Knowing full well that her 4-year-old sister would repeat anything she said, of course. She omitted that little detail. When questioning Izzy, you have to be very, very specific.
Seven-year-old Annie is quite the arbiter of good taste and bad manners. She's easily offended, though she's also typically the one who wants to take off her shoes and place them on the table at restaurants. Not long ago, she learned a certain rather offensive word. She also learned that this particular word was almost entirely unacceptable:
"Daddy, did you know that **** is the worst word you can say?"
"You should never say ****. Only bad people say ****."
"Right. Stop saying it, then."
"Do you ever say ****?"
"Well, you've said it more today than I have."
Four-year-old Jessie sees the world as fantastically absurd, a hilarious event created for her own amusement. That kid is the happiest kid you'll ever meet. She just laughs and laughs. Many times, she laughs when she shouldn't. Like when you're trying to convince her that she has done something wrong.
"Stop kicking your sister, Jessie."
Three-year-old Charlie's special talent is just being a character. Whether it's inventing "Dirt Angels" (much browner Snow Angels), or exclaiming "The trashwasher ate baby Jesus!" (The infant was taken from our nativity scene and placed near the DISHwasher. Charlie worried for the baby's wellbeing), she simply can't help but be adorable.
And if you combine Charlie and Jessie, you come up with the toddler version of Leopold and Loeb. The other day, I heard them arguing over a T-shirt that has emblazoned on the front "My Daddy is My Hero!"
"You wear it!" "No, you!"
In all of these ways, my children are a reflection of me. Whether it's my ability to talk my way out of any situation like Izzy, or just my ability to be a character, to be "that guy," like Charlie, my children imitate what they see. It's rather daunting to realize that you are the yardstick by which your children measure their world. You are the example. You provide them with the expectation of the world outside their door.
A bit scary, definitely. And despite this scariness, we continue to have children. As P.J. O'Rourke once said. "Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose - with the exception of guppies, who like to eat theirs." I wonder if guppy children tend to take after Mom or Dad.
Posted: Sunday, May 20, 2012
Article comment by:
Jolinda Van Haren
Very Funny! I once posted an article on facebook entitled "Why some animals eat their young". My daughter did not find it amusing but I received a lot of comments from Mothers. You hit the nail on the head though when you pointed out that we all try and find those qualities in our children that are exactly like ours. My middle daughter could belch The Pledge of Allegiance". This really didn't come in very handy in later life... Anyway, loved the column. Looking forward to more. p.s. I always have to submit my comments twice because I never get the passcode right on the first try..jeez!