“This is the first time I’ve held this baby in 2 days.”
“Well someone won’t let it go. I’m not saying who….”
“Let what go?”
“Wait, are you calling my daughter an it?”
“Yep, so what. I call my daughter it.”
“I don’t care what you call your daughter, my daughter is not a thing. She is a real, live human being. She is a she. Don’t call her an it.”
“Of course she is. She isn’t a he or a shem. My daughter is a she, too.”
“Well, you can’t be sure of that until she’s born. Only then can we be 100% sure she’s a she.”
“Either way, MY daughter is not an it.”
I don’t know why this 3-way conversation with my mother-in-law and pregnant sister-in-law rubbed me so raw, but it’s been on my mind all day. I see it with a couple of differently lenses. First, I don’t like calling babies “it”. Even when my daughter was in utero and we didn’t know her gender, we called her “baby”. Second, race is ever present in the back of my mind…most times, the front…and I feel like I’m fighting Sissy to validate baby girl as a real person. Third, just because Sissy decides to call her child a name doesn’t give her auto-permission to call her niece that name. Just because she does it doesn’t make it okay for my Fussy Bear.
So, to be fair, I honestly believe that I’m the only person who gave this conversation a second thought. I know Sissy wasn’t being offensive on purpose; however, if she deliberately continues to call my daughter “it” now that she knows I don’t like it – well, I will be forced to rain frowns down upon her head. A month of frowns….