Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I love spotting family resemblance. It always surprises and delights me when children look like their biological parents. Even though I know basically how genetics works--and by "basically" I mean that makes logical sense to my non-scientific mind that if you take building blocks from one person and put them together with building blocks from someone else, the end result looks kind of like both people. I'm so pleased when I can spot "his mother's eyes" or "her father's smile."
Before Westley was born, I was insanely curious about who he would look like. I tried to mash up Rob's and my features in my head, tried to mentally merge our kindergarten photos. I was pretty sure any children of ours would have pale skin; Rob glows in the dark, and my foundation shade should be called "Pasty Cline."

Pale parents-to-be, August 2007

Apart from a complexion requiring SPF 35-zillion, no other features stood out immediately. And so much for the better, really. Because when Westley was born, of course he looked exactly like...himself!
January 2008, 1 month old

February 2010, 26 months old

While I certainly wasn't expecting to give birth to a little clone of myself, I really thought I would see more of "me" (and my husband) in Westley. Of course, newborns don't really look like anything but newborn babies. But looking at Westley now, I still don't really see much of me. I know his blonde hair and blue eyes must have been my contribution, and he's got my big ol' sticky-outy ears for sure (sorry about that, dude). Also, Westley is tall, which I figure I'm responsible for. Occasionally, Westley will pull a face that looks just like Rob, but it's really hard to see the father-son resemblance behind Rob's facial hair and grown-up-man features.

At play gym recently, I was talking to another mother about Westley. "Is he yours?" she asked, sounding surprised.

"Yes," I said. And then, gesturing to the sleeping baby strapped to my chest in the Ergo, "She's not. But he is."
The woman was briefly confused, and then (when I explained that I was one child's mother and the other's nanny) embarrassed. I was embarrassed, too, both at having unintentionally embarrassed someone else, and also realizing my strong desire to have my child look like me. As much as I want him to be his own person, I really want people to know he's mine, just looking at him: "Well, that must be his mother."

Because I totally am. I mean, it's rainy and overcast and we're both wearing sunscreen!