When we chose to adopt we knew we’d never see any of our physical attributes in our child. Our child would never have Mr. MPB’s nose, my eyes, etc. There was a time when I grieved these things and felt sorrow for the fact that we would never have that.
Instead, now I listen to people who know us (and know he is adopted) and complete strangers (who do not know he is adopted – I don’t start every conversation with strangers with, my son is adopted) comment on how much he looks like Mr. MPB and even the odd time me. I almost resent it, and I’m not really sure why. I think maybe it’s partly because I’m over sensitive, in fact I know I can be. But, I also think it’s because I know that he looks like his birth mother – I can see his birth mother’s chin in his chin. And, I think it’s great for him to grow up knowing where some of his physical features come from. And, I guess I also think that’s his birth mother’s honour and not mine (and I don’t mean this in a bad poor me kind of way, I truly think it’s great that I can see his birth mother in his features), so it seems weird to have people try to connect my physical features to his features.
But, regardless of what our child looks like, what I didn’t really think about is that our child is bound to pick up on our mannerisms because children learn through mimicking. Already Baby MPB is mimicking his Daddy:
- Baby MPB already rests with one arm on his bottle and the other raised slightly behind his head with his hands in his hair. This is just how Mr. MPB often sits on the couch when reading – one arm holding his book and the other raised slightly with his hand behind his head.
- Baby MPB also smirks like Mr. MPB does. In fact, this one is actually pretty funny and our friends have even noticed it. You see, Mr. MPB’s smirk really only occurs when he knows he’s right and he’s just patiently listening to the other person explain their perspective. So, it’s not an all the time facial expression, so I find it fascinating that our child is already be picking up on this already. And, on more then one occasion I’ve told Baby MPB to wipe that smirk off his face before it gets stuck there forever. Well he doesn’t understand this statement now, I think as a teenager it will drive him crazy (and I’m okay with that).
I’m not sure why I didn’t expect our child to pick up on our mannerisms – I honestly should have. I’m almost embarrassed to say that one of my degrees is in sociology, so I should have a strong understanding of how socialization occurs and how at the very beginning kids are almost solely socialized by their home environment because it’s all they know. I guess, I just never expected to see this occurring so vividly and so quickly. Needless to say, it’s been incredibly interesting to watch it happen.
I guess this gets to nature vs. nurture debate. I know nature, including genetics, plays a big role in childhood development, and I don’t want to discount that. But, it’s also clear that nurture matters and how they are raised will influence a child’s outcome in life. And, from my own little, completely unscientific observations, I can see how nurture is impacting our son’s development. I can see that he mimics what we do. He is mimicking some of Mr. MPB’s mannerisms. But like most babies he also mimics simple things like smiling. We smile, he smiles. Heck, strangers in the grocery store smile at him and he smiles back (he is a really smiley and happy little guy). So, of course he is going to pick up on what we do and how we do it.
And, I’ll admit, I think it’s pretty neat to watch.
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