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Mike Julianelle Headshot

Mom vs. Dad: Who's to Blame?

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Parenting isn't a competition.

When it comes to raising kids, comparing how you're doing to other parents or measuring your kid's development against others their age is just not a good idea. Children are like snowflakes -- annoying, loud, inconvenient, smelly snowflakes. They're all annoying and loud and inconvenient and smelly in their own unique ways.

Every parent is unique too. We all have different styles, even compared to our spouses. Making it about who's winning is poisonous to your relationship and potentially damaging to your offspring.

That said, when it comes to which parent our son takes after, I am totally crushing my wife.

Until recently, most attempts at pinpointing our son's personality traits have been a fool's errand; he's happy and energetic and all that, but with zero responsibilities and a mandatory daily nap, I'd be in a good mood all the time too. He's a toddler; he's got a long way to go before he becomes who he's gonna be. You can't peg your kid as a lifelong spinach-hater just because he hates it at 2; everyone hates spinach at 2. (Please shut up, Other Parents who desperately want to shout about how much their kids love spinach. Just SHUT. UP.)

But now that he's actually over 2 and getting older by the day (SCIENCE!), glimmers of the person he will eventually become are starting to show. Some of his mannerisms and "interests," such as they are, definitely seem to be lining up as obvious carry-overs from each of his parents. So I thought it would be totally counterproductive, borderline rude and very entertaining to tally them up and determine who is winning in the "He's More Like Me!" Derby.

HE'S MORE LIKE WHO?

He Loves Music - Both myself and Mom and Buried love music, but I need to hear it nonstop all the time, and she prefers to sit in a theater and watch people perform stories through song. Detective Munch is constantly demanding that we throw some tunes on, and while he definitely likes the Buffy musical, he prefers something with a guitar and a back-beat. Plus, he can't get enough of the musical instruments we've bought him. Since I'm the only person in this family who has ever played an instrument, I'm giving the music badge to me. I don't care that I played the clarinet, it counts! - DAD

He Loves Christmas - Yes, every kid loves Christmas., for obvious reasons. But my kid is showing signs of being a Christmas psycho, like his Mom. He has been decorating our tree nonstop since we got it, taking ornaments off and then putting them back on, over and over, and then occasionally smashing one onto the ground... He doesn't seem to be making any kind of commentary on the increasing commercialism of Christmas, though, so we'll go with "loves Christmas." For now. He actually sat through an outdoor showing of The Polar Express and has been singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" with absolutely no prompting from either of us. Since no one I've ever met loves Christmas more than my wife, it's safe to say he gets this extra enthusiasm from her. - MOM

He Loves Animals - My son adores animals of every kind. Unless they get too close, in which case he cries and wants them to go away immediately. If you've read this post, you know that my wife is, shall we say... ambivalent about animals. I love them and will not rest until we get a pet for my son, even if it means my wife literally will not rest, from the terrible allergies. - DAD

He Has OCD - He likes everything to be in its right place. He can't give one person a high-five without making sure everyone else in the room gets one. He hasn't made me any to-do lists yet but if he gets this from his mother as I suspect, I'm expecting one shortly. Can't wait. More orders. - MOM

He Loves Stufties - He has a steadily increasing collection of stuffed animals, much like I did as a child. Mom and Buried, as the Hater of All Things Cute and Animal-Related, did not have any stufties as a child, and in those early stages of our courtship, when I would gift her with one, I could see her respect for me evaporating.The wife won't even argue that he gets this from me. - DAD

He Has Curly Hair - Yeah, it's not a personality trait, but it's the first thing everyone mentions when they see him, especially all the creepy, jealous women who clearly want to scalp him and keep his hair for themselves. I have curly hair when I let mine grow long enough -- which I never do, because looking like Screech is not a good career move -- but in pics of my wife at his age, she has the same 'do as him. Too close to call. - PUSH

He Loves Dancing - When it comes to dancing, I'm the family's Brandon Walsh and my wife's the David Silver. I know, it's totally ironic; I look so much like Brian Austin Green, you'd think I was the David Silver! But she's the only one with hoop earrings (SO FAR). And seeing as the kid will shake it to commercial jingles, and I just plain don't dance, I'm laying this one on Mom. - MOM

As you can see, it's pretty close, but I'm totally dominating. It makes sense, since he looks exactly like me (or so they tell me) and he's a boy like me. But he's also nice, quick to smile and likes people, so it's clear he got a little something from Mom and Buried too. Hopefully things will progress this way, with our son taking on the best aspects of each of our personalities and adding some positive tweaks of his own.

Of course, regardless of who won this battle (ME!), the whole "who is he more like?" debate is a double-edged sword. Because once he's raising hell as a teenager, my wife will be able to look back at this post -- or the movie they make from my blog -- and blame all his terrible behavior on me.

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Read more from Mike Julianelle at Dad and Buried.

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