Double Take

If you've been here before, you're well aware that one of my biggest pet-peeves is silly questions about my kids. Well, finally, an amazing site called The Root gave me an opportunity to rant about what it means to have so-called "black and white" twins - and I've got to admit, it felt great.

The best part is that I'm now free to move on and be neurotic about other areas of my life, so stay tuned!


Is it just me?

My mother always told me not to stare, but I soon realized that’s not always possible. So I decided that at the very least, if one must silently judge another, it absolutely should not be done blatantly. And never, ever, with one’s mouth hanging open. (That’s just rude!) But I guess everybody wasn’t taught that, because this guy at the playground was ogling my kids as if he was a wolf in man's clothing, staring at my children like they were running around in red capes. Instinctively, I peeled myself off the park bench and made it my business to know why.

As I got closer, we made eye-contact and I realized he was smiling. Creepy? Yes — but not in the way that made me want to call the police (just yet).

“Your children, they are all so...different.” At least his tongue wasn't hanging out.

“They are,” I forced politely. My mother also taught me not to talk to strangers, but I’m grown now and I didn’t really appreciate his comments. I resented his taking a moment to point out how his ethnic group was “normal” and mine was “not”.

“I might not even know they’re all related, “ he chuckled, as if it was any business of his in the first place.

“They’re actually siblings.” I’m sure that whatever attempt I made at smiling back at him was canceled out by the fact that I was bracing myself – hard – for his next question.

“What race is the father?”

Bingo! “My husband’s mixed, actually…his mom is black and his dad is Irish American.” It came out with a sigh that was barely audible, but I couldn’t have cared less if he’d heard me.

“Unbelievable!” he marveled, “All the same dad?”

“All the same dad.” I repeated after him, just in case he was actually and undercover casting-agent for Maury Povitch. And then for some reason, I felt the need to keep talking, as if I had to have the last word on a subject that really had no conclusion to begin with. “If you really look at all three of them, they look alike…the twins actually look a lot like both sides of our families.” I was stammering like a Mormon tour guide at a sex toy museum. I hated explaining something so basic to complete strangers, as if my life is actually some great big science experiment.

“Twins!” he squealed in amazement. “On top of that, they’re twins?!” He giggled gleefully. “So different and both so unique!”

“Thanks.” Of course they are. But not for the reason you think, moron.

When I gave birth to two perfect babies with complexions as strikingly different as Hillary and Barack’s, I knew that the world might not instantly see that they’re actually brother and sister. But I never thought that perfect strangers would have the audacity to comment on this difference time and time again. I assumed most people — of any race — already knew that black people weren’t actually “black” and that the range of skin tones within the ethnicity could put Crayola out of business. But ever since day one, from the playground to the pediatrician’s, perfect strangers insisted on piping in: “They look so different!” or “You’d never even know they were related!”.

Or other things, like how different their hair textures were. It’s honestly left me often wondering if half the country flunked eighth-grade biology. At the very least eleventh-grade history, when were supposed to have learned about the “peculiar institution” of slavery.

Slowly, I began to gather up our belongings. Enough already. I shoved my son’s Curious George ball in my tote bag and started searching for my youngest daughter’s shoe. We might have to leave here without it, I thought, but at least we’ll go home with our dignity. I was so tired of protecting my beloveds from a world that sees them as anomalies, so angry at all of the supposedly educated people who felt the need to make a spectacle of them instead of seeing them for who and what they really are.

“It’s so amazing what happens when the races are blended together — you never know what you’ll get!”

“You’re right, you never know.” I said matter-of-factly as I fished my daughter’s mary jane from a puddle.

“So fascinating,” he smiled humbly, “so beautiful.”


Ladies First

Why Michelle Obama's the woman (and Soledad O'Brien is, too).

Um, no thanks.

I've never liked Oreos. Or many tv personalities. But at the same time, I kinda like seeing newscasters shed their game faces to make a joke, even a halfway crass one. As much as I want to scream "Stop laughing and get back to work!", there's a certain comfort in knowing that beyond all of that plasticine facade, there's actually a real, live, human being back there (that with any luck, I'll never have to meet in real life).


Double their pleasure

Speculation is swirling around the billowy, tie-died, frock Angelina Jolie recently rocked at the Screen Actors Guild Awards: was it actually hiding a twin pregnancy ? Judging from the bump the actress/activist was reportedly barely able to conceal, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Why on earth would anyone as svelte as Jolie – someone who’d probably look amazing in a plain, burlap sack, dammit – choose to roll up on the red carpet wearing something so shamelessly shapeless? In all fairness, the silk number was actually quite lovely; I wouldn't mind wearing it myself. If I was pregnant. So my guess is that it's a twofer: twin pregnancies usually show early. Way early. Before the end of my first trimester, my own dynamic duo had already made their presence known. Week eleven, my husband stared at my formerly flat belly quizzically ("Uh, hon...are there two in there?"). By the time I was five months along, a carousel conductor in Ocean City, New Jersey nearly turned me away from boarding his merry-go-round with my three-year-old for fear a baby would drop out as I was climbing off a horse.

Of course the jury’s still out on this one, but we’ll soon know the truth (one source says Jolie plans to sell the information and donate the proceeds to charity). Until then, the internet remains rife with wild guesses on whether or not the hotter-than-thou couple is actually knocked up. And fussing about whether they even need any more kids in the first place. Most of the poop-slinging is coming from people who will never change a baby Jolie-Pitt’s diaper, but insist on staying right up in their behinds, with comments like: "Kids aren't high-end accessories" I'd have to agree...beyond being rather expensive and very cute, kids and Gucci handbags don't really go together. And then, of course, this one: “How greedy…look what they’re doing to the environment!”

Nice try. I have a hard time buying the “population overgrowth” argument, especially with Brad working so tirelessly to rebuild a sustainable New Orleans . I mean come on, they're even planning to adopt a cute Katrina orphan to go with it.