Seanan McGuire (seanan_mcguire) wrote,
Seanan McGuire

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Questions and answers, #6: Just kidding around.

As stated in this post, I am answering ten questions about Toby's world in preparation for the release of A Red-Rose Chain. Please note that these are questions about the world, not questions about individual people, things which have not yet happened in the series, or what is coming up in the books. I am still taking questions in the comments on the original post.

Our sixth question comes from ceitfianna, who asked...

"I know children are important to the Fae and there have been moments of seeing how children are raised differently among the various races. Does this create problems or arguments when Fae are fostered or for those who aren't noble when they interact together or are there certain things that every child learns? I hope that makes sense, basically I'm really curious about childhood among the Fae and how varied it can be. Thank you."

Fae childhood! Fun times!

Okay, so first, we're going to look at pureblood childhoods here, not changeling childhoods. Why? Because for the most part, changelings will have a human childhood until their Choice, and then a really fucked-up childhood after, unless they are being raised in the Summerlands by a pureblood parent who was so desperate for children that they got themselves a changeling, functionally as a pet. Those changeling children will again have a pureblood childhood, right up until they get too old and are discarded. It's depressing and not fun, and I don't want to focus on it. So I don't have to.

The first thing to remember about fae parents is that there is literally no such thing as an unwanted child. Between the low fertility rates and the existence of magic which can be used for fun purposes like "let's not tempt fate, you know I will get pregnant while my husband is on a seven-year quest, contraceptives for all," if there's a baby, it is because someone very much wanted a baby.

Which is not to say child abuse doesn't exist. It does, sadly, in part because a lot of purebloods haven't been around a baby for decades, even centuries. They get confused. Human nursemaids are common, especially in noble houses. Most of these women will never be seen by their mortal families again. It's gotten better since the invention of the printing press, and What To Expect When You're Expecting is surprisingly popular among fae parents.

From infancy to toddlerhood, there's really very little difference between a fae child and a human child. They want the same things, absorb knowledge at a similar rate, and grow like weeds. As Toby has noted, most fae grow at a roughly human rate until puberty, getting through those pesky "small enough to eat" years as fast as they can. These are the nursery years.

Once the kid is old enough to run around, it becomes important to remember that the Summerlands are essentially pastoral, and don't have many monsters. Fae kids run wild. There are few to no schools, because the birth rate is so low: children are tutored at home, and good teachers are in high demand. There may be small "classes," if enough kids are local. This is most common among noble households, once they start bringing in the etiquette and comportment teachers.

Fosterage either begins at birth, and involves sending one child to the location of another, or begins around the age of ten/eleven (most common for trade and blind fosterages). Once they reach the location of their fosterage, they will be assessed (usually by the seneschal) to find out what the holes in their education are.

There's no "everybody gets this" skill set. A lot depends on how traditionalist the parents are. But fae kids get by.
Tags: a few facts, a red-rose chain, toby daye
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