The Five Ways Sloan is Most Like Us

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They say a child is a reflection of their parents, developing a personality and habits through a combination of nature and nurture. While Sloan is not a carbon copy of either one of us, over the past year, distinctive traits have begun to emerge that G and I both share, which are very apparent in her. Some of them are funny, some are a little more challenging, but it's amazing to watch her evolve, while displaying some "family" characteristics. 

1. She studies things intensely. All babies are curious and the world offers something new on a daily basis, but one thing we've noticed is how focused Sloan is when encountering something new. Other people have made comments about her intense eye contact when she first meets them, to the point that it's a little unsettling. While many babies' first reaction to finding something on the floor is to put it in their mouth, she never does, preferring to hold it and spin it around in her fingers, trying to figure out what it is. This is a quality that G really displays more so than I, but we both pick apart/study new items or situations before reacting. 

2. Physically cautious, to the point of being timid. When Sloan was on the precipice of crawling, she would carefully align her body on all fours, then rapidly scamper across the floor, like a crab escaping from a box, before splashing on to her belly, in a sigh of relief. She was strong and coordinated enough to move smoothly and slowly, but we noticed she wasn't very confident or comfortable early on, and would rush to avoid a perceived accident or fall. She's followed a similar pattern with walking, where she's strong enough to get up and move on her own, and if you distract her with a toy to hold she'll stand by herself - but the moment she's aware she can grab on to something for support, she collapses to the ground. We're both very cautious, with neither of us having broken a bone (through multiple varsity sports) and it's a quality we understand and foster, without trying to impede her from taking necessary risks. 

3. Self-reliant. You might assume the child of parents who are both only children could potentially display a sense of independence, but even going into parenthood with that expectation, Sloan has surprised us with just how self-contained she can be. Give her a book or puzzle and she'll entertain herself for a while, without needing or wanting attention. When she wakes up, rather than crying out for someone, she'll usually lie in bed for 15-20 minutes, chatting with herself and twirling fingers through her hair, before needing someone. We both understand the importance of having time to ourselves and to an extent, we both display some loner characteristics, but we feel it's important for Sloan to enjoy and even embrace moments where she's not bombarded by a bunch of external noise or activities. 

4. Socially anxious. When Sloan is in a comfortable space, like our home, she is unabashedly happy and free. She yells out, flays her arms and acts like a joyous baby. However, whenever we visit a friend, old or new, it takes her a while to feel comfortable and she manifests her reactions in very physical ways. Her little hands stay clenched in fists, she won't make a sound until she feels it's ok, and she'll study the area intensely (see point #1), making sure everything and everyone is safe, before relaxing. As a child, I was basically a barnacle on my mom's leg, gluing myself to her whenever we went anywhere and while Sloan hasn't done that yet, I wouldn't be surprised if she acted similarly in the future. Even as an adult, one of my biggest nightmares is having to mingle in small groups of people that I don't know. I've given talks in front of hundreds of people and have appeared on nationally broadcast TV segments, but nothing is more anxiety inducing for me than interacting with strangers one-on-one.

5. Adventurous eater. We live in a city with amazing access to international dishes. Los Angeles has some of the best Mexican, Korean, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Thai, and Chinese cuisine in the country, so we try to expose Sloan to as many options as possible. Thankfully, she quickly developed a taste for a lot of foods that we were rarely given as children, so sharing certain meals with her is exciting and actually a lot easier than having to prepare separate foods. Unfortunately, she's also inherited my insatiable sweet tooth, with the only saving grace being that her sugary cravings are easily satisfied by fruits, which is something I can't seem to embrace.