Cute at 6, may not be cute at 12

When I started on the journey of Motherhood, I never thought I would have to think about identity and culture clashes. I mean, what is the big deal, you create roots, you raise a child, it is all good, right?

Wrong, I totally forgot about school and playground politics. I just want to hide while dropping off my child, I really don’t love it. I can deal with hardcore politics, I just can’t deal with the insanity that is Moms. I sincerely don’t get it.

Over the past year, I have watched some Mother’s gush about their 7-year-old son’s having “girlfriends”. I ignored it. I didn’t really understand what was cute about it. Then the one Mother came up to me and gushed that her daughter is getting gifts from her little boyfriend, and then went on about which boy and girl are paired up together, it was a lengthy discussion I couldn’t get out of. It went on, the girls having backup boyfriends and having lists of boys they like. I smiled politely, and attempted to walk away. She then said “My daughter told me that your son is too silly to have a girlfriend.” I turned, smiled and said “good”, and walked away.

The conversation made me totally uncomfortable, in a way I couldn’t articulate at first.

I wanted to be snarky, to say something smart and rude, instead, I said nothing, but I came home and thought about those words. The words didn’t hurt me, I don’t care if my son is too silly. I think it is awesome that he is being who he is, and is expressing himself the way he wants, he is a kid, I want him to be a kid. What hurt, was having a Mother thinking it was a worry, and giving me a worried look, like oh, it will be o.k that he isn’t paired up. That look of feeling sorry for me, like somehow I have to work on my child’s silliness to get a girlfriend. The thing is, I don’t care about that stuff, we don’t use labels in our house, for one reason. I don’t want my son to think that he will always be accepted and loved no matter who he loves now, or later.

You see, kids don’t just pick up on having a “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” naturally at the age of 6 and 7, it is something they learn from adults. That it is cute that their 7-year-old boy is hitting his little girlfriend because he likes her, or that the little 7-year-old girl is dressed up for her boyfriend. Fast forward what is cute at age 6, is it still cute at 12, or 18? Why are parents so surprised that the one thing they pushed at 6 which was cute, all of a sudden is a worry at 12 and 13, I mean, you created the product. The two mothers who think it is innocent and cute that their son and daughter are boyfriend and girlfriend, will then backtrack at 12, worried about sex. You see, by pushing it at 7, you can’t backtrack out of that. Kids are now exposed to so much, but do they need to be pushed to being grown up at such an early age? As parents, why push on the boyfriend – girlfriend stereotype, when sexuality is a spectrum.

You see, as a parent, I want to set my child up for success, give him the right tools and guidance to let him fly on his own!

Dip Kid




Cultural Identity

I am not exactly sure when I became aware of my skin colour, my identity, my accent, my Father’s unique job or even my birth country and how obviously out of place it all was to my surroundings. One move seemed to blend into another. The only thing I seemed to know, was how to navigate new schools, and airports.

By grade 8, I was 13, we were posted back to Canada. My apparent home and native land, I am not sure how homey it really was for me. My parents made the decision to move back to the neighbourhood we had been living in before we moved to the Philippines. It was a familiar neighbourhood, I knew some people, I knew the school. There was only one glaring difference when we came back, it felt more foreign to me than anything else.

I would find myself trying to navigate something I hadn’t been completely aware of before. Back in the Philippines, I stood out. I was very pale, blue eyed with hair that was turning a shade of auburn, I was always in a sea of beautiful tanned skin, dark hair and petite frames. I looked around my school, and it was a sea of WASP kids. I could apparently blend in a little more easily, or could I?

Before school started, my Mother and I went shopping to buy some fall clothes. I had been living in the tropics and owned nothing that had long sleeves or even legs, or boots for that matter. As we walked through the mall, everything was awkward, and uncomfortable. The shops only carried clothes in shades of black, brown, and dark green. I had been used to bright sun shiny colours that made you happy. My Mother commented on the prices, she almost passed out when looking at them. We were used to stopping in Hong Kong, and going into the fashion district, everything there was $10 and under. Here, it seemed everything was over $100, including my running shoes. My Mother got nervous. We didn’t have lots of money. She said we had to start slow. I could pick out a couple of things, but I was not getting a whole new wardrobe at once. I understood. Gone were the days of getting something made for a couple of dollars, or only having a wardrobe for one season. I made sure I picked out an outfit that would blend. I spent a better part of a day observing what everyone around me was wearing.

When I arrived at school, my mouth almost unhinged to the floor. Everyone, and I mean everyone, looked more like me. It was an odd experience, something I became leery of. I quickly observed, that there were only 2 minority kids, one Chinese, one Korean. The weird thing for me, was I identified more with the minority kids, than I did with the rest of the student population.

As soon as I opened my mouth in class, out came a Filipino accent. I answered a question and out came a lilt to my words that jarred everyone awake. They all laughed, and began to make fun of me. My accent made me stand out. As we moved into our French class for the day, I had slunk down into my chair, trying to be invisible. When I was called on to answer a question in French, I hesitated, then answered slowly. The teacher, remarked how beautiful my accent was. My classmates, confused, unaware of my ability to copy accents in other languages, yet, I couldn’t get rid of my very Filipino lilt as quickly or as easily.

I went home. Not understanding how to fit in, or where I really belonged. As much as I looked like everyone on the outside, I was nothing like any of these kids on the inside. It was at 13, I realized, I just had to somehow figure out how to hide my true self, and just blend as best as I could.

Dip Kid