|Boy Three as a red devil|
“Mummy, help me.” Boy Three was sitting at the table amid a scatter of top-less pens and broken crayons.
“In a minute.”
“Ok. What do you want?”
“I want you to draw this for me.”
“Why? You could draw it, couldn’t you?”
“Well. I’m a boy and you’re a girl,”
“D’oh. Girls are better at drawing than boys, so you have to draw this for me. Now. Mummy.”
He’s four. How can this child – who seems to be perfectly good at drawing though that’s not the point – already ‘know’ something as wrong as this?
His eyes got rounder and rounder as I set about an explanation about how boys and girls are just as good as each other at everything – from drawing to Lego to brain surgery. I could tell he didn’t believe me.
I considered hurtling into the nursery and accusing them of sexist indoctrination, but then I thought better of it. I’m sure that’s not the case. I hope it’s just more evidence of his attempts to make some sense of a confusing world.
Only this week, from his seat in the car, he announced: “I hate trees and fields and country. They give me tummy ache.”
Much unravelling later, it appears that he blames his mild travel sickness on the scenery the windy country roads pass through, not the undulations themselves.
And then there’s his current obsession with heaven and the way it looks there. When he raised the subject, after some internal consideration of just telling him that heaven is simply a construct designed to soften the final blow, I tried to explain that it’s impossible to know what heaven looks like.
“Because no one knows.”
“Because it’s impossible to come back from heaven. It’s best to think of it like the very best and most beautiful place you can think of.”
“I think heaven would have red stripes. And you’d be there too, mummy.”