September 30, 2004

Nature vs nurture

It is a sad fact, my darling pumpkin, that regardless of how hard you try in this life, there are certain genetic barriers that will prevent you from doing some things that you might want to. Having said that, the reverse is true, and you will be inordinately good at lots of things without trying very hard at all. This can be a problem, particularly in early years, because it can lead to a lacklustre work ethic, but I'm confident that we can beat that out of you.

Considering your two primary DNA donors, namely your mum and I, we feel that the best way to cushion the blow is to inform you now about things that you might have very little innate ability to perform. These include, but are not limited to:
  • Putting on a duvet cover - this is one of your mother's own handicaps, and means that I have sole responsibility for duvet cover application in our house
  • Cooking rice - for all of the many and varied culinary delights that will permeate your life that have been made by me, I can safely say at this stage that it's possible you will inherit my abject inability to cook rice. Even with a rice cooker. That's automatic
  • Being sick - People of a Dennis persuasion are notoriously bad patients. Penfords, particularly of the Penford-Dennis variety, are infuriating. It is likely that you will drive us to distraction at least several times
  • Ball Sports - Whilst your Uncle Tom is a professional soccer player, your mother and I both have very little capability in the department of catching and throwing / kicking /hitting balls and such pursuits
  • Singing - Please do not hate us for ensuring beyond doubt that you can never pursue a professional singing career. We're sorry.
Whilst these may seem like fairly earth shattering failures in terms of your ability to exist within and interact with society at large, there are a few upsides that are associated with being related to your mum and I. Some of these are as follows:
  • Culinary capability - Your mum is one of the world's great bakers, and I am famous for being able to conjure edible morsels from even the barest cupboard (although in extreme circumstances I guarantee only to provide "nutritious and filling" meals that may have ... interesting tastes.)
  • Eclectic musical good taste - It can be stated without fear of contradiction that Evey and I have a music collection that contains gems from many genres, and we listen to it in an equal opportunity manner that can, as with the food we cook, make for some.... interesting combinations of CDs in the changer
  • Linguistics - Whilst trying to ensure that we don't go down the road of parents who badger their children with multiplication tables when the kids are trying to run around in the backyard with no clothes on and make a mud castle, we are both people who speak English very well, and several other languages very badly (this is not true, pumpkin, by the time you're born we will both speak French as well). It is likely that you will be at least bi-lingual in your first couple of years
There are numerous other attributes that belong to only one of us (which is why we make such a good team) and it is up to the toss of the proverbial coin whether you will grow up with any of these:
  • Balance - now this one could go either way (*chortle chortle*). Notwithstanding your father's little creek excursion of a couple of days ago, it is generally held that your dad has good balance. I can still, at time of writing this (although I'm not sure that the same will be able to be said by the time you're old enough to read it) rollerblade with some skill, and ride a horse at frankly silly speeds. Your mother, however, pumpkin, is not so blessed, although she is clever enough to not try walking across stepping stones when they're a foot underwater.
  • Colours - again, the probabilities here are polarised (*chortle chortle*). Your mum is a professional artist of some standing, and therefore can recognise, categorise and effectively use a staggering number of colours with astonishing skill. Your dad has trouble picking a tie in the morning, and has to ask your mum to ensure that his shirt/tie combination won't induce epileptic fits in his co-workers.
Having said all this, according to most literature, you have at least a 50:50 chance of breaking free from these handicaps and becoming your own person. Just don't say, pumpkin, that I didn't warn you.

Love you.

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