It's common among adult women to figure out, somewhere along the way, that they're exactly like their mothers. Some, who have fought against this cultural prophecy, meet this news with horror. Some realize it the way you finally get a joke whose punchline has eluded you for a minute or two. I've always known that I am just like my mother and I couldn't be happier about it. But it's an equally profound moment when you discover that your child is just like you.
When he was about two years old, my son watched the movie Air Bud. At the time, this annoyed me. I very carefully select children's entertainment in order to deal with the least amount of annoyingness possible. Air Bud did not conform to that plan, yet somehow managed to slip through the cracks. The film is one of those classic and timeless :boy loves dog who loves basketball" stories (you know, one of those, she said as if there are a million of those). Tale as old as time: At the dramatic climax of the movie, the boy loses his beloved b-ball playing dog to horrible former owner, but in the dramatic ending, the dog returns to him. Well, it was at the time when the dog came back that my son stared up at the screen and held his hands to his mouth as his big green eyes filled with tears. Those tears never fell. They just stayed there, gleaming, as he whispered, "The dog came back! I don't believe it! He came back!" When the credits began to roll, he finally turned to me and burst into tears and fell into my arms. He kept saying, "Mommy, he came back!"
He didn't need to explain to me what he was feeling, because I knew exactly. I understood the look in his eyes and the profusion of his tears. I knew that he was overwhelmed by the kind of happiness you can only feel after having been through something sad, but a kind of sadness that you dare not explore the depths of until you know there's a happy ending in place. So at the end of the movie, he was crying in happiness and finally allowing himself to feel all the sad feelings he'd felt during the darker moments of the film.
My son is the kind of child who can lose his emotional shit over Air Bud. I am the kind of adult who cries at Zoloft commercials. In this regard, we are soul twins. Recalling this moment recently, I wanted to reach out to other moms to see what moment they realized their child was just like them. Here's what they said.
Pants Are For Suckers
"A couple months ago, after we had settled into our new house. It was maybe 2 p.m. and we were still in pajamas. Realizing she's [four years old] and needs the stimulation (and I needed her to get tired and go to sleep by 8 p.m.), I suggested a trip to the zoo. And the park. And the museum. And the mall. And the library. But she didn't want to do any of that, she just wanted to stay home. Oh, and now every Friday, she's like, is tomorrow Saturday? YAY PAJAMAS ALL DAY!"
I Have A Reputation To Consider
When I tried to take my son on a coffee run in his pajamas and he looks at me incredulously and chuckled, "Mommy, I can't go out like this. I have to get dressed. What will people think if they see me out in my pajamas?"
Hates Cleaning, Loves Swearing
"When she was two, we were cleaning the playroom and she cursed at the broom."
I'm So Excited, I'm So Excited, I'm So... So... Oops!
"When T was 13 months old, her sister was born. I knew she was just like me because when she saw the baby she signed "baby" so enthusiastically that she knocked herself over."
"When he was born on my birthday."
The Art Of Cursing
"When he dropped a well-timed F-bomb."
No Denying He's A Funny Boy, A Beauty But A Funny Boy
"When I had to scold him for reading a book as he was walking down the sidewalk."
"When she said loudly during a high holiday service at the age of 3 and a half, 'Can we go to a museum now? I want to go to the Met.'#CulturalJew"
I Scream, You Scream
The way they look at ice cream proves they are totally my kids.
When Parenting Backfires
"When she told me that I wasn't listening and she needed me to think about why I didn't want to let her have dessert."
Definitely A Gryffindor
"When she told me Hermione was her favorite but Hagrid made her feel safe."
I Am Large, I Contain Multitudes
"First child: When she told her father at age 3 that he had NO right to talk to me like a rude boy.
Second child: When he moved his Lego tower 1,000 times away from his older sister, patiently. Then sent her flying with one blow when he had enough.
Third Child: It's her imaginative moments that remind me of the world I once lived in. Her frustrated moments of screeching are just like mine, her unwillingness to tolerate cruelty and desire to save even every little ant."
Shhh! I'm Reading!
When stressed, my daughter needs a book to calm down. This started at about 18 months.
Though She Be But Little She Is Fierce
"Her quiet determination. Part of that is inborn: she sits back and figures out what she's going to do before she does it at which point she goes for it. Another part of that is situational, with us both being the younger sibling. The squeaky wheel gets the grease, but when you're the second-born after a very squeaky older brother or sister, you find different ways to be insistent and get the things you want and need."
One With The Universe
When my son woke up at night to tell me that he could feel the vibes of our argument and it was wrecking his dreams.