Before my husband and I became parents, friends and even strangers would tell us, “you guys would make the cutest babies.” As much as I would like to imagine that people made these comments because they thought my husband and I possessed the looks of super-models (let me emphasize the term, “imagine,” because in reality, we look nothing like super-models); they made these remarks based on the fact that we were a mixed race, Asian-Caucasian, couple. This is not an assumption on my part. It’s the truth, because that flattery about making the cutest babies was usually followed by, “mixed babies are always so cute.” I never took offense. These comments were generated equally by both my worlds. In Thailand, people went even further to say that our mutiracial babies would likely become models or actors in Thailand because they would be so good looking. I skeptically dismissed the idea that doors of opportunity would magically open to my unconceived children.
I was also dubious about the generalization of mixed-race couples making cute babies. Surely, they couldn’t bypass all the genetic coding just because they were making multiracial children. But I’m not gonna lie, sometimes, I did wonder if my husband and I would, indeed, make cute babies. What I never expected, though, was that one day I would have a child of my own and people would assume he wasn’t mine.
“I don’t charge anything to take care of this child since he’s MINE! But I would probably charge you an arm and a leg to take care of yours,” I once replied to a lady I met at a park. She wanted to know my nanny rates. She even complimented me on how I was so unusually affectionate toward the baby, for a nanny. On another occasion, a nanny approached me and said “the baby is so adorable, what are his parents?” Confused, I asked her to clarify. I was pretty sure I didn’t give birth to a Vulcan baby. She was shocked to learn I was the mother. Some were more reserved and would not say it outright, instead they would simply say, “what a beautiful baby, must look a lot like his daddy.” Ouch! I didn’t know which one stung my motherly pride more; the assumption that I was a nanny to my own flesh and blood, or the fact that my child couldn’t have possibly inherited his good looks from me. Either way, I was wounded.
The worst one happened in Thailand when my son was 1.5 years old. It was his first trip there and I couldn’t wait to introduce him to everyone. My parents took us to an old temple in Ayutthaya Province. While I was holding my son, a man accosted me. He demanded that I returned the child I stole from the Italian couple walking ahead of me. Imagine that, I went from being a nanny to a child snatcher.
These awkward encounters seem to happen less now that my son is 3. Maybe he is starting to resemble me a bit more. Or maybe it’s because he can now speak like a little human and refers to me as his mother for others to hear. Every now and then, I hear people telling me that he looks more like me now and then a few hours later, someone else says he looks more like my husband, all in one day. To me, he looks like a good mix of both of us, but then again, I’m his mother, so that makes me biased. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter to us who he looks like, but the one thing we know for sure, from the moment he was born, he’s the most beautiful little boy we have ever known. And he’s ours.