A Short Timeline Of My First Ten Years

Age 1: I am fiercely independent and, rather than cry for attention, will crawl away and put myself to bed under my crib when I am tired.

Age 2: I throw up what looks like a large amount of mushrooms in front of the Avon lady who is giving my mother mini lipstick samples in the kitchen. I think it is the funniest thing that has ever happened, and my mother demands that I stop laughing about it.

Age 3: I learn to stick a peel from an orange slice behind my lips so that I have a big, orange smile. I hope that I get to look like that when I grow up.

Age 4: My friend, Scottie, has a plastic box out of which a large 8 pops up when it is squeezed. There are eight bees pictured on the front. I steal it from him and feel the guilt-induced urge to return it to him for the next fifteen years.

Age 5: I do not understand what kindergarten is about or why I am in it. When we go on a field trip to learn ice skating, I spend my time lying on the ice, rolling back and forth, and singing to myself. One of the helper moms thinks I am autistic.

Age 6: I spy a yard full of kids through a fence. Some of them are picking their noses and eating what comes out. I try it, too, and decide that not only am I not missing out on anything but also that other children are stupid.

Age 7: In class, a man comes to visit us with his boa constrictor, Agnes. No one steps forward to hold it, so I do, because I want to impress him. Agnes is draped over my small shoulders, and I think that I am so very brave.

Age 8: My family moves to a new city, and I seriously mourn the loss of our old life. I take to sleep walking and make nighttime visits to my parents' bed to tell them that I am packing my suitcase and running away.

Age 9: The nerdiest boy in my class keeps a margarine tub of smelly stickers in his desk and asks if I want to trade stickers with him. I know that he only wants to trade stickers with me because he likes me, so, in order to avoid him, I never take up collecting them.

Age 10: I learn to write haikus and have my first crush on a girl. The combination of those two things does not bode well, but I am not smart enough to quit while I am ahead.

The above entry was prompted by a writing idea from page 49 of

Maggie Mason

's book,

No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog

.