I don't mean that in a biology class- frog- fetal pig- starfish- kind of way. I mean looking at their strange conglomeration of features and figuring out which one came from which parent.
Who's cheeks are those? Do you think he has your Dad's chin? How about that nose?
As our children get older, we're able not just to identify physical characteristics we've passed down, but also... temperaments, let's call them.
As the oldest, Adelaide is our most advanced little lab rat (and I mean that in the most affectionate way possible). With each passing year, more behavioral nuances emerge, and Derek and I enjoy ascribing different facets of her personality to one of the two of us.
Some of these come out in different ways; for instance, through her school work. Each day after school, I pull Adelaide's folder out of her backpack and withdraw the papers that she has recently completed at school. Most of these are worksheets that I enjoy looking over to check her progress, but most people (i.e., you) could care less about. Every once in awhile, however, a gem finds it's way in there.
Here's one from around Christmas-time:
The sentence starts: "If Santa was stuck in my chimney I would..." Then each student had to fill in their own response. You probably can't read Adelaide's, but she wrote, "Pull him out of the chimney."
To me, this is all Derek. It's just so practical. I can just imagine her face (and Derek's) when reading the sentence. "If Santa was stuck in my chimney I would..." Well, I would pull him out of the chimney! What else are you supposed to do? Morons.
No fun, creative story-beginnings here. No whimsy or frivolity. Just fixing an obvious problem. Her father's daughter.
Then there's this more recent one, when her class was obviously talking about Martin Luther King, Jr.
When I saw this, my initial thought was that she had brought another student's paper home. Adelaide has been an exact, in-the-lines colorer (pretty sure that's not a word) since she was two. She painstakingly colors in each section of a paper, careful to never stray beyond the boundaries of a thick black line. This means that her artwork is either quite pretty, or only partially finished, because this attention to detail requires copious amounts of time. I completely understand this, as I remember spending plenty of recesses inside in Kindergarten so that I could finish coloring some page or cutting another project out.
Adelaide said she had to hurry to finish this; she didn't want a classmate to call her a slowpoke again, and so "had to scribble like a little kid." She is not happy with this finished product, nor it's place on the fridge.
When I got to the second page of this little school project, I realized that it had to be Adelaide's.
"I'm sorry you got shot."
That one's all Adelaide.