Monday, January 23, 2012

Nature vs. Nurture

Sunday is laundry day at our house. Every week, as soon as we get home from church, Dude goes down for his nap and I start on the mountain of dirty clothes that has somehow accumulated in what feels like the blink of an eye. On a good day, there are only 4-5 loads to do, so the last trip outside and into the basement laundry room is over by 7:00 or so. On a bad day, I'm not finished until well after I want to be in bed.

Fortunately, yesterday was one of the good days, so by 7:30 the last load was in the dryer and waiting to be brought upstairs and folded. I had left the laundry basket out in the living room, since Dude likes to play with it, so went to get it and head downstairs. Except it wasn't in the living room. Nor was it in the dining room or kitchen. After some searching, I discovered that it, along with the slippers I had been wearing for the trek outside, had been put back in our bedroom where they're normally kept.

My first thought on seeing this was along the lines of Again? Seriously? Why does he always do this?! You see, my husband is a compulsive neat freak. I cannot count the number of times I've gotten something out, and he's put it away before I even get a chance to use it. He is no longer allowed to touch my purse or anything that is even remotely connected to my work, since the memorable day he "put away" my work bag without telling me and I ended up being late because I couldn't find it. I therefore felt quite justified as I went to find TC to scold gently remind him not to put things away before I'm finished with them. Until he told me he hadn't touched anything.

As it turns out, it was our son who felt compelled to put the basket away, along with my slippers that had been sitting next to the couch waiting for the next trip downstairs. I couldn't believe it. Now I'm living with 2 of them!

As I continued to work on the laundry, I found myself wondering whether this was something Dude had learned from his dad (nurture), or if he came from a long line of neat freaks and therefore has a genetic predisposition towards neat freakishness (nature). The interesting thing about adopting is that we'll never really know, since "General Neatness" doesn't seem to be a category in the biological parents' standard histories. :) It's funny how many characteristics Dude shares with us, which has led me to believe that either: a) nurture is a lot more influential that I originally thought, or b) we have a lot in common with Dude's biological parents. Or maybe both?

In any case, I've resigned myself to the fact that I'll be spending the rest of my life looking for things that have been "put away". *sigh*


welsh said...

In our house, we call that "committing a neatness on someone". It is usually accusatory in the most affectionate of tones, and has afforded us much laughter. As I am the usual offender, it is particularly humorous when I do it to myself, which happens more often than I'd like to admit.

Anonymous said...

When you find those obviously nature characteristics that are sooooooo different from either of you, that's when you can really tell. Like me having loud children, who would be happy to always be with other people. Teaching quiet voices will be a lifelong lesson around here....