January 20, 2014

Nurture Vs. Nature

My youngest son has proven to be such a feisty dragon. Perhaps the Universe made him so because I blessed him that moniker a month or so before he came out to the world. Had I known, I would have called him ‘the gentle dragon’ instead. Thoughts become things?

As an infant he would often scream for my milky breasts and he would also constantly crave for company. We co-sleep but got him a crib for the times when I need to work and he needs a safe area to play in. But even if you throw in colorful blocks and soft rattles, he would demand to be picked up and played with. He knows exactly what he wants and he will do scream and cry his best to get it. We knew right away he was going to be that kind of kid who will be hard to lug around malls.

As of today, he’s three months shy from turning two and here we have a toddler who terrifies his little cousins. The mere sight of him can send his cousins running towards their parents shuddering in fear. And I don’t blame them. My son screams at them, pinches them, and violently pulls their clothes. He’s a natural bully.

Some people are quick to judge these kind of kids. They label them as “bad” and they are quick to conclude that these kids are poorly taken care of. They assume right away that these kids learn such “bad” behavior from the television. They assume that these kids are violent because they’re exposed to violence.

Let me tell you something. When my eldest was growing up, my husband and I were growing up too. Suffice to say, we would always have really violent fights in front of our son. He was also exposed to television with cat-trying-to-hurt-a-mouse kind of cartoons. I was barely around and I was more or less a child myself but he has proven to be one of the gentlest human beings I have ever known. On the other hand, my feisty dragon doesn’t watch cartoons (save for Rise of the Guardians – a current obsession, will write about it soon). And we don’t have fights in front of him, save for occasional small and petty arguments here and there. My work-life scenario also changed, I have more time now and I’m more attentive, relaxed, and patient.

Let’s face it. My dragon is a very feisty one. He was born as so. But if you get to know him better he’s also naturally sharp, charming, and playful. He’s generally a happy kid. Especially when well fed!

After 12 years of having just one child, I thought babies were given to parents like plain cookie dough and it’s up to the parents how to bake them. Whoa, I was wrong. Children are born already half-baked! And they’re not all cookies! Some are bagels, cakes, sourdough bread, pan de sal, and some are even pizzas. It’s up to us, the parents, on how we'll fully bake them to perfection. It's all about how to nurture nature. 

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