Have you ever noticed how a family who is obsessed with football, then gives birth to children who are just as obsessed? Or a mother who is a keen violinist seems to be lucky enough to have children who love music as much as her? Or, as in our case, children who are brought up surrounded by books, are avid readers and love the written word (even when they aren’t yet able to read)? I know that this all sounds pretty obvious, but it has only just come to my notice that, as parents, we have such a huge influence over our kids and what they like and dislike.
I’d wondered, when Little Miss and Little Sir came home, what types of things they would be into. Would one love football and want to play all the time? Would one of them have an obsession with horses or penguins? Would they want dance lessons or tennis lessons, or to only watch rugby matches? I questioned how I would be able to help them with their obsessions when it wasn’t one of mine. However, and it turns out slightly strangely, neither child had any particular obsession. A year down the line, and with a new view on this, I’m pretty sure this is because they were in so many foster homes and with so many different carers that they had no chance to embed the obsessions of the temporary families they were in. It was only when a friend asked me what types of things the children loved to do that I had the lightbulb moment – they have absolutely taken on our obsessions! So far they love:
- Books! I was, and still am a bookworm, and from very early on would talk to the children about signs we saw when we were out and about. We also made sure the house was filled with a huge variety of children’s books, from picture to chapter books, and from comics to magazines – so they regularly pick up a new book or magazine and love telling the stories from the pictures.
- Star Wars. Now this is a Paul thing although I appear to know a huge amount more about it then I ever wished to! Little Sir can quote lines from the films, can tell me who is related to whom in the series and regularly talks to me about the different types of space craft the characters fly!
- Music. It was only when the children would join in with the jingles on the radio that I realised quite how often we listen to certain radio stations. We will be in a shop and Little Miss will pipe up with ‘Mummy, this song is in your car!’ as she proceeds to sing along with it.
Things the children are absolutely not into:
- Football! I thought that perhaps I should be encouraging Little Sir to play football as, in my experience in schools, the boys who aren’t interested in football can be left out at school. However, as we are definitely not a football family, the goals and balls we have bought languish in the garden, to be occasionally kicked around (mostly by me when I’m on the phone outside!)
- Any other type of sports. Well unless you count cartwheels (which Little Miss is getting very good at!) We just don’t do sports in the Newby Tribe!
- Jigsaws. Ok, this is perhaps a slightly weird one to mention but the children were given quite a lot of jigsaws at birthdays and at no point have they chosen to pick one up and have a go. I did have a week of trying to encourage them, but I would get bored pretty quickly too, so I guess it’s not such a surprise that they aren’t that keen.
I guess the thing that has surprised me the most is that, even though they have only been with us for a year, they are already becoming so similar to us! It’s certainly been making me think and wonder whether I am limiting their chances at discovering the things they are great at because of what we do or don’t like. I’ve therefore made a resolution to try harder to give them more opportunities to discover their own likes and dislikes! And when and if they do find it, I will make sure to be as enthusiastic as I can so that they can become their own people, and not just a mini me!
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