July 29, 2010

a lesson in mendelian genetics

One of the first things strangers (or anyone for that matter) notice about Malcolm are his eyes. If I received some sort of monetary donation for each time I've heard about how beautiful, or stunning, or blue his eyes are (although I, personally, think they look more gray than blue), I would have a nice little stash set aside for the kid's eventual college education.

Long before I became pregnant, I always knew that blue eyes were a possibility ... My husband has blue eyes and, although I'm brown-eyed myself, there are blue eyes in my extended family. I never really thought, one way or another, of what color eyes I'd prefer on my future child ... I've always liked my brown eyes regardless of how "plain" or "ordinary" they might be. Eye color was a minor detail as far as I was concerned.

All I really hoped for was a kid that bore some resemblance to me ... Some small, easily distinguishable resemblance.

You see, I have lived most of my life being told that I look nothing like my parents or siblings. There were always certain moments or photographs where something about me stood out as being similar, but I have never been a "dead ringer" in any sense of the phrase.

Maybe I was switched at birth?

So, with Malcolm, I hoped for that connection. He is quite obviously my child (I did carry him for forty weeks and birth him into the world), but having him look like me would just be icing on the cake.

Imagine my elation when our maternity ward nurse told me that he looked just like me. Or when family and friends could see me in him as they gazed at him for the first time. Or when my mother-in-law wrote in her yearly Christmas letter than he didn't look like his father at all (but maybe he would end up acting like him). Even students from the high school I taught at before his birth agreed he was a total mama's boy ... And a good-looking one, at that!

It was wonderful! A dream come true!

But, ever so slowly, as my child grew from infant, to baby, to crawler the tide began to turn. Now, as is the consensus, he looks just like my husband.

What the heck happened?!

While I certainly (begrudgingly) agree, there are features that do not completely match up. For one, Malcolm's feet are definitely the same as mine ... Complete with long, stretchable toes that could almost double as fingers. I'm not sure if I should be proud of my magical toes, but at least it's something I share with my boy! Some tiny, if not greatly overlooked, feature that I can cling to.

We already know that his beautiful, stunning, blue eyes come from his father.

As much as I'd like to take all the credit and have people tell me how my beautiful little boy looks just like me, the truth is, Malcolm is a nice blend of the two of us ... Good old-fashioned meiosis at work. And, as a science teacher, I guess I shouldn't have expected anything less!

1 comment:

  1. Emily, Malcolm is just TOO cute!!! He is a good blend of you both. =)