Age 1: Despite the fact that my mother hid the drain cleaner at the very back of a cupboard above the sink, I manage to pull it out, remove the cap, and pour it all over my face. My mother leaps into action and neutralizes the Drano with baking soda and margarine, which lessens what could have been even more horrific burns. Still, nobody wants to take pictures of me as a partially skinless baby.
Age 2: I lie in the laundry basket on the blue and green shag carpeting in our living room and pretend that I am in a boat at sea. I eat cereal out of cup and sing about being sad. This is one of my favourite games.
Age 3: There is a blanket on my bed that is soft and yellow. It has satin edges that shine when the sunlight falls on them through my bedroom window, and I touch the bright spots to feel how warm the sun has made them.
Age 4: I watch the boys with the downy mustaches and tight jeans sneak cigarettes by the fence in their back yard, and I want to be just like that one day with the tight jeans and shaggy hair, always looking a little dangerous and far away. They also eat yogurt, though, and I don't think I can do that part.
Age 5: A neighbour lady gives me some clothes and toys that her daughter has outgrown. One of the toys is a doll with a string that can be pulled to make her talk. I don't really like dolls, but I want to know what this one says. It doesn't work, so I ask my mother why, and she says that it takes batteries, which we don't have. I never get to hear what the doll has to say.
Age 6: We are learning math by moving yellow, plastic cubes from one cup to another in used egg cartons. I don't understand why we are moving the cubes, but I like the way they sound when they hit the styrofoam container. I keep glancing at the desk next to mine so that I can keep up with the cube shuffling.
Age 7: A friend and I wait after school so that we can steal things from classrooms. I keep my part of the stash in the back of my closet. My friend confesses to our crime, which is the only reason anyone finds out that I am involved. Strangely, the teachers and principal blame the entire thing on my friend, saying that she was the mastermind. I feel guilty, because I am the one who was never going to confess.
Age 8: I am playing Tag with some neighbourhood kids. I am tired of the game, so I stop and lie down in the middle of the street. The ashphalt is still warm from the hot day, and I stare up at the stars, thinking about how both they and I are floating in a sea of black.
Age 9: An education student from the university is an assistant in our classroom. She is beautiful and smart and talks to us like we are also beautiful and smart. I like her Birkenstock sandals. When she leaves to go back to university, I know that I will never see her again, and I cry into my pillow when I go home after school. I wonder if anyone will ever talk with me again like she did.
Age 10: I trade Secret Santa names with a friend so that I can give the girl I like a present. The price limit is two dollars, but I buy her a bracelet for $2.50, because it has yellow flowers on it that match the yellow flowers on one of her t-shirts. I feel bad when I give it to her, though, because I realize that she can't like me. She is another girl, and I am not a boy. I don't talk to her for another ten years.
For my first round of this list, check out "A Short Timeline Of My First Ten Years".
This 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