Growing up, I heard "You will have a kid that is just like you, only worse."
My mom wasn't the best judge of character, so I didn't pay it any mind...until I heard other grown ups saying it. With all the stories I heard about my time as a toddler, it was enough for me to turn away from the idea of having children.
Then...I had one.
In 2018, I gave birth to the absolute greatest gift in the world: my son. I knew that life was going to different, chaotic, and a wild ride. This child had a strong personality from the moment he was born. As he grew, so did his personality. He became sillier, strong-willed, mischievous, and a slight prankster. I'm sure you're all thinking: "Babe, all toddlers are like this. What makes yours special?" Simple! He's my kid, and he literally pulls a 'me' on me every single day. One of his latest moments occurred at dinnertime. I asked him if he was (I signed) 'all done' with eating, and he started to give me his leftover chicken nuggets. He was about to drop them in my hand, when he turned his hand away and stuffed a piece in his mouth. He did this 4 more times. After doing this, he erupted in a fit of laughter.
Another thing he likes to do is gross me out (apparently, I did the same thing to my parents when I was a toddler). My son LOVES to put his hand in his bath water, and then lick the palm of his hand. Grosses me out every time. I tell him "Ewww, no thank you."
He cracks up: Every. Single. Time.
I feel like I literally gave birth to myself.
Aside from the silliness, he is exceptionally loving. At school, he comforts friends who are sad and he tries to make them laugh (which is a total 'me' thing. I did the same thing back in the day, and I still do it now).
When I look at my son, I encourage him to be silly, strong, loving, nurturing, and I encourage his desire to learn. Another trait of mine that he has is his love of books. He loves to skim through the pages, looking at pictures, and he loves to be read to.
I may groan when he grosses me out or pulls a fast one on me, but he is exhibiting the best parts of myself. This needs to be encouraged, as well as anything healthy that he shows an interest in, going forward.