Saturday, July 24, 2010

Ricardo Lemvo

Oops, missed the anniversary. Just too tired, fell asleep on a bedroom floor helping Darcy get to sleep.

Nevermind, here I am. 8:20 a.m. Three wee ones playing puppets upstairs with me, Carrie sleeping downstairs in our old-person first-floor master bedroom, Connor with his Dad for the weekend, three cups o'coffee already in me, listening to some Afro-Cuban All-Stars.

That musical group reminds me that Maggie at 4 is already having image issues with her brown skin. It ties in with my final ESL-certification class--Cross-Cultural Something or Other; how to educate and nurture kids from different cultures who are trying to assimilate in the dominant U.S. culture.

Now, Maggie is not from another culture, but she looks around at home and sees Irish skin everywhere but herself and me. She got my brown skin (naturally exacerbated in the summer), while Connor and Darcy got Carrie's North Atlantic ivory. Gavin is in between. Still, even the twins will say, "Daddy, you're brown, and Maggie is brown. I'm white."

With Hispanics expected to be half the U.S. population by 2050, Maggie may eventually feel more comfortable outside the home than in. Right now, she doesn't see many brown-skinned (not African American) kids at Kindercare or in playdates. In Carrie's women's group--most of the kids our kids know come from there--there are a couple families with Hispanic parents and their kids show it, too. I'll make sure to point them out from now on. Once elementary school begins in 2011, she'll blend more.

Maggie has told us a few times that she wishes she was lighter-skinned, and said yesterday that a girl at Kindercare made fun of her skin. Of course we tell her that she'll be so happy for it later, as Darcy will be with her unique curly-Q hair, and that that girl is just jealous. Then she says that the girl also has brown skin. Oh.

So there's no moral here or lesson or even a plea for advice. I'm proud that my skin reflects my heritage and looks great with yellow shirts, and we will be sure to dress Maggie in bright colors as well.

1 comment:

  1. Your an awesome dad Joe! Your kids are soooooo lucky to have you as there papi.