‘It could be as simple as a sarong over their clothes’. The notice about the book week parade (suggested focus: our Asian neighbours) is probably intended to reassure. And if ‘Asian dress-ups’ stretch you too far, then any fairy tale or book character will be welcome.
So, you could take this opportunity to help your child think of something interesting and imaginative to wear. Perhaps you could use some of the many hundreds of bits of paper now strewn across the floor of the car. They had lots of things about our Asian neighbours written and drawn on them.
Or, when you are in the market buying the ingredients for your father’s Birthday Feast, you could just pop into Chinatown and spend five bucks on a stereotype.
Then, the next morning, when your little boy decides he doesn’t want to go as Chinese, but would prefer to go as the long-time favourite super-rabbit
you cajole him into wearing the stereotype hat you spent five bucks on (there's no rabbits in Asia you lie), because while you trust that you have raised a resilient, independent-thinking child who won’t be crushed by big boys dressed as Jack Sparrow chanting some rhyming equivalent of ‘you’re wearing pink, fluffy bunny ears there’s nothing super about that’, you aren’t ready to have that trust tested in the battleground that is the school yard. And there’s nothing wrong with that really, is there, because it is a mother’s job to protect her child. You can use that mother-love idea to justify just about anything.
So, in the great race to raise children free of stereotyped and laden thought patterns - thus taking advantage of her real chance to make a true and a great contribution to lasting change, because let’s face it sitting on stalls and stuffing envelopes hasn’t been especially effective, has it - she has stumbled at the first, second and third hurdles. And fallen flat on her arse at the fourth.
She closes her eyes for a moment, wallowing in the liberation that failure brings. Then she picks herself up, dusts herself off, sighs and stuffs another 500 envelopes.