What Color Is This?

I think that two of my boys are color blind. My dad is color blind. He has three brothers, and I know some of them are color blind as well but I’m not sure if all of them are. I always thought it was kind of funny that my dad can’t tell when meat is cooked, and can’t buy his own clothes without a second opinion. “What color is this?” is a totally normal question for me to hear out of a grown man’s mouth. I may or may not have been a little smarty pants and told him the wrong color just to mess with his head. He probably deserved it.

So I am really not surprised that Mateo and Andreas confuse the same colors that my dad confuses. I am also not surprised that it took them almost till kindergarten to learn their colors at all. I suspected they were both color blind like Grandpa when they were toddlers. It was more obvious with Mateo because he always loved to color, but Andreas never did so it took a little longer – I wasn’t sure if his uncertainty was lack of interest.


We haven’t had them tested for it yet, but I think I will ask at their eye check up this year. More for curiosity than anything else. It’s kind of cool that they got this somewhat rare genetic trait. They do see colors, and can tell the difference between them now, because they’re used to their own perception of what we say the colors are. But give them a coloring assignment or sit them down with markers and crayons and ask them to pick out a certain color or sort them by colors and suddenly they’re not sure. Mateo often asks us what color he is using and when he paints he needs me to mix the colors for him because he’s not sure. My mom notices it with Mateo as well. His favorite color used to be black. Maybe because he knew what it was? They often can’t tell the difference between purple and blue. Red and oranges look similar to green. And shades of similar colors look the same. My dad says grey and pink look similar to him but I haven’t figured out if the boys have that problem.

The thing that sort of sealed my assurance though, is how decidedly NOT color blind Olivier is. He can pick out any color from a pile of crayons without hesitation. He never asks me what color he’s holding or if he’s got the right one. Blue is blue and purple is purple and red is red. It’s all very clear to him. I am also not ashamed to admit that he learned most of his colors from Thomas episodes. Because it took his brothers so long to figure out colors that I was lazy and didn’t bother trying as hard teaching them to him. I figured I’d wait till he was older like the boys were. Which resulted in him surprising me and learning them by himself, for the most part.

So how neat is that? I think I’ve got myself some color blind boys. It is possible Rosalie could be color blind, but color blindness is so exceptionally rare in girls that I doubt she will be. She’d have to get two X chromosomes with the faulty genetics and that’s unlikely. It’s more common in boys because they only get the one X chromosome. If it has the genetics for color blindness, the boy will be color blind. If a girl has one X chromosome that is “faulty” – the other one will dominate and she won’t be color blind. So she’d have to have both be faulty to be color blind, which is why it’s so rare. Cool right?

Anybody else have color blind kids? Or some other random genetic trait that is unique?

copyright (c) 2013 Jenna Pelias // all rights reserved


2 thoughts on “What Color Is This?

  1. That is kind of cool. As a mom of 4 kids who most definitely are NOT colour blind I will say that Olivier is right on pace for knowing his colours. Which is maybe why you noticed this at all. Having your two oldest not be precise or interested in colour may not have been an issue had it not been for his exuberance. All of my kids knew their basic colours before age 2 and were very proficient in all colours by 3. I will be interested to hear how this progresses. As for that pink/grey thing…I get that. When I’m editing photos and I go to a black and white and change intensities and saturations, there are some colours that you can’t see any difference in…like red/orange/green and pink/grey. Cool.


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