TV Tuesdays: Brothers or Cousins

The other day we were watching the HBO Family show “Kindergarten,” which is a documentary about a kindergarten class. During the episode, the children were discussing whether they had siblings. I was quizzing Lily about who was in her family and asked if she had any brothers.

Lily: YES!

Me: What? No you don’t!

Lily: Yes I do! I have two brothers!

Me: (thinking she’s joking) You are so silly! Who are these two brothers? Where are they? How come I don’t know about them?

Lily: (looking upset. Oops. Bad mom moment) They are at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.

Aha. She thought her cousins Isaac and Evan were her brothers! I had to explain that even though the boys were in her family, they weren’t her brothers. I explained that brothers only come out of Mommy’s tummy and live in the same house as you (Other options exist in the world at large, but that’s the only viable scenario for Lily at this point.).

The funny thing is in South Korea almost all male acquaintances are informally called brothers. Lily, Rose and their cousins are all at least half Korean. If they were all hanging out in South Korea, she would be correct to call them her brothers. So, in a way she was brilliant to think this, though I’m 99% sure she wasn’t aware of the cultural reasons her association was correct. She really thought Isaac and Evan were her brothers even though they live in completely different states from us and each other!

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