Vomit, “Misunderhearing,” Racism, and Cuteness 2


Isn’t it funny how life always seems to silently mock you when you have plans? For two weeks now, I made yesterday my day to write my blog (as I always do on Saturdays), get my dreaded pedicure done (highly ticklish—hate every minute of it), prepare things for my upcoming book signing, and then pound out some chapters in my new novel. After a mentally brutal week at work, I would have done my new characters an injustice by writing at the end of my day. So on Friday, I picked up my daughter and granddaughter, got my hair cut, and then we all had dinner at my house. Very nice evening and I did it guilt-free knowing I would be über-productive on Saturday and Sunday.

My daughter is also close with my “naildresser” (the adorable title that she gave my manicurist when she was five), so my two favorite girls always come with me for the torture session. Our appointment was at 10:30am, but at 7:15am (as I was in the tub weed-whacking my legs so that my naildresser’s hands wouldn’t get tangled in the unkempt mess) I received a text from my daughter, “I’ve been throwing up every hour since eleven last night, can you come now. I don’t have the strength to take care of the baby.” Oh geez.

So, I went and relieved my daughter of her motherly duties and took my granddaughter with me to my appointment. Later to return and pick up my daughter so that I could care for them in the comfort of my own home.

While I was changing the baby, I noticed that her skin color was darkening in certain spots, and I commented to my daughter, “Her pigment is starting to darken, have you noticed that?”

For those of you who may not know, ethnic babies don’t get their full pigment until they are two. I didn’t know that when I was pregnant and was anxiously waiting to have my daughter, so that I could find out what color she was. I didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl; I just wanted to know if my child was going to look more “espresso” than “café au lait.”

You see, I come from a mixed heritage of predominantly: Middle Eastern, Italian, Scottish, and English; unfortunately, my mother’s “pastel” contribution was the dominant factor, whereas all of my cousins had olive skin. My aunt used to always tell me that I should be happy to have such fair skin, but I hated it. So, having conceived a child with a very dark Hispanic man, I was optimistic.

My daughter came out grey.

Grey like putty.

It was shortly after her birth that I was informed I would have to wait two years before truly knowing how our recipe would turn out. Ugh… I hate waiting.

My daughter has a mid- to light-olive complexion (and darkens beautifully in the sun). I burn and freckle, so I’m glad she’ll never know that world.

As for my granddaughter, take the recipe of: Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Scottish and English; and toss in a healthy measurement of Jamaican and another splash of Scottish and English. You can imagine how excited and curious I am to see what shade she will become.

My daughter and I started to chat about it and she asked, “What’s that word that has to do with the color of your skin?”

“Pigment?”

“No, I think it starts with an ‘m’.”

“Oh, you mean melanin?”

“Yeah, that’s it.”

She went on to tell me that she was having a conversation with my granddaughter’s father about how dark they speculated she would be (as there is a lot of “lait” in his “café”—he’s quite fair).

She went on to say to him, “So basically, people are racist because of how much melanin is in a person.”

Her simplistic observation made his jaw drop and, after a few moments of reflection, he said, “Wow. When you put it that way, it really makes racism seem even shittier.”

Leave it to my daughter to dumb-down a subject and make it completely logical.

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Just like the time, when she was four-years-old, and said, “No mommy, you misunderheard me.” (To this day, we use “misunderheard” instead of misunderstand—after all, not comprehending someone, has nothing to do with standing.)

Also like the time, in her first week at Catholic school, she raised her hand and said, “What I don’t get is, why does everyone have a mini-cross with a mini-Jesus nailed to it, or a picture of that, in their house?”

“Well,” her teacher replied, “it’s to remind us that Jesus died for our sins.”

To which my daughter challenged, “But why would they take the worst day of his life to remember him by? Why wouldn’t they take a picture of him smiling, leaning against the cross and doing this?” For which she then made a “thumbs-up” gesture.

Although some of the other students scoffed at her seemingly uneducated query, the teacher stopped for a moment and said, “Wow. You really have a good point. I never thought of it that way.”

Kid-logic, strikes again.

So what was the point to this week’s blog?

  1. My daughter’s flu threw off my groove.
  2. My daughter’s simplistic view on the more complex things in life still astounds us and makes total sense.
  3. Whether my daughter is five, fourteen, or in her twenties, that crazy little brain I helped create, still makes me smile.
  4. We should take the time to understand why we say, do, or believe in things.
  5. My grandbaby is the cutest freakin’ toddler on the planet.
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