Sunday, 2 July 2017

The joys of having mixed-race children

When you have mixed-race children, it can sometimes lead to awkward and funny situations...

At the maternity

The morning after my first son was born, the nurse came down to show me how to give him a bath. Everything went well until she took his nappy off. She looked at him, then me, then him again, and then the conversation went a bit like this:

"Is the dad, uh... uh... uh...? ".
I didn't have a clue what she was talking about. "Is the dad what?" I replied.
"Well, is the dad....coloured?"
"Yes, he's black, why? Is there something wrong?"
"No, it makes sense now"
"What makes sense?"
"His testicles"
I burst into laughter. "What??"
"Well, that's why his testicles are a lot darker than the rest of his body"

I hadn't even realised they were, because let's be honest, it was my first baby and to me they just looked normal. Upon closer inspection, they were indeed a lot darker than the rest!!

At the childminder

After a few days, I also realised he had a birth mark on his bottom. So I did what every new mother would do, I googled it. And I found out it was a common birth mark in mixed-race children, a Mongolian spot. Once we knew what it was, we were relieved and didn't think about it until my son started to go to the childminder. I picked him up one day and the childminder was a bit agitated:

"I changed him today, I saw this mark on his back...I thought his jeans had rubbed off on his skin"
"Don't worry, it's just a birth mark!"
"Oh my god, I scrubbed him, trying to take it off!!"


At the supermarket

My husband was in a supermarket with one of the kids, and he lost him in an aisle. He  was a bit panicked and started to look for him everywhere. He finally saw him with a security guard so went straight up to him and said it was his son. The guard look at him, looked at the child, and asked  "Are you sure you're the dad?" .Thankfully my son jumped right in his arms, so that was it.

I never get the question "Are you the mum?" because there is less difference between our skin tones than with my husband's. But I can understand why some people would be asking the question...And to be honest, better be safe than sorry.

At school

My kids know how their dad has a different skin colour, but the interesting thing is that they don't refer  to white children as "white". They are "peach", which is funny because it makes a lot more sense when you think about it.
And to be honest, it's only when I look at school pictures that I see the difference between them and the other kids in the class.

On holidays

They tan so easily I'm jealous. I have to use sun cream, after-sun cream, tanning oil and hope I won't get sunburnt. They are just exposed for a couple of hours and they instantly get darker. Life is so unfair.
My son's tan after 2 hours in the sun...
Being mixed-race is part of who my kids are, and they know their parents have a different skin colour, but it doesn't seem to affect them one bit, for the moment anyway. And well, I don't want to go into a "color chart" debate, but their skin tone is quite subtle, you only see a big difference in summer time (as if we had a summer in Ireland, but you get what I mean!). I think it's harder for their dad who had to justify himself (Yes, I am the dad!) more than once...

If you have mixed-race children, any interesting stories you want to share?