From the moment he was born, Ethan has been a mini-Mike. One of our friends commented while holding newborn Ethan, “I’ve never been this close to Mike before!” Ethan is his Daddy’s clone in more ways than appearance.
Ethan loves to draw. It would be a stretch to say that he is gifted in it (and this coming from his adoring Mama), but an understatement to say he enjoys art. He has covered his entire bedroom wall with drawings of dinosaurs, factories, ships, and other creations. That love of drawing is NOT why he is like Mike. This is why.
He told me that this was a picture of Connor and him making and then eating truffle cake. Truffle cake?! Maybe it was all the truffle fries he has consumed with Mike. There is another large drawing of a restaurant interior with the kitchen included. He enjoys food. I do appreciate how he will try almost anything. While we were making the dressing for spinach salad, he wanted to taste the red wine vinegar. I prepared him that it would not taste good on its own. He still tried it and said, “YUM!” with enthusiasm usually reserved for chocolate. When we erupted his volcano from Santa using apple cider vinegar, he also wanted to try that vinegar. He actually liked their sour tastes. While he might not be willing to eat everything his Dad does (i.e. fried crickets or duck testicles), he is quite the bizarre food lover considering the average 7 year old kid could think anything other than PB&J is exotic. He does not just eat to live, but there are many times that he truly derives pleasure from it and competes with his father in the comments and sound effects from that enjoyment.
Every week Ethan has vocabulary words from school that he has for homework. One week the word “inspire” was on the list. He thought about it and when trying to define it said to me, “I heard it on Iron Chef before…”
Ethan’s favorite sport is football. He loves to watch it. He loves to play it. He loves to make his toy dinosaurs play it. When we drove from Indianapolis to Chicago over winter break, the Bears were playing. Mike, who was driving, asked me to check the scores for him. It was taking me awhile to figure out where to find this coveted information. Mike tells me, “Give my phone to Ethan. He can find the scores.” Sure enough, Ethan knows with devotion the ESPN app on Mike’s phone and could keep up with the Bears remotely quicker than I on any given Sunday.
I jokingly refer to Mike as Tiger Dad. He has been the one to push the workbooks and flashcards on the kids. One afternoon, I caught Ethan doing flashcards with Connor totally on his own volition and took pictures to show proud Papa.
How is he like me? I mean, I did carry him around for 9 months, birth him, and give him sustenance in infancy. All I can think of at the moment is that lately he seems to be talking incessantly. All weekend he is asking us question after question after question. On the way to dinner tonight, he was asking us details about WWI and then WWII. Every answer we could give brought even more questions. When we could not answer, he would plead with us to look it up on our phones. Most of my Google searches on my phone are direct questions from Ethan that I could not adequately answer. Even though I am usually babbling and not inquiring, we are both filling the air with our voices quite often.
At least Connor shows some attributes of me so that I am not completely left out. He is starting to look more like Mike, but he still has his Mama’s dimples. He continues to be a goofball which is a blatant gene from his Mama’s side. He also likes to sing. It might be a stretch to say that he is good (and this coming from his adoring Mama), but he loves to sing along to his CD’s or just belt out tunes randomly. Another sign that he is mine is when his songs include some Usher. “A-ooh, baby, baby.”
I just thought of another Mama-like trait for both of them: LOVE of books and reading. Yes, I carried them in the womb for 9 months each. Yes, I birthed them and as a result my body has never been the same. Yes, I gave them sustenance to the point that somehow I became concave afterwards. Yes, I have a sleep debt that amazingly seems to make the U.S. deficit look like surplus. Yes, I have wiped their butts and cleaned their trajectory vomit. However, teaching them the love of books and reading is possibly one of the best gifts I could give them. If that were to be the only thing from me and all else were to resemble their Daddy, I would be as happy as Mike at a 5 star restaurant.