Do you ever sit back and think how amazing it is that you created a person just like you? No joke, I used to think: I wish I had a clone of myself to be friends with so I had a sidekick who always wanted to do what I wanted to do. This was during my early 30s when I was still going out 8 nights a week for a nightlife column I was writing for Chicago magazine. And I was at an age when my friends were starting to marry off and have kids and/or had zero interest in accompanying me to yet another opening of yet another bar or restaurant, while most sane people our age would otherwise be sleeping because they had to be up early to take care of their kids.
I had to get up early to nurse my hangover before heading to my day job at Playboy.
I actually used to think I wanted a friend just like me, someone with the same interests, who wanted to spend all of their time doing what I did. A boyfriend probably would’ve done the trick, but my lifestyle at the time didn't support a serious relationship. (Until my husband came along...)
Now that I have a kid? I sort of feel like I have that sidekick in Preston. He’s just like me in a lot of ways. He has similar habits and tastes; very similar mannerisms. He’s just as strong-willed as I am, if not more stubborn (like his Daddy). He even likes the same music—he loves hip-hop and pop, probably because it’s what my husband and I listen to in the car; he's a big J. Lo and Nicki Minaj fan. Preston and I even dance alike (he bobs his head to the music and, yes, sometimes even fist pumps).
It’s cool to create a mini version of yourself. We both love the colors blue and gray. We both are overly polite (I get this from my dad's mom, who instilled in us the importance of having good manners). Preston’s always up for doing whatever I want on the weekends—what I wouldn't have done for a friend like that 6 years ago! Thankfully that no longer means going to bars and clubs, but rather running errands or going to Target. He's always more than willing to come along to brunch or dinner, too, no matter who it’s with (how great is that!). He loves going out and socializing. I’m more of a homebody these days, but get a few drinks in me...
He’s the world’s best cuddler, which is my favorite thing to do at night before bed; he’ll even sit through an episode of The Real Housewives of Wherever, but he prefers Curious George or Yo Gabba Gabba. It's give and take. It’s probably not a coincidence that he's always had a particular interest in letters and books since I’m a writer, but it's pretty rad that he shows a knack for reading already.
I’m not deliberately trying to mold him into me—it’s only natural your kid starts to pick up on your habits and develops habits similar to yours. Ever since I had him I’ve become a bit OCD about certain things, and he has very similar habits. I'm particular about turning lights off—he's the same way, always the first to turn a light off before we exit a room. I like to keep doors closed, especially closet and bathroom doors; he will leave a room and turn around to close the door, even when I don’t. I always make sure his air filter and CD player are turned off when they're not being used, to conserve energy—now I don’t even need to remember to turn them off, because he will.
And because I'm always straightening up/putting away his toys as he's playing with them, he now knows to put one toy away before he takes another out. He will say: "I'm done playing with this Mom, let's put it away." I kid you not. It's amazing. He even takes his shoes off the minute we walk in the door (a rule in our house), and puts them where his shoes go by the front door. I can't tell you how happy this makes me.
It’s cool that we have the same weird habits, and he’s becoming this mini person with a mini personality that’s starting to resemble mine. Don't we all hope to create better versions of ourselves with our kids? Almost makes me want a house full of little clones, I mean kids...but I know it's not a given they turn out this way. I'm sort of prepared for the fact that if we do have more children, I'm destined for a little devil.
How is your kid like you or your husband?