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Modern Perspectives, Parenthood, Young Married Mom

March 31, 2011

Baby’s Crystal Ball

Sometimes I wonder:  when parents look back on their children’s behavior in their younger years and see hints of since-blossomed personalities, are they projecting what they’ve learned about their children on the past?  Or are there real indicators of character at as young as, let’s say, six months?


I hope so!


As a rule, I try not to inflate Jacob’s infant behavior into expectations about his emerging personality.  I try to look at things for what they are, not what they might be, i.e. he gets entranced by the television because of the light it emits, not because of a deep-seated desire to become either an actor or a couch potato (unless we’re watching football; then it’s because he can’t wait to get his hands on a pigskin).  It’s the less romantic approach—which is a departure for me—but I think the healthier one, especially for one prone to idealize.


However, as I’m witnessing more and more of Jacob’s physical development, I can’t help but wonder how much of his identity is coming through along with it.  The other kids we know in the same age range are developing at the same pace, but in different arenas.  Case in point: Jacob is uninterested in sitting up.  When I plop him down that way, he’ll tolerate it for a couple of minutes, then either fall backwards or face plant so that he’s lying on the ground again.  He’ll roll over, then pivot and creep and scoot himself where he wants to be.  His goal is not to observe his surroundings, but to get himself from point A to point B (which is often underneath furniture).



Of course, this could manifest itself in many ways as he continues to mature:  maybe he’ll be super busy, always on the go, and commit to tons of extra-curriculars; maybe he’ll focus on a sport, like track, to expend all this energy; or maybe (and most likely, of course) he’ll become a racecar driver.



Or a turtle.


I hesitate to put too much stock in what Jacob’s doing now as a barometer of what’s to come.  With the exception of the indisputable fact that his girth and broad, manly shoulders guarantee a football career, whether just pee wee or high school and beyond.


There are dreams, and then there’s reality.


  1. Everything Jacob does is definitely a barometer of things to come. My children are only 2 and 4, so I can speak authoritatively about how these things will manifest themselves as they grow older, but I certainly feel that things about their temperment and core personality were evident from a very young age. My older son is a dreamer. He spends his days creating elaborate fantasy lands from legos and blocks and telling himself stories. From about 4 months old he would sit quietly, transfixed, while we read him books and pointed out things in the pictures. We’ve nicknamed my two-year old Havoc. He is a mover and a shaker and was much more interested in tossing books across the room and watching them fly at a very young age, than being read to. And to this day, he is less patient, much more stubborn and energetic.
    Whatever happens, you will continue to be fascinated by watching the development of your little guy! Good luck to you both, and thanks so much for your thoughtful post.

  2. whatsaysyou says:

    Aww, your kid is so adorable in the pictures but I like the picture with the duck upon his head.

  3. Alex says:

    I think Jacob should be a racecar driver and not a turtle.

  4. Rebecca says:

    I think there’s absolute truth in the idea that children have their innate personalities from the start.
    I also think it’s incredibly wise to not label babies into one category or another. It’s amazing to see a baby so young have such definite opinions about things. I think you see it the most at this stage with tummy time, naps, reading, crawling/walking…stuff like that…or even what they think is funny, or how they interact with strangers….but their personality is definitely evident. I think the trouble that we get into, as parents, is to TELL our children what their personality is. Does that make sense?

    • Yes, and that’s a better way of phrasing the distinction I’m trying to make. I don’t doubt that his personality is there; rather I think we can sometimes be too quick to label and thus incorrectly judge who our little ones are.

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