Saturday, July 16, 2005

Developmental Challenges...

Let me preface these stories by saying that my parents & the rest of my family really are the most wonderful, loving, greatest people in the world. They never laid a finger on me or hurt me in any way. (In fact, the opposite is likely true and I would probably be a lot better off if they HAD beaten me every now and then!!!) For you see, I was what was called an "active" child. For those of you who are not aware, is just a nicer word for "bad". As in, "ACT-ed up". And despite the events I'm about to describe (and unfortunately, there are plenty more where these came from!), rest assured that I turned out unscarred for the most part and relatively normal. I made good grades in school, grew up to be a responsible adult, work hard, have no major issues or addictions, etc. These were just a few roadside attractions along the way that made the ride more interesting.

All of that being said, I can never say that I have a boring family, by any means! These are just a few examples of what were most likely defining moments in my childhood development. This post can also serve as a guide for "what-not-do" in raising your own child:

  • Incident #1 -- "The Gin & Tonics"

I just need a little help getting the top off, Dad, then I can take it from there, thanks... Good thing it's light beer as I'm already pretty darn chunky here!!!Ahhh, where it all began... Back in 1980, my parents had just completed construction on the house they still live in today. I was 3 years old at the time. Since our new house was just across the lake from my grandparents, the 2 of them had come over for a visit and all 4 of them -- Mom, Dad, Grandmother, & Grandaddy -- had each fixed a nice, stout gin & tonic cocktail.

On this particular day, they all stepped out on the back porch for one reason or another. However, the things that they failed to take outside with them were 1.) their drinks and 2.) me. Well, as you probably can guess by now, when they stepped back inside, I was still there. The drinks, however, were not. And they swear they were only out there for a minute or two (what can I say, I'm a fast drinker)...

Short story long, in my 3 wise years on Earth, my tolerance for spirits had not yet developed to the level it is today after my investment of years upon years of time, practice, and money. I don't know what the limit is for most 3-year olds, but 4 gin & tonics was way above mine... so I got drunk. Really drunk. Can't-stand-up drunk. Drunk as a skunk.

Now comes the sad part. I know, you're probably thinking, could it get any worse than enabling (however unitentional) your toddler to go on a alcohol binge? The answer is yes. My mom did not take me to the hospital b/c she was embarrassed that it happened! She said she put me to bed and just hoped everything would be alright if/when I woke up... (okay, so that part is *moderately* embellished, I think... although they did not take me to the hospital, they were embarrassed, and they really did hope I was fine when I woke up -- but I'm sure if they had been truly in fear of me dying, we would have been at the ER in no time flat).

But there you have it. A 3-year old alkie. Nice, huh?

  • Incident #2 -- "The Ashtray"

I was an overly bright child and learned really fast and early, but my mom always seemed to assume that reasoning abilities were also higher than they should or could be at such a young age. This particular incident also took place around the time that I was 3 yrs. old. 1980 was obviously a really good year for me.

After moving into the above-mentioned new house, we were now living on also brand-new carpet. Light beige carpet. This is back when both of my parents smoked because "everybody smoked". As if that is a viable explanation for taking up the habit. But that's a whole other tangent and I am resisting the urge to go off on it....

So I'm being a good little girl and playing in our den -- being a perfect angel, no doubt. Then, oops! All of a sudden an ashtray that had been perched precariously on the arm of our lovely rust-colored oh-so-early-80's sofa, and ashes go all over the new carpet. The beige carpet.

A thumbsuckin' Christmas -- but weren't they all?In case you were not aware, you can dial your home phone number, hang up the phone, and your phone will then ring like an incoming call. Any family with even the slightest hint of good ol' laziness is aware of this fact if they have ever wanted something from the other end of the house and could "call" someone to bring it to them instead of actually getting up and going to get it himself. In other words, my family is well aware of this feature. So what would any loving mother do when her 3-year old has done something bad and is terrified of her punishment (for what reason, I have no idea since I was never really punished much at all)?

[Ring, ring...]
Small Voice (Kelly):

Obviously-Faked Deep Voice (Mom): "This is Sgt. So-and-So with the local police department. Did you just spill some ashes on your mother's brand-new carpet?"

Small Voice (terrified): "Uh-huh." (I know, I know -- I should have said, "Yes, sir," but gimme a break, I was little.)

Fake Deep Voice: "Well, we're going to have to come over there and arrest you and bring you down to the station in handcuffs................."

And then her voice was cut off by my hysterical screaming & wailing because I thought I was going to jail to be locked away forever for ruining my mom's new carpet. So she ran up to find me & hug me & tell me I was not really going to jail & how sorry she was for scaring me, etc. To this day, though, her excuse for the decision to knowingly frighten the shit out of her child? "I just figured you knew it was my voice." Yeah, her *disguised* voice. To a 3-year old.

  • Incident #3 -- "The Attempted Drop-Off"

Having already mentioned the fact that I was an "active" child, I happened to be riding along in the backseat of the car with my mom and grandmother, and despite my angel status, I was not being very angelic at this particular moment. In fact, I was supposedly being horrendous, but from what I've heard, that was actually pretty normal.

Kelly & Grammy -- circa 1982, or somewhere around then...Anyway, my mom kept telling me to sit down and be quiet, sit down and be quiet, etc. Or to quit doing whatever obnoxious and "active" thing I was going, all to no avail. So what does she do? Once again, I'm thinking her next move would NOT be one most people would choose, but I find it quite telling (and a bit frightening). She suddenly wheels the car into a driveway and up a hill, pulls up to a building at the top, stops the car, turns around, looks me in the eye and says, "Get out."

What makes the story so bad is that the building she pulled up to was the local ORPHANAGE, and I knew it. My mother was trying to kick me to the curb and make me an orphan for acting up in the back seat of the car!!! My 4-year old mind had no idea that she was only kidding (in her own way) -- and that this was yet another case of her falsely assuming that I was more mature than my age and would understand such a joke. I thought without a doubt that she was totally serious so, while I did not get out, I promised to be good and completely quiet for the rest of the ride home. And you bet your ass I delivered on that promise...

So you see, what you see when you look at me now is not my fault. It was all ingrained into me at a very early age. I was brainwashed by my loving family. Blame them. Hee, hee... I guess I can at least say I had a very colorful childhood!!! Seriously, I was blessed with THE greatest parents/family who I love dearly. And they did not do any irreparable damage that we are aware of yet....... :)


Blogger Kimpossible said...

Love it all. Three was a good year for you, you're right. When I was three, I went around correcting everyone's pronunciations. Like at daycare when David McClendon (whose daddy owned teh cheese plant in Newton and who is now a surgeon or something ridiculous like that) said, "Titty Tat," I immediately said, "Ummm, it's Kitty Kat."


9:16 PM  
Blogger Master of None said...

I had a cousin who got put out of the car one time, but his mother was justified. He had lit a cherry bomb in the back seat.

8:56 PM  

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