Well, nothing, actually. Unless you’re a certain type of rabid BBC watcher.
These two are presenters on BBC’s CBeebies program, beloved of British toddlers throughout the kingdom. That’s Alex Winters on the left, and Cerrie Burnell on the right. They’re new to the program. Cerrie, in case you missed it, doesn’t have a right hand.
A subset of vocal parents have slammed the BBC’s CBeebies forum, claiming that Cerrie’s arm is embarrassing them and may cause nightmares and disrupt the sleep of their delicate small children. This is, one assumes, just one more sign of the current parenting trend which suggests that the longer toddlers are kept from anything resembling reality, the better.
Lucy Mangan, of The Telegraph, rightfully calls foul on these silly ninnies:
Burnell’s arm is likely only to give parents nightmares. It is they who do not want to confront disabilities, not now, not at teatime, not ever. To let your toddler be scared every day that Burnell has hurt herself rather than explain the truth is a failure of parenting, not an imposition by the BBC.
It’s a peculiarity of human development that the smallest and weakest amongst us — notably babies and the littlest children — are generally far more accepting of the realities of life than the allegedly grown-up adults who surround them. Sadly, some of those adults apparently feel that it’s important to change that.
For others, who are perhaps more confused than simply ignorant, and who feel incapable of answering a child’s question (“what happened to the lady’s hand?”), we offer the following child-rearing tip: The best gift you can ever give your curious, enquiring child is the gift of honesty.
If the question is raised, answer it: Ppeople come in all sorts of shapes. Then get on about your business, as your child almost certainly will. Your offspring will be better for it, and so will the rest of the world.
Image from The Guardian, where Carol Midgley also offers a few choice words.