This poem was inspired by the escapist fantasies I had when I was a child (and still have sometimes).
I mentioned earlier that I have two kids: a seven-year-old daughter (Isa) and a son who will be two in the fall (Rory).
Isa is our unicorn child. Although her babyhood was tough (she got all her teeth early and at once; literally ten were coming in at the same time), toddlerhood and early childhood haven’t been that difficult on us as parents. She’s a conscientious kid. Empathetic, sensitive, mostly well-behaved, smart for her age…yes I’m bragging, but I’m also trying to set the tone for a comparison.
Rory is a handful as a toddler. His babyhood wasn’t as hard as hers, but now that he is mobile it seems like he feels a magnetic pull toward anything and everything he isn’t supposed to have. Electrical outlets, light switches, lamps, dangerous toys, chemicals, sharp things, high things… A large part of raising Rory is following him around, removing him from the latest dangerous situation, and then comforting him when he screams his baby-rage to the heavens because you’ve thwarted him from killing himself for the 8th time that day. He also likes to throw adorable tantrums: picking up toys and throwing them, shoving things over, and stomping through the house on his chubby little legs.
He’s adorable and snuggly, too, so that helps a lot. But I’m guessing that his childhood will be tougher than his sister’s. I can already see him at preschool drinking the paint and deftly shoving craft materials into outlets.
Some people chalk this up to boys versus girls, but I don’t buy that. I have it on very good authority that female children can also be challenging. Neither of my kids can compare to their mother when it comes to behavior. Yes, moi. You know that age-old joke (or wish) where your parents say “I hope you have one just like you”? That happened to my mother, and I just hope Rory never reaches my level.
I thought I’d share some stories about my childhood antics since they are pretty amusing. I don’t even remember being the subject of some of them, but I do remember bits and pieces, and the rest I know from my mom telling them. I’ll start with some of the more innocuous ones.
Writing about Glenna and Paul reminded me of this poem I wrote about Paul several years ago. I’ve tried a few times to write a poem about Glenna, but it never seems to come out right.
I grew up on a family plot of land in West Virginia. To get to our house from the one main road that went up Armstrong Creek Hollow (pron. holler), you took a left at the hump and went down a dirt road over a creek. The road ran along the creek and then turned left again. Fields and gardens stretched out to the left, ending abruptly in a mountainside. There was a plot with a trailer on it that my grandpa rented to another family, then there were the four houses that made up our little family community.