Thursday, August 23, 2012

Conversations with Luka

Luka has been busy making friends at school. Apparently he has friends that are boys and he has girlfriends. Here is a conversation I had with him recently:

Luka: "Mommy, I had a girlfriend at school. But only for two days. She is not my girlfriend anymore."

Me: Why...what do you mean she was only your girlfriend for two days?

Luka: Mommy, she followed me EVERYWHERE. I sit down and she sits down. She does eveyrhting I do and even when I go to bathroom she goes to the bathroom.

Me: (Inside I am thinking...bathroom trip...at 5) Does she go into the bathroom with you.

Luka: No, not inside Mommy, just to the bathroom.

Another thing we are talking about lately is all the people that come up to him and make comments about him being black or saying "Ayyy que lindo." That is code in Chile for "Oh your son is so cute and I have never seen a black child." It is also usually accompanied with patting on the head, an unsolicited hug and yes...even with kisses from strangers (oh gross). Poor Luka, right?

Well from strangers we have learned to live with it, but it really bothers him when kids from his school say something or single him out. Yes, I try to explain to him why they talk about it, but he is five...so I have had to help him with some responses that seem to be working. 

Luka: Mom, that boy says I am black.
Me: Yes, you are black and he is white. Did he say anything bad? 
Luka: No, just that I am black...but I am not black I am brown.
Me: Next time someone tells you you are black. Tell them, "No I am brown and you are pink."

Luka is very literal with colors...i am not white...I am pink. His cousin is light brown. So being completely honest works for him.

This is my favorite....they constantly ask Luka. "Why are you black?" So after talking with Luka we came up with a way for him to deal with this question:

Friend from Luka's Classroom: Why are you black?
Luka: Why are you white?
Friend: Let's just talk about something else and keep playing.

He uses this one all the time. Of course I explained to him and he knows he is from Mozambique and people from Mozambique are black, or brown like he says. And people from different parts of the world look different and we should all be proud of where we come from. But answering with a question to this particular comment/question is MUCH easier for Luka to do on his own.



1 comment:

Raquel Miranda said...

Melissa - loved it. The whole thing, the conversation, and Luka's 'reasoning'... I remember when people back in Moz (or DC, for that matter!) would come up to Cesar and say: "oh, you're so cute... but you're tiny... how old are you? Two?" (and Cesar was like, 3,5!) And it really bothered him... to the point where he asked us why he wasn't big, or tall, like the other kids... some moms/parents would even (nicely, I'm sure they never meant any harm) offer suggestions regarding pediatricians, endocrinologists, for him... Whatever... here we are, in La Paz, and Cesar is not the smallest in his class... according to him, he's taller than (only) one other kid... and apparently, it's enough for him... he's believing he's growing...[smiles!] Another thing, there's a great book Marcela (KG4) just had to read for school, and it's called "The Family Book" (Todd Parr, same author, "The Feelings Book"), and it brings out families with all sorts of differences (colors, shapes, habits, homes, places, 2moms/2dads...), and she loved to read/be read to it...
We don't believe in labels - Leonel, especially. And we've been trying hard for these past years to raise our kids that way... we just wished the rest of the world would just do the same.. life'd be so much easier (and fun to be lived!)
Take care, Raquel.