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05/11/2009

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This is so interesting. The part that really gets me is the personality traits, not so much the physical traits. Yes, my kid clearly has my ridiculously efficient immune system (YAY! Of all the things she could have gotten from me, that was one I really wanted her to have....)

As for personality traits--that bizarre imaginativeness that she has, her extreme empathy, her obsession with fictional worlds...It's just so weird. It's like she is reliving so much of my childhood. It can get eerie almost. Some of this really are traits.

It is so interesting how our genetically connected children inherit traits from us and yet are fascinatingly their own selves. Sort of like we had some used clothing and then a quiltmaker took it and put it in a quilt...you see it and you are like--'hey, I remember that shirt!'

I think we invest the importance into this though. If there is an 'essence' to being a parent, the genes part isn't. Simone de Beauvoir has this interesting thing about how the desire for progeny is linked to the desire for immortality...but it's kind of a false immortality, the genes. Kind of like if your finger got transplanted onto someone else that got to live a lot longer...

The real part that matters is the relationship, the connection...

I'm just thinking about because I'm thinking about adoption right now. I know I'm not responding to your post exactly!

Ozma: I am not genetically related to either of my children, yet I share traits with both of them -- intense, specific traits -- that everyone would chalk up to genes, but for the fact that we don't share any! I'm not sure what to make of this, actually. In my house, we joke, "chalk one up to nurture!" My partner, who is genetically related to our daughter, is often mystified by her personality and temperament in ways that I am not; I totally get her. But sometimes I wonder if *that* isn't as much about my temperament as it is about nurture -- I am generally more empathic and introspective, so I am more likely to be thinking about my kids' interior lives and finding connections. I also sometimes wonder if there aren't a fairly small range of personality types and temperaments that we all share, so that it's not hard to find connections with lots and lots of folks we're not genetically related to. Anyway, interesting stuff!

My son is, physically, a close match to his dad...except for his smile, but that is also his personality. Judging from photographs, his dad didn't smile much as a kid, while I was a grinner, which my son is too. He is also a laugher..but is that because I work so much on making him laugh, or because he'd laugh anyway? He seems to share my love of the absurd (good) but also my intense rages and sorrows (not so much).

With the child of a compatible couple, I would guess that the advantage is that if your partner was attracted to Trait A in you, then the same Trait A appearing in your child would make getting along easier, even if the partner didn't share it.

That's way the besestt answer so far!

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