Between bites of a tuna sandwich, Bella turned to me today and asked, ‘what colour skin will my baby brother have?’

I was immediately interested for two reasons: First, Bella doesn’t have a baby brother. But she’s been praying for one since Joy was a month old, and she has great faith. We’ll see what this year brings. Second, I was struck by the unbiased innocence that prompted the question.

A few weeks ago we were away somewhere and a friend observed that we are so politically correct in our culture, or so afraid of appearing otherwise, that we almost never describe someone by their size or pigmentation. There was a whole group of us there, and someone was trying to describe someone they’d been speaking with. After observing them stumbling through around for a minute, my friend asked, ‘you mean the big black guy?’ There was a sigh of relief and the awkwardness left. He wasn’t commenting on race, simply stating the obvious – and there was only one man in our group fitting that description.

Our family have spent the past week with large groups of people. I didn’t notice that these crowds were a melting pot of colour and texture – but Bella did. I am always intrigued at the way children see our world through fresh eyes and notice great details we miss. She is being formed in a family with (I hope) little to no bias and discrimination. She sees people, in their uniqueness.

I paused for a moment when I answered Bella today. I explained that usually a baby will have the same colouring as one or both parents. So a baby brother will probably be fair and blond, like the rest of our family. But not necessarily, he might have brown hair, or black, or darker skin. She seemed pleased with that answer.

Yesterday Joy asked for a glass of water and when I put the yellow lid on her cup she shook her head, said no, and pointed to the purple lid. When I switched them she smiled and drank contentedly. Fourteen months old and already showing a preference of colour.

Purple is Bella’s favourite colour too – I foresee fireworks.