Archives for : Third Child

Flashback Friday: “Not the Nanny Syndrome Doesn’t Discriminate”

Is that your child? You wouldn't think so, but it is.

Is that your child? You wouldn’t think so, but it is.

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

In a few weeks I am going to have a big, exciting announcement to make. It’s about my writing life, so don’t think I’m going to tell you all the sex of my unborn child. That train has long left the station. In the meantime, I’ll give you a clue by linking back to this post I wrote in 2012 about that pesky situation of being mistaken for your child’s caregiver when you don’t look like your offspring, biological or adopted. It’s maddening. And it doesn’t only affect women of color. Here’s a snippet of what I wrote:

Get a group of women together who have children that don’t look like them and we can tell all kinds of hilarious stories, besting one another with the more outrageous comments people have thrown our way. And truth be told, sometimes they are funny. But a lot of times, those comments hurt. They hurt in a way I never expected. It’s not because I feel so insulted to be mistaken for a nanny. And it’s not even because I think people are being small-minded or insensitive by questioning my child’s parentage. At the end of the day, it hurts because there’s something visceral, I think, about wanting to see something of yourself in your offspring. It’s that simple and that complicated.

I have never been told, ‘gee your kids look just like you.’ And it’s not something I ever dreamed about hearing either. I’d rather hear, ‘gee your kids sure are smart/talented/healthy.’ But to be told over and over, your kids look nothing like you? Aye, there’s the rub. What’s more, I think that for women of color to be mistaken for the nanny, the underlying insult comes not from being mistaken for a domestic worker, but for not be respected enough to be mistaken for the mother. Ya dig?

To read the whole post, you can click here. And stay tuned to The Meltingpot for my big announcement in the coming days.


My Kid has Mixie Hair and I Don’t: A Confessional

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Last week, I wrote an essay for xoJane about my absolute lack of hair styling prowess when it comes to my daughter’s hair. It was a true confession for all the world to see and critique, but I was happy to see that of the over 100 comments, most people only had nice things to say. Phew. If you have the time, feel free to check it out. Thanks!

Asian Baby Dolls: Where Are They?

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Where has she been hiding?

Where has she been hiding?

Consider this an open thread. In other words, I don’t have any answers, but I’d love to hear what you have to say on this subject. So, now that I have my very own babygirl, I’ve started paying attention to dolls again. As a child, I loved my baby dolls and stuffed animals, but with two sons, my doll obsession went dormant and was replaced with an affection for cool cars, trains and Lego’s.

Of course, babygirl seems equally smitten with cool cars, trains and Lego’s because of the influence of her older brothers, but still, I imagine the day when I’ll go to a toy store and she’ll want me to buy her a doll. And I will comply because, as I just mentioned, I love dolls. So, I’ve been scoping out the options and I find myself wondering do I get babygirl a Black baby doll because that’s what I grew up with and that’s how I see my daughter, even though she is still as white as snow, or do I look for a doll with ambiguous racial features that somewhat mirror her own? Sadly, the decision may not be mine to make as I’ve come to discover that if the doll isn’t Black or White, there are very little in-between options on the store shelves.

And dear readers, I was about to get indignant for all of us moms of Mixie kids because I couldn’t find a doll that looks even a little bit like my child. But then I saw an Asian woman in a store with her daughter carrying a White baby doll with blonde hair and big blue eyes and I smacked myself. Here I am complaining about not being able to find the right shade of beige baby for my kid, when the last time I checked at the typical toy stores, I didn’t see a single Asian baby doll. And I’m not talking about a “sit on the shelf” collectible. I just mean a nice baby doll with Asian features.

Is there an online resource that sells “ethnic” baby dolls? Is there a growth market here? How do you instill positive self-esteem in a young child of color if you give her a White baby to see herself in? I worry about this stuff. What about you?

Chime in and let me know what you think. I’m listening.


“Not the Nanny” Syndrome is Multi-Generational

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

So, we just had a huge baby shower for my cousin who is expecting her first child. We’re the same age so the fact that she is having her first child now was truly a cause for celebration, so my entire extended family descended upon Philadelphia for the shower. And of course, the three-hour shower turned into a three-day, non-stop party.

So, one day during the festivities, my mother and one of my play aunties, who happens to be a caramel-colored Colombian woman in her fifties, took babygirl out to lunch. It was just the three of them. The restaurant they chose was in an affluent but relatively diverse neighborhood and they were seated next to a White man and his precocious two-and-a-half year old daughter.

The little girl, my mom says, was staring at babygirl and then at my mom and my aunt. Then she looked at my aunt and said,
“Are you her mommy?” referring to babygirl.
My aunt said, “No, I’m her aunt.”
Then the little girl looked at my mother and said,
“Are you her babysitter?”
My mother smiled politely and said,
“No, I’m her grandmother.”
The little girl didn’t say anything else and the father didn’t either.

Not the Nanny Syndrome Inspired this Story

Not the Nanny Syndrome Inspired this Story

I couldn’t believe this story. First, because I couldn’t believe a two-year-old could say babysitter. (Maybe babygirl is just a little behind.) But really, because I couldn’t believe a two-year-old would already put Black + White together and get ‘babysitter.’ What does that mean? Is her little world so full of Black women and white babies that she made that assumption? To me that’s kind of sad. I think. But it’s also why I wrote my novel, Substitute Me. Because of this global assumption that women of color are the caretakers of White children. If a baby can make that assumption, then anyone can. In many ways it’s true, but does that make it right? I’m conflicted. And I felt really badly for my mom, that she was mistaken for her granddaughter’s babysitter. I’m used to it. But she’s not. Remember, all of her children look like her. *sigh*

I’m wondering dear readers, would you have said something to the father of this child? Do you think he should have said something to his daughter or to my mother? I’d love to hear some opinions on this. You know I’m listening.


Is Ms. Meltingpot “Maxed Out?”

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

I don’t know if you all know that I’m on the tenure track here at Temple University, which means there are a lot of hoops I have to jump through in the next two years in order to keep my job. I also, as you know, have three fantastic children, a husband who is trying to finish his PhD and an old house that loves to fall apart at the most inopportune times. I love my life, really I do, but last week I developed this mysterious rash on my back and last night when I should have been working on my new book proposal but was really surfing the web, I stumbled upon a book trailer for a new book called Maxed Out: Working Mothers on the Brink. Check it out:

Dear readers, does this sound familiar to any of you? Do you think Ms. Meltingpot is Maxed Out? I must get my hands on this book. And in the meantime, to try to heal my mysterious rash and to try to eliminate some of my stress, I will only be posting on the Meltingpot once a week. I considered giving it up completely, but I just can’t seem to stay quiet with all of my meltingpot finds and ideas. And I really enjoy the thoughtful comments and opinions you all share with me. So, Maxed Out or not, I’m not leaving the Meltingpot, just dialing back a little bit before I break down on my way to Target to buy diapers. Thanks for understanding.


And Speaking of Labor Day…Remember When Babygirl Was Born?

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

I hope you’re having a labor-free Labor Day. I’m trying really hard not to work too much. But just for kicks, how about a trip down memory lane, when I actually went in to labor to birth babygirl. It seems so long ago when I look at her two-year-old face now, but at the same time, I still remember every agonizing moment of the marathon of her labor. Who am I kidding? That was the fastest labor ever, but it still hurt like hell. Anyways, enjoy and happy Labor Day!


Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free: The Way We Eat Now

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

So, this weekend we celebrated all three of our Kinky Gazpacho kids with a family party at casa nuestra. My parents came up, my sister, brother and cousins were here. We had a full house and it was really lovely. El esposo manned the grill and my mom and I made a bunch of lovely salads. And then there was the cake issue. I think it is only fair that since I make all three kids share one birthday celebration, that at least they get their own cake. My boys are easy. The oldest always asks for a pound cake made by my cousin, the professional chef. Done. Middle child always requests an ice-cream cake. Ordered over the phone. Check. But what about babygirl?

Last year, for her first birthday, I bought her a cupcake and called it a day. But this year it was different. I was seized with the need to make my daughter a pink birthday cake. I don’t know what came over me, but I was bound and determined. Not only was it going to be pink, it was going to be gluten-free so I could eat it, and dairy free so she could eat it. The gluten-free part was pretty easy. I bought a package of Pamela’s gluten-free vanilla cake mix. I’d never tried it before, but I liked the packaging. It didn’t seem overly corporate. But then I had to figure out the pink part. Every frosting recipe I know requires dairy. Butter, cream cheese, whip cream. Even Cool Whip has milk in it. Damn. I’m not a big believer in fake butters and I try not to give babygirl much soy. So, I finally decided to go with a simple glaze, threw a strawberry in it to turn it pink and voila: This is what I got:

Babygirl's birthday cake.

Babygirl’s birthday cake.

And it was tasty. The cake actually tasted like real cake, not a dusty, dry substitute. I was so excited. I haven’t made a cake since going gluten-free in 2008. Thanks Pamela’s. Being the mom to a babygirl is making me do a lot of things I didn’t know I cared about, like making a pink cake. Next on my culinary quest for healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free living. I want to buy a Vitamix Blender. I have become slightly obsessed and I’ve drawn my kids in with me on the obsession.  I have visions of pesto, savory sauces, exotic soups and dairy-free sorbet dancing in my head.  Somehow I have convinced myself that a Kinky Gazpacho family needs a Vitamix. Think about all of the kinky gazpacho we could make!

If anyone has a Vitamix blender and has an argument for or against me purchasing one, leave it for me in the comments. I’m so listening.


Wednesday Round-Up:Selena Gomez, Really?, “The Burden of Being Black,” & Babygirl’s Birthday!

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

Today is a special day in the Kinky Gazpacho household. It’s babygirl’s birthday! I can’t believe she’s two already! I can still remember the day I found out I was pregnant with her, yet interestingly, I hardly remember the whirlwind that was the first 24 months of her life. Luckily, I write things down, so I can always go back an re-read what really happened. Here’s a re-cap of her birth story, if anyone else wants to trip down memory lane with me.

And even though I’m in a celebratory mood, what with planning a big family birthday bash for all three of my kids – who were all born in June & July – I am still reeling from the Zimmerman verdict and all of the subsequent race conversations happening in cyberspace and offline as well. I was really impressed with this essay on Racialicious about the ‘burden of being Black.’ I really identified with the author, and not just because she spent time in Spain. Check it out. What do you think?

Don't come & get this. Cultural appropriation? Yes or no?

Don’t come & get this. Cultural appropriation? Yes or no?

And finally, are your kids into Selena Gomez? Her new song Come and Get It seems to be on the radio 24/7 these days. Personally, I’ve never really paid much attention to the songstress because I didn’t find her all that talented or interesting. But one of my college students, who happens to be of Indian descent, clued me in to the fact that many Hindus are annoyed that Gomez has been wearing a Bindi when she performs this song at various live events. She’s been asked not once, but twice to stop wearing the Bindi as decoration as it is disrespectful to the Hindu religion, but she apparently could care less. I find this extremely troublesome. As if there isn’t some other way Gomez could decorate her body that didn’t involve appropriating another culture’s religious symbolism. Really, Selena? Really? Is fame so important to you that you will denigrate a religion to sell records? Really?