Tuesday, September 25, 2007

21st Century Boy

Oliver, echoing our dinnertime conversation:

'I haven't looked at Greg's Facebook either'.

Difficult question

At pajama time

Oliver: Daddy, why do I have nipples?
Me: I'm not really sure.
Oliver: Because the people put them on me.
Me: The people?
Oliver: The people from the nipple store. They grew them small.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thoughts on identity

Oliver made two comments recently that I associate with each other.

First, I was giving him a bath when he pointed to himself and asked 'What colour am I?'.

I was pretty surprised to hear this and didn't really know how to respond at first. I paused and said, a little awkwardly, 'You're Oliver-coloured!' and then 'Skin-coloured'.

After all, skin comes in all sorts of colours, right?

For the record, Oliver's background is European and Asian. Or white and Asian, if you prefer. I'm not sure that if Oliver had pointed to me and asked what colour I was, I would have said white, because I think I would prefer that he think of people in terms other than colours.

But I don't know how realistic that is.

A few days later, we were walking to a neighbourhood park after dinner. It was overcast and getting dark and Oliver pointed to three girls walking together some distance away on a street perpendicular to the one we were on. I was not wearing my glasses and could not see them clearly, but I had an impression - or made an assumption - that they were black. These girls were talking and laughing as they walked and Oliver asked me something about 'that brown one'.

Feeling that I was evading his question, I asked whether he was talking about someone wearing a brown piece of clothing. No, he replied, it was the face he was referring to. He asked why her face was brown and the only reply that came to mind was 'Well, people are all different colours, Oliver'.

I feel torn between wanting him to be colour-blind (as in not believing that appearance matters, much) and wanting him to be aware that some people will focus on issues of ethnicity, sometimes inappropriately.

Perhaps it's too early for that - maybe he's just noticing what he sees and not thinking about anyone's identity in group terms.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Sodor railway official in 'toys for good behaviour' scheme

The box car, caboose and stop sign have returned, with nice new shiny unchipped paint, much to Oliver's delight. (I don't think he's noticed that they're completely new.)

We gave them to him this morning as a reward for sleeping through the night, and specifically for not waking up and requiring one of us to lie in his room to get him to go back to sleep.

Emerging consciousness

I really should have blogged this immediately after it happened, because the details have already escaped me. At dinner, Oliver was quizzing Mimi and me about what constitutes the groups known as 'people', 'boys', 'girls' and 'kids', and how they overlap. I think he understood that boys and girls are kids and that kids are people, but when I asked him if boys could be people, he shook his head and I thought of him leading a protest asserting that 'Little Boys Are People Too!'.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Thomas recall update #2

To make up for the delay in returning the box car, caboose and stop sign, Sir Topham Hatt has sent us the Sodor recycling cars as a goodwill gesture.

After-dinner surrealism

Oliver (making smacking sounds): I'm just eating gum.
Me: But you don't have gum.
Oliver: Yeah.
Me: So it's pretend gum?
Oliver: Yeah. It has a flavour.
Me: What does it taste like?
Oliver: It tastes like ... Canada.
Me: ...
Oliver: I was born at Canada.
Me: Oh?
Oliver: It has a lot of old Subaru taxis. They're black and silver and ... no, just black. You can't touch the dusty Subarus. You can touch my cars. Okay?