I have never heard of a Mongolian Spot or seen one until my son was born.  If you know what a Mongolian Spot looks like and if you live in the US, you will share the same worries as I.  I was somewhat paranoid but with a very good reason.  Whenever I saw my son’s shirt moved up during the play and revealed some part of his skin around his waist, I would quickly reach over his shirt and try to pull it down to cover up his skin.  My reaction might be seen suspicious by some.  Can you blame me if you know how protective the Americans are on child welfare? 


I like swimming and it is the only exercise we, as a family, do consistently weeks after weeks and years after years, be it rain or shine.  Though we have been to the swimming pool a lot, I am still not used to the wary looks from others.  Sometimes, I wonder if a policeman will show up.  How lucky we have been without being confronted by any! 


When my son was about one and a half years old, I took him to Phoenix Zoo every day during our stay in Phoenix, Arizona.  There is a water park inside the Zoo and my son really enjoyed the water play.  He is a water boy in addition to a winter boy.  I really couldn’t pour any more cold water on him.  It is not his fault to be born with Mongolian spots.  What I could do then was contentedly sitting on the bench and watching him play.  I was somewhat surprised when a mom approached me and asked about my son.  Should I really be surprised?  Hadn’t I always wondered when someone would ask me the questions?  She wondered what those spots were on my son.  I told her that they were Mongolian spots.  She asked if they hurt.  I told her that they did not hurt and they were just like birth marks.  She was surprised that the color of a birth mark could be grayish blue.  She always thought that the color of a birth mark is pink like that of a strawberry.  She apologized to me and sympathetically said that I must have been bothered by a lot of this type of intrusive questions.  I told her that she was the first one who asked.  I was actually a little worried because Phoenix is miles away from Minneapolis.  I really could not imagine if that mom hadn’t approached me first.  What would have happened during the time the police investigated?  Over the years, I have learned to ignore people’s ignorance as long as their presumptuousness does not lead to a police call.  It is not their fault either.  How would they know!          


Our pediatrician told us that Mongolian spots present mostly in black and Asian babies.  These spots tend to fade away when the babies reach one or two years old and will completely disappear by age five.  However, if these spots remain at puberty, they are likely to be permanent.  He told me that he had never seen such widespread spots.  The spots on my son are in the areas of buttocks, lower spine, upper back, shoulder, hands, feet, wrists, ankles and flanks.  I have been praying that these marks will someday fade, but my prayers have fallen on deaf ears.  The concern I have is the resemblance of a Mongolian spot to a bruise and it has from time to time led to unfounded accusations of child abuse.    


When I was pregnant with my daughter, I prayed everyday for the new life inside me to be a cute little girl.  I had a hunch that it would be a girl, a talkative and extraverted one, just the opposite of her brother.  In light of her brother’s Mongolian spots, I prayed to God to stop the perpetuation of the gene.  My husband thought that gene came from my side of the family.  His theory was that anything bad must have come from my side of the family.  My brother does have a birthmark.  However, it does not resemble those on our kids.  It looks grayish and it is just one big circle in the middle of his back.  Anyway, God did not grant me the wish.  My daughter has lighter skin, so I was surprised that she also inherited the gene.  This time, the clinic decided to mark the areas of the Mongolian spots on my daughter’s body.  I wondered why they did it this time.  My daughter will be four soon.  I believe that those marks on our kids are permanent.  Oh well!  What can you do about it?  I should be grateful that I have two smart, kind and healthy kids.        


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