Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Domestic Enemy of the Mom of Mixed Race Kids

We've been waiting for this post for a loooooong time.  It came to us from our awesome new friend Jenster, who you can read all about on her blog Visitors' Day at the Institute.

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We are a half-Asian, half-Scandinavian family. My son is 14 and my daughter is 10. And yes, we do kind of look like a Gap ad, if the Gap models had teen acne, bigger butts and stretch marks. But other that, totally Gap. I would like to tell you all about the...

Domestic Enemies of Moms with Mixed-Race Kids

People who view your children as a special and wondrous species, the same way they admire mixed-breed dogs.
Yes, they are pretty darned good-looking, aren't they? Even if I weren't contractually obligated as their mom to think that way, I would still agree with your assessment. However, I wish you'd pay your nice compliment and then stop there, because my kids aren't really flattered to hear you discuss their skin/hair coloring or their nose shapes right in front of them. I'm flattered if you ask me privately about their features and show interest in their heritage, but they're not interesting little puppies at the pound who are going home with you. They've been mixed-race all their lives and, frankly, they're completely over it.

People who wonder if your kids are good at math and science since they're part-Asian.
I've been Asian all my life and I suck at math. You know that iPhone app that helps you calculate restaurant tips? The one that has people wondering what idiot would need to use that? That would be me. Being half-Asian doesn't automatically make my kids smart (although I like to think they get their excellent reading skills from me). They also happen to be half-Scandinavian, but no one asks if they eat pickled herring. Funny how that works.

People who insist on telling you about other mixed-race families that they know.
This is similar to when you meet someone for the first time and they're compelled to inform you that their best friend/sister's roomate/gynecologist is Asian. I totally get that you want to find a way to connect with us. But the fact that you find my family a novelty and insist on telling us about another family JUST LIKE US is a total turn-off. Especially when it turns out the other family has nothing in common with us other than race. News flash -- It's 2011 and there are a lot of families out there JUST LIKE US.

People who assume that you're like that dragon-mom chick.
Don't even get me started on that Asian woman who forced her mixed-race children to practice piano for hours each day and now reaps their appreciation and achievements. In our house, if my kids eat something green and avoid slamming the car doors, it's a good day.

Less you think of me as an overly defensive race-baiter, I have to inform you that I enjoy discussing my kids' racial background with people who view them first as the goofy goobers that they are and not just representatives of the "It's a Small World" ride at Disneyland. I was really pleased when a mom asked me about my daughter's eye color at soccer practice recently, because it led to a discussion of how her own child (who is not mixed race) has eyes that are two different colors. Now THAT is a cool trick.

People who view your family as their ticket to diversity and awesomeness.

Hurray! You know us. That makes you so very diverse and continental. Now you can discuss us with your friends while you eat mediocre sushi and say, "My neighborhood is very diverse." But there's something you don't know, and that is that we are AWESOME, and not because we're a mixed-race family. We're awesome because my kids can actually fart out songs. Because my husband has a loose piece of cartilage at the tip of his nose, resulting from an old ski accident, and if you're not squeamish, he'll let you WIGGLE it. And because just recently, at the ripe old age of XX (a number higher than 25 but lower than 80), I slapped on a swimsuit and took swim lessons for the very first time. From a male twenty-something college student lifeguard/swim instructor I could have once bounced on my knee. And guess what? It was AWESOME.

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Yah. I know - isn't the Jenster magical and rad? Here's her blog again: Visitor's Day at the Institute

xo, Lydia & Kate

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2011

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