Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Inherited &/or Conditioned Traits

My dad is having outpatient surgery today.  Nothing too major, but he had a cyst growing on the top of his foot that's been there for awhile.  It's recently gotten so big that he's feeling pain when wearing shoes/laying on his stomach with his foot is cyst-side down/exercising/etc., so the doctor said it was time to cut it out.

When he originally signed on for the surgery, he was thinking he'd probably have to take it easy for a week or so.  But he figured in about 7-10 days he'd be healed and back on the roads running again.

Then his doctor told him he'd hopefully be able to wear normal shoes again after about three months.

Surprisingly, he took that news with a grain of salt.  Fine, three months of wearing a boot - whatev.  But then she also told him that for the first week after surgery, he needs to stay off the foot for the most part.  Bed rest, if you will.  And this is when he freaked out.  Why?

Because my dad can't sit still.

And it's not in a fidgety, must-keep-me-occupied-at-all-times sort of way.  It's that he can't relax on his couch at home.  He's totally fine on vacation or in a setting where relaxing is acceptable (like, a massage for example), but when he's stuck sitting at his house, he can't just "veg out" for a week because he knows there are 300 others things he could be doing with the time.

After talking to him about how he's dreading the week on the couch, I started to think about my mom a little, too (who's not still married to my dad, fyi).  And I realized that she's the same way.  She won't really veg at home; instead she keeps herself occupied by exercising a lot and with thousands of little tasks.  Also - both of them?  Enormous neat freaks.  Like, 100% tidy houses all the time.  You leave a glass on a table when you go do something else and when you get back it's been loaded in the dishwasher.  Those kind of people.

But then it dawned on me - I'm a neat freak too.  And I don't do well vegging around the house either.  It's funny because when we first graduated college, we would go out late every night of the weekend, sleep late the next day, and then watch hours of mindless tv (MTV, Style Network, TLC, etc.) on the couch.  But the thought of that now is almost incomprehensible.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I can get sucked into an episode of Restaurant Impossible like it's no one's business.  But not for hours on end.  And not as a weekly occurrence.  Most of the time my mind swirls around the 100 things I could be doing and I get really antsy/cranky.

So were these things - these traits about my personality - inherited from my parents?  Or was I maybe conditioned to have them because both of my parents do?

It's making me wonder about our little babe and what s(he) will be like...  Will s(he) be a neat freak like mom or messy like dad?  Will s(he) be athletic like dad or less so (like mom)?  Will s(he) be emotional like mom or more even-keeled like dad?  Or other things - is it a guarantee that because we both love to read, baby also will?  Or because we're both musically inclined (can sing and play an instrument) that baby will, too?  Or since we're both generally outgoing, baby won't be shy?

Who knows - but it will be fun to see!  I think as a future parent, I imagine the kid with all the best attributes of both of us, even though I know it won't really turn out that way.

My prediction is this: I think of all the things, the musicality is one of the most sure-fire (both because s(he) might "inherit" an ability and because we'll probably make him/her learn at least one instrument).

Do you have any traits you feel are pretty darn likely to be passed on to your spawn?


Sarah said...

I like thinking about this post. It also cracked me up thinking about your Dad laid up for a week. Maybe you should suggest he scan all the family photo albums that are not electronic into the computer during that time. A great project that you would never normally want to do.

Funny you mentioned the musicality, I have often said that I hope Ryan and my potential future children have his voice and not mine. In his family all the children have beautiful voices, and so does his Dad, but his Mom does not. I'm hoping we would follow suit.

LB said...

I thought about this today when I noticed my mom deconstructing her hamburger at lunch, which is something I do to most of my meals. I'd never realized that I picked it up from her until that moment, ha.