Monday, August 31, 2009

Emma and her 'All About Me' project

Emma had a homework assignment that consisted of us finding 4 or 5 items that described her personality and the things she enjoys. These were placed in a ziplock bag and went off to school this morning with her. Each child in her class will be sharing their 'All About Me' bags this week during their 'circle time'. Emma took the following:
* A monkey - to signify that she likes to climb and play on the monkey bars and that we call her our little monkey.
* A pony tail holder with a flip flop on it because Emma LOVES flip flops and has since pretty much the day we arrived home with her. I like to tease her that she came out of the womb wanting to wear flip flops.
* She also included a Chinese 'yuan' to show currency from her birth country.
* A picture of an ice cream cone and she told about being allergic to milk and eggs but that she has outgrown that and can now have yummy ice cream.
* She took one of her gymnastic outfits and told them how she likes gymnastics.

I inquired about her project this evening and she was very happy to tell me all about it. She said she started off with the monkey and that the class laughed so loud that she had to cover her ears, apparently she told them she IS a monkey. She also told me that the kids thought the Chinese money wasn't real money. But the highlight of her story was that all the kids wanted to touch her dimple and some even stuck their finger in it. They also wanted to touch her nose - again (this happened last week too). So, she got to go around the circle while everyone touched her dimple. They also wanted to ask her about her eyes since they are different too. She told them they are different because she 'was born from China'.

I'm still not sure how to process all of this. All the kids from church are so used to her and especially the ones her age because they have all been together since they were little. They just see her as their playmate and friend, not as a child that is different from them. At least that is how it seems to me. Same with preschool, I just do not remember her coming home and saying the kids wanted to touch her nose or anything like that. I suppose it's just normal curiosity and I am glad that she is not bothered by this. But in a way it breaks my heart too because when I look at her, I see my daughter, my joy and delight. I see her fun little personality and her 'let's go' attitude, I don't see her as being different ... I just see my delightful little baby girl with a smile that would melt an iceberg.

Feel free to comment ... i'm curious how other parents feel, do you think the whole 'all about me' turning into a discussion of her dimple an odd thing?


Anonymous said...

YES! I think it is very odd. I could see maybe her eyes, but what in the world is different about her nose? That is the craziest thing I have heard and why did the teacher let them touch her nose and dimple?

Jboo said...

I think that is a little odd -- it is an adorable little dimple, but don't know if I'd want all the kids touching it though!

My girl (now a 2nd grader) has come home and said that kids say she has a flat nose and she's so tiny. And also that she and a friend (also adopted from China) must be sisters and all that really bothers her, so we talk about how special she is and try to practice appropriate responses for her. Have had to let the teacher and school principal know when a classmate really got a bit out of line.


Lindy said...

I have dimples and get lots of compliments on them, especially from the Shirley Temple generation. (Have you ever seen the ST movie "Dimples?") Emma's dimple is adorable!

I agree that it was inappropriate for the teacher to let the other children touch her face. Emma seems to have handled the attention in a positive way, which I'm sure is a reflection of your good parenting skills and her spunky personality! I love her expression "born from China."

amy said...

I think it is a little odd, but kids at the kindergarten age are so inquisitive, especially about differences. The kids in my class are fascinated by the children who speak Spanish. I don't know that I would let other students touch her nose and her dimple- but who knows the teacher might have discouraged it and ms. emma might have said she was okay with it. Believe me when i say that you only get half stories from kiddos that age. I think you should solve the problem and move her to my school!

linzi said...

I think it is sort of a hard question... on one hand you don't want her to think to feel singled out, but on the other hand... I think kids (and adults, really!) in the U.S. could benefit from a little open discussion.

Growing up in Maine, a very very white state, I was always too scared to ask people of different ethnic backgrounds anything about them referring to these differences for fear of people thinking I was racist or to accidentally offend someone.

Being racist and being curious about someone else are definitely two different things. If we tell little children "you are not supposed to ask about her eyes, that's bad" then kids might feel scared to say the 'wrong thing' and avoid her for fear of that, too...

Also little kids have weird discussions with each other on appearance, regardless of race... when I was that age, I was enthralled with my neighbor's red hair. Other kids might be wondering about differences between boys and girls, and many kids at my day care go around asking each other about their eye color.

It also matters how she felt about it, did she feel comfortable having her friends touch her nose or admire her dimples, or not?

Really, there are a lot of factors to think about!