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5 Traits I Hope My Children Don’t Inherit

Photograph by Instagram

Recently I was at a baby shower where for one of the cute little baby shower activities, we were asked to fill out a card that asked, among other things, what we hoped the coming arrival would inherit from each of her parents. I filled the card out appropriately — his laugh, her impeccable taste in greeting cards — but it got me thinking.

I’ve always known that there are traits my husband and I have that I hoped were passed on to our offspring. But what attributes would I actually have rather my daughter skipped altogether? It turns out there are lots. So without further ado, here is an incomplete list.

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1. My husband Ryan’s belly button.

It seriously goes almost all the way through his body. I actually think I could touch his spine if I wanted.

From the outside it’s a perfectly normal-looking belly button, but then you stick your finger in it when you are at the pool on your seventh date and realize that it goes on For-ev-er. (Cue Sandlot) It seriously goes almost all the way through his body. I actually think I could touch his spine if I wanted. This might not seem like something that would impact one’s life very much, but people (alright just me) are always putting jelly beans in it or pretending to sharpen pencils in it or wadding up tiny love notes and attempting to slip them into the space while he’s sleeping. So my husband hates his belly button.

2. My singing voice.

It’s not great. Some (alright, my husband) would say it’s not even good. My mom can sing beautifully so I always thought there was a chance my voice would eventually ripen into something melodious, but alas that has not yet occurred. Ryan actually can carry a tune quite well so I pray our little girl gets his pipes. Because my daughter Fiona does not need to be subjected to the boy she has a crush on in fifth grade telling the girl on one side of him in choir that she “sings like an angel” and then turning to Fiona and remarking that her “nostrils flare a lot when she sings.”

3. My anxiety/depression.

I think any parent that struggles with these two things always has the ardent hope that the genes will completely skip their children. Worrying that my current baby and any future babies will inherit my inclination to worry keeps me up at night. Other things that keep me up at night: worrying that there’s a gas leak, worrying that the drapes in Fiona’s room are too close to the heating vent, worrying worrying worrying. It’s difficult and tiring and please to God that my babies don’t have to deal with it.

4. My lack of grace.

On Tuesday I completely missed the chair at the hair salon.

I’ve always been incredibly clumsy, and at any given time I have innumerable bruises landscaping my body. I fall down the stairs; I fall up the stairs; I fall because I’m staring too longingly at the ice cream truck and forget about the curb. Almost every day I open the microwave into my forehead, and on Tuesday I completely missed the chair at the hair salon. I know I personally got this particular characteristic from my own father. Last year he cut his hand making the bed, which was almost as impressive as the time I cut my hand on a piece of toast. Or the time I sat on a balloon at a birthday party and it popped and cut my butt a little bit. I think you get the idea.

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5. My husband’s nose-blowing technique.

Ryan can be downright miserable in the spring. And also he has really bad allergies. I kid, but the issue is real. Constant congestion and watery eyes and the need to have an inhaler at the ready 100 percent of the time cannot be fun. I always feel so bad for my husband when the weather gets him under the weather. But a side effect of all of this apparently is that he must make a sound like a goose honking underwater when blowing his nose. It’s seriously loud. Like ... loud enough that the dogs bark. Loud enough that he has to go outside when the baby is napping to blow his nose because it has woken her up in the past. (No birds in the house RYAN!) I cross my fingers all the time that Fiona takes after her mother, whose nose-blowing sounds like cotton balls dancing on a pillow.

There are other things I hope end with my husband or me (I might be a hypochondriac) but I think I’ve nailed down the really important ones. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be off to sing to my daughter while she still finds my off-key ululations delightful.

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