164: Breaking Ice

My son, like his father, has face blindness, so I’ve been teaching him how to tell apart his classmates with great success. Easter break just ended, which means the eldest kids cycled out into training for first grade and he has a couple new classmates (they trickle in as they turn 3). One is easy to identify, because he’s from Eritrea and the only African kid in Walt’s class. The other is an indigenous Dane, so blonde and blue eyed and pretty similar to most of the other kids. Her biggest physical difference is she only has one ear and wears a headband with a hearing device on it. One ear is a pretty easy characteristic, but at the same time I didn’t want to make the little girl self conscious of her defect. This lead me to a lot of soul searching and the realization that there is nothing inherently upsetting about only having a single ear and that at her age she has no reason to think that a single ear is any more unusual than the single Asian kid in his class thinking single lidded eyes aren’t normal, or the tallest kid thinking it weird that he’s so tall and that we all have things that set us apart and we only think of them as uncomfortable, because someone not only pointed them out as different, but implied this was bad. In the end though, we ended up differentiating her as the one “with the cool headband”, because I’m trying to grow out my son’s bangs and he refuses to wear hair clips (he insists he doesn’t want short hair like his friend Gabriel, he wants long hair like Mommy), so I pointed out how cool the kid’s hairband was and he immediately decided he needed one too. So now he’s wearing a bright red hair band with a giant cloth flower that effectively keeps his hair out his eyes and let’s him be “hairband buddies” with the cool new kid who started the trend.