Is That Your Son?

Recently, I was walking down the hallway to my office holding hands with a little boy who needed my help when one of my new co-workers walked by and asked if he was my son.  I replied “No, my son is only 3 months” and continued walking, trying to ignore the fact that this particular boy does look an awful lot like me.  He is blond with freckles, blue eyes, and pale skin.  I know that this person didn’t mean it to be mean or hurtful by asking if he was my son, but it made me a little bit sad because I realized (again) that I won’t ever have children who look like me.  Both my kids have dark curly hair and are a darker complexion then I am, and both of them are dark-eyed.  I totally get why someone might think the boy I was walking with was related to me – we look alike!  But my children don’t look like me, and I didn’t like it being assumed that someone who does look like me must be my child.

I’m finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that I won’t have children who look like me.  I know my kids are beautiful, and that they have their own (good) looks.  We get compliments all the time about how cute, pretty, handsome, and nice looking they are and while I totally appreciate all the compliments, I know that people look at us and don’t automatically think we are related.  I do see some of myself in them.  My son has my eye shape and my daughter has my nose, but the obvious physical traits people notice at first glance are all my husband’s.

When my new co-worker asked if the little blonde boy was my son I thought for a moment how easy life would be if my kids looked like me.  I thought about how we wouldn’t get stared at in the grocery store, how people wouldn’t make rude comments to us, and how we wouldn’t feel like outsiders in social situations with families who are all the same race. Life would be easier, to an extent, if we were not a mixed race family.  But then, I look at Buggy and her little dimples and big round eyes and I see her growing up learning acceptance and tolerance and learning from the awkward and rude situations we face on a weekly (if not daily) basis.  I see her brother with his dark curls and big brown cheeks smiling up at me and I know that he will be stronger for having to face adversity due to being biracial.  It would be nice not to have to navigate though situations or to try to protect my family from unwanted comments regarding their racial background.  It would be nice to have children who look like me.  But I love my family so much, and they wouldn’t be mine if they looked just like me.

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Things I Never Thought I’d Say

Being the mom of a toddler is amazing.  Watching Buggy grow and change every day is a wonderful experience, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.  She is creative, funny, smart, curious, and goofy.  The more she grows the more silly, weird, and awkward things I find myself saying!  Here is a list of things I’ve said recently that are just plain ridiculous!

  1. Don’t color on your brother’s face!
  2. You can’t only eat ketchup for breakfast.  Eat your fruit. (She then proceeds to dip her fruit in ketchup)
  3. Stop sniffing your brother’s diapers!
  4. That is butt cream, not chap stick.  Get it away from your face!  Ick!
  5. No, that’s not your Dada, that’s a small white girl.  Your dad is big black man.  Wrong on all accounts!
  6. Why are you wearing you swim suit over your pajamas?IMG_1488
  7. Stop touching your brother’s butt.  Butt’s are not for touching!
  8. That is not our car!  (This happens every time we pass a car, she always tries to get in other people’s cars!)
  9. No, you cannot have your toothbrush back.  (An all out toddler fit ensues while I continue, talking mostly to myself) Your toothbrush fell on the floor of Chipotle and I don’t care if you cry about it, I am getting my damn burrito!!  And you’re not getting this toothbrush back! Ever!
  10. Buggy!  Stop!  Your brother can’t eat goldfish!  (one minute later…) Stop feeding him grapes!  Just don’t feed him anything.  Got it?

What funny things have your kids said?

Little Mulatto

After a night of trick-or-treating with my family and some of our friends, we had a bonfire in my friend’s driveway.  Her neighbors kept stopping by to say hello, and some stayed to chat.  One couple, a white woman and black man who have two children, stayed a while and talked with all of us about random things.  It was a fun evening, and a great way to end our Halloween.

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Yabba Dabba Doo! We were the Flinstones for Halloween this year!

As we were loading the kids up to leave, the man said “Bye, little mulatto” and waved to Buggy.  Mulatto, by definition, is a person of mixed white and black race, particularly with one white and one black parent.  While Buggy does fit this definition, the word mulatto has a negative connotation.  It is offensive, and brings unnecessary attention to the fact that someone is mixed race.  It hurt me that he would label my daughter mulatto, and it upset me that someone who’s children are also mixed race would not think twice before using a word like mulatto to describe a child.  There was absolutely no reason to add mulatto to the end of his salutation.  It did not serve any purpose beyond pissing me off and reminding everyone present that my daughter is half black and half white.

I really wanted to give him a piece of my mind, and let him know that he was using a derogatory word towards a sweet, innocent, and beautiful toddler girl.  I wanted to tell him that his words cut through me, and hurt me – the white parent of a mixed race child.  I wanted to tell him that his words could hurt her self-esteem and have a damaging effect on the way she views herself as a mixed-race person.  I really wanted to teach him that it would be acceptable to call my daughter by her name instead of referring to her as a mulatto, or that he could have simply said “Bye”.  I wanted to say that there was no reason for him to make mention of her being mulatto, and that it isn’t nice to refer to people by their skin color.  I really should have responded with “Bye, big Black man”.  But, since we were leaving anyway and everyone else was already in the car, I left it alone.

On the ride home, my husband commented that he would normally be offended if someone called Buggy a mulatto, but this guy also had mulatto kids. He said it’s like if black people call each other the N word, it is okay.  His thinking is that because they are Black they have the right to use an offensive work towards others in their race.  This really bothers me.  I don’t think anyone, no matter what they look like should use the N word, or call somebody a mulatto.  I don’t think that using words that describe a person’s skin color are necessary in casual conversation, and I don’t think that anyone deserves to be called rude or racist names.

Has anyone ever called your child a name you don’t like?  How did you respond?