Small Person and the Fairies
So small person is rapidly outgrowing her title, clothes, and to a degree her childish ways.
I’m often struck by her development. Of course, extremely impressed, but struck nonetheless by how she advances. Earlier in the year I introduced her to a video on YouTube on the circulatory system and how blood cells carry oxygen around the body.
She soaked it up like a sponge.
We had a conversation once about when she was born. I was explaining how she had had an umbilical cord which I had to cut. She took both stories to nursery with her, much to the amazement of her key workers.
At this age (3 ½) she is very receptive to information, so I’m keen to give her all the tools I can to equip her going forward.
Books for instance. She has a lot of them. 6 bookshelves taking up a wall in her bedroom to be precise. So there are plenty of bedtime stories, and afternoon stories, and first thing in the morning stories.
When I first started buying her books I also had it in mind to make sure she has enough representational books. Books with characters that look like her.
Prior to having a child I recall seeing a documentary on YouTube called A Girl Like Me.
In this documentary the film maker referenced a test conducted in the 1940’s by Dr Kenneth and Dr Mamie Clark; the doll tests. These tests were used to study children’s racial perceptions. Granted, these tests were undertaken in the time of Jim Crow segregation in the States, however, sadly the conditions that yielded the outcomes found in the test are more or less still prevalent today.
So with this in mind, I have been quite specific in the books I have bought for the small person.
I figured that would be enough.
I know she has started to find an awareness of colour, and difference. She knows that she and I and my partner are brown. She says some of her friends in class are ‘pink’, which I suppose is a literal representation of what she sees as opposed to the political terms of ‘Black’ and ‘White’. It doesn’t mean anything to her at the moment, which is good. It shouldn’t. But I know one day it will.
Last night after I’d read her a bedtime story and tucked her in I asked her if she was going to have lovely dreams. She said yes. So I asked her what she was going to dream about.
She said fairies. I smiled. And then probed. I think I knew what I was going hear but I had to ask all the same.
“What will the fairies look like?” I asked.
“They’ll have blue eyes. And Blonde hair”.
Internally I recoiled a little. And quickly readdressed.
“Are your eyes blue?” I asked. She replied no.
“Is your hair blonde?” Again she replied no, and stated it was black.
“Your hair is nice and pretty isn’t it?” I asked. “Yes daddy” she responded.
I smiled, kissed her forehead and left her for bed. I left unsure whether I should be concerned, or not.
I think I know that my work is far from done, and I can’t afford to be complacent in reaffirming her identity wherever and whenever possible.
She’ll be alright. But the work is ongoing, and my partner and I must remain vigilant.