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Diversity of Families, As Explained by a 4 Year Old

August 26, 2011

Blog written by Laboratory Staff JM

As a mother of a precocious 4-year-old girl, I find myself explaining concepts and ideas for which I thought I’d have years to prepare. On a daily basis she questions me about various things, such as “What is the sun made of, Mom?” and “Is this broccoli healthier than this pasta?”. Her curiosity keeps me on my toes. As you can imagine, our weekly trips to the library usually bring about some interesting discussions.

My daughter loves books on every topic, and our usual routine at the library is to wander about the children’s area. First, she likes to grab a couple of books to read at the library, because the library has kid-size armchairs. Then, she will randomly choose 5 or 6 books from the stacks to bring home. I don’t usually screen the books she chooses, so when our evening book time rolls around, I never know what book we’re going to be reading.

Last week’s library trip yielded books on a variety of topics. One book in particular stood out, because it led to a discussion about how different families can be. The book was “King and King and Family”, written by Linda De Haan and Stern Nijland. It’s about a male couple, King Lee and King Bertie, who go on their honeymoon to the jungle. While in the jungle they see many animal families, and when they return home, they find a stowaway in their suitcase, a little girl to complete their own family.

My daughter is very matter-of-fact, and says “that family has two daddies, and my family has a mommy and a daddy”. She is familiar with the concept of a family having two mommies (several of her playmates have two mommies) but the idea of a family having two daddies intrigued her. She thought it sounded like lots of fun! We also talked about how one of her friends has two mommies and two daddies, as the friend’s parents have divorced and remarried. And how some families have only one parent. My daughter’s final word on the subject of families: “Families can be made up of all kinds of mommies and daddies, and that’s okay. Families love each other.”

I was reminded just how perceptive and accepting our children can be, and how refreshing that is.

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