I was a child once. In many ways I still am. My endless fascination at the fact that my face can grow a beard has many concerned. But my childhood was less than conventional. Granted, the fact that I had just a mother, and the said mother was pretty involved in my life, successfully masking the need for a father, made things that shouldn’t be normal okay. Like the fact that she was gone for close to two years for work, and for that time I was pretty much the man of the house at the age of 7, something I found to be oddly satisfying, now that I think about it.
Outside my house, however, I was a complete wuss. A weakling, in glasses, whose sole claim to fame was the fact that he read more than most and had very little to say. However, I did become quite animated whenever it was Miss Ndegwa’s class. Answering questions, generally sucking up. Yes, your wimpy, geeky, quiet Eric had a thing for Miss ndegwa. She was the English teacher. And what a teacher she was. Even when she doled out the punishments, a quick rapping of the knuckles… Hurt like hell, but still, it was a chance to get closer to her. now that I think about it, I had the biggest, most inappropriate crush on her. So much so that I was made a prefect (apparently the best ones are the ones that try the most to please) and I was almost always number 1.
Then again, my childhood has been highly romanticized.
But as is the fashion with other posts in my blog, I shall do a quick laundry list of how to be a successful child child (as opposed to child actor or child prodigy. That’s for another day) based on my experience as a child child.
1. Keep your size in mind when signing up for things
‘Things’ here is varied, from the tyre race during Sports Day (which I finished 6th in… I have a certificate) to the football match between your class and the other class. When playing against larger opponents, opt for something uninvolving, like goalkeeper. Fine, you may have to stop the ball, but for the most part you will be free to just sit and wander and make noise. All the action is in the middle anyway. And even though you are tempted to, do not stop the ball with your face…
2. Some problems are easy to solve. Just run away.
I learned this the easy way… I hated math. Long multiplication especially. Like to the point of going to another class entirely and sitting in the back. Granted I had a friend in that class, and the lesson they were having was Art and Craft, and the work mostly involved just making things. Fun times. Yes, you post subject-adjustment kids, YOU MISSED OUT. So this one time the class prefect was sent to find me, and I was found. And I stood up for myself, quite unlike me, the wimpy kid in the blog title… And I was found. Mostly because I had a tattle tale for a deskmate. And I told on myself. So the math teacher had to find me and I was caned. And I had to do a lot of math. A lot.
So no, you can’t run away from your problems…
3. Just because you like someone means you have to share your break with them
I had a megacrush on the girl that sat behind me in class 3. Yes, I caught feelings very early on. And she humored me. So something in my head (darn television) told me girls like it when boys give them things. So I gave her my break, which was a pretty big deal. i was a small-ish child, so all the food I could get was extremely essential. And she took it. She didn’t refuse. (Child logic = she likes me back)
So when Sandra (that was her name…) had to transfer schools, I was crushed. I remember crying and not eating. (Yes, food-related memories are many)
It was long before I started carrying break. A week, I think. There’s something about mandazi and juice that helps in situations like that…
4. You can totally make stuff up, and people will believe you
That’s the awesome thing about being a kid, you can have an imagination the size of a mountain and nobody will question it… And the truth was stretched far beyond its original shape… And it was good. It was the source of many dreams, many of which have since been crushed. but a fragment of that imagination lives on. That is the core, the beating heart, that dreams are made of. A child-like willingness to try, even when the potential outcome is failure. I miss that, I really do. The ability to just sit and tell the most ridiculous stories about how you went on a trip to some random made up country and the people were so awesome and the place was so cool and other random things…
5. It’s never that serious
The worst thing you can do to a child is to make them see the seriousness of life. That’s for them to discover at their time. I was pretty aloof and idealistic as a child. That had its plus side. I was optimistic, most of the time, knowing that the world was, in the long run, a pretty awesome place, and I was pretty lucky to be in it. That said, the negative was that I was ridiculously trusting. That’s how a lot of my stuff got lost. it went to ‘helping’ other people. But it wasn’t that bad, really.
Memory has a way of glossing itself over with the passage of time, like I’m bound to have a pretty squeaky clean picture of my childhood, but I was pretty lucky, I had a good one. That has been the source of a lot of the things I carry around with me, good vibes that i hope I will pass on to my own kids, when the time comes.