Since D was born, all I've heard from friends and strangers is: "Wow, she doesn't look anything like you." OR "She looks JUST like her Daddy." OR "Did E look that, um, Chinese?" It's obvious that all of the comments are because D's eyes are more almondy than E's, but as a newborn, E looked more Chinese than Latino as well. After about a dozen of these comments, I started to respond with a monologue about how in the animal kingdom young usually look like their fathers. After all, mothers *know* they gave birth to said offspring, but fathers, well, we all know the mailman (or the handsome other lion with the thicker mane) always rings twice. Still, it bothered me that no one (except for my mother, whom I believe is biologically bound to say all of her grandchildren look like her children) saw any connection between me and my baby.
The growing list of comments ("Are you sure she's yours?"; "It looks like your husband spontaneously generated"; "She looks like a China doll!" etc.) began to annoy instead of amuse. I started staring at a portrait of myself at three months and then studying D's face to make my own connections: "She has my eyebrows/lips/cheeks!" Then, of course, I'd stare at my husband and think the exact same thing. I began to feel like a woman I babysat for in college. She is Jewish and her husband is African American. Their two daughters, however, looked light-skinned but not bi-racial. She told me once that she hated all of the: "Are they yours?" "Are they adopted?" "Are you the nanny?" comments she got at Upper West Side playgrounds. I thought her paranoid, or perhaps secretly -- gasp!-- racist. She knew the girls were hers, so who cares, right? Well, now I know how she felt. It's not that I'm offended by the remarks -- or disappointed that she looks Asian, because I think she's damn cute ifIdosaysomyself -- but the comments start to get old. "No, I'm not the nanny!"