Science has never been my thing. I sucked at it on the ACT. My lab partner in high school chemistry wouldn’t let me touch anything because he was afraid I’d burn down the building. Every science class I took in college beyond basic biology was pass/fail.
What I’m saying is there’s a reason I majored in English.
But science has some practical applications, I suppose. I’m sure it can be useful for something or other. Like guessing what your baby might look like. Today, we’ll look at genetics.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of Mendelian inheritance. If not, you should probably do the assigned reading*, then rejoin the class. But to recap, it has applications in what traits kids inherit from their parents. Karli and I have been talking about what Squatch might catch from us—and I’ve been a little terrified of what I might pass on—so it might be interesting to look at what might pop out of my wife in a few months.
*Yep, that’s a Wikipedia link. That’ll probably be about the extent of scientific knowledge that my English-teacher brain can absorb.
That one’s 50/50, but we’ll do some of those folk tests soon to see what they guess.
Eyes—Mine are brown, Karli’s are blue. Brown is dominant, but I know I also carry a recessive green gene from my mother, so it’s a toss-up. Karli hopes Squatch has blue eyes. I hope Squatch has eyes, but Karli’s eyes are nice. My money’s going to be on brown, though.
Hair—Karli’s got light-ish, super-curly hair. I’ve got dark, sorta-curly hair. Curly is dominant, and dark hair is dominant. A full head of hair (Karli) is dominant, as is a widow’s peak (me). I’m betting on dark, curly hair. I’m hoping the kid (if it’s a boy) doesn’t have to mess with baldness. In any case, I think our kid is gonna be screwed in the hair department. Our house will look like a Zombie movie every morning.
Face—Somewhere under my facial forest are dimples. Those are dominant. Neither of us has the butt-chin going on, but my mom and brother do, so I’m assuming I carry a recessive gene. That means Squatch probably won’t have it, but should the kid marry someone who does, their kids might. I’ve got detached lobes (dominant), as does Karli (I think. I don’t really understand the attached vs. detached thing. To me, they’re all attached, otherwise they’d fall off.) Unibrow is recessive (which neither of us have), so that’s a plus. But my big ol’ eyebrows are dominant, so sorry about that, Squatch.
Height—I don’t think this falls in the Mendelian realm because there are a lot of factors that contribute to it, including some that aren’t even genetic. Both of us would be considered above-average in height (though Karli definitely more so than me, which is something that she definitely misses about living in Minnesota—not being so much taller than all the women around her). In Karli’s family, she’s only a few inches shorter than her dad and is several inches taller than her mom and sister. In my family, I’m only taller than my mom. The rest of my dad’s side of the family is pretty tall. I’m a shrimp in comparison. I’m hoping they take more after Karli in this regard than me, and I’ll bet on a tall kid.
The Other Stuff
Most other things Squatch can pick up depend on a lot of factors—genetic, environmental, home, school, sheer luck—so it gets a lot less scientific from here on out. Though the bar wasn’t too high to begin with.
Karli’s family has a history of thyroid problems and diabetes. Both of us have a couple instances of cancer in our families, but not so much that it’s a big, flashing red light. And susceptibility to depression is apparently inherited, as well. So there’s a whole list of things that Squatch could be predisposed to, but there’s no sense in worrying about that.
There’s a bunch of other stuff I’m more worried about my kid getting from me. And most of this means it’s probably something I have to work on.
Phobias—There’s not much to the idea that phobias are inherited. As in nothing. But I worry about Squatch seeing me and picking up on all this crap just from being around. And there are a lot of things I’m afraid of—more than I can really list here, and definitely more than is healthy—but I don’t want my kid growing up terrified of the world just because its dad has a few hang-ups. So there’s the first thing to work on over the next few months: getting over my fears. Or maybe just hiding them better.
Bad Habits—Nail-biting. Body noises in inappropriate situations. Procrastination. Poor health and eating habits. All these are things I need to work on. Karli is probably nodding to herself as she reads these words.
Pickiness—There are some things I just won’t eat. Some of them—like cheeseburgers—are probably okay for Squatch to avoid, too. But there are a lot of vegetables I should probably force myself to eat around our kids so that they develop into better eaters. Of course, any parent will probably tell me that won’t make a bit of difference in what my kids will or won’t eat. I just don’t want “But Dad didn’t eat any peas, either” to be a weapon in their arsenal.
And before this starts seeming like a total self-loathing session, I should mention that there are plenty of things I hope my kid does inherit from me—a love of reading and learning; my gigantic feet; a love of comic books, Hitchcock movies, and making a general idiot of themselves.
But I really just hope Squatch gets a lot more of Karli than me. There’s a reason I picked her, after all.