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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The "He Looks Just Like Me" Moments

Today I made the mad dash after work to reach the pediatrician's office to check and see if Daniel had an ear infection. Turns out he doesn't. Huh so much for listening to the babysitter. Since he was fine and the sun had come out after a rainy morning start, I decided we'd spend some time by one of the local playgrounds.

blasian playdate

On our way to the playground I notice a fuzzy hair little boy on his bike across the street. He has the look of my son so I look for his mother. Turns out she's one of the seemly many Japanese moms in Harlem with a blasian child.

blasian playdate

Since their about to cross over to our side of the street, I wait for them at the corner. I keep running into this mom here and there in the neighborhood. We always promise to get together for a play-date but never seem to. As we chat and try to catch up from the last time we met, her son goes over to my son and starts looking at him.

At this point Daniel is playing a game on my ipod and doesn't notice anything else. But the little boy is walking around Daniel trying to get a better look. Eventually he just pushes my son's head up so he can see his face. As his moms scolds him not to push on my son's head he excitedly says "He looks just like me!"

For a moment I stood their stunned because I got it. I totally got what seeing another little boy who looks like him meant. This little boy found someone to identify with.

What's funny is this was the first time I met the little boy. I usually run into the mom with her teenage daughter. While I'm not sure if this little boy figured out Daniel was also Asian and Black, it was clear he knew Daniel was just like him in some way.

We hung out with this other blasian family for a bit. The kids ate ices, fought over a bike and ran around chasing each other and the other kids in the play ground. As I watched them play I hoped this wouldn't be the last time my son hear someone say those words about him.

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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Help Movie & The Non-Open Race Conversation

Since opening day there's been tons of chatter about The Help Movie. To be honest, I have very limited chatter to add since I missed the advance screening I was invited to via Disney. While I do plan on seeing the movie at some point, I have to be honest and admit I'm not sure how much commentary I will have to add to the black and white debate.

The Help Movie

Yes, yes it's about black maids and how they were treated, etc, etc. Yes, yes it's about white women using their privilege power to do something, etc etc. Yes, yes, it's about how we can come together and bridge the gap of race to forms bonds of hope and..... and what?

Now again I haven't officially seen the movie so I'm in the dark so to speak. But I have been reading the different reviews of the movie. Some of them favor the movie but many of them don't. Many people have issues with the movie claiming we're still not that far from black women in servitude to white families. Some even say the movie has Whitewashed Black History.

Other's like my friend Niri, who's of East Indian decent via the African continent, feels white people should have a voice in the racial conversation. Even if their telling the black American story.

Matter of fact I read one white women flash back to the help her family had while she was growing up. Help that continued to be "help" to her and her family for years. I will hold my comment on the kind of help that somehow never ends

While all of that makes for some interesting reading, I really still wonder when the race discussion will move past white and black. Like really we're STILL making movies about this racial combination? We're still have the same ole black and white debates? Really?!

Not for nothing but Asian, Latinos, Native Americans, and any other race you can remember beyond black, have been in servitude to white families for years along with black women. Heck many of them are still in servitude. Check any nanny agency or house cleaner advertisement and see who's filling the positions. Where are the movies about them?

I just don't think we can have a real and true conversation about "race" that will lead to lasting change when we're still only highlighting black and white while excluding the other races. What do you think?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Taking a Day Off for Us

Lately it seemed like every weekend is about covering a media blog event or staying inside working to meet a blog project deadline. The weekends have rarely been just about enjoying a relaxing fun filled moment. Welp, this weekend I decided to not attend any media blog events and to ignore the work related paperwork I brought home. Instead I packed our lunches, grabbed my son's bucket and headed outside for a day of activity just for us.

day for us at the park

We headed to our local park intent on enjoying as many activities as we could before my son's nap time meltdown. I'm proud to say we rocked the playground and had a great time.

day for us at the park

First we stop by the sand box, where my son had a chance to enjoy his crabby bucket and pail. Then my son enjoyed some sprinkler action before slipping and sliding on the slides.

day for us at the park
day for us at the park

Then it was time for a lunch break with a turkey sandwich and yummy grapes. We also snuck in some hugs and kisses time,

day for us at the park
day for us at the park
day for us at the park

Then it was back to the action of climbing, running down the slide and just running around for the fun of it. I still swear my son is trying out for the toddler Olympics. After all the fun was done my son let me know it was time to go by trying to open the gate and leave. Clearly he was ready to go home and take a nap.

As we headed back home I was glad I took some time during the day just for us. The world and other people can be so demanding sometimes. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in doing things for others that I put my son and my needs on the back burner. I hate those moments because it turns me into the type of mom I'm not. The type of mom I swore I wouldn't be.

As I sat on the park bench sharing grapes with my son, I was reminded of the type of mom I swore I would be. A mom who's there. Having my son enjoy my company is something that shouldn't be put on the back burner or delayed. I need more days that remind me of that.

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Reevaluating Circumcision - Dear Daniel Saturday

It's Saturday! Time for a Dear Daniel letter

Dear Daniel

After thinking about it last night I think I might change my mind on the circumcision issue. While I still don't like the idea of someone cutting off any parts of you and having you in pain, I'm far more scared of you getting another penis related issue. I confess I don't have a clue how it feels to have a penis, much less one that isn't feeling well. But I do know how important a healthy penis is for both a man and a women.

As a mother I would feel horrible to find out my choice to keep you uncircumcised resulted in something worse happening that will affect your adult life. Ugh, just the thought makes me wanna cry.

I can't imagine you not being able to enjoy a healthy sexual relationship. Yes I really did write that so stop blushing. By the time your old enough to read these letters, I'm sure you'll already know the basics about sex and females.

But beyond having a healthy sexual relationship, I'm also thinking about your body image. Again I don't know personally but I heard it whispered from a few guys I know that a male's penis is very important to him. Somehow a penis is tied into who and what a guy thinks he is.

My son I have no idea how that connection works but I don't want to deny you this aspect of male psychology, or worse have you live life with a negative body image.

So when we meet with the urologist in a few days I will listen and be open to all the options available to treat your condition. My main goal is to get your penis back to normal working condition. If after examining all options we find the only solution left is circumcision, then my son I will accept and make that choice based on love.

As your mom it's my duty to love and safeguard all parts of you till adulthood. Yes even the parts I'm completely clueless about.

Love you always,
Your Umma

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My "I’m Not the Nanny" Interview on Lifetime Moms MisQuote

A few months ago Kimberly Seals Allers (author of The Mocha Manual) mentioned she wanted to interview me for post on the Lifetime Moms site. Since meeting Kimberly a while back we've talked about black motherhood and what are the issues raising a child who's mono-racial versus biracial. So I was excited to be "interviewed" by her to be posted on such a high profile site.

Lifetime Moms Interview

For the most part the interview went well. While we did get side track with a few personal topics, LOL, we pretty much stuck to topic. The question weren't that hard and since I already knew Kimberly, I answered honestly and without censor. But after reading the "I’m Not the Nanny": Raising a Black and Asian Child completed interview on the site I wondered if I should have been more aware of how the things I said would be interpreted by someone outside the Asian and Black community.

For the most part the interview is great and conveys my thoughts and responses to the questions Kimberly asked. For the most part. There's one paragraph about my reaction to having a child who looks more Asian then black that is a bit misconstrued. The wording gives a certain portrayal that is VERY different then what I said. Or rather what I thought I said.

I can honestly say that I know Kimberly wrote what she heard. Sister girlfriend wouldn't write something with the intention of making any drama. So where did things go wrong? While I said one thing and thought Kimberly understood what I meant, in reality she didn't. To be fair how could she?

The internal dialogue of adjusting to a child who doesn't have much African American physical resemblance is something another mom with a half black biracial child would understand. That internal adjustment doesn't mean we're ashamed or embarrassed that your children looks different.

While you can try and explain to others it doesn't always come across on the right note. After thinking about it for a while I figured this is what happened. So I contacted Kimberly, explained how what I said can be misinterpreted and asked that the paragraph be edited. Kimberly apologized and said she'll look into getting it changed

As of the time of posting this blog that change hasn't been made but I'm hoping it will be soon. But even if it doesn't get changed (but I really hope it does) I'm more then prepared to clarify what I really meant. In a way I'm glad that happened because it made me realize that I need to be more aware of how what I say comes across to someone outside my community.

As I push forward with advocating for the Asian & Black Community and Black mothers with biracial children, I don't mind sharing about some of the challenges we face as a blended family. But I don't want those challenges over shadowing all the love, wonderment and joys of having a blended family. I promise to be more aware for next time.

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Sunday, August 7, 2011

Singing Bedtime Songs: ABC's & Twinkle Little Star

I'm trying to put my son to bed but he's refusing to go down without singing a whole bunch of songs. After a while I decided to document our bedtime mini concert. Watch the video to hear us singing

What are the bedtime songs we're singing? ABC's & Twinkle Little Star is the repeated request for the night. We'll be singing again tomorrow night so make sure to come back and join us. *whispering save me*.

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Keeping it "Brown" in the Family

A few weeks ago a twitter friend Kemi Ingram mentioned she'll be in NYC and it would be nice to meet in person. Well really she said it would be nice to meet my adorable son but I'm going to pretend she meant me also :) We decided to meet in Harlem since she was visiting the area for Harlem week. Since I was on a deadline for a mom blogger project and couldn't go far for long, it was a perfect plan

asian and black crush

After some hide and seek moments of trying to find each other in the crowds we met up by the Apollo theater. As we're doing the introductions something interesting happens. Kemi has 3 kids, 2 toddler daughters and 1 infant son. One of her daughters is close to Daniel age so we thought they'd hit it off. As I try to introduce him to this adorable little girl, my son ignores my attempt and walks over to the other daughter. As he stands next to her he reaches out and takes her hand. Huh.

So I turn to Kemi and jokingly say, seems my son likes older women. We then laugh it off and continue our visit.

brown family

As we tag along with Kemi and her family, I notice that Daniel is always close to Kemi's first daughter. Where she goes, he goes, At first I just figured it's cause their kids. I'm trying to NOT read into it. But the more I watch them the more I can't help reading into it. I think he was smitten with her.

For the most part she's nice to him but clearly considers him lil like her sister. My son still continues to make dove eyes at her. LOL. At one point I told Kemi we need to talk arrange marriage if this continues. Then we joked about how many goats I need to give in exchange for her daughter and how they LOVE Korean food and culture. LAMO

So lets me say something out loud here. I've noticed a certain thing about my son and I've been thinking about for a while. Lets just put it out there. My son likes black females. More then that he seems to really like dark skinned black females.

While both Kemi's daughters came in wonderful shades of brown hue, it's her eldest daughter that's just a bit more dark chocolate while her younger sister was mid toned coffee. I going to confess I think my son chose the eldest because of her skin-tone....

I'm not sure what's the cause or how long this prefer will last. Maybe this all will change when he gets older. Maybe it wont. I personally can't think of him dating yet but all of this of course now has me wondering. Will he keep it brown in the family?

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