Two of my main reasons for wanting to be a parent are science based. This would worry me, but everything I’ve read about new parenthood has said there is no preparing for what having a newborn will be like, and that the people who have expectations of parenting greatness and days of snuggles with tiny sleeping preciouses are the ones who are most dissatisfied or depressed about the reality. So I figure my mentality of “oh man, this is going to be an atom bomb of sleepless despair” might be healthier in the long run. I am also self-protectively choosing to focus on less emotional reasons for wanting to be a parent while in this ‘failing to ovulate and thus failing to even be able to try to conceive’ space of time.
In high school bio, I loved the section on genetics. Mendelian inheritance was as complex as that unit got, but it fascinated me. Now, after teaching Punnett squares many a time, and delving into significantly more complex mechanisms of inheritance both for grad coursework and in the course of my research proper, I feel I should be past the fascination with single-gene-with-defined-alleles heredity. I cannot help it though: I am SO excited by the idea of conducting a little heredity experiment of my own. Looking at Pea and my various traits, and wondering how they might combine is one of the main things I am looking forward to. I have brown eyes, and Pea’s are blue. My mother’s eyes are green, which gives us a 50:50 chance of a light-eyed baby since I’m heterozygous for the dominant brown, and a solid chance for a really interesting eye colour with the meld of blue and green alleles*. This is one of many many traits I wonder about, including ones we’re not sure are nature or nurture (introversion/extroversion, for example).
My second reason is that I find the developing human brain utterly enthralling. Watching a child slowly learn to comprehend that the weird flailing things in its vision are, in fact, connected to its body and under its control (hands!) is just one of the many many cognitive developments that happen as a child grows up, and I’m really excited to watch/guide/learn from that process. I heard a podcast today that described in detail an infant’s ability to conceptualize numbers. It was fascinating (Radiolab’s podcast on Numbers, if you are curious). At 2 years old, children suddenly make the switch to understanding the difference between 2 and “more than 1”. Prior to that, their innate understanding of numbers is logarithmic rather than linear (where the midpoint between 1 and 9 is 3, rather than 5 (1×3 to get to 3, and 3×3 to get to 9). In cultures where linear numbers aren’t used, this innate understanding of ratios remains the dominant concept of numbers. At around 2.5-3.5 years old in our society, children figure out what counting means and from then on, it’s a linear numerical world view. I so want the chance to see these moments happening in a tiny brain that I helped create.
Lab book update: Today is day 5 of clomid. I take it in the evenings, which has significantly mediated the anxiety it produces. I’m feeling pretty wired today, but that is not unexpected given this dose is triple what I started with. I may go for a run this afternoon as I am not commuting these days (no heat or company in the lab = this kid works from home). Running often burns the anxiety nicely, so here’s hoping.
* – I am aware that eye colour is not actually a single-gene trait, but the basic inheritance is roughly Mendelian, and I have a fascination with changeable eye colours (in part because my own are so very steadfastly brown at all times).