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A Pinch of Chinese, a Pinch of French, and a Biracial Baby

Mark, 10 Weeks

Go travelling, mix a Chinese and a French and… Ta-da! You’ll get a Baby Dragon Mark. Okay, maybe not this exact model, ours is kind of unique—or so I like to think.

The first thing people comment on when I carry Mark in the sling is how much hair he’s got. This is usually followed by “did you eat a lot of spicy stuff when you were pregnant?” because apparently, that’s how the old wives’ tale goes—if you eat spicy foods during your pregnancy (or have heartburn), you’ll get a baby with a lot of hair. Go figure.

And for the record, yes, I love spicy foods but I didn’t experience heartburn.

“Oh my, look at these dark eyes!” is usually the second comment. “Must be his Chinese side,” I sometimes explain. “Baby boy is half Chinese.”

At this point, people usually take a good look at me, a puzzled look on their face. “His father is Chinese,” I add before they ask me if I adopted.

In Canada, multiculturalism is a way of life and we have people from all over the world. Yet, interracial couples are still somewhat of a minority. And in mixed Asian-White couples, it’s more common to see an Asian female with a White guy than the opposite, like us. Mind you, it’s not like we get strange looks or anything—people are just surprised. For instance, if we are queuing somewhere, people usually assume we are not together, these kinds of little things.

Mark is a new link between the two of us—a cute biracial baby we created by blending some Chinese DNA, some French (and Mediterranean roots) DNA and mucho Canadian politeness.

Since he was born, both sides of the family are trying to figure out which of his features are more clearly Asian and which ones are more White. The funny thing is, my family thinks he looks very Chinese and Feng’s parents point out his Western side. And of course, my parents want him to look Chinese (it’s exotic!) and Feng’s parents are delighted to see White features (same reason).

Poor kid.

Mark definitely has my hair in both colour and texture: it’s copper coloured, soft and slightly curly. Like most Chinese, Feng’s hair is black and thick.

His skin is lighter than both of us, but maybe all babies have pretty white skin. I have olive skin (Mediterranean roots) and Feng is from Northern China, his skin is fairly light as well. When we are tan though, we are both pretty dark so we will see how Mark will turn out!

Mark has big Chinese eyes—that’s the only way to describe them! This is maybe the best example of a “mix.” His eyelids are Chinese, especially when he smiles or laughs, yet he has some Western features including the fact his eye colour is not that dark and his eyes are fairly big.

Finally, he has my chin, a little pointy chin that peaks out below his chubby baby cheeks.

When I look at Mark, I see a mini-Feng but that could be because I associate a baby boy with his father.

Years ago, well before I even consider baking a baby for real, one of my friends commented on the fact that Feng and I would probably create an interesting mix. “But people would think I adopted!” I joked at the time.

I had always thought Asian genes would take over Western ones and deep down, I was slightly afraid that the baby may not look like me at all. I know, it’s silly—I find Asian babies lovely and I don’t think I’m especially good-looking; it’s not like I wanted to have a “mini-me.” I think I feared that I would look like a stranger, not his mother. That the baby would look foreign to me, and that bonding may be harder.

I now realize how silly this sounds, because Mark is a real mix. Beyond any Asian features, Western features or both, he has our expressions and his own. Who cares who he looks like the most! He is Mark, the biracial “international” baby.

And I love him for being a link between our respective heritages.

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French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

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