October 27, 2011

Race is in the eye of the beholder

Both OTRmama and my father have been clamoring for a blog post. I've had this one in mind for over two weeks now, but it's hard to find the head space to write. Having one's day cut up into two hour blocks with only an hour of free time within the two is more challenging than I thought.

Mom K is here through mid-November and it's hugely helpful that she takes care of Brex in-between feedings. I'd worried about so many things with her here for a month, but it's been good. She's letting me be the Mom (i.e., my bossy self) and follows my directions with Brex. Also, she's more than happy to hold him any time she can.

When OTRsis was here for the week after Brex's birth, we both thought Brex looked really Asian. This is a picture taken while she was here. (That onesie is for my father's benefit! Dad is Michigan born and bred)

We even had a conversation with Jrex where OTRsis insisted that Brex had black hair. We both shook our heads, No, definitely brown.

A week ago, a family we're friends with came for lunch (Jrex and Dman were at Hopkins together, they both work down here now). Dman and his wife, Singer are both ethnically Taiwanese and have two kids, Eager Girl and Mellow Boy.

Here's Muttola waiting to welcome the visitors...

While they were here, Singer exclaimed about how light Brex's hair is. "It's blonde!" Jrex and I laughed and shook our heads, "No, definitely brown." Yet, it was true that our Hapa boy looked more white when seen with Asian kids.

We've found out that the local public elementary school is an immersion program with bilingual English/Spanish classrooms. Two teachers, half the kids native English speakers and half native Spanish. We're excited for him to grow up at least bilingual, and if we can figure out a way to squeeze Korean in there, somewhat trilingual. Of course, in a Hispanic context, he may even look Latino!

With Mom K, every day she sees something different in him. One day he looks white to her, the next day, 'just like Jrex'. Brex definitely has his father's hands and feet (which makes me really happy), and his individual features look more like Jrex, but his face and expressions look just like my baby pictures.

I'm enjoying having this ever-morphing kid. It's going to be fun to watch others' perceptions of him and his perceptions of himself take shape.


Anonymous said...

I had a friend who was half Japanese/half German. I think she looks like she is from spain. Biracial people are the most beautiful in my opinion.

OTRmama said...

Seriously? You get an hour of free time every other hour? !!!

giftsofthejourney said...

He's a beautiful boy, I can't wait to watch him grow. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

Mizasiwa said...

thank you so much for sharing your baby moments/thoughts with us.

Lil'Sis said...

So happy to see your post and the pics, he's beautiful. I know it's tiring but I am so so happy for you to share all this time with BRex!

Rachel said...

Thanks for the post. I'm so glad you have help, and that the help is actually helpful.

What a beautiful boy. He looks like himself. :P I think Hapa kids are like an ink-blot test, revealing the racial views of the people who comment on their appearance.

Yay for the dual immersion school. Kate is in a dual-language Korean program and it's awesome. Spanish is so useful, and I think once you are bilingual it is easier to learn still more languages.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Thank you, both for the blog and for the glorious photo of Brex in the Michigan Tee. Now, what can we do to make Michigan a reality, rather than a symbol?

Trilingual: English, Korean, Spanish -- sounds excellent. But, how do you do that? Right now, Mom K is, I'm sure, talking to him as a Korean baby. Excellent. She's slotting the groves in his brain to receive the language. But how do you continue the process after she leaves?

As my Dad wrote in his book, the best way to learn a language is to talk with children. Are there Koreans living in your part of town? If so, could you get a bright child, probably a girl, to come in daily for an hour or two, and speak Korean -- so that both Brex and you could learn the language naturally?

I'm thinking of a native-born Korean, probably between the fourth and eighth grades. You could pay some for her for her services -- but it's cheaper than learning Korean any other way.

And she should be able to learn much from both you and Brex.

Regarding Brex, I remember a conversation with Mimi Waldron about her son, Brandon, who was then six. I said, "Mimi, I been studying your boy. And I believe he's the handsomest male in the congregation."

Mimi replied, "What? You just now figurin' that out?"

Probably true for Brex too.