May 2, 2011

Who’s Your Mama

Summer was in full bloom.  The sun was high in the sky, birds were singing their songs; flowers were dancing in the wind.  The world seemed vibrant with new life, hope, and beauty.  It was six weeks after I had given birth to my son JD and I couldn’t wait to go to the park and meet up with my mommy friends.  It had been weeks since I had seen them all at Brie’s friend’s second birthday party.  It had gone on for almost five straight hours so it’s not surprising that my labour started a few hours later (I partied that hard).  Anyway, this was the first time I was seeing everyone again and I took extra care getting me and the kids dressed.  When all of the bows were tied, hair clips were in and matching the outfit, sunglasses were perched on our noses and hats were set at jaunty angles…we were off.  I was excited because this was my first time using my brand new double stroller.  My friend came down the street to pick us up and then we were on our way to the park. 

As we strolled into the pre-schoolers section I was surrounded by all of my mommy friends, nannies, caregivers, grandmas, and their kids.  Everyone wanted to meet the new baby!  As I greeted them all I realized there was a woman who I hadn’t met sitting on a bench watching us talking.  After the meet and greet died down a bit, I went over to introduce myself to her.  Imagine my surprise when she asked me “who’s their mom?”   “Pardon me?” I replied.  Then she repeated, “Her hair is so straight, who’s her mom?”  Instead of taking offense I decided to introduce us, “This is my daughter Brie, she’s two…”  “Nooo!” was the response.  Before I could continue with the introduction she was already intimating that I must be watching the baby for someone else because he looks so white (this was before Jds colour had come in and his eyes were still blue).  To this I patiently replied that he was my six week old son.  Anyway, I then told her it was nice to meet her and went back over to my friends.  A few minutes later, she came up to me and asked if she could take a picture of me and my son.  I politely said “No!  I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that.”   At this point I was fuming inside.  How dare she pester me about how incredulous she finds it that these are my kids?  Now don’t get me wrong, I am aware that our kids don’t entirely look like either me or my husband.  And I think their features showcase the best of us.  I have a sense of humour about the kids not looking exactly like me.  After all, my friends have been continually teasing me since my daughter was born about her ‘lack’ of curls, and my Filipina girlfriends have told my kids to call them Tita (auntie) because they look more like them than me or my husband.  The hard part about this for me was that I didn’t know this woman at all but she felt like she could challenge me and insinuate that I’m the nanny posing as their mother. 

If I had a do over, I still would have been polite to her but sometimes a girl’s got to vent.  So here’s the deal lady…I carried both of those babies, I felt them kick, I saw my body grow bigger and bigger with new life and watched both of those babies slide from my body.  They are my kids.  So we don’t look exactly the same, welcome to the 21st century; we’re an interracial family and this is what we look like.  The next time you decide to marginalize a mother and tell her that her kids don’t look enough like her, remember that modern families no longer fit into the 1950s nuclear family archetype.  We don’t have to be carbon copies of each other to carry the title “family”.  And for the record, I will answer her question one final time, “Who’s their mom?”  Lady, I am their mother… you better recognize!

April 21, 2011

5 Love Languages

Lately I’ve been interested in learning more about the 5 love languages of children. You see, my son is an open book; his love language is clearly physical touch. He is currently the reigning snuggle puppy champion for the entire Northern Hemisphere. However, my daughter is an enigma. She’s never been overly interested in snuggling like her brother and I want to make sure that I’m affirming her in the right way. Now, in order to do the official love language test for children, your wee ones have to be at least five years old and my baby girl is only two. So while I wait to crack the code of my little diva, I decided to figure out my own love language.

Turns out that my highest score is ‘words of affirmation’ closely followed by ‘quality time’ and ‘receiving gifts’. Now this isn’t news to me or my dear husband. He is awesome at telling me he loves me all the time and regularly shares the reasons behind his love for me. When it comes to quality time, nothing makes me happier than just hanging out with the people who I love the most in the world and connecting with them. Come on into the ‘epic time machine’ with me, to the first time Dave and I hung out together as “friends”. We went to a dessert cafe for brunch and talked so naturally that we didn’t realize that the place was empty except for the tired servers or that we had been sitting there talking for 12 hours straight – from 1pm till 1am. Clearly quality time is super high on our list.

As for receiving gifts, when we were first married, hubby used to surprise me with roses cut from our garden all the time. Since we’ve had kids we have both been so focused on them that some things have fallen by the wayside – like the roses. However, I am not downcast because spring is in the air and that means summer is just around the corner. Our roses will soon be in bloom and I can’t wait to see the beautiful buds unfurling on my bedside table cut by the hand of my beloved. As for my daughter, even though she can’t take the love language test yet, I have a hunch. If I keep showering her with all five of the love languages, she will feel cared for, special and loved.

You and your loved one can both take the love language test below. There are two widget boxes, one for each of you. May your relationship be blessed as you walk through this journey of discovery together.