I know. I know. I am not the only person in a trans-racial family who has experienced this scenario! I know I am not the only person who has to think before I speak back to strangers when asked this (or a variety of any other inappropriate questions). I know that there will be a lifetime ahead of me to explain, defend, or even be dumbfounded by certain people, and I just have to get over it. At this point, it just makes me laugh! But here are a few scenarios that stick out!
Scene: Local Park
Three kids, clearly friends, but close in age to K! We arrive and I let him go play. I sit down on a bench to watch him (about 10 feet from where he is). The mom/adult supervision of the other group stares at me and back at him as he is yelling, “Mommy, look at me!!! I go on slide all by myself!!!” I am clapping and cheering and telling him how proud I am of him!!! Finally, I see her shifting in her seat and she leans over to say, “Oh I didn’t think you were his mother! I mean, he is so dark! I assumed you were his babysitter…or something!” Now it’s at this point that I see K trying to “play” with the other kids (her “people”). Before I can respond to her, I hear one of this kids comment on K’s skin color and say “Yucky!!!” Again, before I can comprehend the scenario that’s happening on the playground, the mom continues, “I bet you aren’t his real Mom. Are you like his stepmom? So your husband is black, right?”
Yes friends, I am in shock and awe at this point. Do I slap her? Not worth it! Do I cuss her out? Not worth it! No… I just take a yoga breathe and think about the situation (Side note: I have been teaching K to do this when he gets frustrated and wants to throw a tantrum! Take the yoga breathe baby!!!). Not only is there ignorance happening in the adult zone, but there is racism happening on the recycled plastic jungle gym!
My response to her was simple, “Actually, I don’t know who his Daddy is! (Her mouth dropped). And yes, I am his real Mom! And clearly your ignorance and bigotry is influencing the little people in your life. You might want to deal with that!” I stood up and went to K and asked him if he wanted to go on the swings! He gladly jumped out of the wood chips, waved bye to them and ran off ahead of me while we played red light, green light!
Oh Target, you tempt me with your dollar bins and cute shoes. You entice me with your food area and cheap triple feature movies, but you also house some crazies!
Pushing K in the cart around Target and I am having him point out letters he sees and colors he recognizes. He is talking up a storm and we are laughing, as usual. Random shopper with her grandchild (I think/assume) says, “Well hello there!!! Aren’t you a talker?” I smile and instruct him to say thank you! She seemed sweet enough…until, “You must get a lot of strange looks from people!” I know what she means, but I want HER to say it out loud. I respond with, “I am not sure what you mean?” She guffaw’s, wants to say something but chooses not to and says, as she’s walking away, “Have a nice day!” I scream back, “You too Ma’am!” with K saying, “See you later!!!” In my mind, I am thinking, I sure hope we don’t see you later!
Urgent care doctor who wouldn’t even touch K
Urgent care nurse who kept asking K if I was his real mother and almost berating him by asking him the SAME question over and over again when I had an over 100 degree temp.
Parent at McDonald’s who grabbed her kid away from K and told her in a stern voice that she wasn’t allowed to play with those people.
Just to name a few!
*I will use each Tuesday to rat myself out about something! It’s all in good fun and I am sure that these “truth-day” revelations won’t be things people don’t already know about me!
While I have already talked about not knowing how to cook and that there are several things that I do that annoy the crap out of me, but today I wanna be honest about something even more major; more…well, simply put, just strait up MORE! I hate closed toe shoes. Well, maybe hate is a harsh word, but I really don’t like them. I have tried to fall in love with them. I have bought countless shoes that are closed toed and I just don’t like em! Wonderfully enough, I live in Southern California, so there are only a couple of months a year that I have to wear said footwear, but really, I love my toes footloose and fancy free! Along with this equates to massive amounts of lotion on my dawgs because they are dry from wearing sandals all the time, but I don’t mind. Maybe I have a thing about this because my feet sweat too much, so, in a sandal, I feel like they can breathe. Maybe I have thing about seeing people wear a closed toe shoe without socks (um… NO thank you!). Maybe I just love my cute sandals! Who knows and who cares!!! So, when you see me walkin’ down the street, 350 (or so) days a year, best believe, I will be in a sandal or slip slop (as K puts it) or the like!!!
Really, I have no clue. For those of you who know me, it’s true, right? Thank ya Jesus for a microwave and my toaster oven! I mean really, even when I think I want to cook something easy, I don’t have half the ingredients in my house. I am either missing some kind of spice or something major like, I don’t know, cooking oil.
It baffles me that I am almost 40 years old and I don’t have a clue about how to cook. Yes, I can follow directions, and yes, I can read the instructions, but seriously, it just doesn’t happen! I see these young people whipping up major meals that look wonderful and here I am, clueless! Even having said this, I do have to admit that sadly, it isn’t something that I am passionate about learning to do. It’s one of those things that I am like, “Meh! Well, it’s a good thing I live in a world where processed foods are still around!!!” While I say that I wish I knew how to cook, I make no real attempt to do so!
So, the moral of all this—I blame my mother. If she hadn’t of convinced me that an education was more important that “woman’s work”, then maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t be inept in the kitchen! Well… that probably isn’t wholly true, but that’s the story ima go with for now, so there!
I joke when I say this to K when he doesn’t get his way, but in the eyes of a 3 year old—when I say no to something, his life truly is so rough!
Case in point—those of you who have had any kind of interaction with me know that I affectionately refer to the TV as the Zombie Box! I really avoid using it as a “baby sitter”. I try very diligently for it to be a “special” thing for him. For about the first 9 months that K was home, we RARELY watched TV. My focus was on us attaching, becoming a family, interacting with each other, getting to know one another and him learning English. Let’s face it; I am a single mom who must work, so that kid had to become fluent pretty fast!
But anyway—fast forward to our world today! So, when he is a good boy at school, I allow him to watch a movie. He has gotten to the point that he actually has to think about which of his pre-approved movies I will allow him to watch. He ponders his choices and makes and “excellent” choice! I like that he takes his time. However, once the movie is over, he thinks that because he got to watch one movie that I am just going to let him stay up all night watching TV… uh, I don’t think so!
When I shut if off, DefCon 1 ensues (or something close to it), the tears start, the whining starts, and my repeated phrase goes something like this, “Oh I know Baby! Your life is so rough! Mama won’t let you watch another movie! It’s tough being you, isn’t it?! You have 2 choices, you can go in your time out chair and cry it out, or you can go upstairs and get in the bath and cry it out! You choose!” Neither choice is awesome, in his eyes, but hey, it’s a choice.
It’s a tough gig being 3! Thank goodness I survived it! I am sure K will too!
PS—the “your life is so rough” lecture can work for any scenario where I say “no!” just sayin’!
I was reading a post by a friend of mine and what he was sharing really resonated with me; it practically reached out and screamed “pay attention to me Char!”. He was talking about “the gift of perspective” and within that, he challenged whoever to really think about this—is this stop in life a destination or a bridge? While, his post was about something totally different, it’s always so funny (not ha ha funny, but…) to me that even those couple of phrases, really spoke to me about where my life is at right now.
For those of you who know me, I am a person who can truly compartmentalize the various facets of who I am. I am so many things besides being Char. I am a mom, friend, daughter, co-worker, sister, aunt, and (at times have been known to be) a girlfriend. Clearly, I know that there are a lot more “components” to me than this, but you know… As I was sayin…It is all of these parts of me that I really am trying to “work” on. I want to be the most authentic, best version of myself that I can be. I don’t always achieve “greatness” on a daily basis, but at the end of everyday, I reflect and say, “What do I need to repent for? Who do I need to apologize to? How can I be better tomorrow?”
One of the things that I know that I haven’t been thinking about is—is this place (today, this moment, this month, this relationship, this ________________ ) a bridge or a destination?! Not only that, I haven’t really reflected on past “things” in the same light. Am I supposed to pitch a tent and take a nap “here”? Or is this place where I am supposed to dig deep and put down roots?
I am so glad that I have people in my life who can share, truly, a phrase, that makes me stop in my tracks and compels me take note of something that I really need to examine in my life. I want to live a life that is aware of the destinations and bridges. I want to be a person who knows when to slow down, smell the roses but keep walking over that bridge and someone who needs to take advantage of the destination. Ironically enough, I may only know which is which in hindsight!
A couple of weeks back, we went to a Pre-School reunion and his first (ever) teacher commented on how “weird” his “poops” were (when he was in diapers). Sadly, that same day, we were watching a show on PBS called Dinosaur Train and the theme of the show was “Everybody Poops”. It seemed that on this particular Saturday, I couldn’t escape poop! This double whammy of poop interactions reminded me of just how important poop really is. And like every 3 year old, K is OBSESSED with his poop! He affectionately screams from the bathroom when he poops, asks me to help wash his booty and always let’s me know that he “made a snake” or a “volcano” or whatever!!! When I say obsessed—I ain’t kidding folks! But as I normally do, I digress!!!
Yet, several months’ back, these same kinds of things were swirling through my head because I was concerned that K had come home from Ethiopia with some kind of intestinal thing. It’s a given thing that, ya know, the water isn’t that great in certain parts of the world and you could have a parasite just lurking around!!! And… his poop was HIDEOUS and was never solid (TMI? Probably, but really, I am getting to the point… soon). When I took him to the doctor for a failed allergy thingy (failed because when I called to make the appointment, he was congested and had a runny nose, but once we got there, he was fine), I mentioned my “poop” concerns, so she decided to run some tests to rule out a parasite. Awesome! Win for Mom for remembering the “other” concern I had!
Being a first time mom, I thought, “Oh thank goodness!!! Can’t wait to find out if there is anything ‘wrong’ with his intestinal track” until she handed me 5 vials, a plastic “potty” that sits on the potty itself, and rubber gloves! Um… what kind of tests??? Apparently, I didn’t know that I needed to collect “samples” and “scoop” them into these tiny containers. EGAD! Not only that, they give you these “mini” scoops that are attached to the top of the lid of these “collection” tubes. It’s pretty nasty! And like I have said before, why wasn’t there some sort of class or pamphlet about this before I became a mom? I had to learn about how to talk to my kid about trans-racial issues (which I totally get), but no one told me that I might have to scoop his crap into a vial, keep it in my fridge and then bring it back to the doctor?
Sadly, there is no good way to collect this (literal) crap for the doctor and since I had a morning meeting on the day I was supposed to drop it off, I essentially had to carry it around in my purse for a couple of hours until I could get back to the “lab” to return those samples. Nothing like a crap filled purse to start your day off!
So…what’s the moral of this post? Why would I spend time writing about poop? Nothing really. Sometimes, as parents (as people) we need to do a job that is just strait up shi$%y. We do it. We hate it, but we do it!
Good news was that, no, he didn’t have a parasite. Bad news… my son has just really horrific poop!