Monday, January 03, 2005

My Daughter, Myself

One aspect of raising children that fascinates me is the ongoing process of personality development. Ever since Sean and Allie were newborns, I've eagerly observed how their demeanors, traits, and habits are unfurling over time.

Sean is the cautious one---he's fastidious, careful, deliberate. He tends to be a little shy, but he's cheerful and so sweet it nearly breaks my heart sometimes.

Allie has catapulted her way through her short life. She's pretty young, but already I can see that she is intense, determined, carefree, fearless. She's a bit of a drama queen (the kicking tantrums have begun already), and, unlike her brother, has a voracious appetite----when she wants something to eat, she walks over to her highchair and shakes it. My mother looks at her in bemusement and says, "She's nothing at all like you, is she?"

Nope, not really. I guess the wishy-washy, shy, reserved gene is recessive.

Part of me is so pleased that I have a strong-willed daughter. I want her to be assertive and confident throughout her life. Yet I also sometimes wonder if temperamentally I am at all suited to raising such a child. Among the many words that do not in any way describe me are "assertive" and "confident."

Are such projections just silly at this point? How well do a 15-month-old's personality traits map to later personality? And why am I more concerned about how I will relate to my daughter as she grows up than I am about how I will relate to my son?

(As usual, I must put deeper reflection on hold as I venture once more into Sean's room to determine the source of the BANG BANG BANG THUMP THUMP THUMP sounds emanating therein. Experience would suggest that Sean may not yet be asleep.)