My children have an excuse especially my son and he has my wife to blame.

It becomes more apparent every day that Alek takes after his mom and her side of the family.

If my son leaves his dirty clothes in the bathroom, it's his mom's fault.

If he spills on his clothes, it's his mom's fault.

He has spent too many years emulating his mother's behavior.

But the roots run past Mom.

Even though we lived in Kansas when Alek and his sister, Claire, were very young and did not see our extended families regularly, Alek has all the markings of his mom's side of the family.

He has the traits of his mom and grandfather, some good, some not so good.

Alek is quick to figure things out, like his grandfather.

Alek likes to put things together, like his grandfather.

Alek has a knack for making things with his hands, like his grandfather.

Unfortunately, he also tends to mumble, and pictures of him smiling are few and far between. I would bet there have been people, maybe even family members, who have never seen him smile.

These are traits that he inherited from his grandfather, and those roots, I'm told, run very deep. My wife says her grandfather on her father's side was the same way.

My daughter, unfortunately, takes after me but don't tell her that. In fact, when I want to tease her, I tell she is just like me.

Claire likes to write, enjoys music, has a good sense of humor, but she also likes to sleep and figures why do something now when there is always time to do it later or not at all.

I would motivate her, but I'll get to that later.

If I try and find my wife's influence in Claire I'm sure it's there somewhere but aside from both being girls, I'm not sure what it is. Except, for the fact neither like to cook, but do it anyway when they have to.

The same can be said for me and Alek. I taught him to love baseball like my father taught me, and he and I like to get where we are going early (unlike my wife and daughter), but that might be about it as far as my characteristics spread to him.

He is left-handed, like my father was, but since he never knew my dad there was no chance to learn or emulate anything directly from him.

I would like to think my wife and I both taught our children to work hard, and like all kids, they will take the good and bad from their experiences at home and adapt them to their lives as they grow.

It is funny how kids turn out.

I know I have some of my mom and dad in me, and my wife does have traits of both of her parents, but maybe it is normal for a child to take after one parent more than the other.

We were laughing the other day as my wife reminded Alek to pick up his dirty clothes, and I reminded my wife where her work clothes were left.

Next year, when Claire is in college, it will be two against one in my house, and I know I will have no chance.

I will spend my days picking up dirty clothes that have spilled food on them and trying to understand what my son just said.

And I can only blame his mother.

Patrick Murphy, of Columbus, Neb., is the former assistant managing editor of The Telegram.