It's been crazy around Chez Haggis for several reasons. The biggest one being that Bambina has an ear infection. Acute Otitis Media, for the MDs among you. She woke up at 4am (of course at 4am; these things don't happen at 2pm...) screaming that her head hurt and holding behind her ear. I tried to comfort her as my mind raced through "brain tumor" and "meningitis" and then arrived at "potential ear infection, please." This is her first ear infection ever, but we were surprisingly on top of things compared with our earlier ER dramas. She and I went downstairs, took Tylenol (for myself I briefly considered some brandy in my tea, or should I say tea with my brandy?), and lay around on the couch chatting with her "stuffies" till morning when I could call the doctor for an appointment.
So the day was tiring, rough and way too long. But I did learn more about ear wax than I ever thought I'd want to know. Bambina's doctor pulled what looked like a gigantic cornflake out of her wee little ear in an attempt to see her ear drum. The cornflake was all dusty and dry. I was like, "Um, is that WAX?" Friends, indeed it was. Turns out that there is a gene for ear wax, be it waxy and wet or dry and dusty. Yep. A gene. nytimes.com
97% of caucasians have the wet kind; a similar percentage of East Asians have the dry kind. Now we know, and now YOU know too. ;) The difficulty level of the dry and dusty kind is that it does not naturally work its way out of the ear canal; it has to be moved along by various interventions. And not by Q-tips; they are worse than useless in that they just shove this crusty stuff waaay down into the ear canal, never to see the light of auricular day. So here I was thinking I'd done all the reading and preparing that a white parent could do in raising a Chinese-born child--and I missed the damn ear wax chapter.
In all seriousness though, it gave Bambina and I an opportunity to talk about "Caucasian" and "Asian" and what those words mean. She doesn't quite get genetics yet, in terms of the fact that dry ear wax requires that both parents have the adenine mutation, but she did get that both her Chinese mother and Chinese father must have had the same gene (whatever that is) to make her "cornflakes." She liked that.
Of course she liked it. You know how preschoolers work:
Dominant recessive genetics? Whatever.
Breakfast cereal in your ear courtesy of your Chinese parents? Priceless.