19 June 2011, by Tan Yi Lin
I’ve spent the whole week mulling on what to blog about this weekend.
Shopping (in Summary)
Initially, now that we’ve gone full swing into preparing for the baby’s arrival and after visiting a few baby fairs at the Singapore Expo, I thought of sharing a few tips in an entry dedicated to shopping.
And that is exactly where the problem lies — I really only have a few minor insights into shopping for baby gear, definitely not enough to dedicate an entire blog entry to. You could probably gain a lot more knowledge from reading parenting forums. The lack of content boils down to the fact that friends and relatives have been extremely kind and generous, and have been either giving us pre-loved baby items or getting new items as gifts for us. The more probable reason for this lack of inspiration for a shopping post is because I am a very lazy shopper. Hate fuss. Hate crowds. Hate being pounced upon like prey by promoters at baby fairs. Hate running around comparing brands, models and prices.
To summarise my take on shopping for baby:
(1) Baby fairs held at the Singapore Expo are largely similar because the same suppliers participate in each of these fairs. Just head to the fair closest to your estimated delivery date.
(2) Prices of items offered at baby fairs and hypermarts (e.g. Baby Hypermart, Baby Kingdom) are not necessarily cheaper than what you would get at departmental stores (e.g. BHG, OG, Robinsons) or mall retailers (e.g. Mothercare). In fact, the latter may offer better discounts during promotional or sale periods (like the Great Singapore Sale), as well as better service from experienced permanent staff (as compared to temps hired on an ad-hoc basis for expo events.) Also, beware of “expo prices” that are offered at the expense of voiding the product warranty.
(3) Don’t write off small, independent retailers housed in HDB shops, especially for more traditional items like sarong swings and muslin cloth nappies. We ordered a fair bit from Cheong Choon Baby Store at Upper Cross Street. Especially after the nice lady owner threw in free delivery, some small discounts and a huge dose of sagely advice on what to get.
And that’s it! Details as to what products, brands and models are largely dependent on personal taste and lifestyle needs and so shall not be discussed in depth in this entry… and we’re done with talking about shopping!
Evolution: the art of making cute offspring out of funny-looking babies
Now, what really inspired this week’s entry were similar posts done by blogger friends, yAnn and miss ene. It is with some egging on by miss ene, that I decided to do the same because the topic got me thinking about how my baby will look when she arrives. Will she look more like me or Dan? Which of our personality traits would she have inherited through genetic hardwiring?
A (Short) Lesson in Genetics
(Disclaimer: I’m not a guru on human biology, so please feel free to correct me if I get anything wrong here.)
Every human being has 46 chromosomes – 23 from the father; 23 from the mother. The chromosomes are arranged in pairs, with each pair containing similar genes. Inside each pair of genes, one gene can be dominant and the other recessive. The physical trait represented by the dominant gene will manifest in the body of the child. Whereas the recessive genes must be present in a double set in order for the physical trait to manifest itself.
True life example:
– In my case, my hair genes probably comprised of a dominant Straight Hair Gene from my dad (who has straight hair) and a recessive Curly Hair Gene from my mum (who has wavy hair.) Thus, I have (ruler) straight hair.
– My brother and sister probably inherited a recessive Curly Hair Gene from my dad and a recessive Curly Hair Gene from my mum. Thus, they both have (unruly) curly hair.
Hair is probably one of the more straightforward examples of hereditary physical traits. Other traits such as height, weight and skin colour are polygenic, meaning each trait depends on an array of gene pairs, not just one. Furthermore, many polygenic traits are influenced by the environment.
Based on possible gene combinations alone, one pair of parents can produce up to 64 trillion different children! This, obviously, is going to make your attempt at predicting what your baby will look like pretty tough. Make that impossibly tough.
The best way to get a rough idea of the facial features and physical traits that your child will inherit is to examine photos of family members through past generations. If your grandmother, father, self and siblings have a dominant ‘family nose’, then no prizes for guessing whose sniffer your little one is going to get! Unless, of course, your other half has an equally impressive family record of The Nose From Ages Past – then I say, may the best nose win in a war of the beaks!
A more technologically-advanced alternative is to use one of those face-mashing websites, which generate an image of your future baby from both yours and your spouse’s photos. I’ve never tried it simply because the resulting baby photos always end up looking awfully creepy and just fugly. So I opted for the old-fashioned way.
Looking back on our yellowed Kodak prints from our childhood, will Colette look more like me… or Dan? (Yeah, I know – Dan’s eyes can be really small and hard to see in these fuzzy pics – so click on each image for a closer look at our faces.)
The Early Months
(Side note 1 @ miss ene: check out my lovely locks and eat your heart out! *preen* Just kidding, babe! You managed to grow some really pretty curls in the end :D)
The Toddler Years
A Little Later in Life
Just A Little Bit Older Now…
(Side note 2: Dear Colette, we hereby break the sad news that you have an almost 100% chance of inheriting your dad’s and my chunky thighs. Unless, by some miracle, you managed to tikam two recessive Skinny Leg Genes. But we hate to tell you that we don’t think such genes exist in our family. Sorry babe.)
Judging from the hodge-podge of facial features that resulted from our parents, I think it’s really going to be difficult to place a bet on whether our baby is going to look like me or Dan. For one, all newborns reportedly resemble their father. Apparently, it is Nature’s way of ensuring that the father spots the resemblance, knows that the child is his and refrains from clubbing the cub braindead with a giant paw and swallowing it whole. In human terms, the father will be more likely to protect and care for the infant. Yeah, Mother Nature, knowing how men don’t quite get the details, decided to make it really obvious for them. Once the baby has worked its way into daddy’s heart, its facial features start to change rapidly and pretty soon, he or she may start looking more and more like mum (which in our case, is a pretty smart direction to take! Haha)
Personality-wise, it’s even harder to predict what she will be like. If I could hazard a guess from her physical reactions to various stimuli now, I think Colette would be naturally laid back; have a great (or lame – depending whether you like Dan’s jokes) sense of humour; like chocolate, chicken, music and dancing; and have a tendency to go to bed really late (oh no!)
But then, parents don’t always know best – and parents-to-be know absolutely nuts about how their babies will turn out. Only time will tell.
Whatever the outcome, we know for sure that it was with lots of love – plus a little help from medical technology, a huge sprinkling of baby dust, and showers of blessings – that we have created this lovely little baby.