This week we went to our local children’s museum in an effort to diffuse the type of insanity that occurs when you’re 4 and can’t release as much hollering as your body would prefer because the temperatures outside are far below freezing. While there, we built a house from extra large waffle blocks, drove a kid size school bus, and ended up at the dollhouse and miniature barn table. For a while we played like a boy, which is to say there were just a lot of semi-emergency type occasions necessitating all of the animals being crammed pellmell into the barn or people being jettisoned into the house, but then I couldn’t stand it anymore (I love me some dollhouses), and we set up the house the ‘right’ way. (I may or may not have gone to the 4-H state fair for my dollhouse entry when I was little. MAY or MAY NOT…) Once we did that, Isaac made different story lines with the characters. Here were some of his options:
At one point, he wanted to have a family live in the house. Here was the family he chose:
Notice that? That’s what you call, “Children definitely notice color.” Now to be fair, we talk about our different skin colors at home. (One of my favorite memories is of toddler Isaac calling out to me that he had brown skin after observing himself in the bathroom mirror. When I explained that this was because S. has brown skin and he came from her belly, the lightbulb expression on his face was PRICELESS. Like, “MAN! That makes SO much more sense now!”) It wouldn’t have surprised me that he was aware of how he, his mom, and his dad look, but he wasn’t pretending that we were the characters- he was just making a family to live in the house.
This is what his mind associates with how a family looks.
Now, through our family and friends, he’s around families who look similar to his, families who have children who are mixed, who have two moms, who have one parent, who have members of multiple races, who are foster families, have divorced parents, who have all members of the same race, or have children being raised by family other than a parent. He’s aware that there are different ways to build a family. It did hyper focus me into how important it is to never underestimate how much he sees and thinks behind those handsome eyes. I don’t want to assume that because it isn’t something we make a point to discuss everyday, it doesn’t mean it isn’t something he’s processing. That is, when he isn’t thinking of ways for the hypnotized goat to fit into the same barn stall as the one the entire herd of cows is shoved into.