I’m tired of stupid people. No, I didn't know that I had two red heads....I have no idea where they came from. They won't leave me alone. And they expect me to feed them.
I’m sure more than one mother heard me, and whispered to her kids “see darlings, this is why we take naps.” Of course, it was in Costco, so maybe they figure these were two strays following me around looking for more samples. All I can say, I have seen my limit, and it is one too many comments about the follicle shading of my children.
So this is something I’ve learned as a mother. Red heads garner attention. Everyone was a red head as a child. Seriously, there’s no way that the red hair gene can be dying out, because every single person lets me know how they were a red head as a child.
My first experience with the lack of fore thought that red hair seems to produce in others was when Baba was rolling around in Home Depot with me. She was still in the “freshly hatched” stage, no more than a few months old. Anyway, a well intentioned lady gasped as we walked by and exclaimed “Did you know your baby has red hair??!!” Me “Oh dear god!! This isn’t my baby….where did she go???”
Okay, not really. I’ve long regretted that I wasn’t quicker on my feet with a retort. Rather, I just stared at her blankly and hoped that she didn’t vote. In all fairness, Baba was a “bald is beautiful” baby and maybe the lady didn’t think that I had looked at my child in the sunlight. Ever. Because, that was the only way you could see her hair. In the sun, it looked like her head had been spray painted orange.
So there I was, enjoying ladies oohing and ahhing over my first born. I also learned from the gaggle that gathered that true red heads are one in a million. So my little red head is one in a million, along with her brother.
I have to admit, I loved the conversation starter that Baba’s hair was, and still is. It seems that people believe that babies belong to the world, and red heads belong to the universe or something. But my enjoyment diminished after the birth of Baby, my magical imp. She was blessed with the most astounding ringlets you have ever seen, brown ringlets. Now, Baby is, so far at least, the only child who at a passing glance, actually looks like she belongs with her father and me. I was always a bit concerned, when marching out of a store with a screeching red head, that security might just stop me and ask where the abused child’s mother was and why am I trying to steal the red head. Baby, she matches.
But Baby was quick to pick up on the fact that she did not have red hair. Nor had she been visited by “Miss Clariol” as more than one lady asked Baba. Seriously, my 18 month old is upside down in the grocery cart, trying to escape me, and you want to know if I dye her hair. Be impressed that she’s wearing matching socks and move on. This was before TLC decided to head down the path of Total Lack of Control and starting airing toddler beauty pageants. Never thought I’d root against my fellow moms, but scream baby scream……..
Baby’s held her own, with all the attention on her siblings, but I still have a crush on the Costco food court employee who started down at my three children waiting at the counter, locked eyes with Baby and said “You’re a movie star aren’t you? I think I’ve seen you in the movies. You are so pretty, you have to be a movie star.” It still makes me teary think about it, although, I would have appreciated “You are so pretty, you must be a mom” but then again, she was in kindergarten, so maybe not.
I thought I had prepared myself for pretty much any question about my children. And in all honesty, the question “are they both yours?” makes sense, when the wildly divergent appearances of my girls. But the question “Do they both have the same dad?” well now, that’s not going to provoke much understanding from me. I don’t know if the poor kid deserved my snapped “Yes, I’m not a slut” response, but I felt better.
I also reacted rather strongly to the comment “you are so lucky to have two red heads”. The comment itself is neither right nor wrong, but it was uttered in front of my little magical Baby. So I let loose with
“I am NOT lucky because I have two red headed children. I am blessed because I have THREE healthy, happy, wild, precocious, smart, delightful hooligans who call me mom. The red hair is a nice touch, but it's fleeting. And brown ringlets are just as lovely, thank you very much.”
Maybe a bit over the top, but it was my mama grizzly coming out. I hope Baby heard me.