May 11, 2010

Why Do I Feel Like I Need to Explain Myself?

Lately, I have found that I feel obligated to explain myself. If I am unable to commit to a function that I have been invited to, I explain that I have a party, theater lessons, swimming lessons, we are going out of town, or I am just too exhausted to attend. If we are late to something, I feel like I need to justify our tardiness by blaming the traffic, the kids, my husband or just life. When someone tells me that Marley is so petite for her age, I feel like I need to explain to them that she is Ethiopian and Ethiopians are small people, or that she was so so tiny at birth and that she has gained 7 pounds while in the United States in the last 6 months. Why do I feel the need to explain myself? Why can't I just say, "I'm so sorry I won't be able to attend your jewelry party?" "We made it," when we are running behind schedule, or "why yes, Marley is petite" when people comment on her size. Why do I feel like a simple answer isn't good enough?
Yesterday, at Miles' acting class, another parent asked Marley's age. When I said 12 months, she immediately responded with, "wow...12 months, she's so tiny!" Okay, so if you know me, this really frustrates me. I know it may sound petty. But what I hear is, " she just isn't perfect in my eyes." Ridiculous, I know. I think she is the most perfect little girl ever! I just don't get why people feel the need to ask her age and why she is so small all the time? Okay, back to this lady at the theater. So after she stated that Marley looked so petite for her age, she did have a curious look on her face, as if she was waiting for an explanation, I told her that Marley was Ethiopian. Still dumbfounded, I further explained that Ethiopians are smaller people. Then she said, "Oh, so your husband is Ehtiopian?" I suppose this would have been a valid question had she not seen my husband, but she had! Brandon is HUGE. Standing at 6'7" he is not! So now is it okay for me to call this lady a moron? I replied with, "No, my husband is not Ethiopian. Marley was adopted from Ethiopia." I did it, I explained my situation. But I only did it with the intention of educating this lady thinking I may encourage her to adopt, silly me! This woman pried on. "Well your son isn't petite?" I explained again, "Miles is a tummy baby, you know home grown." No she didn't go there! I don't know this woman from Adam, this was the first time I had ever met her, seriously! She continued, "so you couldn't have anymore children after Miles?" Why didn't I see this as prying and stop right there? Hmmmm? But no, I kept going. "Well, we felt called to adoption and had some situations that confirmed it for us. "Didn't it take a long time," she continued. I won't bore you with the rest, but you get the point.
Just today at Miles' school, a teacher saw me carrying Marley and said, " she's so bitty but seems so grown, how old is she?" When I said 12 months, she asked if she was early, I replied with "actually I have always though of her as very late, but looking back now, I'd have to say that she was right on time!" Yay me!
I'm totally fine, if not overly enthused, to talk about adoption...our adoption to interested folk. But nosy people...that's a different story. I suppose my frustration comes with just a plain lack of words. I need clever, one liners to shut those nosy people up. Or perhaps I just need to quit feeling obligated to sharing our entire story with everyone off the street. Sweet and simple, "why yes she is petite, and perfectly made" should do. Right?


ellerbee eight said...

I know. I get that a lot. But it's about what grade my kids are in. It's been the hugest struggle of my life to try to accept them for what educational and developmental level they are at. Jameson is 11 but emotionally and academically about 7. It's hard not to get "explainitis" when people ask what grade they are in. I feel your pain. I had a petite child who weighed 32 pounds at age 5 and is now a monster. That's the beauty of God's creations. They are all His creations and different.

Abby said...

Let me know when you come up with those clever one-liners. I feel like all I ever do is explain. I am trying to stay patient, that our international adoption is a gift and a privilege and I should feel honored to talk about it. And almost always I do feel that way. But when you're trying to eat lunch at a restaurant and you're in the middle of a conversation with a dear friend you haven't seen in months and people have no qualms with coming up and interrupting you to ask questions and ooh and aaah....well, come on, People.

Sam's mom said...

Geez girl, it's like you are in my head sometimes.
I HATE these questions. I HATE explaining. People ask "how can he walk already?" Well, because he's 20 mos old and was walking at 10 mos so I guess just because. "But he's SOOOO small." Really? Not SOOO. He isn't as fat as your kid, if that's what you are comparing him to. But if would be rude to say, right?
Of course, the same person can ask me about Sam's "real mom" ... "did she die?" How the heck is that any of their business?
But my favorite is when people say how much Sam looks like Angelina's baby or Madonna's baby or Sandra's baby. Really? I don't think so. do ALL Black children look the same to you? They don't to me.
Sorry for the rant, but I GET where you are coming from.

Justine said...

Well our "home grown" Aidan was HUGE! He was 9lb. 11oz. at birth and never stopped. Everywhere I went people were like "he's enormous". "How did you ever give birth to such a big baby?!" It got old quickly. After a while, I just started saying "Aren't I lucky? He's so healthy." People would get the point. I do think that the majority of people say these dumb comments out of love and not malice though. They just don't realize how sensitive we are to everything said about our precious little ones.

Anyway, glad ot see you are getting some good attitute!


Ben and Kate said...

Love this post! I don't have any one-liners, but please share if you acquire any. I just talk baby-talk to Lyra when someone is being nosy or rude. It kinda reminds them that she's there and aware of what is being said. Either that or they think I'm nuts.

waitingonhim said...

You are such a nut! I love to hear how this happens to you. I assumed when we met that everyone would think she was "home grown" because she looks so much like her brother. All the people I meet want to know if ours are foster kids, because they couldn't really be mine! We live in such a curious culture. I am choosing to ignore the questioning look and smile as my little ones call me "Momma."
I just love to see how God grows families and hope we can all share a positive light on adoption!
God bless you and your perfect petite little Marley! Please give her a squeeze from Kisanet!

gigglechirp said...

Yes, it gets old. You are so not alone!! People can be so strange. And, I especially get sick of the celebrity comments or questions as though no one ever thought of adoption before them!!! GROWL!

Breann said...

When people have asked if the kids are adopted, I mean come on they have accents, different mannerisms and hello- Nick and I are white, I have said that we left the sunscreen at home when we went to the beach last weekend and the kids tan easily. then walk away. I know it's probably rude. But it makes the kids feel really awkward and sad when they are asked that question. So I guess my momma bear instincts kick in.

Tricia said...

I totally understand. I ahve 3 children. The first 2 were premmies. Cassandra in going to be 5, and she only weighs 26 lbs. My son Nicholas (middle child who is 3) is "normal sized" People always ask if they are twins. My last one who was born at 37 weeks is 2 years old and weighs 21 lbs and is 31 inches....So u can imagine the stares I get:)