I’ve read about other people’s kids asking awkward questions but, until yesterday, I haven’t had a situation with Reid. Her daycare class has a rainbow of faces and she hasn’t asked about race at all. When we’ve seen people with disabilities, she has been satisfied with a simple statement of the type, “She uses that chair with wheels to get around just like you use your legs and feet.” We’ve talked about families being made up of different sorts of people, sometimes only the mama, sometimes two mamas, sometimes a mama and a daddy, sometimes two daddies but that was more me pointing out ways that “different is good” rather than Reid asking a specific question.
But Thursday night at Melissa’s, Reid had me on the hot seat. Stephen was sent away from the table for misbehaving. Reid wanted to know what was happening, why it was happening and what the deeper meaning was. Okay maybe she didn’t want to know the deeper meaning but she did ask a gajillion questions or at leasr the same few over and over. I stuck with “Stephen was being nice. When we’re not nice, people don’t want to be around you. You have to take some time to think about how to be nice before you come back.” I stuck to them like media lines. Reid tried to catch me with repetitive questioning but it didn’t work. Peter Mansbridge had better watch out, though.
The whole time Reid was conducting her inquisition, Sarah and Ben were watching and listening. I didn’t want them to think I disagreed with Melissa (since I didn’t and, in any case, I think parents should stick together) but I didn’t want them to think that Stephen was unspeakably awful (which he wasn’t) either. I’m much better with race, ability and sexual orientation than I am with my friends and their kids, I guess.