“Not a Norwegian!”

 Braided Ponytail | Suburban Mamas

“My sister, my dad, and I are Norwegian, but my mom isn’t,” my almost-six-year-old declared confidently to a random stranger the other day.  My fair-skinned blue-eyed redhead was referring to the fact that my husband’s mother’s family is of Norwegian descent, and that’s the family side from which he most likely inherited his coloring.  I, on the other hand, am anything but Norwegian… my family is mostly of Middle European descent with nary a Scandinavian in the roster.

#1Son’s comment made me chuckle, but then it also made me wonder about much of what my kids are and do is driven by their genetic heritage?  Certainly my son’s coloring is probably an outcome of the Norwegian in him, but from where does he get his uncanny ability for abstract reasoning and making connections?  Maybe ultimately from his paternal grandfather who was part German, part English and possibly a small part Native American?  And what about my daughter, dubbed  DangerGirl due to her early propensity for death-defying feats of daring?  Does she inherit her physical confidence and her bulldogish tenacity from her Serbian great-great-grandfather and his daughter, her Prussian/German great-grandmother, both of whom were Olympic athletes?

I do know where many of my children’s traits come from.  Their love of books and of painting and drawing are most likely a product of nature and nurture, since we encourage those traits in our home.  Their physical features are often startlingly similar to other family members’: my daugher has my mother’s eye-shape and my coloring, my son and daughter both have my long legs, my son has my husband’s cheekbones.  But I do sit and wonder which part of the family tree is the source for DangerGirl’s groovy dance skills, or the fact that neither of my kids can stand eating potatoes in any form (!?)?  What about you all?  Do you have insight into where your children’s most interesting traits originate?

DecaturMamaofTwo, who is not ashamed to be Not-a-Norwegian


DecaturMamaofTwo is a Gemini, a reader, a linguist, and a recently-inspired runner.  She is mama to two kids (almost six, and two) and married to a very patient man.  Some of her favorites include reading, laughing, eating chocolate and a-hah moments.  Her secret vice is reading trashy romances.  Currently she is teaching high school French.

3 Replies to ““Not a Norwegian!””

  1. Whew! I am so relieved to know I’m not the only mama who wonders about genetic heritage and how it plays out in my kids. In my family, I wonder if my son’s penchant for certain music (and my own, especially for Celtic and related bluegrass themes) comes from the Scotch-Irish blood in our background. And my daughter’s derring-do surely must come from her great-grandmother’s flapper days, laughing in the face of prohibition and all the rest. 🙂 Love your perspective – come back again to write some more!

  2. Thanks for commenting. So cool to read about your kids’ special qualities, Jessica. I think much of what we do is *nature* (not just nurture). Thank You, Elizabeth!

    Hope you like my newest post about running!

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