Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I Two

Nolie turns two tomorrow, a fact she's been announcing for weeks now by proudly stating, "I two!" (or, sometimes, "I toot!").  She also frequently trolls around the house singing, "Happy durday to you!  Happy durday to you!  Happy durday dear nonie, happy durday to you." 

We chose to sneak under the radar yet again this year and not throw a party (we'll have to soon enough, I know).  Instead, when she woke up from her nap on Sunday, there were some presents wrapped up for her, and balloons and streamers around the house, and a strawberry cream frosting cake Eric made from scratch.  We did the same for Addie on her 2nd birthday, who silently delighted in the glittery wonder of it all, with a sort of "For me?  Really?" look on her face.

Not Nolie.  She finished unwrapping her gifts and sat there, fairly unimpressed, and for the rest of the day demanded "Where nolie presents!?!" as if they would just keep magically appearing all day long, there for her to scoff at and discard.  And she wouldn't eat Eric's cake, either.  Maybe she remembers last year, when I accidentally allowed her to burn herself on her one birthday candle, and now she's scarred for life.  Maybe she's just an ice cream girl.  Whatever the explanation, she turned her nose up at that cake (which took, literally, HOURS for Eric to make) and wouldn't even try it.

I sound miffed writing this, but I'm not.  I love Nolie's implacability, her refusal to get hyped up just because the situation demands it.  My goodness, is she her own person.  So different from Addie, and developing all on her own.

I'm not saying parenting and environment and "nurture" don't have anything to do with it--obviously these things matter a lot.  But the more I hang out with my kids and get to know them as the grow into themselves, the more I think about how they are their own little stars, emitting pinpricks of light in unique ways--light that stuns, burns, soothes--entirely apart from how I try to direct or shape them.  It makes me wonder how much of who I am is determined by genes rather than by upbringing.  I mean, there's a time in your twenties, right, when you find fault with your parents for everything you grapple with?  You can trace every little behavior or tendency back to them.  But perhaps that's just as much genes as upbringing.  How strange to come in conctact with the idea that there might be nobody to blame but the double-helix...

But maybe this explanation is only appealing because I'm now a parent and don't want to be held responsible, in case my kids turn out to be brats or worse.  Maybe I'm blind to what exactly it is I am passing on to them, behaviorally.  I have no doubt that I'm an important figure in their lives, and that how I act deeply matters.  But who knows how they'll turn out because of, inspite of, despite our relationship?  It's impossible to parse, and yet boggles my mind just the same.


  1. What a beautiful picture of Eric and Nolie.

    Happy, Happy birthday to Nolie!!!

    p.s., this thing won't let me uses my blog.com address.


  2. Happy Durday, Nolie.
    Don't let your "friend" baby-sit any more if she thinks she's convinced she doesn't want children. It may be too late, though. I'll adapt, as usual.

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