We were driving to the day mother to drop Babyice off for the day when he saw a truck on the road and he said ‘Mommy look! A BIG truck!’
As we’re teaching him colours I said ‘Yes! What colour is the truck?’ he responded with ‘Yellow!’ which was correct and he received the appropriate praise. Not a minute later he saw an African guy walking on the sidewalk and he said ‘Look mommy! Black people is brown!’
I have NO idea where he came up with this. He was, of course, 100% correct…but I don’t remember ever referring to an African person as ‘black’…and how would he know to do this if they are clearly brown? All I can conclude is that he must of picked this up at the day mother who has African neighbours.
Over the weekend Babyice was playing with our downstairs’ neighbour’s son. He comes around every second weekend to stay visit his dad. Yesterday on our way home he was saying he wants to play with Seth and I tried to explain to him that Seth has gone to stay by his mommy. The dynamic obviously didn’t make sense to him at all, because in his reality mommy and daddy live together. That is all he knows. So after the umpteenth time asking to play with Seth, I explained that Seth’s mommy and daddy do not live together. He looked at me and said ‘Is that because Seth is naughty?’ Again, I was floored. Where would he get such a notion? I carefully explained to him that it was definitely not because Seth was naughty (which he isn’t, by the way). I didn’t go into too much detail since Babyice is not even 3 yet and a more complicated explanation did not seem warranted. I just tried to make sure he understood that Seth was a good boy, even if his mommy and daddy don’t live together.
As much as we try to control what our children are exposed to, there is still so much that we cannot control at all, even before they get to school where they are surrounded by peers. I guess we just have to hope that we instill the right values and principles in them and that they trust us enough to speak to us about their perceptions and what they hear.