um, Wow.

I had SO many titles for this post in my head, but they all involved massive nasty swear words.

I just wish that the “come backs” would come to me DURING, and not 5 minutes later.

Malka and I were walking home from daycare, and having our usual smiling encounters with the locals. So it didn’t surprise me when this one “lady” said: “Oh, who’s baby?” I said: “Mine.” And smiled. She then said: “No, who’s the mom?” And I looked at her somewhat quizzically, and said: “me.” She then said: “No, I mean, who’s the REAL mom?” And I looked at her, and said firmly, “I AM her REAL mom.” She then said: “Yeah, I bet,” and walked away, as I pushed Malka in the other direction.

It was all I could do not to cry right then and there. I mean seriously? What the hell? SO many emotions and reactions sprung forth into the chasm of that exact moment. “Will Malka have to answer such idiot questions when she’s older?” “How do I shield Malka from the hatred that we had just experienced?” “WHO in the hell does she think she is?” ” I AM her REAL mother, dammit!” And the inevitable Lifetime Movie script started laying in my head: “Who got up with her 30 million times during the night when she was a baby?” “Who changes her diapers, loves her, feeds here, is there for her, IS her ‘REAL’ mom in every sense of the word?”

I mean, I KNOW that I’m her “real” mom, and I KNOW that that woman was all of the nasty words I can think of, but it still hurt. I know that we live in NYC, and are BLESSED to have not encountered such hatred before, when so many of you probably have already. It’s just horrible.

32 thoughts on “um, Wow.

  1. That is horrible, Shelli. It must have taken all your energy to not smack the shit out of her right then and there.


    Those smacks are the back of my hand for that lady and big smooches from my lips for you.

    I think you shield Malka by being honest and politer than thou and saying: yes, she’s adopted and she’s been part of our family since she was however many weeks old. Her birthmother is a wonderful woman, but I/we feel so honored to have been given the chance to raise her and be her real moms. (beeee-yotch).

    And practice the conversation in the mirror because you know it will happen again 😦

  3. thats so fucking irritating. and seriously? what answer was she looking for? for shits and giggles lets pretend she wasn’t an asshole and that she legitimately wanted to know, what answer did she want? Susie Smith is her biological mother? does she know every god damn person? that is a special kind of doucheness.

  4. What a bitch! I wonder what color the sky is in her world?
    There is nothing more real than your motherhood, Shelli. Or your love for your daughter. Don’t let anyone try to tell you any different.

  5. I am so sorry you went through that. What stupid, small minded woman. And it always amazes me the things people feel entitled to ask about that are none of anyone’s business anyway. Big hugs to you and to Malka!

  6. -Jennifer says(NYer by birth, Pacific NWer by location):
    It’s NY…Keep on walking. If you say the baby is yours and they come with a followup they’re clearly:
    1. Not all there
    2. F*ing with you
    …so keep on walking.
    (I took that advice after a guy with no underwear tried to strike a conversation with me on the subway — worked well for me)
    -Y. 🙂

  7. What a total fucking asshat. That’s made ME so angry just reading about it, how the hell must you feel? To be honest i think physical violence was totally called for.
    But i suppose the mature response would be to just say “Why do you ask?” next time someone asks you an intrusive (to say the least) question. And shame the shit out of them.

  8. Asshole, WTF is wrong with some people?

    I agree with the PP who said to try calling her on it – ie you say that she is your daughter, if she asks again act dumb “what do you mean?”.

    Luckily the worst I have had is “he must look like his dad, he sure doesn’t look like you”.

    People suck.

  9. Oh Shelli, I’m so sorry. What a nasty experience.

    I think Malka is lucky to have a mom who handles asshattery as calmly as you did.

  10. OMG!! What in the world was that woman thinking?? I am so sorry you and Malka had to encounter such a bitch!
    With that said, I completely understand what you are feeling. I must hear a stupid comment atleast once a month (if not more) “Oh, he must look like his dad.” (which I always reply, “Yup”! with a HUGE smile on my face lol) or, “What country is he from?” (Uh…the USA) or “Are you babysitting?” (Um, no, I am his MOTHER!)

    Sending you big hugs, as I know exactly how you are feeling.

  11. OMG, Shelli, I am so sorry, that person (using the term only loosely) is a total asshat. I think you handled it fine. Beating the cr@p outta her would have been nice, but a bad example for Malka, who will have to deal w/ that sometimes. I was amazed when I dealt w/ folks taking me aside to ask if my bro in law was, you know, yadda, looked like that, b/c my neice is adopted and clearly darker skinned than her REAL mom (her bio mom is just her first name for now). so sorry!

  12. It never ceases to amaze me what people feel is ok to say to a complete stranger.

    Best answer to any personal question is “why do you ask?” If it’s someone just being nosey – it stops them in their tracks because they have no answer. If it’s someone asking because maybe they are thinking of building their family through adoption and are hoping that is how your family was built – they will tell you so.


  13. Some people just pretty much suck. We are adopting our little guy, Gus. We are all not the same hue and it’s amazingly a bigger deal to some people than it should be in 2008. I had a group of old men comment about our family (in front of my other 4 kids) one day at McDonalds. It hurt so bad to have my baby judged by what he looks like and not by the innocent beautiful boy he is. It did turn out to be a good teaching moment for everyone else that we are going to encounter this as we all grow but we know that we are all a family no matter what tummy they came from.

    Malka is a lucky little girl and there is always going to be some idiot out there but you guys are always going to be her mommys and that trumps any ignorance out there.

  14. what a lunatic! seriously, what did she want you to say?

    sorry, shelli, that sucks. ( rightonwoman)

  15. that woman was a douche. yuck!
    How sad for her that she lives in such a narrow minded world.

    Hate that you ever had to cross her path.


    p.s. yesterday I saw a woman in the frozen foods that looked SO much like Narda that I sort of stalked her and I might have freaked her out. You’d tell me if Narda was in Florida, right?!?!

  16. God, people think they have a right to say anything to anyone 😦

    Shelli, I got your comment – Shoot me an email erinstoy ** 77 at yahoo. (no asterisks or spaces).

  17. I second the “Why do you ask?” commenter above and if they persist, add this handy formula: “Do you ask strangers about X because you wonder about your X?” You do have to practice because in the moment you’ll never remember.

    Sorry this happened to you, but if you practice how to deflect this now you will model what to do for your kid. Fight the good fight!

  18. WOW. People can be just LOVELY, can’t they?!

    Liza: I think that woman went ABOVE AND BEYOND ass-hattery and crossed right over into ass-haberdashery.

  19. Oh I ma getting here late… but OMG!!

    Ok, this gives me rage and I wasn’t even there…

    You ARE Malkas real mom. PERIOD!

    What in the hell gives people the right to intrude on peoples privacy and personal space like this? Where in the f**k is civility these days??? Who TALKS to people like this??

    I am a social worker. I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. And I am so saddened for you.

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