Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cosby to the Rescue

Last week, while I was in La Nina's classroom, one of her classmates asked, which child was mine. When I answered La NIna, he looked at her and looked at me and said, "She sure doesn't look like you." For me this situation was easily handled, I pointed out, "You're right, she's much prettier." She beamed, he was satisfied. Situation diffused.

However, the beginning of school brought a new challenge for La Nina: Answering questions about her adoption without hiding behind my skirt. All summer I tried to prepare her for this new reality and in typical La Nina terms, she had no interest in discussing this issue. A little background on LaNina, she's very private about her adoption. She'll talk about it outside our immediate family on a rare occasion, but in general, she'd prefer to never discuss it publicly.

To help her, I read lots of advice from other adoptive kids and parents about typical questions and suggested answers. But none of those answers seemed right to me. All of the answers seemed like something an adult might say to a child, but not what a child would say to a child. For instance, "Why don't you look like your parents?" Kid answer: "Not everyone looks like their parents." Ok, true, but that's something I would say to a kid now ... I don't know if I would have wanted to give that answer when I was a kid.

I was discussing this dilemma with my sister and she suggested I teach La Nina the ultimate play ground comeback, "fart head." Some examples:

Q: "Are you adopted?"
A: "Are you a fart head?"

Q: You don't look like your parents.
A: You're a fart head."

Obviously, this is a great defense. It does change the nature of any conversation and immediately shift the topic from adoption to farting...a fascinating topic when you're five. As tempted as I was by this school yard solution, some how I just couldn't encourage my daughter to use the expression 'fart head'. It went against my grain.

Then yesterday morning while La NIna was watching Bill Cosby's new children series, Little Bill, he gave us the perfect answer for the private child. The answer to any question or comment: a sublime 'So'.

Q: Are you adopted?
A: So? (It's an affirmation and a "Mind your own business" in two letters)

Q: You don't look like your parents.
A: So? (It closes the door on the conversation. Period. Love it.)

This response also works on any number of verbal taunts such as "You're a baby", "You're a poo-poo head" and "Doo-doo face", or the favorite in our house, "You're a Man". (This devastates the girls...I'm not sure why.)

After the show ended, I brought the topic up to La Nina and her eyes lit up. She finally found an answer she was comfortable giving. We practiced it all morning with the Magster...who is very good at taunting her sister...and it worked for her. We've also begun working on the ubiquitous "I know you are, but what am I?" and we're having fun with that.

Cross your fingers that we're prepared for another hurdle in childhood. I'm sure there will be situations she doesn't know how to handle, but hopefully, she'll come to us to help her find solutions that work for her. As I told La Nina Tuesday, we've been answering questions for almost five years now and we've heard it all.


  • At 3:26 AM , Blogger Johnny said...

    Wait! I the "farthead" response is still a viable option, even as an adult! In fact, very important in the corporate world!

    I like "So?" though.

  • At 7:44 PM , Blogger One Lucky Mom said...

    Yes, I do like the "Fart head" defense. I just think she should pick up that from her peers, not her mother.

    I need to be able to say, "Where did you learn that?" She needs to be able to shrug her shoulders and then I need to give a disapproving tsk-tsk.


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