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Friday, February 24, 2012

my life: the kiddo years

I've decided to write a series about my life.  Partly to help whoever reads this get to know me better.  Partly to simply reflect on the years and get to know myself better.  But mostly because I have been reading memoirs lately and wanted to do my own gallivanting down memory lane...

I was born July 7, 1981.  On my due date.  Ever the punctual one.
Looking like a typical, wrinkly, "old man" baby:
What I've heard about what I was like as a baby is that I didn't like a bunch of strangers up in my face,  and I really loved my crib.  What this tells me about myself is that even then I was an introvert.  I liked my alone time, and I preferred to not be overwhelmed by large gatherings.
One-on-one interaction was, and still is, best for me:
I liked being "the baby."

Pretty obvious in this picture that I relished it:
Oh, and in this one, too:
So when I was four-years-old and my little brother came onto the scene, I was none too happy.  Can you tell by this picture?
 I was clearly puzzled as to why this new baby had to come and steal my thunder:
Thus began a childhood riddled with wild, dramatic tantrums and outlandish attempts for attention.
The technical term nice way of putting it is that I was a "spirited child."
I tried to be the funniest, the loudest, the meanest, the most helpful, the most irritating...whatever I could do to get my parents attention, positive or negative.

For example: Here you can see me at little brother's birthday...trying to appear as though I adore him.  I assure you, though I did love him, technically.  However, this feigned look of adoration was a ploy to be in this photograph...and near the cupcakes.
Could he get any cuter?  To this day he is impossible to dislike!
What this all tells me is that I was a jealous one even then.  Not envious - I've never wanted anyone else's life or possessions.  Jealous - I just wanted to keep and protect what I already had.  At that time - it was my status as "the baby."

Looking back now, of course, I wouldn't have it any other way. I am glad I ended up in the middle.  It motivated me.  Molded me into the hard worker I am today.  I had to pave my own way.  Plus,  I got to have a little brother, who is the most amazing guy. Added bonus: I got to torture, tease, and get him to participate in all my crazy schemes/dramatic productions.  We grew up to be pretty okay with each other:
Besides being a pain-in-most-of-my-family's-butts, I was very imaginative, very creative, and quite bright.  I always tested high on achievement tests, and was praised by teachers for acting, speaking and writing skills.  My worst grades were in math (wasn't interested) and physical education (super klutzy and scared of the ball.)  I was simply not coordinated, therefore horrible at nearly all sports.  Plus, I hated being embarrassed, so to avoid any possibility of public mortification I just didn't try.  Which earned me very few participation points.  Don't I look awkward?
Definitely not an athlete...at least not in any sport involving excessive smiling, or a ball.
I read voraciously.  Whatever I could get my hands on, whether I really understood what I was reading or not.  At 6 I was reading my sister's Sweet Valley High books and also Babysitter's Club under the covers with a flashlight, my favorites.  I'd also sit in my dad's office at the church and read one of his seemingly endless amount of biblical literature. Like I said, whatever I could get my hands on. I loved school.  I was precocious, incorrigible, a leader, an instigator,  and was constantly getting in trouble for my crazy schemes.

I wrote, edited and published my own neighborhood newspaper at the age of 6.  Of course, it was handwritten, and there was only one copy.  But I would knock on all the doors on our block to see if anyone wanted to read it.  I'm sure they loved my exposes on topics like: "why do Anderson's keep their Christmas lights up all year" and "who has the nicest lawn?"  

Once, in second grade, I decided that the entire class should know the technical, encyclopedia Brittanica definition of the term, "sex."  So I read it aloud while the teacher was out of the room.  Sadly, it was not that interesting and certainly did nothing to demystify the word for any of us.   And I got in big trouble from the teacher.  "Greta, what would your father say if he knew what you did?"  I looked her in the eye: "I dunno.  Why don't you go down to his office and ask him?"  I'm not sure if she ever did; however, after reading this blog post, he will know.  Sorry, Dad!  {just remember I turned out alright!}
I loved playing dress-up. "Pretend games" were always my favorite:
when I look at my face picture of me, I see Cormac
Early on I was a performer...a passion instilled by my mother, a former stage darling in high school.   I don't think I was ever actually any good at acting...but I adored everything about it.     The lights, the costumes, the audience...every detail.  My talent was more speaking than acting.  I had a loud, clear voice that carried to the back of the auditorium/church/theater.  Ironically, in church Christmas plays I was always cast as "the angel."  My sister was always Mary.  The sweet, caring soul even then.
I would speak my mind no matter what the repercussions.  You can bet that my dad, a Lutheran pastor, wasn't thrilled by his mouthy daughter's antics.  More than once I was dragged out of church by my mother while my dad was in the pulpit preaching, with me screaming:  "Don't spank me!!!!" I figured, if I was going to go out, it would be with a bang.

I looked sweet...and was sweet, at times...but those oversized geeky glasses and shy smile disguised a big, and often volatile, personality.
I was a handful, to say the least.  My mother would sometimes say, exasperated: "I hope you have a kid just like you someday." Well, my sweet mother, perhaps I did.  :)

Eventually I grew into a skinny, weird, awkward 'tween with braces, more crazy schemes, and crushes on boys.  And the tantrums stopped.  For the most part.

My life: the 'Tween Years...coming soon....yikes... 
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