The closer that Kinder was, the more we thought about SS's future. Our baby was the only Asian child at her preschool, but it was a small preschool. I remembered having to hold back laughter when Ms. D proudly told me that the school had one Asian girl enrolled years ago. YIKES! But we thought that despite our limitations at least SS had diversity at home, where it matters. Since we decided to join the LA area Families with Children from China chapter, we have wondered how SS would react at seeing mainly Caucasian couples with Chinese children. We wondered, but did not spent much time thinking about it. When we stopped for lunch at Harris Ranch it was really good to feel not only the warm weather, but we were delighted to see so many different faces (color), and hearing different languages. SS did not seem to notice the difference, but she is a tad solipsistic (OK, a lot).
On our second our third day here P and SS were outside, and there were three kids playing outside. P has been working with SS on her independence, and encouraged her to go over (just feet away from P) and introduce herself. SS was very excited about "her new friends," which is good because she is really missing her school buddies. The kids are about SS's age, and have beautiful olive skin, just a shade darker than Sula's after a good summer of sun exposure. Sounds good right? There's a tiny problem, and one that I did not anticipate.
As it always the case with good embarrassing moments, SS was as loud as possible, and P was nowhere to be found. I know he was working, and I'm also know grateful for the opportunity to
SS would not hear it, those were her new friends and she was going to give them a good, old fashioned hug. There were two women with the first group, they spoke rapid fire Spanish (so fast I did not pick up everything but loca was in there) and ushered their kids to their car. My amazingly clueless daughter just continued on to the next set of "new friends." I just could not believe it, all I could do was mutter, "OMG she does think they all look alike!" I have heard that when people ask SS's ethnicity, and it fires me me up big time. And there we were, my daughter left me speechless.
It's happened again, and I keep using the broken record technique. A few days ago I needed a jump start while at Wallymart, called P and waited for him inside. Of course SS was instantly famished and it had nothing to do with the Green L@ntern toy in their kill a kid meals. Every worker behind the counter was Hispanic, as were three quarters of the customers. Yeah, it started again, and yes she got some very pointed looks. And I should have known better than correct SS there, because in a pleading (booming) voice she said "But they are BROWN Mama, they ARE my friends!" We should have gotten the hell out of dodge sooner. While sitting in Mickey D's cursing my husband's ability to avoid the hard parenting work I had an epiphany. Not all is lost, maybe the nice people around us, including the wonderful AA couple who choked on their food at the brown remark, maybe they would think that SS's father was brown. There, bloody brilliant if I may say so. Why did I even come up with that? Beats me, embarrassment must have that strong an effect on brain cells. But that silly thought made me feel better, pathetic, but true. Then fifteen minutes later SS stands on her seat (why I wish she was still using a high chair) and shouts "BABA, OVER HERE BABA!!!!" Wallymarts are loud, but she rose above the noise level. Busted, I could not longer pretend to be married to a beautiful brown man.
SS is beginning to understand that she can't walk over to every child she thinks is a friend. We are also working really hard on using her inside voice. Quite frankly, I am doing everything I can to avoid public places until we get her exuberance completely under control. SS and I do have a commitment tomorrow, and she has been looking forward to it for a long time.
All kidding aside about SS's faux pas, and believe me we have laughed a lot about it; it gave us a lot to think about. SS spent only four years in that mecca of diversity we lived in, and sadly it shows. It reminds me of a war of words that erupted in an adoption board about this very issue. Some parents felt strongly that they owed their Chinese child the benefit of living in a diverse area, even if it meant relocating, and making other sacrifices.. Then there were some who felt that their Chinese child would have Caucasian parents, so living in a predominantly Caucasian area should cause no harm. Even P admitted that it took a while for him to realize that while we ARE a family, different standards apply to us. Doors do not open at the same speed, but are slammed shut much faster. This is not imagined, sadly there are too many instances, the first when SS had not even been home for a month. Will everything be rosy and SS never encounter a slight because of where we are? Heck no, because when people assume you are intelligent and good at math is based on your ethnicity, well that also sucks. I just never thought I would have to address this with my children, I thought somehow it would be gained through osmosis, or DNA. Just have to be more aware about what's going on on that little girl's head, or we'll fall behind.
Things on the home front are slowwwwwwwwwwww. I managed to upset P because I moved SS's bed parts, our mirror, and some of our bed parts upstairs.Oh, and the box springs for our bed. I just wanted to help, and I was very careful. That is why I did it while he was at work, and to avoid his wrath. We gained an extra room and doubled our garage space, but we lost a lot of storage space. Our kitchen is larger, we have more counter space, but the storage is just plain weird, not only different, but weird. Is like whoever designed it never thought about storing specific items. What is worse is that I'm no domestic goddess, I used to solve rather complex math problems without writing the steps. It was obvious and all in my head. How I wish it was that easy with getting everything in its place. It does not help that not only are we injured, but after swearing we will spend X amount of time digging boxes out, we end up spending that time hanging around with SS. We think she's catching on and is about to start avoiding us.P has been a rock star, but it is so obvious that he is barely getting by.
A few phone pics of SS playing a few days ago. As I was listened to SS mapping out a golf career, I could not help but chuckle. It could be worse, she could set her sights on water polo or polo. She is really missing her brother and friends. When she asks her daily where's Baba, I now get tears when I respond he is at work. We just need to get her brother here for a visit.