All gone, mommy


All gone, mommy she says pointing to her arm and standing still dripping wet in the bathtub.

Yes, all gone.  Mommy cleaned you.

All gone, mommy she repeats pointing to her belly this time.

Yes, baby I know.  Big belly will be all gone soon.  Remember you’re taking medicine to make your belly little.

No, mommy.  Odettey brown all gone.  I be pink like mommy and daddy.

No, you’re brown.  Brown is beautiful.

Brown good?  No, brown bad.

Brown is very good, Odettey.  Jesus made you brown.  Jesus made you beautiful.  Jesus made you smart.  Jesus made you brown.  Brown is good.  Brown is beautiful. 

No, brown bad.  Pink good.  I be pink like mommy and daddy.

Odette, Jesus made you brown because He wants you to be brown.  I then named off everyone I could think of that she knows who is brown.  Lots of brown in Congo.  Odette is from Congo.  Odette’s Congo mommy is brown.  Your Congo daddy is brown.  Brown is good.  Brown is beautiful.  Mommy loves brown Odettey. 

Odettey say, please Jesus I be pink, pleeease.


At that moment the world stood still but my mind raced.  How could this be?  Where did we go wrong?  Oh no.  She wasn’t supposed to have these thoughts yet.  I knew they would happen some day, but already?  What do we do?  How can we reassure her?  Why did this come about today?  Did something happen?  How can we help?  What do we tell her?  How long will these thoughts last? …

As I do at the end of every bath, I wrapped her in an “Odettey taco”, lifted her up into my arms, and rocked her as I sang rock-a-bye baby. (Her nightly request)  I only wish I had the words to share with her now truly special, wonderful, and perfect she is.  I wish I had a way to tell her that I couldn’t love her any more that I do no matter if she is brown, pink, or blue.

Being a transracial family is a twenty-four hour a day, seven days a week reality that we will always face.  Tonight’s bedtime stories included these books.  I’m thankful I had them on hand.


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5 thoughts on “All gone, mommy

  1. So cute! 🙂 my teenage daughter showed me your blog. Boy does this sound familiar!! At our house the 3 older children and my husband & I are “peach” and the 3 youngest kids are “brown”. A few months ago my 5 year old asked, are we going to be “peach” when we grow up? Hehe but a logical question. I tell my girls all the time how beautiful their brown skin is!! But the truth is I think every little girl wants to look like her mommy. I find things we have in common, nose, toes, etc and remind them, “we are the ones in the family with little lips” or “long skinny toes” etc. they love that!:))
    also, I stole this but we tell our girls to do this. if any of their class mates say “you are brown” just remind your little one to say “thank you”. Because you are sooo right, brown is beautiful! :))

  2. You are a good mommy:) i dont have much hands on experience, but i agree with the other ladies; kids notice everything and ask about everything. Apparently i used to want to be heqvier so i could be lik my mom and wanted brown hair and to dress like her even though we were practically identical lol

    As my best friend has been saying lately- its a season! 🙂

  3. I would have (will!) freaked out also, but I agree with Marilyn above that it might not be as bad as you think. My son says things sometimes that scare me for a few days and then I realize that whatever it was must not have been as monumental as I thought, so I hope that Odette hasn’t mentioned it again. Yes, her race will come up over and over in her life, but you are such a good mom that I do not think it will have a negative impact at all. It will be a source of pride! She is gorgeous and you will do everything to let her know that. I forgot to post on my blog that when we were in DRC riding in the car, I heard “Say It Loud (I’m Black and I’m Proud)” playing on the radio. I think I will download it 🙂
    I second the Todd Parr comment. I love him! I have been trying to find kids’ movie rentals (I don’t know if O is into movies yet, but T is!) that feature leading roles by females of color. (I like the actress Kyla Pratt.)
    Thank you for the book suggestions! Do you have TEN, NINE, EIGHT by Molly Bang? The girl in the book is not in a transracial family, but it is a good easy book for a 3 year old to use to learn to count and the little girl has richly dark skin and short natural hair. Anyway, this is a very long comment 🙂 Hang in there and thank you for sharing. xoxo

  4. My first thought is “been there, done that,” and while we’ve had lexi with us since she was born, she was about Odette’s age when I remember it. Maybe because was more verbal then and starting school in Early Childhood. Lexi’s had services since 16 mos. old. What I remember is this was her noticing color, not race. The idea of being brown was simply a difference in color and she wanted to look like us, but not a negative experience. She has always wished for long straight blond hair like my granddaughter, but lots of people want different hair than they have. Don’t read more into it than is there, just keep doing what you’re doing. The books are great, and I have some you can have too. Also the dolls I have for you. Call me! Marilyn

  5. Oh honey! I have no advice but you are a wonderful momma! So buying those books! Do you have Amazing Grace? Todd Parr has some good books too….

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