Mr. Potato Head
June 21, 2010
Before Preston was born, Jay and I would sit around fantasizing about parenthood, talking about all the unknown things about the mysterious baby growing inside of me.
Preston's a combo baby: My hands; Dad's feet; both our faces.
Who would he look like? Would he be laid-back like Jay, or a control freak like me? “I hope he has your legs,” I remember saying to my husband one night in bed. Jay happens to have a great pair of stems and I had terrible edema during pregnancy, which caused what I like to refer to as “thankles” (they’re worse than cankles). I also wanted Preston to have Jay’s skin, athleticism, street smarts, and perfectly round tush.
And for his part, Jay hoped Preston would have my ambition, work ethic and book smarts, as well as my hair, big brown eyes and long, thick eyelashes. It was like building Mr. Potato Head, as we put this semi-fictional character together in our collective minds. Someone who had each of our best qualities rolled into one perfect little human being. It seemed reasonable to wish for these things at the time; after all, we were creating this tiny person from scratch.
And as it turns out, these weren’t unreasonable things to wish for: Preston has all the qualities we hoped he would, and so much more actually, right down to Jay’s derriere. And the best part is, he’s just as sweet as he is cute. He seems to be the perfect combination of the two of us: He has Jay’s light brown/hazel eyes but they’re shaped like mine, big and round with long eyelashes. Preston himself is long and lean -- at almost 10 months, he’s 30 inches; tall just like his daddy. But he has my cleft chin and verbal tendencies; and so far it looks like he has Jay’s toes and feet but my fingers and hands.
I had this photo made into a T-shirt for Father's Day; I love it!
With all these common traits he shares with us, and the individual resemblances, you’d think he looked like either one of his parents -- well, not according to almost everyone who meets him. I must have had a last-minute affair with the pizza delivery guy, because according to our family and friends Preston cannot be OUR kid. (There’s a lot I don’t remember pre-pregnancy, but that must’ve been some affair!)
When I look at Preston now, I see more similarities than differences; but obviously I’m a little biased. Some people say he looks like my mom because they both have a round face; others say he looks like no one. And I can’t help but let this bother me a little. Most people take one look at him, size both of us up, and come to the conclusion that Nope, he definitely doesn’t belong to us.
Maybe it’s the 9 1/2 months of pregnancy that does it to me, but that common response from people makes me want to point to all the traits we have in common, as if to show everyone he is ours. No, really, he is! I have the scar to prove it.
It’s never said maliciously: “Preston is so cute! He looks nothing like either one of you...” But it’s said over and over and over, nonetheless. Before kids, it never even occurred to me that telling parents their kids look nothing like them might not be the nicest thing to point out. Maybe it bothers me more for my husband’s sake -- because he’s adopted, Preston is the only person in his life that does share his physical traits. I know that makes him very proud. It makes me proud too. And so far, it’s not only the eyes and body type he got from his daddy; Preston’s calm and controlled demeanor came from Jay too.
Who do your kids look like? And which traits did they get from you?