Nature vs nurture


Part of the excitement–and terror–about adoption comes from the unknown. When biological parents are expecting, they and their friends will speculate about what family features baby will have or what family mannerisms baby will perform.

“Oh, I hope he has your eyes!” a friend may comment to the expectant mom.

“I wonder if he’ll have your laugh,” a family member may think aloud to the expectant dad.

And then as baby grows, he’ll either confirm those musings or demonstrate other familiar features and actions. And his parents will take great delight in discovering them.

“He has your ears!” or “You make that face!” Or even if it’s not immediately recognizable, Mom and Dad will share these discoveries with Grandpa and Grandma and learn that they did the same thing when they were babies.

But with adoption, all that is out the window. We’re left to speculate who in Teddy’s birth family made what we consider unique faces–but we may never find out. Teddy is a mysterious gift.

In terms of nature, that is. But as we excitedly discovered for ourselves a couple weeks ago, nurture also plays a huge role. Features, obviously, are all nature. But Teddy will imitate us.

From the day we brought Teddy home, Mike has had a special greeting for him. He presses his lips together and pushes air through them, making them vibrate. He actually doesn’t reserve this for greetings; any time is fair game. A couple weeks ago, I was on the couch chatting with Teddy while Mike was at work. Suddenly, Teddy pressed his lips together and pushed air through them. It didn’t make the vibration; he just drooled a bunch. But it was clearly an attempt at what Mike had been doing.

I immediately texted Mike about it and made his day.

Since then, Teddy’s been practicing. A lot. Which means we’ve upped our daily bib quota to catch all that extra drool. But practice makes perfect, and Teddy is now successfully vibrating. (This does not mean the drooling as stopped.) And just like for Mike, any time is fair game. Which means I’m learning to be on guard for spittle…

Teddy may not look like us, but he’s going to act like us. The pressure’s on!


About savoringeverymoment

I'm a grammar geek (I'm firmly on the side of the serial comma), the wife of a baseball fanatic, and the mama of two delightful, rambunctious children. I live in the nation's capital and attend a church where all are welcome and encouraged to use their gifts and talents.

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  1. Pingback: Rediscovering the benefits of common ground « Savoring Every Moment

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