If I asked anyone which of my kids was a chip off the old block, I reckon 90% of people would say my daughter. Everyone says she looks like me for starters (although I think the fact that we’ve both got long hair and glasses prevents people from seeing that we don’t actually look that alike).
But the chip off the old block isn’t my daughter. It’s my eldest son.
I’ve always thought we had quite similar personalities, but it’s only recently, now he’s in the 6th form and really becoming his own person, that I’ve realised just how alike we really are.
In his bedroom, he has a wall that he’s very proud of. He’s constantly adding things to his wall – fliers, quotes, pictures… It’s very colourful and very creative.
And I used to do just the same.
All of my student houses, and my flat when I worked in London in my 20s, had a wall like that. Posters, magazine articles, fliers, setlists and even big fly posters I’d peeled off walls in the street – they all adorned my wall.
His taste in music is remarkably similar to mine – veering towards the rock and the indie and away from the pop. While his brother and sister like pop music and dance music, he will actively reject it and turn off the radio if a song he doesn’t like comes on. It annoys me when he turns off the radio, but I know I would have done exactly the same at his age.
He’s started seeking out vintage shops and wearing Doc Marten’s. He’s just acquired his first pair of second hand Levi’s.
I did all of those things from 6th form, through university and right until I had kids.
On holiday in Copenhagen, he was particularly keen that we visit an area called Christiania. It’s a self-governing ‘free town’ within Copenhagen, where cannabis is sold openly, there is graffiti everywhere, alternative art galleries, alternative stalls and alternative music.
My husband dragged us away almost immediately because of the cannabis, but also because of the dogs running loose, but my son insisted he and I cycle back there later in the day.
I didn’t like it there.
‘It’s cool here, isn’t it?’
And I knew that, while the 44 year old me didn’t like it, the 16 year old me, the 19 year old me and the 23 year old me would have LOVED it.
Apart from the music, which my son has kind of inherited via my iTunes, my son doesn’t particularly know what I was like when I was young and that I wore alternative clothes and decorated my room with fliers and setlists.
But somehow he has become a chip off the old block anyway.
And I love that he has.