Jenna von Oy's Blog: Adventures with a Future Mini-Me
The actress and her husband make a list of the blessings and curses their daughter, due in June, may inherit.
Thanks for welcoming our new celebrity blogger, Jenna von Oy!
Best known for her roles as Six on Blossom and Stevie on The Parkers, von Oy is also a musician who has released two albums and is set to publish a book, The Betweeners.
She’ll next appear in Lukewarm, slated for release this spring.
They expect their first child, a girl, in June.
You can find her on Twitter @JennavonOy.
I suppose it starts with the age-old question: If I have brown eyes, and my husband’s eyes are blue, can we have a blue-eyed baby? It’s Biology 101, and if I recall, the answer is a definitive “no.” However, I’m no scientist, so I’ll leave that one to the experts.
The grander and more preoccupying question that has been on my mind of late is, “What dastardly idiosyncrasies will my little girl inherit from me?” Will she be her own worst critic? Will she crave creativity, sometimes at the expense of her own sanity? Will she always strive to have the final word in an argument? Will she get overtly cranky when she doesn’t eat for several hours?
Oh, if you only knew … I can just imagine the beautiful disaster she will be, with me as a mom! That said, I know she will be getting some of her daddy’s genes as well, which should balance her out a bit. Brad and I are polar opposites in many ways, so I can only pray she gets the best of both worlds.
During dinner the other night, we mulled over some of the traits we hope are bestowed upon our daughter, versus the ones we hope are not. As chance would have it, the blessings seem to outweigh the curses, which has me breathing a serious sigh of relief.
I thought you might appreciate being privy to a portion of our list, and I have included notations as to which one of us the characteristic comes from (Though I suspect some may be painfully obvious!).
1. An active imagination and an inner child she indulges often (Me)
2. Patience, patience, and more patience (Unquestionably, Brad)
3. A love of music and all things artistic (Both of us)
4. An affinity for experiencing food as an art form (Both of us)
5. An easy ear for foreign languages (Me)
6. A calm, laid-back demeanor (Brad)
7. A deep love of travel and literature (Both of us)
8. Solid work ethic (Both of us)
9. A sense of humor and wit, especially when all else fails (Fortunately, both of us)
10. The innate ability to plan ahead and organize (Three words: Definitely. Not. Brad.)
11. A curiosity and willingness to learn about anything and everything (Both of us)
1. Being OCD (Me)
2. Getting too easily distracted (Brad)
3. Being exceedingly, dreadfully stubborn (Both of us. Disagreements are super fun in our house!)
4. Biting sarcasm that can get her into trouble (Me)
5. A terrible memory (Brad, though he is the master of useless factoids. As I write this, he is reciting a list of the first 100 CDs he bought as a teenager. Because he can.)
6. A brown thumb. Really brown. SADLY, brown. (Me)
7. A penchant for eating things well past their expiration date (Thankfully, Brad is the culprit on this one. I try to clean out our refrigerator as often as possible, to avoid this gross display.)
8. An addiction to technology and electronics. (Let’s just say that one of us makes an iPod list to accompany every activity, including vacuuming the living room. It should be noted, however, that I am in no way complaining — I consider myself INCREDIBLY lucky to have a husband that takes it upon himself to vacuum!!)
The topic of passing down quirks to one’s children originally came up in conversation courtesy of my friend, Brooke Boling (whose incredible talent has graced each of my blogs so far, in the form of photography). A story Brooke recently shared simultaneously had me in stitches and cringing about my own future…
My daughter, Parker, recently woke up screaming in the middle of the night. Realizing she was having a nightmare, I went into her room to console her, and asked what was wrong. Was my child having dark dreams about monsters hiding under her bed? Nope. She was upset because her cheese and crackers were touching in her dream. My little OCD child. She’s definitely mine!
Far be it for me to assign personality traits to my child before she has even ventured outside of the womb, but I can visualize this scenario happening in my own household. I foresee my little girl color-coordinating her blocks, alphabetizing her books, and inquiring why Elmo won’t clean up after himself.
It conjures up memories of all of those occasions when my mother has smiled knowingly and emphatically stated, “I hope you have a child just like you” — meant as a threat, no doubt, but a fair one! The writing is on the proverbial wall.
I am convinced that my child, too, will keep running at the mouth long after I have wished her “Goodnight” and shut her bedroom door (according to my mom, this was my standard nightly practice. I also used to talk myself to sleep … no surprise there!).
Granted, I wouldn’t want you to think I’m portending doom and gloom here. There are, most assuredly, positive angles to the potential likenesses my daughter and I will share. Will she fancy herself a vocabulary maven? Will she pride herself on being a “Jane of all trades” and give 100 percent to everything she commits to? Will she do her best to be loyal, spiritual and generous with her heart? I have faith she will.
I also have a sneaky suspicion she will inherit some really bizarre little eccentricities that will provide amusing fodder for years to come. For example, if she despises condiments (ketchup-be-damned!) or her blood pressure spikes whenever politics are intensely pondered, she is definitely her father’s daughter.
Alternately, if she has a severe aversion to buffets, most shades of pink, stand-up comedy, and Carrot Top (not necessarily in that order…), I’m guilty as charged. I can also be blamed if a sneezing fit sounds as though it might take the house down with it. I’m not the daintiest in that department!
I wonder if she’ll take after both Brad and I by possessing an unnatural obsession with coffee, or if she’ll be a sentimental pack-rat, as we tend to be. I also speculate about her almost inescapable love of animals. Considering she’ll be sharing a house with five dogs, she had better inherit that one!
Either way, I’m sure she’ll quickly see through some of my attempts to teach her things that I may not be terribly successful at myself, such as trying not to sweat the small stuff. I can already picture her calling me out on my own weaknesses.
One of my closest friends, Cindy Alexander, made me laugh with this similar story about her daughter, Jette:
I’ve worked so hard at teaching my girls PATIENCE. Every time a tantrum starts brewing because dinner isn’t ready yet, or I can’t pick them up the SECOND they want my attention, I say “You need to practice your patience. Sometimes you have to wait!” One night I said to Jette, “Honey, it’s time to go to bed.” She responded with, “Sweetie, you need to practice your patience. Sometimes you have to wait.” I let her win that one.
As you’ve probably witnessed in my past blogs, I tend toward the humorous and caustic. However, I think it would be thoughtless if I neglected the sweet and tender angle in all of this, and I certainly do enjoy indulging my sappy side every now and again. (Sometimes it may be well-hidden, but it’s there nonetheless!)
After all, flicks like Bambi and Rudy reduce me to a blubbering mess, and reruns of any rescue show on Animal Planet can make it a four-Kleenex kind of day.
If I’m in a really sentimental mood, I sometimes even tear up during Celebrity Apprentice. (To clarify, lest you think I’ve lost my marbles, this occurs when they dole out massive checks to charities like the Muscular Dystrophy Association, NOT when Trump proclaims “You’re fired!” to some poor sap who almost always deserves it.)
So, all of that said, I’m intrigued by the idea that certain traits might carry over from people I’ve loved and lost, such as my sweet grandmother.
A girlfriend of mine, Erika White, took that concept to another level when she shared this:
It has been so fascinating to see two little “mini me’s”. I see it in my sons’ eyes, their skin, their smiles, and their spirits. They have great speed in running and skating. I was a fast athlete in my youth, and as I see their passion for running, I truly remember my love of the sport.
I say all of this, because I was adopted at birth … I am an adopted child, who is now an adult, and who had a wonderful, loving family to raise me. But I never saw anyone who looked like me growing up, and now I’m getting to see myself in my sons. That recognition is something I had never experienced before, and it is more beautiful than I ever expected.
While I may not have dealt with the experience of being adopted, as Erika has, I understand the attachment to seeing tangible proof of where you originate. I think it comes down to feeling like you are an obvious part of the pack.
For example, I’ve been told television makes me look taller, but I’m truly a wee lass (insert visuals of me sporting a leprechaun costume here). I have always been somewhat of a black sheep in my family, as everyone is significantly taller than me.
By that statement, I don’t just mean they are a few inches taller — they dwarf me. My dad and brothers are over six feet, and my mom and sister aren’t slight in stature by any stretch of the imagination. My growth, on the other hand, found its happy place at a mere five feet.
I joke that blame should be put on all of the coffee I consumed as a youth, but I can actually thank good old recessive genes for that one. My grandmother from my dad’s side (the feisty little German spitfire that she was…) was the same height as I am. Even if she DID swear she was taller!
Sure, from time to time I get frustrated that a step-stool is required to reach the dishes in my kitchen cabinets, and true, I often sport massive heels to compensate. However, it is honestly one of the attributes I treasure most about myself. I cherish it, because I know it is a piece of the lineage that was passed down from my grandmother, and she is an integral part of who I am.
Of course, I can thank her for some other qualities too … she didn’t suffer fools, spoke her mind, colored outside of the lines, and had the heart of a lion with the hand of a poet. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for blessing me with her gifts.
Suffice it to say, passing down our own characteristics (be it good or bad) to our children is part of the fascination behind having them in the first place. As my husband so profoundly stated the other day, I can’t help but appreciate and acknowledge the weight of leaving a legacy behind. No matter what happens to me now, I’ve left an indelible mark…
I certainly loved reading your “baby brain” stories from last month, and I can’t wait to hear any anecdotes you might wish to share regarding adventures with your own “mini me.” As always, please feel free to leave comments for me here on PEOPLE.com, or send me a message through the Twittersphere!
Until next time,
— Jenna von Oy