Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Nature versus Nurture

I was at a friend's house on Saturday night and got to visit with a group of women that I used to work with, and now don't see very often. Somehow we got onto the conversation of how our children are so different from one another... meaning that my two boys with the same parents, being raised the same way are so very different. It almost makes the argument that nature shapes our little people more than we do.

I described Will as fearless when it comes to physical feats. He could climb our big wooden play set before he was a year old. He flew up the rock wall while he still toddled on our living room floor. Jack just made it up this year, and he turned two this summer. Will rides his big girl scooter (yes, he has a girl's scooter. Shut up.) with no fear, flying down our street at lightening speed. (At least, it looks like lightening speed to me when I have the 9 and the 1 already dialed into my phone, sure that he is going to break his neck at any moment.) The other signature Will characteristic is that every single person in his presence is his best friend in the whole wide world. He wants to talk to, play with and love everyone. And he lets you know. Immediately. Last, Will is sensitive. If someone at the playground (usually slightly older girls) shun him... it cuts him deep, yo. Strangers or not, he gets deeply wounded by people's actions and it lingers.

Jack is two, and while they say that personalities change significantly until a child reaches 4ish, you can tell that Jack is not a little mini-Will. As I said, when it comes to the physical stuff, Jack is not as adventurous. He is leery of dangerous things. Now, eventually he gets over it in most cases.... but where Jack has to size up the situation, Will flies by the seat of his pants without a second thought (and sometimes without the pants). Jack is also shy. That could be his speech delay, but I don't know. I think that he sizes people up, too. You really have to rate as pretty interesting for Jack to bother giving you the time of day. It's not an easy task. And, sensitive? I think not. I believe Jack will have rhinoceros skin. He strikes me as a dude who will go his own way and do his own thing without giving critics a second thought. He will be him (hopefully he'll get over his hoarding), and I am not sure that he will care who likes it.

I had never really thought of the boys in these parallels before Saturday night. But, really... it is kind of amazing. I grew these little creatures from scratch, and yet their little personalities are growing on their own, and in very different ways. Maybe everyone else knew about this, but I just find it amazing. I grew little creatures... and they are growing into little people. Amazing.


Tuffy said...

That's always been very easy for me to see. I think the pattern of seeing them once every couple months is far enough to really notice changes each time, and also close enough to keep up with the changes as they come. Like the shyness thing... Will bonded to me as a newborn. But Jack took until he was about a year and half to really give me a chance.

I think one of the interesting side notes is that while Will is more adventurous he's just now getting into the physical wrestling around and such that Jack was into way early. I think he still wouldn't be into it if Jack wasn't. To some extent, it seems, Will is always going to be more comfortable with talking to people and such, and Jack will always be more comfortable with the physical contact.

Domestic Goddess (In Training) said...

Mike - I think you are right. I think Jack will be physical one and Will will be the thinker. Now that is a scary thought.