"Is She Yours?" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 09:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Today, my 4 month old daughter and I took the bus out to the local farmer's market. We had a lovely time, and she was really well-behaved. On our way home, a lady sat behind us who was just enamoured of my daughter, and was so sweet and complimentary... but then she asked me:

"Is she yours?"

I can't pinpoint why, but I was SO insulted. Or maybe I just thought it was incredibly rude. My lineage is Polish and I look it: pale skin, blue eyes, blonde hair. My daughter looks like her father: tanned skin, dark eyes, dark hair; she has his nose, his mouth, his ears, EVERYTHING. When we're out as a family, we get a lot of comments about how much she looks like daddy.

My husband thinks it's silly that I thought this woman was rude. I can't get over it. "Is she yours?" I said yes, and the woman sort of laughed like she felt self-conscious and said, "Oh, I guess you're NOT the babysitter then!" I mean, is that normal, to assume that a baby doesn't belong to someone?

Is someone here on my side? Please tell me I'm not loopy!
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#2 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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I can understand why you're upset, and it's a stupid question for a stranger to ask. Sounds like she just blurted it out and regretted it afterwards.

On the other hand, in my town there are a lot of nannies and babysitters taking care of kids during the day, and it's sometimes hard to figure out the relationship when you're at the playground or whatever. Usually I don't need to know the relationship (the exception is when a kid falls down and no one's around, so you ask if his mom or nanny or whoever is nearby). So I don't comment or ask about it, even if I'm curious. But sometimes people just aren't thinking, kwim?

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#3 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 10:34 PM
 
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HATE that question!!! As a biracial child I got to hear my white mother get it often and now that I have a white child I am the one getting it. : Why is it THEIR concern? So ridiculous.

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#4 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 10:37 PM
 
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Do you happen to look really young?

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#5 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 10:46 PM
 
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I got that a lot with my first. I also looked like I was about 15 at that point, so it rattled people.
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#6 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by confustication View Post
I got that a lot with my first. I also looked like I was about 15 at that point, so it rattled people.
This is still my DH's problem in public and we are well past number 1

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#7 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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I have gotten that so many times. But for me it's a compliment I look really young and I am very thin. I guess people that have twins aren't suppose to be skinny?? I don't know but I get it a lot.

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#8 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 11:09 PM
 
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This happened to me once. At the time, I was aware that I didn't look like my girls; my hair was blonde (not naturally ) while my children's hair is brown, and I was wearing dark sunglasses. I was taking them for a walk and stopped to chat with a couple and their baby, and after a few minutes the husband asked if they were my children

He didn't mean anything by it of course

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#9 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 11:15 PM
 
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I get it all the time. I'm Mexican and have a dark blond, pale, blue eyed little boy. My mom's side is light complected with light eyes, I just happen to take after my dad with the dark hair/eyes, olive skin and wavy hair.
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#10 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 11:22 PM
 
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perhaps she just didn't want to assume anything. i usually ask before I tell someone "your baby/grandbaby/whatever is so cute." because heaven forbid you guess and get it wrong.

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#11 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 11:27 PM
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I think it is very rude. As a former nanny, and in an area where there are lots of nannies, I never had anyone ask me that. Everyone just assumed that I was the mother, unless I told them I wasn't! When I cared for three 3yos from two families, everyone assumed I was the mother of triplets. And more than once, while I cared for two boys from different families, after I just told them the boys were "2 and almost 2", people would say "Oh, you had them close together!".

The default, out of respect, should be that whoever is with the children is a parent. Until you are told otherwise. For all you know, the child may be adopted, a step-child or just not look like the parent. And it may not be something they want to discuss with a stranger.

Also, as a nanny there were times when I didn't correct people and just let them assume. Fore example, the cashier might be nice to the little boy, and hand him the paper, saying "what a good boy, you give that to your mum!". I'd just smile and say thanks, and outside of the shop I would assure the LO that we'd give Mummy the paper when she came home from work.

Frankly it is none of their business,
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#12 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 11:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liliaceae View Post
Do you happen to look really young?
:

I got that when I was 25 and people thought I was 16.

(Ooh, to look young again!)

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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#13 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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I think its a rude question regardless of how dissimilar a parent-child pair look.
People can be thoughtless and insensitive.
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#14 of 73 Old 06-13-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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perhaps she just didn't want to assume anything. i usually ask before I tell someone "your baby/grandbaby/whatever is so cute." because heaven forbid you guess and get it wrong.

:

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#15 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 12:02 AM
 
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I don't think that it is rude at all. I look after a little girl during the days and I always take her and ds everywhere and people are always assuming she's mine and I always get a kick out of that. I don't know why really, but people will always say "oh, twins!" or they'll say "oh mommy has you two dressed up" or something like that. sometimes I correct them, sometimes I don't bother. It's no big deal. Probably this lady has come across someone like me before who corrected her and now she doesn't want to make the same mistake again.... who knows
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#16 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 04:02 AM
 
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I use to get the opposite. I'm white, my bestfriend is black and she has twin daughters who are light complected, I mean, they could be mixed (sorta are as thier dad is mixed). Anyway, I cannot count the times I was complimented on my beautiful daughters or asked if they were mine. I was even told that the family resemblence was obvious. I thought it was obvious that I wasnt thier mother, but then you never know. My sil is white and her x is black and her kids are fairly dark though she is anemically white. I also got that with my actual niece who does look remarkably like my son, their fathers (who are brothers) look just like each other and just like their dad plus my nieces mother has similar characteristics to me, same color/type of hair, same basic body build etc.

I also was watching my friends baby, four days younger than ds4, by the pool one day when they were babies and several times got, "Oh, twins!!".

Now, when ds1 was small, I did get people who thought he was my brother, because at 24 I looked 16 and at two he looked four!!

I think its natural to be curious but I would never ask a stranger!! I had a friend once I met becuase our sons did scouts togather, it took a long time for me to feel comfortable enough to ask if her ds's had diffrent fathers. She laughed about it though, but seriously, they didnt look like they were the same race. One was very white and blue eyed, blonde hair while his brother was dark, brown eyes, black hair. They were full brothers same mom, same dad, just one looked like his white mother and one like his hispanic father. I mean they didnt the mixing or blending of both parents at all!! Well, they did of course, but they didnt LOOK it!

Oh, when I got complimented on my "daughters", I always just said Thank You!

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#17 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 04:07 AM
 
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Ive also seen the opposite where a child was adopted but parents frequently told that the child looked just like them!

~Me, mama to soapbox boy (1991), photo girl (1997), gadget girl (2003), jungle boy (2005), fan boy (2003) and twirly girl (2011). Twenty years of tree hugging, breastfeeding, cosleeping, unschooling, craziness
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#18 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 09:05 AM
 
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I've had that too. Funnily enough, when I was a nanny, most people assumed the kids were mine. Now I have one of my own, I get asked "Is she yours?".

I can relate to being sensitive about having your child looking more like their father. I hear over & over & over how much my DD looks like DH, but almost never that she looks like me. It really bothered me at first, but now I'm so used to it that it doesn't bug me as much. It still bugs me a little, though!

My baby is 2 years old! How did that happen?!
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#19 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 09:13 AM
 
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I get this all the time and while I'm dark-haired and my son is very blonde, I think its mostly asked because of how young I look. I still think its rude, even if they're not intending to be... but that's probably because I get the "You look like a teenager" comments a LOT. I can only imagine the reaction I'm going to get with 2.
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#20 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 09:18 AM
 
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I got that a lot with my first (and second and third if I was out with just them) and I think it was just because I looked young.
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#21 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 09:54 AM
 
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This is a tough question because there are multiple ways "Is she yours" can be interpreted, with accompanying uncomfortable racial baggage.

option 1: she thought you were the babysitter/nanny. You are fair-skinned (and young-looking?), your daughter is tan/dark-haired. Annoying but not necessarily coming from a negative place.

option 1a (not applicable in your particular situation): You are the tan, dark-haired one and your daughter is the fair one. The woman is still assuming you're the nanny but this time the woman may be asking based on assumptions about race and childcare--a person of color with a fair-skinned child? She must be the help. Not necessarily a conscious thought by the woman, just some ingrained prejudice.

option 2: she thought your daughter was adopted. Pretty clearly offensive in my mind, since even if you didn't give birth to your daughter, she's still your daughter. (Yes, she followed up with "Oh, not the babysitter then" but who knows if that's what she was thinking)

And regardless of where the woman's question was coming from, it's going to hurt that protective mama bear instinct to have people doubt that your baby is yours.
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#22 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm 26 and haven't ever been carded while buying alcohol, so I assume I look somewhere around my age

Thinking on it more, I don't believe I was really insulted, just shocked at how rude the question was. Interesting spectrum of responses here!

And yes, MamaStarbird, I think you hit the nail on the head -- of COURSE she's my baby, how dare anyone not realize that immediately? Hehee!
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#23 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 10:23 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lilyka View Post
perhaps she just didn't want to assume anything. i usually ask before I tell someone "your baby/grandbaby/whatever is so cute." because heaven forbid you guess and get it wrong.
: I have people as me if DS is my first a lot, always struck me as odd, do I look scared or something!? . They always ask "how old is your baby?" I guess that would be my cue to say "he's my nephew" or whatever if he wasn't *mine*

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#24 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 10:35 AM
 
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I get this all the time.

I live in France and not only do my kids all look like my much-darker husband but now that they're older, my kids don't have an accent and I do.

The French are more discreet than N. Americans but here are a few;

"Madame, it's very nice of you to offer to take her home but we need to call her mother first". (His coworkers enjoyed that one and he got a major ribbing for it!)

The grocery store at check-out;
"Don't put that there! Those things belong to this woman"
"No, it's okay..."
"It is NOT okay. That little boy was trying to put his gum with your things so that you'd have to pay for them..."

My favorite. Now granted, I was taking a tourist boat with my son in the city where we live. The boat driver makes small talk asking me how I like living in France. Later in the conversation, I mention having a husband.

"Husband?!? I didn't realize."
"Well, that's how I got this baby"
"I didn't realize he was yours'. I thought you were an au pair girl because of your accent! Apologies!"
"Don't apologize! I'm 36 years old. You made my day!!!!"

What's funny is that my dark skinned, black haired, young-looking father used to get that comment when he was out with me and now it's the opposite.

Personally, I think biracial children get this less because people are keen to international adoptions and mixed-race marriages. I think I throw them off because both my husband and I are white and Jewish, but I'm not 100% so I look more "goyish" as we say. People think we're a mixed religion couple ourselves which is kind of true, just not our generation. My sister is not as light as I am but much more typically Jewish-looking. For the record, I never knew the non-Jewish branch of our family.

I don't mind the "Are they yours'?" question as much as the "You're Jewish?!?" which does get a bit annoying, but maybe just because I've had that question put to me three decades before I became a parent lol!
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#25 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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Mine all look like DH and there are a lot of them. I get "Are they yours?" or "Are they all yours?" all the time, but I think that's more about how many there are than anything.

Wife to 1~Mom to 5 ages brand new to 12~Rural Mail Carrier~Keeper of 2 dogs, 1 cat & a flock of chickens :
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#26 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 11:00 AM
 
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The first time I got those sorts of reactions, I was 14 and spending the summer looking after my 3-year-old cousin. My family runs to towhead blonde when we're young, that usually darkens as we get to adolescence / adulthood. I'm unusual for having stayed blonde into my twenties (I've only recently admitted that my hair is more light brown now.)

So 14 year old girl with long blonde hair, 3 year old girl with long blonde hair, walking the mall together, I got a LOT of *strange* looks. Nobody ever asked, but I think most people assumed I was a teenage mother!

So fast forward many years. My husband's hair is dark, and our son was born with dark hair, and a face shaped more like DH's. The first 8 months plus, most people would say how much he looked like DH, "He couldn't deny him if he wanted to!"

I always had mixed feelings with that. DS got my eyes, and of course I want him to claim something of mine. Sometimes it feels like by saying he looks just like one or the other of us, it's almost denying the other one's parenthood.

Well, then, as DH got a little older, he also went towhead blonde. So now I do get "He looks just like you" remarks, and you'd think I'd be happy about it. Sometimes I am. I think it depends on who he's with, we seem to get those remarks about equally now.

DH always says "DS looks like DS" and leaves it at that. He doesn't need to look like either of us.

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#27 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 11:11 AM
 
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I don't think it is particularly offensive, but definitely annoying. To the OP, I see your little one is only 4 months old. This is only the beginning - if this is the most offensive thing a stranger ever says to you, count your lucky stars.

I really don't get it. I think that the only appropriate thing for strangers to say is to ask how old they are, maybe their name, and then comment on how beautiful they are..... and walk away. I mean really, WHY do people feel the need to come up with all of these probing questions.

I think the worst for me (so far) was when we stopped at a fast food restaurant for lunch on a long road trip. My babe was sitting in a high chair (snacking on fruit I brought from home for her) and was making faces at a lady a few tables over. After she finished the lady came over and did the whole "how old is she" thing, and then says to me:

"Well, I'll give you a couple of more months, but then you need to make another one."

WHAT???

I am still dumbfounded. I wasn't particularly offended, but I keep thinking about what if babygirl was adopted because I couldn't carry babies myself? What if I only had her after years of fertility treatments? What if we already WERE trying to get pregnant again and it wasn't working out? What if I hemmoraged during childbirth and had to have a hysterectomy and couldn't have more babies??

There are a million circumstances where that comment could have been very hurtful and upsetting. None of them currently apply to me, but I REALLY hope that lady doesn't go around saying to everyone she meets.

On the original topic, I frequently go out with my brown hair, brown eyed 11mo and my day care kids - a 2yo mixed girl who takes after her AA father, and a nearly 3yo boy with very blond hair and striking blue eyes. People ALWAYS assume they are all mine. So I don't get it.

Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).

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#28 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 11:36 AM
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I really think that if someone is sensitive about a subject, they're going to find rudeness where there isn't any. I don't think what the woman asked was rude at all.

Just yesterday, I was out to breakfast with DH, and ran into a woman who works in the kitchen at the restaurant where I work. She is Guatemalan and doesn't speak much English, but the few exchanges we've had have been very nice. She's a sweet lady. She was carrying a baby and stopped by my table to say hello on her way out of the diner. The baby looked Hispanic and could very well have been hers. I said "Very cute. Your baby?" She said "No, my niece."

I asked her because I don't know anything about her family; not because she looked too old, or too young, or the baby was a different color. And as it turns out, the baby wasn't hers. People do hold and take care of other people's babies.
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#29 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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I get this CONSTANTLY....especially in the grocery....This is me and my baby this past Memorial Day:

http://i720.photobucket.com/albums/w...s/IMG_4984.jpg

"Oh, how nice that you two are so close...you know all my children had nannies and none of them were so close!" (I get this sentiment a lot when I wear her around...we live in a wealthy area, the "nanny" comments are insane!)

"Oh, how great that she seems to take to you...her mother must be jealous!"

"Wow, she must look like her father, huh?" - THIS ONE, I don't mind...because it's true. She looks like a sack of flour, with her dada's face plastered to the front of it.

My eyes are green, dark curly hair, darker skin....she is incredibly fair skinned, with brilliant blue, like DENIM eyes and sandy-ish hair...it's just gonna happen! Yeah, it drives me nuts...but you know? They always say how pretty she is, how close we seem, etc...so, I don't know. I tend to talk myself down from being too upset, you know? I live in New Hampshire...it's pretty white up here, a lot of people don't know how to handle wondering whether she is mine or not...granted, it's none of their business, but if I can be an ambassdor, if Ican blaze a new trail around here and direct people in the appropriate way to comment on a child they think is beautiful, who doesn't look like her mother...then okay. I'm think skinned, maybe, when I show people a better way to "wonder", the next time they come across a "thin skinned" mama, that mama won't have her feelings hurt, you know?

I dont know....I think people are just attracted to babies and are a little nosey and say silly things. It's unfortunate....but at least if they say it, hear it coming out of their mouth...they can say to themselves "Hey, that didn't sound right" and THINK about it, you know? Whereas, if they keep it to themselves, maybe they ARE making a judgement and will continue to judge because they just can't even hear how weird it sounds, because it's only ever in their head?

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#30 of 73 Old 06-14-2009, 11:47 AM
 
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When someone asks me if my kids are mine, I just laugh and say "Yep. Made them myself."
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