Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm back!!!

Helloooooo!!!!! Remember me?? It's been so long since I blogged that I really don't know where to begin, but in the last few weeks something has been niggling away at my little brain and I just thought, where better to share my ramblings than here?

Button and Belle are both thriving. Button is turning into a pre-teen and is doing great in school. He remains the happiest boy I know. Belle is nearly 6, very smart and full of attitude. She's great company and is fantastic with Button. It's Belle that my thoughts have been turning to recently, and here's the why!

Belle is bright - very bright. I don't think she's gifted, but she's definitely clever. She loves science and insects, and wants to be an entomologist when she grows up (go on, look it up - I know I had to!). She's also very pretty and small for her age, what some might describe as "cute". I know better though - she has told me in no uncertain terms that she doesn't like to be called cute - especially by other children. So here's the million dollar question! Are positive stereotypes a bad thing?

We have never had a single negative racist remark made towards our children. Other than one old lady who declared "that's not your baby" when i was pushing Belle in a buggy, all the comments we have received have been about how lovely they are. But as Belle gets older I'm beginning to see that the attention she receives only serves to single her out more - and make her aware of her own differences.

If she had brown stringy hair and freckles and was tall for her age (as I was at her age) would she be getting all this attention? Belle would like nothing more than to blend into the background, she doesn't like to be the centre of attention and is really quite shy. But her ethnicity makes that difficult. I know that I myself am guilty of gushing about her (and Button too, but he could' t care less about how people perceive him!), I'm just so fascinated by how her little brain works. Her love of science coupled with her devotion to Disney Princesses makes her a very interesting little person to be around. But that's a parent's prerogative, surely? It's when strangers do the gushing that the problem arises!

Before she started school I was told by a few different people that she'd be fine because "Asian kids are really clever" - but what if she wasn't? What if she had struggled? Do people expect more from her academically because of her race? As it happens she IS clever, She IS pretty and she IS dainty - she is the epitome of an Asian stereotype.

But she is also a 5 year old girl who doesn't want to be singled out because her hair is so shiny, or picked up and carried around by older girls. We are walking a fine line between making her feel proud of her heritage and yet not making her feel too different.