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During breakfast with my mother this weekend, the conversation turned to my early childhood.

Mind you, at Julianna's baby shower this woman told the story of my birth. Most babies turn correctly, and some don't turn at all. As is typical of my later life, I got about halfway through the task and then got distracted or something, so that I tried to come out sideways. I got an arm and a shoulder out before getting stuck, and then proceeded to kick. Hard. For hours, because right around the time the doctor decided that maybe a C-section would be a good idea, there was a big motorcycle accident and all the operating rooms were suddenly taken. Mom described some of the ickier bits in detail, which I'm sure made Julianna feel oh-so-happy about the prospect of giving birth.

So being able to tell my husband just how horrible I was as a baby pretty much made my Mom's day. She didn't pull any punches, starting with her time in the hospital recovering from birth. She told us how she could hear the nurses bringing out the babies in the little wheeled cribs, and while a lot of the babies were crying or whimpering, there was one who was just screaming its little head off. And then they brought it into her room. Of course it was me, it wouldn't be much of a story if it wasn't me.

In my very first baby picture, taken in the hospital, I have my eyes shut, my mouth wide open (screaming), and my hand raised and balled into a fist as though I'm trying to punch out the photographer. (I still feel the same way about having my picture taken today.) Mom said that if they'd showed her the picture first, she never would have gotten it, but they don't show new mothers the proofs first-- it's just "Do you want to buy the first picture ever of your daughter?"

The stories are pretty much the same thing over and over until I learned to walk, so let's fast-forward. My grandparents watched me while my parents worked, and my parents kept a bag of stuff to go with me (diapers, favorite toys, whatever). I used to like to take everything out of the bag and scatter it. One parent would put it all back in and yell at me, and then I'd wait until they were distracted and do it all again. Babies love repetition. :-)

It was not possible to take a bath alone with me around. I always brought "friends" to take a bath with you. Usually it was my toys, although I was not particularly discriminating about which toys went for a swim, and it was just as likely to be the nice water-absorbing stuffed animal or Raggedy Ann doll as it was to be something plastic and easily dried. One afternoon Grandma and I shelled a bunch of fresh-picked peas, putting the peas into a bucket. Grandma was hot and sweaty afterward so she decided to go take a bath. A few minutes later, the entire bucket of peas joined her.

And while I hope that most folks get a laugh out the stories, at least, I post them more for the benefit of those who are trying to cope with their own little hellions. (Hi Julianna!) Hang in there, some of us difficult children turn out okay in the end. For what it's worth, I had settled down and was relatively well-behaved by the time I was 6 or so. My second-grade teacher even thought I was a "good kid". (And by the time I was no longer a "good kid" anymore I had learned to hide it well enough that my mother remains blissfully ignorant to this day.)


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January 2015

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