Everybody knows how hilarious, innocent and often, insightful a child's observations can be. I'm always amazed at how they can sometimes point out details that I never notice or, on the opposite side, the big picture that I failed to appreciate.
When I picked Aaron up from school, he came to me and seemed to be quite excited about something.
"Hey Mama, I think I know something!"
I could see that he felt some sort of sense of accomplishment and pride at this new found ability. I wondered what it was and fully expected it to be something from the classroom. This is what he says next.
"I think I know how to tell if somebody is Chinese."
I was momentarily caught off guard there. On hindsight, I seem to remember him saying it with the same sort of look that Maxwell Smart used to say things when he figured something out. Sort of like this...
I wasn't expecting that revelation from him and thought it was cute, funny and strange all at the same time. First of all, I always thought that he already knew how to identify a Chinese person. He knows we're Chinese and I just assumed that he would have made the association with other Asian looking people by now. So, I asked him how he figured it out since everybody had two eyes, two ears, two legs, one nose etc...
And once again, with a beady eyed, Maxwell Smart type look, he says:
"I don't know. I can just sense it."
We continued on in this line for awhile and I made sure not to mention skin, hair or eye color. I still expected him to eventually mention this most obvious way of determining if a person might be Chinese but he never did. He maintains that he doesn't know how he knows it but he just has a feeling if somebody is Chinese (I think he actually means 'Asian' but I didn't want to confuse the matter).
One of the skills that is sometimes noted as 'milestones' for children is the ability to segregate and categorise similar items. Of course, Aaron would have noticed people looking different (and his brain is probably processing the skin and hair color subconsciously) but I think that to him, we are all in the same category of 'human'. I'm just extrapolating here but I'm sure that his processing of the various religions that he has encountered, is going to be similar to how he processed race.
I wish I could have a video of these precious conversations that I have with Aaron.