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    Category: Nephews & Nieces

    Tolerance: The Next Generation

    | Wellington, New Zealand | Children, Nephews & Nieces

    (My eight-year-old daughter and niece are leafing through a catalogue of birthday cakes, when I overhear this conversation.)

    Niece: “I really like this cake. Why does it have to be in the ‘boys’ section?”

    Daughter: “Yeah. Just because it has a picture of a train doesn’t mean it should be for a boy. I’m a girl and I like trains.”

    Niece: “Me, too! It’s like all the pink cakes for girls, with dolls and princesses on them. Why does pink have to be for girls and blue for boys?”

    Daughter: “I know; it’s annoying!”

    Niece: “It’s like one of my friends. He’s a boy, but he likes pink, and he has long hair. Sometimes he even wears dresses!”

    Daughter: “That’s so cool! I like it when people do what they want, instead of what grown ups tell them to do. I mean, why did they make up those rules anyway? I don’t see why boys shouldn’t be allowed to wear dresses!”

    Niece: “I know!”

    (Later, they are playing with my smartphone and looking at the different emoticons. Some of them represent couples, or parents with a young child.)

    Niece: “Hey, look. Why do they have a picture of a mummy and a daddy with a baby, but not two mummies, or two daddies?”

    Daughter: “Yeah, that’s annoying. [My Name] says that there are lots of different kinds of families, but the people who drew these pictures don’t understand that.” *pause* “No wait, look! They have a picture of two boys holding hands, and two girls, and a boy and a girl.”

    Niece: “Yay! That’s cool. Hey, look at that picture of a dog. It’s so cute…” *keeps scrolling through the emoticons*

    (Both of them are also budding environmentalists, and I’ve overheard them talking about how they should send letters to the government to ‘make better rules to protect Hector dolphins.’ They make their mothers so proud.)

    A Marrying Together Of Ideas

    | USA | Children, Nephews & Nieces

    (My 15-year-old niece and I are discussing gay marriage.)

    Me: You know, you probably won’t believe this, but when you and [Cousin] were little, you used to put a veil on your Patrick doll and marry him to your Spongebob doll.

    Niece: *laughing* “Really?”

    Me: “Oh, yes. A Teletubby was usually the preacher.”

    Niece: “Well, I guess there’s nothing wrong with Spongebob and Patrick getting married if they want to.”

    Me: *after a brief pause* “Actually, there are probably about a million things wrong with Spongebob and Patrick getting married. It’s just that the fact that they are both boys isn’t one of those things.”

    (And then we both laughed until we almost were sick.)

    This Snack Will Cost You An Arm And A Leg

    | WA, USA | Nephews & Nieces

    (This interaction is between my three-year-old nephew and my sister (his mom).)

    Nephew: “Mama, I want something to eat. Will you get me something?”

    Mom: “You have feet and legs, don’t you?”

    Nephew: *starts to cry* “But I don’t want to eat them!”

    Roll On The Next Gift

    | USA | Nephews & Nieces, Theme Of The Month

    (It’s Christmas day. My siblings and their children are at my parents’ house. My mother likes to give the girls things like body spray, flowery deodorant, and lotions. My niece, who is around middle school age, has opened her gift from my mom and starts rubbing one of the bottles on her face.)

    Niece: *loudly, so the whole room can here* “This perfume smells really nice!”

    (The whole family looks at her and starts laughing.)

    Mom: *to niece* “That’s roll-on deodorant.”

    Doctor Who And The Planet Of The Ironies

    | Christchurch, New Zealand | Children, Nephews & Nieces, Theme Of The Month

    (The family has gathered to watch the ‘Doctor Who’ Christmas special. The alien antagonists are call ‘The Silence.’ My nephew, who has been chatting and noisily rummaging in the toybox throughout, speaks up:)

    Nephew: “What on Earth is silence?”

    (We couldn’t agree more!)

    An Ocean Of Imagination

    | Milan, Italy | In-Laws, Nephews & Nieces, Siblings

    (Previously, my sister had crafted a story about an octopus living under the house.)

    Niece: “Where is aunty?”

    Sister: “She is with the octopus.”

    (After a discussion where my niece wants to see the octopus, but my sister says that you can only see him if he invites you.)

    Niece: “Octopuses aren’t real!”

    Sister: “They are real! Go and ask your dad.”

    Niece: *asks my brother* “Are octopuses real?”

    Brother: *slight pause* “It’s octopi, and yes.”

    Niece: *flabbergasted* “But…”

    (Later, my sister-in-law tells my sister what happens next…)

    Niece: “Octopuses are real?”

    Sister-In-Law: “Yes.”

    Niece: “Even the pretend ones?”

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