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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Now We Are Six

Here's something I've been meaning to do for a while. When I was a wee little kid, I kept a diary. By this, I mean my mother made me keep a diary. Every day, in addition to mathematics homework she would devise for me above my regular schoolwork, I had to write at least a page before I was allowed to play.

I'm kind of grateful for the diaries now, because reading words you wrote before you were a real person is a surreal and wonderful thing. Here are a couple of entries from when I was six.

I am still struggling a little with tense here:

Here is Jim and the Beanstalk, in case you too want to lose an argument with your child regarding the pronunciation of the word 'oculist.'

Also, I was already taking great pleasure in arguing with my parents at age six. How could they not have predicted the household havoc this was to cause a few short years later?

Cf. previous blog entry and Twitter status.

Yes, I must make an admission, which I have hitherto been too ashamed to make publicly. I did not have my own bed until I was six; prior to this age, I slept in the same bed as my mother, while my stepdad had his own bed in another room. The point of posting this entry, however, was to demonstrate that I grew up renovating. The "settled life" part is a bonus crack-up.

A play a day keeps the doctor away.

I love that I thought the prize was going to be a blue ribbon; when it turned out to be a book a week later, I went back to my diary and changed my entry because I couldn't stand to be wrong. (Also: I wanted a blue ribbon!?)

I know, I know, I before E. And 'favorate.' And obviously I was having some trouble capitalizing. Cut me some slack -- where are your childhood journals?

The thing that gets me here is that I was so shy and so determined to get over it. When I looked into teachers' eyes, I would shake like I was having a full-body muscle spasm. I didn't get past this problem for another six or seven years at least.

I don't know if I ever told this story before on this blog. If I did, and you read it, apologies. Here it is again.

My parents were always renovating, and I always wanted to help. When I was six, though, the only jobs I could be trusted with were small, symbolic tasks like sorting screws into boxes. One day, when I was bothering her in a particularly annoying way to give me something to do, my mother decided to try setting me an impossible task, in the hope I would get tired and quit.

"Go drag that roll of wall-to-wall carpet up that flight of stairs."

Alas, Mum forgot that I am my mother's daughter, and somewhere in the top five on the list of our shared character traits is the word 'stubborn.' Actually, it's more like 'STUBBORN,' written in ten-foot-tall letters in still-dripping mule blood. I completed the impossible task. And I ruptured myself in the process and required surgery for an inguinal hernia.

Yeah, ANTS! That is how a child learns about the Circle of Life -- by playing God with ants, not some goddamn cartoon with lions.

("their're"!? Palm -> forehead.)
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