Do you ever think back to all the weird stuff you did as a kid and go, “How did my parents NOT sell me to the gypsies?”
I grew up watching Heidi, so that was a viable threat in my house. And believe me, my siblings sure tried!
I was a weird kid. I mean the complete opposite of the well-rounded, well-mannered adult you find here at the Happiness Project.
Just roll with it, ok guys? I’m trying to be well-rounded and well-mannered. Some of us just have to work harder than others.
Anyway, I was a weird kid. And for your amusement, I’ve compiled a list of examples. Feel free to chime in with a “I’ve done that too!” or “That’s the work of a completely sane person!” while reading.
Shit I Did as a Kid
1) One time I was mad at my mom for something I can’t remember so I stabbed a big hole in the dining room tablecloth with a letter opener.
This took me months of tooth fairy money to pay back. Can you imagine praying your teeth would fall out just so you could get debt free with your ma?
2) I really liked to cut the hair off my Barbie dolls, but I knew my mom would yell at me if she saw, so I hid the hair in her JC Penney’s catalog.
Ok, first, that was a stupid hiding place because she read that thing cover to cover. And second, hindsight is 20/20. Yes, I think opening up a shopping magazine only to have a bunch of hair fall in your lap is creepy as shit, but I was like six or seven so I just picked the largest catalog under the coffee table and shoved it in.
3) I was really into pen pals and wrote letters to our priest by dropping them in the collection basket at church.
See, I’ve redeemed myself a little from #2 haven’t I?
4) I set a small patch of our living room carpet on fire by testing if kleenex was flammable.
5) My favorite thing to be when playing “pretend” was an orphan.
Orphans and underdogs were my heroes, and most of them could talk to animals, so I thought it sounded pretty good.
6) I was scared to go into our basement alone because I thought E.T. lived there, and I didn’t like his “sausage fingers.”
Go google image search “E.T. phone home” and look at those phalanges. They’re creepy.
7) It’s quite possible one of my Cabbage Patch Dolls has mold growing inside it, but I refused to let my mother take it from me.
My baby Cabbage Patch, whose name was Adelle Patti, but I couldn’t pronounce Adelle at the time, so we always called her Patti developed some weird greenish grayish spots on her baby powder-scented head. I think my sister wanted us to send the doll in and see if they would “fix” her, but she was my favorite, and no one was getting near her.
8) I cut off the tip of my right index finger when I was three by sticking it in that thingy you use to hold screen doors open.
It’s still one of the only times my dad ever swore.
9) I really liked talking with different accents and voices, and I practiced them by reading out loud, alternating my voice with each page.
To be fair, I did this when I was home alone, so I wasn’t bothering anyone.
10) When I couldn’t sleep at night, I would close my eyes then lift my eyelids up. Then when I opened my eyes, the lids make a clicking noise.
One of my nieces does this now. My sister was telling me about how her daughter made these weird noises with her eyes, and I was like “You mean this?” And she was all “OMG! Yes, that’s disgusting.”
So tell me, is that weird?
You do these things too, don’t you?
Want more shit I did as a kid? Want more awkward and funny stories? Want more signs I have no shame?
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It’s evident I’m the youngest, isn’t it? A bit self-absorbed, over-imaginative, still wants presents from her parents. But I’m also a bit of an oops baby, a party crasher if you will. There my parents were, living out the American Dream, happily running their own restaurant, raising three children, forming friendships that would last them a lifetime. And then yours truly showed up, rolling to the party during a Friday Night Fish Fry. Of course my parents will tell you I was a surprise, and for my siblings who range 7-13 years older, I was a live doll to
torture play with. Here’s the thing, they started out by including me, they let me play games, use their toys, eat candy, and entertain them with talented impressions of Steve Urkel from Family Matters.
But then, we started playing new kinds of games, games called “Experiments.” We learned what would happen when your teenage sister asks you to close your eyes and hold out your hand. A cascade of clacking noises follow and little hard lumps topple into your hand. It could be candy, you think with anticipation. It’s not. It’s your teenage sister’s collection of baby teeth. That’s right, she dumped her teeth in your hand. “Why do you have these?” you scream, your face contorted in horror. There is no reply, she is laughing too hard.
Gross, but harmless fun, right? Well, that was before my brother got a microscope for christmas. This time when you’re asked to help “experiment” they tell you to hold up your index finger. They proceed to wrap a rubber band around and around and around the tip of your finger. They wait while your finger changes from its healthy, fleshy pink coloring to a purple blue bulging nub. Then, they do the inevitable, they tell you to close your eyes again. You should run, you should know this means trouble, you should call for help, but they’re so much cooler than you are, they can ride bikes and pick out their own clothes, and most important of all, they’re family, they wouldn’t hurt you. “Owwwwww!” Turns out they can hurt you. In fact, your siblings stabbed you. They wanted to know what blood looked like under the microscope.
This is why I played alone. And why my favorite game was called Orphan. And it’s another example of why I’m convinced I have multiple lives. But the truth is, I love my siblings. I love them for helping make me a stubborn, and overly imaginative child. If I’d have had a harmonious childhood, I’d have had nothing to write about. And really, what’s a little blood in the name of sibling?
How about you readers? Were you the mad scientist in the household, or the Frankenstein freak being tested on? I’m thinking about starting a club someday, TITHAFYS, Teeth in the Hand Alliance For Youngest Siblings, I’ll be needing a strong leadership team, put your nominations in for VP, treasurer, and secretary. Happy writing!
I am the youngest of four children. A “surprise” if you ask my parents, a “mistake” if you ask my siblings, and a “party crasher” if you ask me. Being seven years younger than my closest sibling, much of my childhood was spent watching movies, reading mystery books, and writing fantastical short stories to be later performed as a one woman puppet show in my room.
Seeing as I had only myself for entertainment, my imagination ran wild with adventure and tales of great woe. Seeing as my parents were the age of my classmates’ grandparents, I was convinced they would be dead before I graduated eighth grade. I thought, I’d better prepare myself for how to live alone. Thus began the many escapades of Jess, lone street rat and orphan girl, hiding out by day in her makeshift cave and creeping by night stealing fruit snacks from the pantry cupboards. She was not to be toyed with!
The stairwell in our house had a banister at the top with a few bars running horizontally for looks and structural support. The space between the stairs and the first bar became the secret crevice to enter my hideaway and had to be crawled through on one’s stomach. Once safely in my room, a string or jump rope was tied from the dresser handle across the room to the plant stand which doubled as a storage unit for my mass quantity of Cabbage Patch Dolls (Annette, Lanny, Paula, Patti, Heather, Tay, Humphrey, Barney, Keri Ann, Sara, Sloane, Chrissy, Pat, Camilla and Suzette). After the string was tied, blankets were thrown over the line creating a secret canvas covered hideout or puppet show theater depending on your mood. Hidden behind these draperies the cries from the streets of “Riffraff!” and “Scoundrel!” could not harm me.
The challenge while playing orphan was to go as long as possible being unseen. So, to sneak food, one had to crawl through the secret crevice over the stairwell, descend the steps, slide down the frame of the door, quickly crawl under the dining room table and wait until opportunity came. Then, you crab walked into the kitchen, silently opened the pantry door, pulled out a fruit roll-up or box of croutons, and crab walked back under the table to delight in your stolen afternoon snack.
Another challenge in the game of orphan could only be played when left alone in the house for short periods of time. The game was called “don’t touch the carpet” and it counted how many times you could get around the living room using only the furniture before you slipped or fell onto the carpet. Here’s how an expert at this game does it.
- Begin on the couch.
- Bounce across its cushions.
- Step onto the end table, avoid coasters and magazine piles.
- Jump onto the loveseat.
- Repeat step 2.
- Stretch legs to the rocking chair and go!
- Steady yourself, or pretend to surf for awhile.
- Stretch onto the smaller end table.
- Move to the chair in the corner.
- *Note: The final task is extremely difficult if playing in sock feet, proceed with caution. Step 10. Crawl onto the TV, and cling for dear life on the frame around the screen, when a good distance jump is there, jump back to the couch. Repeat steps 1-10.
One thing I learned while playing orphan is that you get lonely. You really need a sidekick. Soon I had two, a cat named Carmel and a dog named Tipper. Make sure your sidekick is someone you can trust with secrets, such as your hideaway whereabouts. Sometimes when you’re an orphan, a secret language must be developed so you can leave written messages to your pals without an invader knowing what it means. These can then be conveniently pinned to your canvas with a clothespin.
So if you’re thinking about playing the game Orphan, here’s a list of supplies you may want to include.
- blankets to build your hideaway/take a nap
- stuffed animals/dolls for trusty sidekicks
- junk food for the road, the days are long are arduous as an orphan
- paper and pens/markers because orphans are extremely intelligent and creative
- a tape recorder and microphone because orphans are known to burst into song when they’re safely hidden in their getaway home
What sort of games did you play as a child? Who would you take as your sidekick?
Resolutions for the week include:
- Read more Susan Shapiro, Only as Good as Your Word – in progress
- Read each day for pleasure for one hour – Finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, wonderful!!! Currently reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
- Write 3 family memoirs, be brave, post them on your blog – here goes, family memoir #1
Little Sister of Nine Lives
I actually have a hard time remembering my childhood. It wasn’t full of sorrow, it wasn’t maniacally evil, it obviously wasn’t too exciting, either. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I simply don’t remember as far back as most people claim to. If I had to give you a reason for this, I’d call it Self Preservation from my Deranged Family.
You see, my sister will claim to many days of glad tidings and jolly moments where she took me bike riding with our Cabbage Patch Dolls, playing in the park that was across the street from our house. My brother would sneak candy to me and terrorize the neighbor’s lawns on his bicycle with me squished onto the front seat with him. I recall none of this ever occurring. What I recall is being buried alive or left for dead several times over.
To begin, there is photographic evidence of me as a toddler being buried in our sandbox. My face is red, my jaw open screaming, there are tears on my face. My brother crouches over me with a shovel, and waves to one of my parents who undoubtedly stopped what they were doing to collect this fine, familial moment. I don’t know how I escaped, I’ve clearly recessed this memory.
Example number two. My mother, upon driving home from one of her weekly hair appointments, discovers at the corner stop sign, one of her children, the youngest, tied to the pole with a jump rope, crying. Seemingly left for abandon on one of the busiest streets in town for all to ridicule her pain. Notice no one stopped driving to call for help.
Example number three. My father is supposed to be watching me one winter when I was in elementary school. It was late at night, he was shoveling snow. I thought it was a game at first. He began to put shovel full after shovel full of snow on top of me who was playing in the snow bank. Pretty soon, that snow pile got really heavy. Pretty soon after that, I couldn’t move from underneath it. I called to my father for help, who found said predicament extremely funny. He grew up in a sink or swim household and told me to figure a way out myself. Then he went inside, leaving me trapped in a snowbank under a streetlight. Crying in the dead of winter, I eventually managed to squirm like an earthworm until I was uncovered enough to crawl out.
That about brings us up to speed, and would put me at my fourth life if we’re keeping track. If I were going to give you any sort of moral to the story or insight from my perspective, it would be this: don’t let your children babysit your children. And apparantly, don’t leave them with their father either, at least in winter weather conditions. So for all you youngest children, little sisters and brothers everywhere, good night and good luck! And if it helps, I did sleep with a pocket knife under my pillow for awhile, just in case.