Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What are you??

I heard that question more times than I can count growing up.  And by growing up I mean grade school, middle school, high school, college, and I am still growing.  And if, by that question, you mean to tactfully inquire "What is your ethnic heritage?" the answer is Chinese.  I know, I know--it's the last thing you would have guessed, I know, I don't really look Chinese, I know, you knew I was something and you've all been trying to figure it out, I know, you thought maybe Italian, Hawaiian, Latin, some sort of South American, Greek, Mexican, really anything but Chinese .  There ya go.

To be honest, I don't know that much about Chinese culture.  My mom was born in Arizona, and for a long time, the most Chinese-y thing I knew how to cook was rice.  I've learned more as I've grown up, and really do want to pass on some rich cultural heritage to my quarter-Chinese kiddos. 

So when Sammy's teacher emailed about the class Culture Day and invited the kids to share something from their ethnic background, I thought this was a great chance to teach my kids about their culture.

Unfortunately, life got in the way, I ran out of time and I threw some Chinese things in a bag and picked up a huge bag of fortune cookies at a restaurant supply store.

I told Sammy I got fortune cookies to add to the cultural feast.  He said "Great!"


"Mom, I don't think fortune cookies are actually Chinese, though."

"What?? Sure they are!"

"I think they were invented in America."

I looked it up.  He was right.  I twisted up my face.

"That's okay, Mom.  We'll just trick them."  Okay, we'll just trick them.

The kids were supposed to dress up in traditional dress, if they had any.  But it was also the school's "Literary Character Day".  The kids told me the prior day, but life got in the way and we were scrambling in the morning before school trying to come up with literary character costumes.  I was digging through the costume box "Is there a story about a seahorse that you like?  How about a clown story?"  For Girlie we came up with an old Chinese robe, threw some chopsticks in her bun and called her Mulan. (See, look at me tapping into my Chinese roots!)

Sammy insisted that he wanted to be a ninja.  From what book?  Oh, the bad ninja in that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles book?  Ok, cool man.  Very literary. 

I had to laugh out loud when he wasn't the only one.

All the moms wanted to know what else he "was", because all the little girls in his class have a crush on him, and, wow, those green eyes.  They found it really funny when I shrugged and said, "Um, just....white?"  Because, really, I don't know exactly 'what' J is.  He probably doesn't know, because  he hasn't had people coming up to him his entire life asking him what he 'is'.

The kids think it's novel that they're all part Chinese and daddy is not, even though he claims to be since he's actually been there.  But, it looks like I've got some more work to do on our heritage education. 

Sweetie and I were thumbing through an American Girl catalog and she said, "Look!  That girl looks like me!"

"...and that girl looks like Girlie!"


And then last night we went to the kids' Spring Art Walk at school to see their displays.  Sammy's class project was called "Family Portraits".  This was his picture.

Seriously, click on it and get a good look.  It just gets funnier and funnier!


I think it's great that my kids are color blind.  But maybe they're actually color blind?

3 love notes:

Aubrey said...

Your kids are so adorable and so smart and sweet. I can see what Sweetie is talking about, she's a little lighter than Girlie I think, at least her hair (right?) Sounds like more family history is needed so Josh can say what he is. I am 1/4 Dutch and I'm also Swedish and English :) When I found out you were 1/2 Chinese, I thought it made total sense. I can see your Mom in you and you are both beautiful. That's funny about the fortune cookies. It's less funny what the teachers ask us Moms to do, and sometimes last minute. BethAnne was so excited when her teacher asked her to prepare a 1/2 hour lesson all about dogs using power point. All I can think is that I don't have 10 extra hours just lying around :) Keep the posts coming, it helps me miss you less :)

Amy said...

Made me laugh til I cried. Love the family picture. Looks just like your family.

Sarah Ringer said...

Hahaha! This post made me laugh out loud! For one, I completely relate to getting the lifelong question, "what ARE you?" and second, Sweetie's comment and Sammy's family photo KILL ME! Hilarious! I just want to hear the conversation you had with your kids after making that comment/poster...