Wednesday, June 1, 2011

She is just like me, except when she is just like him

People have children for a lot of different reasons, some good, some questionable. Regardless of how you got there, you have to admit that having a child is the ultimate form of narcissism. Who can deny a certain amount of pleasure when someone says your child looks *just like you* or has your nose (unless you hate your nose, but even then it looks great on your child and so maybe you learn to like your nose...just a little). Or when your child displays personality traits that are straight out of your playbook. This is especially endearing if they are those traits that are quirky or a tad grating. But they are so stinking cute when your child does them, so perhaps they are not as annoying to others when you do them as you thought?

The other day my daughter was assigned the task of cleaning out the bookcase in her room. She is an avid reader and this bookcase was beyond the legal limit of what it could hold. I noticed that many of the books she had outgrown and suggested she go through and take those out to either donate or give to her brother (if the subject wasn't fairies or princesses, which means he would get approximately one book out of the deal). And being my child she jumped at the chance to organize something. She actually got a notepad and jotted down a to do list of steps involved. My heart swelled with pride.

A little while later as I was walking by her room I noticed all the books had been taken off the shelf and there were large piles everywhere. Tentatively I asked her what she was up to. She explained that she decided that things would be much more efficient (yes, she used that word) if she sorted all the books into categories first. She had even put her brother to work helping. I think pride physically radiated off of me.

My next pass by the room I noticed it was unusually quiet. There didn't seem to be any activity going on so I looked in. And that is when I saw it. Both my daughter and my son were sprawled out on her rug, surrounded by mounds and mounds of books. They were silently reading. Now I am all for reading but at that instance I knew I was witnessing more then a brief break to skim through a story. Wait a minute. How did this happen? Where did this come from? When I start something I finish it dammit. Start to finish. No stopping, no breaks. I am on a mission. Oh no, they were exhibiting a behavior of my husband's. Specifically, the behavior where he starts a project, gets halfway through the project to the point that there is a huge mess, then gets distracted from the original project and ends up spending hours doing something else. And in all likelihood gets distracted from that task and so on. And none of the projects get done. And there is a huge mess that stays that way for several days...or weeks...until I come in and finish everything up (usually by employing a hefty bag). It drives me crazy. In fact, now that I mention it, he has a pile of paperwork in our office to *review and file* that is coming up on its one year anniversary.

As it turns out, for better or worse, my children have some of me, some of their father, and a lot of themselves. And for the record, with help from me, my daughter finished the bookcase clean out project and as it turns out there was actually two books to give her brother that didn't involve fairies or princesses.

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