OPINION: Many things in life are pre- determined by genes, writes Mark Hotton in And Baby Makes Four.
You have no control over the natural colour of your hair or eyes, your height or foot size. You get what you're given and that depends on your parents.
The environment in which you grow up dictates certain traits of your personality - such as whether you want to change your eye or hair colour.
You learn behaviour from your parents, other family members, friends and teachers.
Peer pressure plays a part in your development and eventually you turn out as a person, a well-adjusted member of society with the appropriate mores and sense of responsibility.
So, knowing that, where does my almost 3-year-old get his stubborn streak from? Is it a genetic thing? Because surely he's too young to realise that his parents can be as stubborn as mules?
His unwillingness to buckle to any insistence is truly mind-boggling at times.
Take, for instance, meals. He'll happily eat what's put in front of him . . . as long as the mashed potatoes are white (not having anything with colour mixed in), and the fish/chicken isn't too hot.
If these two things don't meet his standards, he just won't eat.
To get him to try anything new is almost impossible. Actually it is impossible. We had to hold him down to get him to try icecream, thinking icecream could be used as a future bribe. It didn't work; he's not bothered if he doesn't get dessert.
So we have a quandary. Do we stick with the status quo and be happy that he's eating some (well, one) vegetable and protein, or do we try to force him into eating other things? Is it worth the hassle and stress of attempting to coerce him into something he is quite clearly stubborn about?
Personally, I blame his mother. Only in the sense that she's more stubborn than I am. He must have inherited it from her - it's the only logical answer. And yet, so far, his sister is a complete guts, happy to eat almost anything she can get her two tiny teeth into.
It's a mystery. Who understands the mind of a 2-year-old? No-one.
He's such a creature of habit . . . which I'm starting to see could be my legacy to him. I've had Marmite and cheese sandwiches for lunch every day since, well, possibly high school.
He wants honey sandwiches for lunch, every day. And he'd eat them for dinner as well if he could.
For breakfast it's porridge with five spoonfuls of yoghurt - not milk. And he'll only eat it with his Wiggles spoon and fork. Of course, some of his routines are ones we've drummed into him - the bottle, teeth, books and bed routine works well - but he's pedantic about aspects of those. For example, he won't drink milk from anything except his bottle.
But the most frustrating thing is his stubbornness about trying new things. Anything. We don't know where he gets that from. So we just remember the golden rule - you can't reason with a 2-year-old. So we'll wait until he's 3. Surely things will improve then?
Mark Hotton is a fulltime work-from-home journalist and fulltime dad who used to be stubborn but has learnt to give, give and give to his children.
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