I can point out the big things my kids inherited: my eyes, Mark’s lips, my temper, etc. People even point out the bigs ones: “Oh Coop looks just like Mark when he was XZY age.” or “I know where Becks got that from.” The big ones aren’t hard. But the little inherited ticks are the ones I love.
There’s two kind of people in this world: you either can’t wait to pop a zit or you’re irritatingly patient as it disappears. I’m firmly in the first camp. I come from a long line of Poppers/Poppees. There’s truly nothing my mom and sisters won’t do to pop a zit (truth time: I’m the worst. If there’s a bug bump, I’ll attempt to pop it). If we can determine that there’s a core/head behind the skin, we’ll sit, plan the attack, whip out tools (bobby pins, fingernails, keys,etc), and push or poke until we’re rewarded with the nasty ooey-gooey bit firmly above the skin. Our pain tolerance is pretty high because it’s all about the pay off. POP.
Mark? Nope. He’s in the later camp. He’s patient. He’s good to his skin. When he does need help, I realize I get two chances and I’d better not use nails (how do you pop anything without nails?!). It’s fine. I’m not disgusted by his reaction. It just isn’t in his genes to mutilate his skin.
Last night Coop came down and asked how long he’d have to wait for a bump to heal. I looked over and saw a huge red spot on his thigh. “How long has it been there?!” I asked. “For a month,” Coop exaggerated (he also gets that for me) “but I’ve been picking at it tonight.” I took a closer look and noticed a huge white head. So I sat him down and put a little pressure. Nothing. I put a little more. Nothing. I felt bad about the next round of pressure because his leg is so tiny and it was pretty red. “I’m sorry Coop. It probably hurts. I’ll stop.” He responded, “Don’t worry about it. Get it out.” Once I got the go-ahead, I’m on. I pushed. Changed positions. Pushed. He didn’t budge or complain. Pushed. Worried I’d have to break out tools (no kid wants to see a needle), I warned him again.
“I don’t care what you have to do. Just do whatever you gotta do.” he said authoritatively.
This is my kid.
A couple more pushes, it popped. We studied it. He flicked it away. We high-fived and put a band-aid on it.
This is my kid.
He’s the next line of Poppers/Poppees. It’s in his genes. These little inherited ticks? Those genes are the ones that simply stun me. We’ve passed along: Mark’s ease of giving compliments, my inability to find anything even if it’s in front of my face, how Mark sits on his knees and crosses his feet, and yes even the icky habit “genes”. When I see those, I always remember: I’m someone’s mother. I’m half this kids’ genes.
And a mix of sheer awesomeness and fright washes over me: a perfect bath called Parenting.