I was shopping with my 2-year-old daughter, Violet, yesterday. We were at Wal-Mart playing our usual game of bumper carts with what seemed like every local yokel who apparently desperately needed to shop at one o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon.
Seriously, what is it with Wal-Mart? Is it ever not crowded? And, my God, where do these people come from? Other planets? But that’s mean, isn’t it? Unless you’ve been to Wal-Mart recently and then ye know I speaketh the truth.
So we had one of those awkward “dance” games with a lady coming straight at us. You know, where you go left, the other person goes left, you go right, the other person goes right and then you both courtesy laugh with embarrassment? One of those. We dance the jig, laugh and maneuver around each other. A few minutes later we pass the woman again and she stops me and says “Your daughter is beautiful! She looks just like you!” I stop in my tracks, nearly French kiss the woman (she was pretty cute) and then tell her that she’s basically one of the only people to ever tell me that because the kid? She looks EXACTLY like her father. The woman says “What? Really? I think she looks just like you!”
I was beaming. My daughter looks like me. I’ve never been told that by a stranger before. A stranger who has no vested interest in my feelings and isn’t saying something just to please me. It may seem like a vanity thing, like, I think I’m so beautiful I want my offspring to be beautiful as well. It’s not that. It’s just that, well, I dunno what is it that makes us want our children to look like us? Is it some sort of biological need? However, after looking at this photo of me and Violet I think Wal-Mart Lady was out of her mind:
It’s not that I’m disappointed that Violet looks like Serge because I really love that this tiny little girl looks just like her Pop. But it would be kind of cool to look at your baby, the one you carried for nine damn months, and see a glimmer of yourself. I can tell that Serge really digs that the kids look like him and I just don’t know how that feels. I mean, look at this. I basically gave birth to my husband:
She continues to resemble him more and more every day. I had high hopes with Henry. Alas, little dude came out looking just like his Pop. For a while it looked as if God might’ve thrown me a bone because Henry’s eyes seemed to be turning blue. I have blue eyes and Serge has greenish brown eyes. What is that, hazel? What the hell color is hazel? I used to think it was grayish but Serge calls his eyes hazel and they’re greenish with brown in them. Is hazel the color you say your eyes are if they aren’t really a definitive color?
Anyway, Hankster’s eyes seem to be turning the exact color of Violet’s when she was his age. Oh, there is still a glimmer of hope they might turn blue but I think that’s just wishful thinking on my part.
I carried the children for nine months, puked my guts out, gained an assload of weight, spent hours and hours and hours daydreaming what the babies would look like and then pushed them from my body. Dad? What did he do? Had a little sexy time with me and then held my hand while I pushed? Yet there it is. The undeniable fact that both children look just like their father. In fact, they look so much like their dad and nothing like me that if he were the woman in the relationship I’d wonder if I even contributed DNA and would be giving the mailman’s eye color serious consideration next time he came around delivering packages.
I’m not alone. Amy Levin-Epstein recently wrote about Vanessa Coppes, a woman who wishes her baby looked more like her. Instead, the Dominican mom gave birth to a blue-eyed, red-headed baby who clearly took after his father of German and Irish descent. Levin-Epstein writes how people would often ask Coppes if her son was adopted. Levin-Epstein also interviewed Joanne Stern, Ph.D and author of Parenting Is a Contact Sport: 8 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Kids for Life, who says many women are bummed when their children don’t resemble them. “This emotion isn’t surprising. A woman may feel kind of left out or separated. She’s the one who has gone through everything to bring this human being into the world and then she is on the outside of the family like a surrogate mother.”
Let me be clear: my children are beautiful and I wouldn’t change a thing about them. But they look SO much like their father that there was an initial twinge of disappointment that they look absolutely nothing like me or my side of the family. With everyone all the time yammering about how they look just like Serge I do sometimes feel left out. However, there’s still hope! Stern says moms should know that a physical resemblance can take years to develop and isn’t the only thing that makes family members appear similar. “As kids grow, more physical attributes may come out, like the way he holds his mouth or the way his nose grows,” Stern says. “Also, they begin to mimic your mannerisms, speech patterns, facial expressions.”
Have you ever felt this way about your child or do I sound like a narcissistic jerk?
UPDATE!! I researched the claim that babies look more like dads so dad knows the baby is really his… Check out what I find out!