There are a lot of difficult explanations parents have to give a kid. I imagine that few are more difficult than explaining being bi-racial to a child. Explaining why a child stands out so much in family photos. Explaining why people keep asking, “But what are you?”
To make it even a little tougher, our kid is completely hung-up on detail. I mean, this is the kid who, for a time, greeted me as “Mole”, after discovering a small mole on my foot. How much is she going to sweat the details of being mixed-race?
One item on our wedding registry was a set of Seletti Hybrid glasses (pictured above). They are a grafting of an English tumbler and a Chinese glass. At the time it seemed a pretty representation of the coming together of our two cultures.
Now the glasses have proved much more important.
Ming and I are using the glasses as a visual to help ÀiShī create her own identity. To me, it represents Hapa perfectly: one side Chinese, one side European; both sides beautiful, creating a magnificent whole.
ÀiShī is the expert of her own experience. Neither her Baba or I had the experiences of a Hapa child, but we certainly plan on being there to support her through the experience of discovering her own Hapa identity.
The first birthday is a big deal in Chinese culture. We decided to celebrate in serious style, with the tiger (ÀiShī and Míng’s namesake) as the theme.
We decided to go pretty big with the Chinese traditions for this birthday, because in Chinese culture, birthdays that contain the digit 9 or 0 are a huge deal, but the rest of them aren’t really celebrated. (ÀiShī’s other birthdays will be celebrated in the Western style.)
One of the things we did to celebrate ÀiShī was to dye eggs red. Red eggs symbolize happiness. We also wrote qualities that we wish for ÀiShī on the eggs with a gold pen. This was one of my favorite things from the party because they were pretty understated, but looked gorgeous.
We also celebrated Zhua Zhou. During Zhua Zhou, a special family member puts out items in front of the baby. Whatever object the baby picks, is thought to be representative of their future profession.
We chose ÀiShī’s godmothers to lay out the objects.
Unfortunately, ÀiShī’s Gugu (paternal aunt) was unable to attend the Zhua Zhou, but her Ginny (maternal aunt) laid out the items!
Then ÀiShī was able to choose as we all watched!
This was ÀiShī’s special outfit for Zhua Zhou
ÀiShī chose the pen I received when I signed my first job contract.
Admiring her choice.
Another celebration of the baby requires the father to hold up the baby as high as he can, while the mother gently straightens the baby’s legs toward the floor. This is thought to give the baby courage to reach for ambitious goals, but also stay grounded.
The last celebration was the birthday noodle. I cooked up some noodles, and found the longest one I could that was intact. In Chinese tradition the infant must eat a long noodle, symbolizing a long and prosperous life.
And we also did cake…
YAY! I have found a spot that’s even better for us– here! I am excited to migrate a bunch of our Hapa resources and information to this blog over the next few days! Please check back!