Halfsies

OK, what? I know that this is a closely held issue for many parents, especially moms. A friend of mine told me years ago that you should never tell a woman that her baby looks just like the dad because no mom wants to hear that. But I feel like I’m missing something here.

My kids are half Chinese, and despite the well-meaning comments from people who say they look just like me, they really, truly don’t. They have dark almond shaped eyes, dark hair, and olive-y colored skin. I am pasty white with light brown hair and eyes. Their appearance seems to change by the minute, so some days I’ll see myself in an expression they make or in the way they walk or gesture, but for the most part, they look exactly like their dad. Which is fine, because, well, I like how their dad looks. A lot. Rowr!

I’ve only had a few questions about my son being adopted or my being his nanny, but have had lots more people ask if my daughter is adopted, presumably because more girls are adopted from China than boys (although I wonder how much people really think through random comments they make to strangers). But I think the moments are just comical. For example: I may have told a couple people who asked where my kids were adopted from that they came from the country of Myuterus. (It is lovely this time of year.) And I will always remember the insane look of pride in my Chinese father-in-law’s eyes as he held my son for the first time and announced to everyone in the room, “He looks VERY Oriental. Not even half half!” It’s like he was openly celebrating his Asian genes’ victory over my wimpy white genes. But my favorite moment — when my daughter was about a year old, I was at the drug store getting a prescription for her. She was totally transfixed by an Asian woman sitting next to us. As we were leaving, I said to the woman, “Wow, she really can’t take her eyes off you!” The woman didn’t miss a beat, and with all seriousness said, “Probably because I look like her mother.”

Should I care about this more than I do? I don’t think so. While Nicole Blade’s emotional statement on Motherlode about why these comments hurt her feelings is understandable, I guess I’d rather have the “teachable moment” in these situations to be that it’s silly to get too worked up over a stranger’s passing comment. Particularly when it’s often preceded by, “Oh, your baby is so cute!”

Maybe I’ll start feeling differently when my kids realize that strangers don’t think I’m their mom at first glance. But I doubt it. I know that anyone who actually knew us would have no doubt that I am their mama. My son’s affinity for fart jokes and my daughter’s completely irrational behavior is a dead giveaway.

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