A simple visit to prompt care?

Written on March 4, 2012, on a blog I had prior to this one, this will give you a little taste of what our experiences have been as an interracial family:

Today was M’s turn to go to Prompt Care. We had an unsettling incident with her last night that almost had me rush her to Emerg, but she came out of it well enough to convince me that we could wait the night.

I took my uncomplaining little girl to Prompt Care this morning to learn that she had a fever of almost 104F (I have also purchased a new thermometer, since ours wasn’t registering a fever for her) and a case of pneumonia bad enough that the doctor said he’d admit her to hospital if I wasn’t sure she’d rest and take her medicine. I assured him that M is quite the little trooper and she’ll do what she needs to get better.

The point of this is not M’s health and how tough she is though.

Rather, it is the discussions that I had with medical professionals in front of her.

When the doctor first came into the exam room, this conversation took place:

Doctor: She’s Oriental.

Me: Asian, yes.

Doctor: You’re not.

Me: That’s right.

Doctor: And her name is Oriental.

Me: Asian, yes.

Doctor: You chose that name for her? {It’s a traditional Chinese name, by the way.}

Me: Yes, I did.

Doctor: But, you’re not Oriental?

Me: No, I’m not Asian.

Doctor: {perplexed look} Ohhhh…is her father Oriental?

Me: Asian, yes.

Doctor: Oh, so you’re learning Chinese?

Me: No.

Doctor: How do you speak to her father then?

Me: In English.

Doctor: He understands you?

Me: Perfectly.

Doctor: Oh, was he born here?

Me: Yes.

Doctor: Interesting….

{I’m still not sure what that “interesting” meant.}

Then, while he was checking her over and moved her hair away from her ears, he said: “Hmm, I wonder why she got her father’s hair and not yours?”

I did not respond, as I was afraid that what was going to come out of my mouth was, “You’re not asking me to explain genetics, are you?”

After we returned from having M’s chest x-rayed, a nurse came in, touched M’s hair (which M, being as shy as she is, just *loves*) and this conversation took place:

Nurse: Is C (which is M’s second middle name and not a Chinese name) from China?

Me: No.

Nurse: Oh, where is she from?

Me: Canada.

Nurse: Really?

Me: Yes.

Nurse: But you adopted her.

Me: No.

Nurse: Really?

Me: Really.

Nurse: Hmmm. Is she yours?

Me: Yes.

Nurse: I mean, is she…?

Me: Yes, I birthed her.

Nurse: Oh, so her father is Chinese.

Me: More or less, yes.

All of this in front of M. There are, of course, a number of problems with the questioning in the first place, and they are compounded by the fact that people do not hesitate to question my in front of Z and M.

One of these days, though, Z or M is going to speak up to the person questioning us and say something, and I don’t imagine it will be a particularly pleasant experience for the person engaged in the questioning, as my two little people come out with some zingers sometimes.

So, I’m wondering, do any of you reading this have similar experiences with people? How do you handle them? I vacillate between being a smart ass, answering strictly the question that was asked (hoping that, the longer it goes on, they *might* realize how ridiculous/awful it is), and just explaining (though, I haven’t taken this approach in a long time).