“What are they?”
The other day, I went grocery shopping with my three kids. (This was a necessary evil since I needed one ingredient for dinner…but I digress from the point of my story.) As we walked through the store, a lady stopped us. She began to gush that she thought my kids were, “Some of those kids, you know? The ones where they have eight, the twins and and then six more?”
In my confusion, I thought for a moment she was referring to the OctoBabies. But then she said, “Your kids look just like them. Kate Plus 8!” (Unfortunately, I look nothing like Kate. Again, I digress.)
I was taken aback as I quietly considered my children’s resemblance to the Gosselin kids. As it turns out, I didn’t need to respond because the lady continued chattering on how my daughter Cupcake especially looked liked one of the Gosselins.
The lady paused, and I knew it was coming. She abruptly blurted out, “What are they, exactly? Your kids, I mean?”
At this point, I murmured that my children are half-Korean, and half-Caucasian. Then we moved on to finish shopping.
“What are they?” A question I get asked often, more so when my kids were small babies. I have always answered as I did that day. However, I also always wonder: why do you want to know?
I do not go around asking others “What are you?” Most of the time, I remain unaware of a person’s heritage. As a matter of fact, I just asked The Husband what he is. I generally refer to him as Midwestern white-bread American, which is true. More correctly, however, he says he is German-English-Irish.
I understand there might be some fascination because my kids look exotic, but really? Is it acceptable to just ask people what they are like that? I prefer not to be cagey and give flip responses such as, “They are American,” or “They are people,” although sometimes, I would like to! I wish I could find an answer to that question which politely lets the questioner know that I am uncomfortable with being asked that.