It's funny how things run in families. Both of my children remind me strongly of my younger sister, in very different ways. My daughter inherited her social skills and her ability to completely monopolize a conversation (in an entertaining way). There's a certain physical similarity as well - my sister was also a petite, blue-eyed blonde. My father regularly calls my daughter by my sister's name, especially when she's in chatterbox mode (which is about 90% of the time).

My son until now has more resembled me (according to my mother, anyhow). But a new side of him is emerging, a competitive streak that duplicates the gritted-teeth determination I witnessed as a child. My sister is 4 years younger than I, and never let that get in her way. She was always so determined to do everything I did, when I did it. As a result, she was quite precocious in most physical activities (although the fact that I was a bookwormish klutz probably didn't hurt her ability to keep up).

My son has always been quite well-coordinated for his age, but in the last couple of weeks he has decided that he should be able to keep up with his sister, despite being 5 years younger and 18" shorter. He refuses to admit that a tricycle is simply not capable of keeping up with a 3-speed bike. He insists that he can play the piano as well as she, although she's had 3 years of lessons and can actually read music. He's ahead of her in computer skills, although the fact that he can't read is sometimes an impediment. And I await with fear the day he realizes that games can have a winner (my sister, as a child, had been known to hurl the board across the room when losing, although I think she's over that phase now. It didn't help that our grandfather took great glee in beating the socks off a child 60 years his junior).

Fortunately for all involved, my daughter is more like me in that regard - very egalitarian. As long as everyone's having fun, she doesn't care who wins. We'd both rather lose the game and keep the playmate. And she doesn't count a 3-year-old as serious competition, so most of the time she doesn't even realize there was anything to win. So I can reasonably hope that they'll both survive the boardgame years.