Wednesday, August 3, 2011

On Being Mum to The Reds (Or: Just Call Me, "Mrs. Weasley")

Hanging out with the Reds is kind of like hanging with little celebrities: like moths to the flame, folks seem drawn to my fire-haired children and will often stop us where we are: in the grocery store aisle, at church, walking to a park...everywhere.

The Reds, God bless them, have learned to take it all in stride. They sit patiently, smiling politely while people coo and ruffle their hair while remarking on the freckles that dot the boys' faces. Even Luke now barely flinches when people reach out to touch his head.


Old men, especially, seem drawn to my fire-haired imps. But everyone, young, old, male or female, has something to say about their hair. The boys - and I, by proxy - get tons of compliments, "Lovely colour!", "Isn't he gorgeous?", "TWO red heads, aren't you lucky?"

 I nod happily because, well, yes, it IS a lovely colour, he IS gorgeous and I AM lucky.

The boys also smile politely and offer a cheerful, "Nope!" when asked if they're twins, and giggle when I answer, "Yep!" to the question, "Well, are they Irish Twins, then?"

 ("Irish Twins", by the way, are siblings born within 12 months of each other and while I can see why folks might suspect I had the boys that close together, I sometimes want to ask them, "What do you think I am, crazy?)

Folks also seem compelled to pass along random information pertaining to redheads, the most-spouted being that the red-headed gene is dying out and soon there will be no gingers left on the entire planet.

If we're anywhere but Belleville, I simply nod, as though it's news to me. I  have already heard this dramatic tidbit, but I never let on because this might be some stranger's first and only opportunity to share it. Instead,  I raise my eyebrows and say things like, "Well, isn't that something!" and move my shopping cart a little faster. Once we've entered the "stat-spouting" portion of a stranger exchange, it's best to move on.

If we ARE in Belleville, and someone shares the "last of the species" stat, I chuckle and say this:

"I'd have believed that before we moved, but there are tons and tons of ginger-haired kids here. When we first moved to town and went to the grocery store, I turned to my husband and said, "Good Lord! There are red heads everywhere! Finally, finally we have FOUND OUR PEOPLE!"

Some other pithy observations made by strangers and my most-used replies:

"I bet they've got tempers on 'em, eh?" 

"I blame their father for the broken windows."

"Who's got the red hair, then?"

"The mailman."

(Which was actually funnier when we lived in Newcastle, because the mailman DID have red hair. So did the garbage man.)

"My aunt's sister's half-cousin's brother was a red head."

"Well, they say every family's got one hidden somewhere."

"I guess they're allergic a lot, eh?"

"Nope. Fit as fiddles. Must be their Irish blood." (What I want to say is, "What? What the heck does that mean?")

"Love the hair. They're so adorable. Do they look like their dad, then?"

"Well, thank you. I WAS feeling adorable, right up 'til now, but now you've gone and wrecked it."

"They're really not twins?"

"Nope...there are two years between them." (What I want to say is, "I'm their mother. Is that a real question?")

And today's question, from the lady waiting beside us at the deli counter:

"Did you know that, statistically, people with red hair die sooner than people with brown or blond hair?"

Me, wide-eyed and huffy:  "Uh, not sure I really want my red headed children to think that something like that is true..." (Which was, you understand, a polite way of saying, "Shut-the-EFF-up!")

To which she replied:  "No, really. I read it on Twitter."

And you?
Any random redhead tidbit to add?  
What crazy sh*t have YOU read on Twitter lately?


  1. Well my grandmother was a redhead as was her mother (these are my dear relatives who came down from Nova Scotia in the 1920's) and my youngest has ginger eyebrows so not sure if that has any bearing on HIS lifespan. My brother has blonde hair and, when he was younger, a RED beard. My hair has a decent amount of red in it so when I dye it using any color with the word 'golden' in it, I am sure to have auburn results. And that's my random red tidbits for today!
    Oh, and people really ARE dumb; I would have been tempted to drop kick that woman!


  2. I haven't any tidbits, other than I love a redhead, and I'm so happy you've got two of 'em, because they really are beautiful!


    Oh wait, one tidbit, red beards are awesome. the boys will look good with them when they are older.

  3. Very funny! Royce draws a lot of attention too, his comments all involve how he's going to break girls hearts. I get that they mean it to be a compliment but it's not exactly a great quality for a guy to have :P And I also get the 'oh he's so cute, does he look like his dad?'.. lol!
    Your boys are definitely very cute! Maybe they can team up with Royce and break hearts together :P

  4. Sooooo.....Sticky Gingers is ok?

  5. Sticky Gingers is definitely ok - because they are!

    Royce is a li'l heartbreaker, Gillian. Especially when he smiles. I pity the young girls in all of the boys' futures!

    MZ - Mark's beard goes red (and gray) so I completely understand.

    Lisa - Drop kick...hmmm...should have thought about that...hee, hee...

  6. OK seriously what is with the "Are they twins?" thing???? Are people nuts?

    FWIW Stuart and I got that *all* the time and we weren't even same sex (and we were also two years apart). Mom even got asked one time if we were identical. She gave her best wtf look and simply said No and moved on.

    You're right about their being a lot of redheads in this area. Stuart and I were walking into school (Loyalist) one day last semester and from behind us we here "It's like a ginger convention". We turned around and there was another man with red hair (he had made the comment) and beside him a red hair woman... apparently all four of us had happened to arrive at the same time randomly (the other man and woman were not together) and be walking in at the same time.

    My favourite red haired tidbit actually came from my very red haired brother. When he was probably the age of Tobias or Matthew he came downstairs one day and told Mom that when he was a man he wouldn't have red hair because only kids have red hair, grown ups don't. LOL At 22 years old I guess he still isn't a grown up then because it's still firey red ;-)


  7. They are beautiful!

    Did you know redheads are statistically more inclined to choose peanut butter Snickers over the original kind? Seriously. I read that in my mind when I was trying to come up with something clever and failed.

  8. Redheads are great lovers.
    I sh*t you not.
    And I'm not saying that because I'm a red.

  9. I had to Google it:

    Professor Jonathan Rees conducted a study of redheads at Edinburgh University.He identified the"gene for red hair" the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), found on the 16th chromosome. He found that this single gene was responsible for red hair.

    Red hair is a genetic mutation.

    And what a lovely genetic mutation to have!


  10. LOL at Jessica - you just need to show up, doll. Clever and Witty will follow! Thanks for popping over!

    Larry - I know it! I have a few old boyfriends with red hair and have fond, fond memories of them.

    Alison - you, of all people, know this sort of celebrity! LOL. Ginger Convention, indeed!! Thanks for joining the convo!

    SM - We ARE lovely genetic mutations, aren't we? Baahhaaaa!!!