Like any parent, Mike and I often joke about what Teddy “gets” from one or the other of us. Clearly, he didn’t actually inherit any of our quirks, and it’s probably too soon for him to start mimicking our mannerisms, but now and then, he does something that provokes one of us to turn to the other and say, “He is SO your son!”
Take mealtime. As I wrote recently, Teddy’s pretty picky—just like his daddy. Mike would be quick to jump in here and exclaim, “We know what we like! And this is true. Teddy loves cantaloupe—one of few summer fruits Mike looks forward to. (Which means, when it comes to setting an example for eating, Mike’s all over that one.) He also loves orzo pasta with tomato sauce. In fact, for a few days, while he consumed it eagerly (he would actually cry when I took away the empty plate, clamoring for more), it was all he would eat. I was frustrated by his absolute refusal to eat anything else, until I remembered that pasta with tomato sauce was my favorite meal as a child. I think I requested it for my birthday dinner several years straight. Once I recalled that childhood preference, I was more willing to indulge his picky tastebuds. (Iconic images of toddlers elbow-deep in spaghetti noodles with tomato sauce smeared all over their faces and the empire that is Chef Boyardee suggest this is a pretty universal childhood preference, but humor me here.)
Teddy also seems to be showing a natural affinity for baseball—just like his daddy. He’s got a little toy baseball that he loves to throw around. Mike says he’s even got a pretty good toss. You know, for a 10-month-old. One afternoon, I told Mike that Teddy had played in his crib for a full hour before falling asleep, just pushing his baseball around. Mike had a hard time feeling any empathy for my frustration. Pride was more instinctive. And Mike took video for a couple minutes of Teddy and I tossing/rolling the ball back and forth across the coffee table. The ball bounced off the table several times, and Teddy retrieved it each time. I’m not as big a baseball fan as Mike (understatement of the century!) but even I was pretty impressed with our future ball player’s commitment to the game.
And when it comes to water sports, it seems we’re raising a future Michael Phelps. Teddy LOVES playing in the water —just like his mama. He can’t get enough of splashing and kicking in our rooftop pool (which at 2′ 8″ end to end is ridiculous for adults but perfect for toddlers) and wading in a local shallow pool, and when we take a trip to the park next door, he makes a beeline (fingers firmly wrapped around mine) for the water feature he knows is there. We never leave that park dry. I, for one, could play in the water all day long. So I happily allow my little fish to splash around as long as he wants.
Finally, another activity that provokes Mike to look from Teddy to me and back again is when, all on his own, Teddy crawls to his bookshelf, pulls out a book—and flips through it. My boy loves to read! He even engages with what he’s reading, chuckling as he turns the pages. Although there’s one particular book he seems to enjoy more from a culinary perspective than a literary one: The Runaway Bunny. It’s the only one he consistently gnaws on it. In fact, the corner is pretty gross, and I’ve wiped away more than a few damp particles of cardboard from his lower lip. I’ve taken to keeping it out of reach lest he decimate the pages completely and render them unreadable. That would be unacceptable because it’s actually a good story. It’s one of my favorites of his. So it appears we even share the same taste in literature?
These are likely things all kids do, but we enjoy telling ourselves he gets them from us.
*Brad Paisley’s Anything Like Me