And thank goodness.
I don't just mean it in the way that we are simply different from each other. I mean that my kid, despite his DNA, isn't like me, very much. Sure, we have things in common. But I look at K like a completely different person. When he tries to do stuff (use keys, talk on the phone, eat, read, converse) I am beginning to see who he is as an individual.
It's nothing short of amazing.
More than just "Hey, he's smart." If I pay enough attention, I can see the little person he is in there. I can align with his desire to learn about how keys work, about how things fit together. He wants to communicate and I can help. And not just so I can brag to family about it later. Also, when he does less than desirable things (we're entering that phase at 12+ months), I can act/react the way that would be aligned with how we live and interact; he can see that while he's sad, and I'm sad he's sad, he just can't do some stuff, to his dismay. Like, we don't headbutt others when we are angry. Not cool.
All of the learning is becoming way more fluid. He'll get numbers, colors, and letters in school. And he'll pick it up, I'm confident. But the harder stuff is the stuff that's specific to him and us, as a family. He needs to learn about the way he interacts because we have an interactive business, family, and world. He needs to play by himself, not so I can be alone more, but because we have this community-oriented life and if he wants to take care of his needs, he needs to learn how to do that and ask our help, if needed.
Every night or day that I second-guess any of our "parenting" decisions, I have to talk myself down, explaining that this is how our world is, or this is who our kid is. From diapers, to food, to sleep, to toys, to whatever. This is us. This is our kid. This is our world. I didn't think that would be so challenging.
Preparing our kid for Ivy League schools is totally NOT the point. Neither of us went to those types schools. But we did take our education seriously, so K sees that about us. I don't care what K does with his talents or desires. I just want him to know we're watching and we want to encourage him and his uniqueness is welcome.
I know that our encouragement of certain things will raise eyebrows. "An actor? Writer? Artist? Chef? Philosopher? What will he do for money? Respectability? A job?" Yikes. If I spend too much time there I will completely discount my faith in my kid. Even if he's the smartest kid in the world, it's really none of my business what he does with it. I know I didn't "live up to my potential" according to hundreds of people, but hey, I like myself! I found an awesome mate. I'm not on drugs! And that's part of our family culture too. As long as you are happy, kid, we'll try to be as helpful as possible.
I will likely revisit this concept a lot. When I forget that K is his own person and start thinking that people are judging me because of how he acts, I will try to remember that we are our own people AND we are reflections of others. I will try not to make K do things because of the way it might look to others if he doesn't. That won't be easy. But I want K to feel okay about who he is. That's part of my job/responsibility as his parent. He'll have a lot of obstacles and I hope not to be a big one.