Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I'm not the Nanny
And if I haven't been asked that directly, they say, "Aww..those kids are so cute! Are they yours?"
Confused, I look behind me to see if there is anyone else standing in the immediate vicinity, insane enough to proclaim this crazy bunch.
And then they looked at me shocked, when I'm the one to claim them as my own.
"Oh.Okay", they usually say, as they quickly walk away a bit confused and suddenly speechless, as if they've never seen interracial babies before, beautiful interracial babies I might add.
In the Fall, even my son's gym teacher, stopped him from running over to me after school because she didn't think I was his mother, shocked and startled, when he clarified indeed, I was.
My husband and I often joke that if something happens while we're out, he'll just tell people I'm the nanny.
And you have to laugh.
I can't tell you how much attention we attract when we go places and it's not always people with big mouths that open who feel the need to say something or ask, but mostly people with big mouths that open them and use them to stare.
As if we were a traveling circus or the opening act, which usually we are and that has nothing to do with race.
Just like when 3 months after I had my baby, and I went to George's school to help with his class party. As we were walking through the halls we ran into the school nurse, and upon greeting us, she asked when I was due. Okay, having to do everything in my will to restrain myself, holding back from really telling her what I truly thought, I calmly responded, "The baby was born in November", and bit my lip as I calmly walked away. But in my head I imagined myself pushing her to the ground, stomping my foot on her back and pulling her hair. She wasn't exactly slender herself. If you're not sure, don't ask.
Two summers ago, I was at the park with my family and there was an adorable, but nosy little girl playing on the swings next to us, if I remember correctly I think she was about 5 years old. And in typical little girl fashion, she was drowning me with questions:
“How old is your baby?”
“Why is she sitting like that?”
“Why is he playing in dirt?” (referring to my 2 year old)
This kept going for a good hour, and trying not to seem impatient or slightly annoyed, I tried to answer the questions, the best I could, occasionally looking over at my husband for advice and support who gave me that glad-its-not-me-look.
And then she asked the question I had no idea how to answer.
“How come your kids are white and you aren’t?”
Panic, flushed over me, my face reddened and a hard swallow followed. I stuttered and stammered and pretended not to hear.
Oh gosh. She loudly repeated, “How come your kids are white and you aren’t?”
I didn’t know how to answer in a way a 5 year old would understand or so I thought. But, I cautiously began, “Well, their father is white, and kids come in all different shades of colors.”
Thankfully, she was distracted by her brother, and I grabbed the stroller made a hard escape to the sliding boards, frantically looking around.
Where was her mother?
Yards away reading a newspaper, paying no attention. I couldn't believe I was escaping that question from a 5 year old little girl. I should be able to tackle anything. Right?
How do you answer that question?
According to my mom, I answered it right and moms know best.
But then again, maybe I should have joined her game and spouted, “How come you wear your hair like that?” Followed quickly by, "Why is your dress pink?" and "Why are your eyes blue?"