Out of The Mouths of Babes

by Belle Waring on June 19, 2007

My little daughter Violet was playing that she had a loose tooth the other day. “let’s pretend you put it under the pillow and the Tooth Fairy brings you money”, I suggested. “Don’t be silly, mommy. The Tooth Fairy can’t bring you money.” “What does she bring you, then.” She looked at me, exasperated at my tomfoolery: “she brings you adult teeth!” Hmm, that is more plausible.

This afternoon Zoë asked me in the elevator why most Barbies have blonde hair, and I said it’s the most popular sort of Barbie, but they do come in other colors. “I think that’s not good,” she said. “Because most people have brown or black hair, and brown eyes, and different colors of skin. If somebody wasn’t very smart and they played with those blonde Barbies they might think that they can’t be pretty. That makes me feel weird. Next time if we get a Barbie I want her to have brown skin and black hair like LeAnn, or dark skin like Fope.” Yay Zoë! This was music to my ears compared to the time I overheard her playing that the biggest Russian nesting doll was so fat that she couldn’t wear any nice clothes, and then she went away and lost weight and came back as Barbie. Great, let’s just get the eating disorder started now!



dsquared 06.19.07 at 12:14 pm

my son is developing an attractive strain of Schopenhauerian pessimism. While sitting down watching his sister playing with her dolly, he sighed at me and said “y’know, Daddy, I hope that Poppy’s baby is a boy. Because if it’s a girl, then the baby’s going to have a baby, and then the baby’s baby is going to have a baby, and it’s just going to go on forever”.


David Moles 06.19.07 at 3:13 pm

With Russian nesting dolls, I think there’s a clear opportunity for another story about the Barbie doll that was too skinny to have kids.


Gian dei Brughi 06.19.07 at 4:40 pm

dsquared: I’m not sure what it says about me that I laughed harder at your comment than at anything else in the past week or so.


Guest 06.19.07 at 5:59 pm

I felt really sad reading that post. When I said some stuff like that to my Mom when I was very young I was just trying to tell her what she wanted to hear. That didn’t end well for me.


Russell Arben Fox 06.19.07 at 10:22 pm

Belle, that is just awesome. Hooray for Zoë! Remember, anti-Barbieism begins at home.


scm 06.19.07 at 11:22 pm

Cool. When does she start blogging?


magistra 06.20.07 at 8:08 am

I am still trying to work out how much awareness my daughter (4 and a half) has of skin colour and its significance, without trying any leading questions on her. I think she isn’t entirely ‘colour blind’, in that she does realise that people have different skin colours. (Once when she didn’t recognize a black person we met, she thought it was someone we did know who is also black). However, recently she brought a game home from school with pictures of different people on cards. She had to pick out the right card based on my descriptions of their appearance. There was one black person and all the rest were white. I didn’t mention skin colour as a difference and she didn’t bring it up spontaneously. So I think she’s at the stage where she knows that people look different, but not the cultural significance of this. I am now trying to avoid calling people black in her presence, so as to prolong at least slightly the period before she realises that skin colour is seen as significant in our culture.


abb1 06.20.07 at 8:21 am

How do you type this ‘ë’ letter, Alt-something, ampersand-pound-something, cyrillic keyboard? Must be a pain in the ass.


bad Jim 06.20.07 at 9:55 am

abb1- for “ë” I just type alt-137, but I keep a cheat sheet copied from the IBM-AT tech manual under my keyboard. Doesn’t everyone?

I thought I’d mention that, at a general gathering at a local taco joint after my nephew’s graduation, I recognized his girlfriend at a distance by the dog at the end of her leash rather than by her profile or her color. We Southern Californians do run dark, and she’s light for one of African heritage, and the light was bright and I was some ways off, and she’d changed her hair… When I first noticed her I guessed she wasn’t who I was looking for, until I spotted the dog.

Their adorable pups had no trouble remembering me.


abb1 06.20.07 at 10:27 am

I keep a little booklet for OS-390.
Well, actually not anymore, but I should’ve, it was great.


Matt Weiner 06.20.07 at 2:26 pm

If you don’t like the alt key, ë should get you ë.


Matt Weiner 06.20.07 at 2:28 pm

Ahem. The software seems to be interpreting whatever shows up in the preview again. Let’s try this: ë


Matt Weiner 06.20.07 at 2:28 pm

OK, that’s what gets you ë.


Glorious Godfrey 06.20.07 at 4:38 pm

Just google a name which has the character you’re looking for, using the closest “plain” equivalent. Look up a document that has the name you’ve entered, but written properly. Copy & Paste happily everafter.

It’s the new Zen.


Stuart 06.20.07 at 6:35 pm

Googling sounds a bit hit and miss – I would just bring up character map myself, although generally I wouldn’t bother (unless copy and pasting from some message I am replying to, and hence it is very convenient).

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