When Gabriel was 5, we lived in Maine. The town we lived in had a large population of Somalian immigrants. Gabriel went to school with them, so I'm not sure what was going on in his mind when this incident happened. Xavier had just turned two when we visited the library. He was riding in a stroller on the way up the elevator. In the elevator with us was a little Somalian girl who was probably around 4. She kept staring at Xavier and, finally, reached out a hand to rub his hand. Gabriel jumped between them and said, "Don't touch him. You'll turn him brown!" I was overcome with embarrassment. Of course, what was there to be embarrassed about? It wasn't as though I had taught him that. After years of reflection, I've come to the conclusion that most embarrassment on parents' part is unwarranted. It is all about how we think other people perceive us, and probably causes more problems than any other parenting neurosis. (Besides which, most of the Somalian women spoke very little English. I'm not even sure she understood what he said, since her expression did not change at all.)
Another, even more humorous event, was when Xavier informed us that he didn't want to be "peach" anymore, but would much prefer to be "brown." Now, this was especially humorous since I had always wanted to be black when I was a child. When asked whether he wanted to be light brown or dark brown, he said, "Dark brown, like Ms. Coleman." Ms. Coleman was his beloved preschool teacher, and he loved everything about her.