A couple Fridays ago, Worm was oozing with double pink eye and a cold. It was supposed to be my working day but the little rat couldn’t wait until the weekend to get sick. I had a bunch of things to catch up on, but as I now know from loads of experience, it’s impossible to be productive with a kid at home, especially without incorporating duct tape and noise cancelling headphones. So Worm and I decided to get out of the house to run some errands.

Knocking about town on what was our first impromptu father-son day, we tackled a couple of parent/progeny hotspots: the Post Office, Home Depot, Target, and my bank. (Who am I kidding…Target is THE hot spot to see and be seen for parents and young kids…)

Anyhow, we were having fun and keeping tears to a minimum, all while working up an appetite. Lunch time came around and food needed to be hunted.

Surely, I wasn’t going to cook lunch! My meal motto is: If I didn’t kill it myself, I’m not cooking it! (Just kidding, Steph.) Since the Mushmonster was at daycare, I thought it would be neat for these two dudes to sit inside a fast food restaurant and chow down! Typically, I pick up lunch in the drive-thru when I’ve got both kids with me, because trying to dine in a public establishment when Mushie’s around is kinda like bobbing for apples with no teeth…you’re making a mess, people are staring, and even with all that effort, you’ve got nothing to show for it.

We go inside Wendy’s fine dining eatery. It’s already a treat. Worm gets excited when the lady behind the counter greets him. Then he clams up with shyness. So, I order nuggets, fries, and a couple of burgers. He scouts out a table and we sit down.

Another food connoisseur (besides us) comes up to him. She’s wired a little different mentally. (I can’t say she’s handicapped or disabled, because who really knows what’s going on in her head? Maybe she just can’t get certain parts of her brain to coordinate ‘appropriately’ with her actions and vocalizations. Anyhow, I digress.) She’s different. Either way, she’s very friendly.

“Oh hey, I love kids! How are you? What’s your name?”

“I’m Gavin.”

She looks at me. “Are you his daddy or his uncle?”

“Um…I’m his dad.” I answer.

“How old are you Gavin? Oh, I love kids! You’re so cute!”

“I’m Sil-ur-ee!”

She translates the toddler talk and confirms what she heard. “Three years old!” and she looks over at me again, still puzzled. “Are you his step dad or his dad? You’re his stepdad, right?”

“No, I’m his dad.”

“His real dad?”

“Yes, I’m his real dad.”

“Oh!” and she went away to eat her lunch.

This very honest, nice young lady looked at the two of us and couldn’t see that we were Worm and Honeydaddy, apple and tree. I’m sure that a lot of other people don’t see it either. I swear he’s mine. Maybe he wasn’t cooked long enough in the oven. I don’t know. Almost four years ago, I was as baffled as this poor girl. Nowadays, I don’t even think about it. He’s just my albino son.

I’m not the only one in the world who mixed brown and white and didn’t quite get the color they expected. These other parents (as well as myself) share some anatomical features as their offspring, but the different skin colors bemuse the casual onlooker. I’ve read a few blogs where parents are slightly insulted when asked questions about their off-color, mixed race kid. Some of these blog posts make me sad. So to remedy my sadness with some humor and cover up my true feelings by laughing over them, I’ll tell you how I deal with this situation.

Personally, I’d rather someone ask me directly if it was my kid instead of dreaming up all sorts of things behind my back. That’s just the way I am. There should be no shame in honesty and curiosity. That’s how we figure this life out.

So now that I fall into the category of “Who’s that guy with that kid?”, I’ve come up with some nifty responses for use at the playground. Feel free to borrow or quote them for yourself.

Here they are, in no particular order of usage:

Random Person: Hey dude, is that your son? (In California, everyone’s a dude…)


  1. No, I’m the painter. I’ve been working on these peoples’ house for a few weeks now. Me and the kid just started hanging out.
  2. Well, I’m the brother of the babysitter’s cousin. It’s a long story. I’d share it, but you can’t really tell anyone, ok?
  3. No, I’m the stepdad. I’m not really into the wife, but I’ve always wanted a white kid of my own. So I married into her family.
  4. No, I’m the boyfriend. I take care of him when his dad’s out of town.
  5. Not really. I was hired to be part of a clinical study called “Brown Daddy, White Laddy”. We’re collecting loads of data. He’ll find out I’m not his dad when the experiment finishes after he turns 18.
  6. Yeah, I’m the dad. That kid right there is proof that too many dental x-rays changed my body’s DNA. Doctors said my pigment chromosome was messed up!
  7. No, we’re just smoking buddies. “Hey Worm! You ready for a cig, yet?”

The brownest part of Worm are his poops. I don’t expect his skin pigment to ever match mine, even with the global warming in his future. This situation, though, was a reminder that we all still see color…and that a skin color match between parent and child is one of the first (and sometimes only) things people look at for resemblance between family members.

I’m going to have to live with this little white boy for the rest of my life. Does it change anything for me? No. He’s my son. Does it change anything for him? No. I’m his Honeydaddy. Of course, I will teach Worm to recognize skin color. It shouldn’t be discounted. But it’s not a big deal, either. It should really be about as important as the question “How many monster trucks do they have?” And for us, it is.