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Heteronormativity ahoy
preschool garklet

Scene: I was taking the garklet for a haircut, and we happened to pass a church that was ringing for matins. He asked why the bell was ringing, and misheard 'matins' as the name of one of his friends who moved to Cambridge last year (who I shall refer to as M). The important thing to note is that M is the child of a lesbian couple.

Where M?
M's in Cambridge.
Why M in Cambridge?
Because his mummies got jobs in Cambridge.
What about him daddy?
I don't know - M lives with his two mummies.
No, M not got two mummies. M got a mummy and a daddy.
No, M has two mummies. Remember, you saw them both at G's house earlier in the year. And you saw them when you went to M's birthday party. And you saw them almost every day when they picked M up from nursery.
*upset* No, M got a mummy and a daddy. M not got two mummies. You pooey!
I'm not pooey! Not all little boys and girls have a mummy and a daddy; some have two mummies, like M, and some have two daddies.
*very upset* NO! YOU WRONG! YOU POOEY! M GOT A MUMMY AND A DADDY! pthpthpthpt!
On that we'll have to disagree.

I mean, what else can you do in this situation?

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I think once you've been called pooey it's wisest to concede that you've lost the argument.

I'd probably have gone on to a discussion about the difference between a Mummy or a Daddy and the fact that it took a seed from a man and a seed from a woman to make M but that giving his Mummies the seed didn't make that man a Daddy as such, and so on and so on, but then I'm known for giving my children more complicated answers than they are necessarily ready for!

Yeah, if he's got it into his head that children are made by a mummy and a daddy then he won't believe you if you say otherwise. You'd have to differentiate between physical parents and social parents, and that's going to be an interesting conversation the first time you have it :->

I guess convincingly establishing the existence of lesbians using videos from the internet would be the wrong approach to take.

I've just remembered a similar tale from my past.

My father's a doctor, and I apparently had a stand-up argument, aged 4-ish with him and a female doctor, in the hospital, about whether it was possible for a woman to be a doctor. They were maintaining that women could be doctors, I was convinced that a female doctor was a _nurse_.

Needless to say it took a while for my Dad to live that one down :->

Oddly enough, that was to be the subject of my next post. I had quite a long conversation with him (in which he got really quite upset) in which he was maintaining that women couldn't be doctors, fire fighters, bus drivers, lorry drivers, soldiers (etc, etc - and despite evidence to the contrary), and that men couldn't be nursery workers (the sole male nursery worker at his place left last year), nurses, teachers (!) and so on.

You know, that is absolutely fascinating. I can't imagine that he lives in an environment where he picks up the message that there are male and female jobs. So, I just wonder where he gets that idea from.

Well, quite.

Two days later, he was in nursery with a bunch of his male friends who were pretending to be nurses, complete with caps.

Hmmm. On the other hand, it could be that they were pretending to be female nurses (because all nurses are female, obv).

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I'd have given up sometime earlier and said...

"Let's ask M or M's mum next time we see them"

Giving up is not an option. He can keep up the 'why' questions for a good half hour.

I love it when you post these conversations! They make fabulous reading.

I'll make an effort to post more - there are certainly enough to choose from.

One we've not encountered yet...

I'm the primary child carer, and Mrs Hau is a senior manager, so Kurtzhau has a good range sense of sex equality as the norm. I once told him that in the Middle Ages, nice ladies were supposed to shut up and agree with the knights - he was horrified!

To be fair, a couple of days later he did ask me why M had two mummies and my off the cuff reply was because M was lucky!

We then had a discussion (while I was driving - why does he always ask this stuff when in the car?) about how some people ahve two mummies, some two daddies and some, like him, a mummy and a daddy.

But that leaves out such a rich variety of possibilities. Even "X has at least one person who loves and cares for them" which is basically your lowest common denominator, is a bit risky. Are you sure?

And when kids understand completely what's going on, the resulting feelings and their understanding of them can still be... confusing


No! You wrong! You pooey!

I think this is going to be my verbal reaction from now on whenever I get hit with some cognitive dissonance.

I'm wondering whether it would be a suitable response to critical reviews of the papers I write.

When I was a kid I noticed that the children at school who lived in council flats, when asked to draw a house, drew a two-storey fully-detached with all the trimmings of an early twentieth century house-- sash windows, chimney with smoke coming out, path from street to door, etc. I, who lived in a semi-detached (because the 70s was, and still is, the best decade ever for the working class) thought that was funny. I expected myself to draw a house, and them to draw flats.

Oh that that one's a classic. Myself I think it's odd that we still teach early language with things like "the sheep go baa and the cows go moo" to kids on council estates in Easterhouse who are unlikely to ever see either.. v strange.

Thanks for reporting on this one. Fun and very interesting.

We're just starting to have short conversations with Aled.

Funniest recent one was when sister Alice came to babysit and Aled called her 'Hannah' (the name of my youngest sister). I said, 'That's not Hannah, it's Alice' and Aled called her 'Not-Hannah' for the rest of the weekend.

R x

Hmm, might try that response on J:-)

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