“She’s the image of her dad, isn’t she?” As the proud father, I had to admit: Melanie was indeed a lucky girl. It is curious to think that when your child is conceived, and unseen DNA lottery is being played out within the womb: ‘And the first ball drawn out this evening is for your baby’s eye colour…and it’s hazel, after her grandmother! The second ball – for her temper – comes from…her uncle!’ While I’m sure that much of our character is determined by our experiences of growing up parts of our personality and undoubtedly most aspects of our physical appearance are painted from the palette of our ancestry.
In the past I had never really taken much notice of comments from family members about how ‘you looked just like your Dad when you did that’. As a father, however, I am constantly amazed at the family resemblances that my daughter displays. From the day she was born, people made comments about how closely Melanie resembled me. Personality-wise, though, it has quickly become apparent that we are different in many ways.
I first noticed this when Mel was playing with a new toy. It was one of those ‘put the shapes in the correct holes’ games, and she had just cottoned on to what was supposed to happen. To my delight, she picked up a round block and popped it straight into the correct hole. Looking decidedly pleased with herself, she moved on immediately to her next choice – a triangular block. To my amazement she steadily moved it towards the triangular-shaped hole. My daughter was obviously a genius. She held the block delicately over the hole and then at the last second decided that this would be the wrong move and tried without success to ram the shape into the square hole. Looking slightly perplexed at this, she tried once more. Then something most unnerving happened. Her face twisted into an angry knot and, fists shaking, she let forth an unearthly guttural screech. With frightening force, she snatched up the game and, still screaming, hurled it against the wall.
- How to nurture your child’s personality
- Dad’s story – baby proofing the house
- Mum’s story – why mums get ‘parent rage’
It was all over in a split second. A moment later she was playing placidly with her squeaky horse as if nothing had happened. I sat stunned, but amused. I am a very patient person, but this was not, it seemed, going to be a trait inherited by Melanie. So where on earth had this come from then? My thoughts turned immediately to her auntie (my sister), who, despite her very many star qualities, has never been famous for her patience.
Got the look
Mel’s appearance is, of course, constantly changing. Being with her every day, however, my partner Rachel and I have found that new developments tend to creep up on us, resulting in some eerie moments of revelation. Not so long ago, Mel turned to look at me and for a second I caught a brief glimpse of my grandmother’s features in her face. For just that second, as strange as it may sound, it was almost as if I was looking straight at my father’s mother. At other times, however, I can see a strong resemblance to Rachel in Mel’s distinctive eyes – though usually when she is about to do something sneaky!
Although only 15 months old, Mel is already far more adventurous than me with her food (something that comes from her mother), and will eat peppers and even beetroot! However, there is one trait that undoubtedly comes from me (and my mum) – her obsession with all things sweet. Although we have always tried to feed her responsibly, she seems to have developed a frightening addiction for anything that is remotely fruity or biscuity – and God help you if she spies you eating cake and not offering her any! I look forward to the coming years of bonding over ice-cream sundaes. Mmm…