We are going to visit friends over Memorial Day Weekend. Our friends with whom we are staying have two young girls. As they have only recently moved to California, we have not met the girls before.
Their mother contacted me today for advice on how to handle the potentially thorny issue of what the girls might ask when they meet me for the first time.
I actually find that most young children are pretty easy to handle in this regard. I have a pretty standard script I run through:
Child: Why does your skin look like that?
Me (with a smile): Well, why is your hair brown/blond/red/black?
Child: I dunno. I guess it’s just me.
Me: Well, my skin is like that. It’s just me.
And then we can proceed to more important matters, such as what the child is going to dress up as for Halloween, or what they did at Disneyland last weekend. And the mortified parent goes from mortified to grateful. I’ve gotten more than one mouthed “Thank you!”
One little girl fished a small, pink, plastic, glittery turtle toy out of her pocket and presented it to me as something she got in a birthday goodie bag at a friend’s party. She told me all about the cake and the balloon clown. When I handed her back the turtle as she and her mother were leaving, she insisted I have it because it matched my hair (I was sporting giant fuchsia streaks in my hair at that time).
I only wish grown-ups were half as understanding as that little girl.