Link is Still Missing)
Nurture is a conundrum that has baffled
psychologists, parents and people drinking in
pubs for many a long year.
the truth? we ask, hailing the waiter for
another, enlightening ale.
How can it be
that two kids raised in the same family can be
like chalk and cheese, while identical twins
raised apart, can have identical personalities,
career paths and tastes in beer?
So, some years
ago, in an attempt to uncover the truth
for I can think of no other good reason to have
subjected myself to the tortuous first few years
of parenting I gave birth to Number One
He was olive
skinned, dark eyed and relentless in his pursuit
of upward mobility. He ran before he walked and
could scale tall bookshelves in a single bound.
He slept little, ate less and terrorised small
animals (mostly other peoples toddlers) in
the first stressful years of his life.
Then, a couple
of years later, into the same family arrangement
with the same standards, furnishings and
feeding habits came Number Two. Ginger
haired, fair-skinned, sleepy and slow moving.
My own father
looked doubtfully at the newborn bundle and
remarked that he looked nothing like his brother.
And, apart from the rather hurtful inference that
there may have loomed a question mark over Number
Twos parentage, I couldnt help but
agree. On looks alone, there was certainly
nothing to link the pair as siblings. And that
was just the beginning!
when Number Two cooperatively ate his vegetables,
slept like a log for twelve hours a night and sat
like a contended lump on the lounge room floor
for months gently examining small objects
imbedded in the carpet he did little to
dispel my own suspicions that there had been a
baby mix-up at the hospital.
they are not brothers? I would think,
watching bemused as Number One frolicked semi-naked
on the sub-zero temperature, frost-covered lawn,
while his baby brother sensibly sought socks,
jacket, boots and a woolly hat for the same
did I go wrong? I would ask in exasperation
when saying, No! to the baby resulted
in instant remorse, while his older brother
apparently took it to mean, Continue your
havoc-wreaking by all means! and did his
best to do just that!
Number Two snuggle down willingly in his little
bed at night, while Big Brother preferred to
perform a series of late night living room
encores often followed by a long and
painful round of musical beds? It just made no
however, as their dissimilarities mounted (and
Number Three arrived, adding his own curious
slant on things) I gave up trying to figure it
And as Number
One -- now a young man -- heads off to the snow,
wearing a tee shirt and shorts, and Number Two
rugs up carefully for an excursion to the
clothesline, I know I have made the right choice
to abandon my quest for the truth.
My fellow bar-side
sociologists agree, so we order another round and
move on to the topic of Darwins Theory of
Evolution. After all, we decide, its
probably easier to intellectualise the rise from
monkey to mankind than to ever try to get a
handle on kids.