Kinks in the Kitchen: Babygirl is Sprouting Black Girl Hair

Kinks in the Kitchen: Babygirl is Sprouting Black Girl Hair
Mama!!!!!

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

It is with great relief and joy that I officially announce right here on the Meltingpot, that babygirl’s hair finally seems to be achieving a level of kink. Right in the back of her head. You know, that spot we often refer to as ‘the kitchen.’ The front of her head is still a mass of big, loopy curls, but judging by the rate of new curls per day, I’d say she will eventually have a head full of kinky-curly hair.

Why does this matter? Shouldn’t I just be happy that my child has hair? And good health? Believe me, I am. I seriously thank God every single night that my kids are healthy and happy, but I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that I don’t examine babygirl almost every day for a hint of me in her outward appearance. I’ve decided I have Imitation of Life syndrome, that is, some deep, down, dirty fear that my pale, pale daughter might grow up to reject me because I’m Black and she’s not. There I said it. And make no mistake, this is not a chronic mania. I don’t worry on it all day long. I just can’t figure out why else I need babygirl to be kind of colored. I guess like my son, on some level, I just want everyone in the family to kind of ‘be Black.’

Maybe I’m writing this now because I just came inside from a walk with babygirl in our hip, multi-culti neighborhood. I was talking to this very nice Black woman who smiled at babygirl and then asked me politely, “Is she yours?” I answered ‘yes,’ without a second’s hesitation because looking at babygirl in her stroller, you’d have no reason to believe she was mine. I get it. I really do. But that doesn’t mean I’m okay with the disconnect. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t prefer that people could clearly tell that babygirl was mine. That she belongs to me and that she came out of me. I fear that when babygirl becomes big-girl and folks still ask that question, “Is she yours?” what effect that will have on her. And we’re looping back to Imitation of Life Syndrome. Honestly, I don’t really fear that my children will reject me because I’m Black and they are kind of  brownish beige, there’s too much love in this Kinky Gazpacho family for that. But I do know that perception, identity politics and color can effect ruin the psyche of a child. So, here’s to those kinks in the kitchen. May they continue to flourish and grow.

What about you, dear readers. Is there a part of you that you fear your children will not know or experience because you married someone ‘different?’ Your religion? Your language? Do you mourn that? Fight against it somehow? I’m listening.

(And please note, I am not unaware that families with trans-racially adopted children must deal with similar feelings all the time and I do not mean to belittle or disrespect their journey with my complaints. I respect and honor that experience.)

Peace!

 

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5 thoughts on “Kinks in the Kitchen: Babygirl is Sprouting Black Girl Hair

  1. Marnie

    Heh. I am so white I am actually pale blue in parts, and my gorgeous Black daughter has skin that sparkles in the sun. Her daddy tells her she is made of diamonds. I have gotten to the point that when people stare, I have sometimes glared back, because I occasionally forget how different we look, (which is a whole other weird thought- I sometimes forget we DON’T look alike because she is my daughter- figure that out) but of course we do. I worry how she will feel also, and at 4, I can tell she already has issues that we don’t “match”. I make a deal when we wear similiar clothes or like the same stuff, but of course, not the same. I worry who she will look to as her role model, and reject me. But my love is fierce, and I am the luckiest mama ever. Great post.

    1. Wendy

      Marnie, I am so with you. I forget sometimes that my daughter doesn’t look like me. I look at her and DO so her brown skin, but mostly I just see my daughter. We have much in common that I doubt a biological kid could me anymore like me!
      Truth me told, there is a deep seated fear that she will reject me because I’m white, because she’s adopted, because of any reason really. I grew up in a monochrome house with my biological parents. I rejected some aspects of my mother. Don’t we all? But in the case of a interracial/intercultural adoption, we have different layers and different vulnerabilities.

      An interesting story, this morning I told my daughter about how I had a friend from Puerto Rico give a presentation in my class about her Island because we are talking about Puerto Rico. I was using this as an example of friendship and helping out. But my daughter says to me, “Is your friend brown?” I told her that she was but it doesn’t really matter the color of her skin that we help each other because we are friends. Then she asked me if I had any brown or black students and I told her I did. But instead of telling it “its what is on the inside…” I decided to change it up and bring it back to my friend. I told her that while my friend is brown, she is a different shade of brown than she is. I let her know that I know that there aren’t as many brown or black students at school and that it must be nice when she sees someone who also has brown skin. She looked at me with such a sweet face. I got that impression that she was very happy that this was acknowledged. Then she wanted to know if they speak Spanish in Puerto RIco and I told her Yes! She got really excited that my friend had another thing common with her.
      Recently we have befriended a new neighbor that is from Mexico. She really loves playing with their son while the mom and I speak in Spanish (which she also loves) Yay for brown Spanish speakers.
      My point is…sorry, I am long winded…no I will never understand what it like to be brown with white parents, what it is like to be internationally adopted, but with a bit of empathy I can try to place myself in her shoes. I know what it is like to be physically different and stand out after wearing braces on my legs for years. (not the same, I know) My husband knows what its like to standout due to race. He was the only white kid in his class in Hawaii.
      I hope to derail any rejection with empathy and flat out acknowledgement that I have no idea what its like to be her, but I would love to hear all about!

    2. Ms. Meltingpot

      Marnie,
      Thank you. And thank you for sharing your story. It is so reassuring to know there are a lot of mamas out there thinking about this and plotting to make it better. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone. And FYI, your daughter may look for some “Black” role models (Heck, I have a Black mom and still wanted Black role models), but that doesn’t mean she’s looking for a new mom. Marinate on that one 🙂

  2. Wendy

    hehe, I can’t help but think that after note was directed at me! 😀 You know, I suppose I have no possibility that my daughter will look like me, so I don’t look for it. I do look for ways that I can relate to her.

    But from your point of view, I imagine it would be odd to have a child that contains 50% of your biology and still have people ask if he/she is yours.

    Obvious statement warning, your children are going to think of you has MOMMY first and foremost. Your deep seated fear is understandable given our country’s history, but families like yours and mine are our country’s future. You daughter will be looking for traits that she has like her Mama too! She will look to see if if you have the same hand shape, finger shape, leg shape, etc. I have my mama’s legs who has my grandma’s legs and I curse the width they get with age! But she will also look to see if she shares mama’s sense of humor, sense of grace, etc.

    1. Ms. Meltingpot

      Wendy,
      Thank you. And I wasn’t just thinking of you, but you did come to mind 🙂 And I’m sure my worries, will not be my children’s worries.

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