I Didn’t Say Aye Matey

posted by Momo Fali on May 15, 2008

What would you do if you were really trying to raise your children to be kind, respectful, compassionate human beings, and your six year old son sees two Muslim women at the doctor’s office with head scarves, then he mistakes those head scarves for bandannasand calls them both pirates?


  • secret agent mama

    Kinda like when I was little and called some black woman, Chocolate!

    Kids. They say what they feel, when they feel it. LOL

  • Heather

    Hey, pirates are all the rage right now, so he’s probably going to remember them as being really cool and awesome!

  • Mimi aka pz5wjj

    We were at chick-fil-a one day and a man with a hook-hand was their. My son thought he was Capt Hook from Peter Pan (we’d just watched the movie).

    We saw him as we were going into the restroom, on our way out a mom was talking to him with her little girl (apparently she’d had some questions about his hand) and he was telling the little girl an Alligator bit it off!

    Apparently, he has a sense of humor about it!

  • Mimi aka pz5wjj

    Oh, yes, and one more thing…

    My English husband brought my son to the bus stop one day and a 3rd grader at the bus stop asked him why he (husband) spoke like a pirate and if the 3rd grader could take husband to school for Show and Tell.

  • Jodi

    What would I do? Probably giggle…wrong response?

  • MommyTime

    Smile apologetically, and explain a little too loudly that no, they were not and that they worse those clothes as part of their religion? I know I’d say something a little too loudly, in the hopes they would hear. In my experience, most people are pretty kind about the questions small kids ask, particularly when they are clearly creative/interpretive (like the pirate thing) rather than judgmental — and especially when mom blushes. 🙂

  • Bee Repartee


    I just had a vision of burqa clad women fighting a ship of nuns.

    Take that, Johnny Depp.

  • Bee Repartee

    ps. no offense intended to the head-covered persuasion.

  • Rachel

    I would smile, and then talk about the differences and make sure that he understood that I saw where he got the idea from. Then make sure the ladies saw/heard the conversation we had. Then go home and blog about it while laughing hysterically.
    Kids… what are you gonna do.

  • amy t sharp

    holy ohuh. I feel the pain. I think smiling is best. 🙂

  • Geeks In Rome

    One odd consequence of sending my son to Catholic school is that he isn’t fazed at all by the veil thing. But he does wave at and call every nun or Muslim woman he sees on the street the name of his homeroom teacher. “Yo, Sistah x”

    Darker faces still throw him a bit. He once asked me a bit TOO LOUDLY why the woman across from us on the tram had dirt on her face. God I hope she didn’t understand English. What do you do in that situation??

  • Natalie

    well…kids will be kids and most of the time adults are pretty forgiving of that. as long as what he said wasn’t offensive…which i’m sure it wasn’t! i would most definitely explain though!

  • meleah rebeccah

    you laugh out loud.

    Thats what you do.

    He did not call them anything along the lines of a racial slur.

    and that was honest to god FUNNY

  • Jaina

    Well, there are worse things he could have said….and everyone likes a pirate, right?

  • paul

    Based on his experiences, they looked like pirates to him. Almost makes you want to say, “ARRRRR.” 🙂

    Sorry, that was bad.

    It’s more embarrassing for the parents than the kid, who didn’t know any better. I’m sure no offense was taken.

  • Ashley

    lol! I would’ve just smiled…

    My luck, I would correct him and then be asked a bazillion and one questions and who knows what…and it could get really tricky.

    And, nobody likes being shown up by a little kid. lol

  • Xbox4NappyRash

    PLEASE tell me this was at an opticians and the lady was wearing an eye patch….

  • Meg

    I would have said “dude, you know pirates have swords.”

    I don’t know what I would have said, but there would probably be a “teachable” moment in there somewhere.

  • Amy J.

    Very funny post!

    I would make him walk the plank – it’s the only way he’ll learn!

  • Heather

    I’d write about it on my blog.

  • Kori

    OMG, I have a terrible habit of laughing like a maniac at the slightest provacation, so sad to say, I am sure THAT would have been my reaction.

  • transfattyacid

    laugh maybe?!?

  • Toni

    I’d laugh my head off, then very sheepishly leave the store. 🙂

  • Corey~living and loving

    It is my hope that most people understand the innocence of children. I would just gently mention that their clothing is part of their culture and leave it at that.

  • Michael C

    Sadly, I would laugh at the cute (albeit somewhat inappropriate) innocence of children. Then I’d go all parenty on them.

  • holly

    what do you do when your OWN ma, from middle-of-nowhere wyoming comes to britain, sees the guy guiding the airplane in on the ground and says “quick, i gotta get a picture of the towel-head!”

    oh WOW did i dart to the bathroom on that one.

    i think i was adopted. PLEASE PLEASE BOB let me be adopted. sometimes.

    oh shit i’m laughing at bee.

  • Dapoppins

    laugh…and laugh and laugh. Be a little embarrassed and laugh some more

  • HRD

    Cant be any worse then hearing one of your girl students (age 5) say to one of the boys, “when you grow up, girls will want to see your underware and you will want to see thiers”

    But kids do say the darnest things

  • Half-Past Kissin' Time

    Smile and make a plan to start taking the kids to play in parks where there is some diversity; they’re great places for “teachable moments.” That’s what I did with my kids when we moved from Upstate NY to Whitebread, Wisconsin and lost the “flavor” of a bigger city.

    (Sweet mistake; very funny!)

  • Dette

    Yep. LOL! I’d laugh out loud and ask if they can tell that we just finished watching “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

    So tell us – how did they react?

  • Laski

    To be honest, I’d say momma’s doing something right. He noticed a difference, but the response was one of simple innocence.

    Now you get a chance to talk about diversity with him. I have no doubt he’ll grow appreciation for all the variety the world has to offer.

  • DysFUNctional Mom

    I would probably pee myself laughing, but I’m dorky like that.

  • jenny from mommin' it up

    You did EXACTLY what I would have done in the situaiton.
    Made a blog post out of it!!!

  • LiteralDan

    I agree with everyone else who said it could have been a lot worse. At least pirates are cool.

    And blogging about it is officially the polite reaction, I believe. I’d have to check with Emily Post to be sure.

  • Tara R.

    I think I would let out a giggle too, then explain why they weren’t pirates.


    Lord. Have. Mercy. Bossy’s been saying that a lot lately.

  • meleah rebeccah


    You got some BOSSY “Love” On Your Blog today!


  • Roz

    You know, I’d take it as a sign that he is REALLY free from all gender stereotypes!

    And that is just SO cool.

  • Lisa

    It is total innocence and I am betting the woman thought it was sweet–I asked my mom why some were chocolate at a doctor’s office and my mom said ‘we’ll have chocolate ice cream at home’ to which I screamed ‘no, that person is chocolate, why is she…’ and we were suddenly whisked off to the doctor’s office 😉

  • Mrs. Schmitty

    Don’t you just hate when kids talk? LOL!

  • McShowoff

    But were they wearing eye patches? Not that that would mean they definitely WERE pirates, but it certainly would increase the chances. And then again, isn’t it kind of prejudiced of us to think that they could not have been pirates just because they were Muslims? These are the things I think about.

  • Jozet at Halushki

    Are you sure they weren’t priates? I mean, coulda been, right?

  • Birdie

    I’d say yeah baby, better watch out! *L* your kid is so darn funny

  • Heather B.

    Of course I’d laugh since little kids never really mean any harm by what their saying.

    Once I was sitting with a five year old eating brownies and he looked at the brownie then at me and said “You’re brown and eating a brownie.” I didn’t take offense I just laughed and said “Sure am, kid”.

  • Kimmylyn

    I just read your hubby’s coke stealing and now this.. I am giggling to myself here..your killing me.. hahaha

  • BusyDad

    Damn you Momo!! I’m sitting here in my tradeshow booth in Washington DC trying to look like I’m working on pulling up a demo. And I busted out laughing! I should know better than to check out your friggin blog when I’m supposed to be working!!

  • Mr Lady

    My nephew grew up in Fresno, where you are either white or Mexican. he was at the store one day when he was two or three with his mom and a very VERY dark black man walked passed him. He’d never seen a man that dark, and he pointed and said, Momma! Wook at du monkey!

    She almost died.

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