The things kids notice, and fail to notice, are really really weird. I've been reading the wonderful Peter's Cross Station and have been inspired to look for ways to talk to Asher about race so when Asher mentioned Trisha from his Play School DVD I saw my opportunity. We were at the cafe yesterday morning and he was talking about the DVD and I asked him what Trisha looked like. He replied that she wore a purple shirt, which is quite true, but not quite what I was expecting. I agreed that she did and then mentioned that her skin looked quite dark brown and asked him if he'd noticed. He said he hadn't so I then started chattering about how his daddy had dark brown skin too, and I had very light brown skin and he and Kiran have medium brown skin. I don't think I did particularly well, but at least I've broached the topic. He's barely noticing gender, so the fact that he doesn't notice 'race' isn't that surprising to me. I'd like him to hear about this stuff from us, rather than hear things of dubious veracity in the playground.
The other topic thats been on my mind a lot recently (particularly with all the chat about Richard Dawkins in the media) is kids and religion and, more specifically, lack of it and how that fits in with a childhood in a nominally Christian country. I'm an athiest and Sanjay is (he's lying on the couch and I just asked him) an agnostic. My parents are nominally Christian and Sanjay's parents are Hindu, or Sikh (the distinction is blurry to me) and I'd like my kids to understand their cultural heritage, but I'm not keen for them to be indoctrinated into a belief system. So, with all this in mind, when we walked past the local church on Sunday and Asher mentioned that there were a lot of people around I chirpily told him that the people had been in the church because it was Sunday, and that on Sunday people who were Christians sometimes went to church to pray to god. I reminded him that he had been to the Gurdwarra with his Grandpa Sham and told him that that's where Grandpa Sham went to pray. The poor kid didn't really understand what I was blathering on about and just said "Mm-hm" in an agreeable tone and that was that.
Luckily the Easter Bunny is about as religious as the Tooth Fairy (or Santa Claus, I guess) so we can get into the easter spirit with massive amounts of chocolate and perhaps sugar fuelled tantrums.