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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

In House Genetic Stew

It is a continual fascination of mine to see differences and similarities in our brood. Who has freckles, who has food allergies. What's attributed to nature v. nurture, pink brain v. blue brain, and always, birth order? All of it is so interesting to me.

I've always thought that if we'd put Biggest Brother and Big Brother in a little pot and stirred in a dash of long, blonde hair we'd get Big Sister. It is so true. She is a blend of their appearances and personalities, making her a very special little girl. Uniquely Big Sister, but clearly part of a coordinating set.

It is so interesting to me what the children do and say alike and how they differ, too. They have all mispronounced the same words just the same - without having been old enough to hear their siblings say them that way. For instance, our toddlers all say something like heckalopter and nocketers for helicopter and binoculars. Which is comical to hear when we'd forgotten all about it. They all call leaves flowers when they are tiny. They all call grapes blueberries. None of them have had "lovies" (except yours truly) even though they love their toys, dolls, stuffed animals, and each other.

But somethings they of course, do very differently. They hit baby developmental milestones across a spectrum of early, average and later than most. Two or three liked pacifiers (AKA "ninkies") and one preferred a little thumb (and no naming names here as some habits are hard to break...).

Three of them have had pretend friends. All of those have enjoyed talking about them at great length and get very tickled to know we're all in on the joke. As in, none of them takes their play friends terribly seriously. And if we do, they remind us that they're pretend!  How funny is that?!

Big Brother is the only one who didn't make up playmates. He was likely too busy being enthralled by his brother and before long, the tiny little girl who was to be his constant companion. But Big Brother distinguished himself not by introducing us to new people, but to new words. One of our most verbal babies (maybe pushed out of that by Baby Sister who also absconded with his title of Biggest Baby and Earliest Walker), he called things entirely different words than what we did. And for some reason, we picked up on his terminology. Waffles are still called "budgies" around here some days in a lasting tribute to Big Brother's early verbalizations.

These are all stages I see so much more obviously in recollection. The charm of them is enhanced when I know how quickly they disappear, too. That even now some days Baby Sister defaults to saying "iced lollie" instead of struggling with "potstickle."

So maybe that's part of why we're especially tickled these days to hear what all Baby Sister is doing with her little pretend "gurl" named "Cessa." It reminds us of Biggest Brother's co-worker "Jace" and that Big Sister lived in a pink house in our old neighborhood with her friends "Anna and Lisa" (which clearly was a tribute to a dear family friend named Annalise.)

Oh - all of these stages! I see them all so clearly now and am delighted and grateful that the children repeat them so faithfully for me, one after each other.

And at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am so, so happy that they continue to be each others' best buddies. There was a time when the tiny boys played so nicely together and otherwise well meaning folk would caution things along the lines of, "enjoy it now" -- implying that their camaraderie and devotion to each other was sure to wane in time. So far, blessedly, that's not the case. They are best friends, built in playmates and confidants, undoubtedly enhanced by our moving.

It has been reported to me by more than a few school staffers that the biggest three hug and kiss each other when they run into each other at school! Oh, to be a fly on the walls at Our Sweet School. That, my friends, is the sweetest dessert of our little genetic stew.


  1. what a CUTE post. My ex's sister (only two of them in their house growing up) couldn't call him J.C. so she called him Jace. I love that story as I wasn't like that as a kid. Cannot wait to have kids. I need to pick my Mom's brain to hear what my brother and I did when we were little.

  2. I loved this post! I work in genetics and would love that part of parenthood...