I love the strangeness of children. The way their little minds are so fresh and unpredictable and just totally out there. My five-year-old son says he is ‘allergic’ to warm towels. If I try to wipe his face with a warm towel, he can’t stand it. He squirms around like it’s making his blood run cold.
He surprised me the other day with this highly original drawing of a shark. Not just any shark, a hammerhead shark. Not just any hammerhead shark, an ADIDAS HAMMERHEAD SHARK. I believe this is the only Adidas hammerhead shark in existence in the world today. If anyone from Adidas is reading this, I’m willing to sell you this picture for a substantial amount of money but ssshh, it’s just between us (don’t tell my kid).
Observing my son’s cute little idiosyncrasies has made me remember some of the weird stuff I used to do as a kid.
1. I had short hair and my greatest dream was to have long hair DOWN TO MY BUM. It was fine and wispy, so my mum kept it cropped and I thought I looked like a boy. Seeing my short hair in school photos next to all the girls with long hair did not please me. But I was an ideas girl, so I got creative. I took to wearing my mum’s pantyhose on my head, with the crotch sticking out the top and the legs falling down over my shoulders, like long plaits. I insisted on wearing the pantyhose everywhere – out in public, out to the shops. I still remember the thrill it gave me, the feeling of having long, long hair. I really thought I had everyone fooled.
2. I had an imaginary friend called Colostrum. Yes, that was her real name. I made mum serve up an extra plate of food for her and make a bed for her and I played with her for hours. I don’t remember what she looked like, but I do remember she was a good friend.
3. I was scared of the rain. I remember being caught in a storm when I was about four and running all the way home, tears of sheer terror rolling down my rosy cheeks.
4. I had a lisp. Apparently adults found it cute. Mum would have friends over and would get me to say scissors (thithors) sausages (thauthageth) and slippery-dip (thlippery-dip) and they would all laugh.
5. I wet my pants in grade one. I had to go to the toilet during class but my teacher didn’t let me go until it was too late. I peed my pants on the way but still went and sat on the toilet, looking at my soaked undies. I didn’t know what to do. I knew I couldn’t go back to class like that. So I screamed: ‘Miss Babcock, I WET MY PAAAAAAAANTS!’, which echoed across the entire school and quite possibly across the entire city of Parramatta. Note to teachers: for the love of God, let kids go to the toilet!
6. I got in trouble for looking at Playboy magazines in the newsagents. I thought the ladies looked beautiful and I liked looking at their naked bodies. I didn’t understand why it was wrong.
7. I thought Chrissy Amphlett was a real schoolgirl. I thought Debbie Harry was the absolute coolest, most beautiful woman I ever saw. I was both freaked out and fascinated by Kate Bush. I wanted to wake up one day having magically turned into either Agnetha from ABBA or Stevie Nicks. Either would have sufficed.
8. I walked and talked in my sleep. I dreamt I had spiders in my mouth and made mum scrape them out with an imaginary spoon. I locked myself in a cupboard while I was sleeping and woke up screaming, not knowing where I was. I walked out of the house and down the street in the middle of the night in my little pink nightie.
9. I had a competition with my friend Fiona to see who could grow our big toenails the longest. Then, when she was doubling me on her bike, my toenail got caught in the chain, which ripped the entire nail out in one excruciating pull. There was blood everywhere. I still remember the agony.
10. I thought the lyrics to Workin’ 9 to 5 were: “Stumble out of bed and stumble in the kitchen, pour myself a cup of bad bitchin’.” Which isn’t too different from ‘pour myself a cup of ambition’ when you think about it. Cup of bad bitchin’ anyone?
11. I thought tomato soup was blood, but I ate it anyway.
12. I thought cat food looked and smelled delicious, so one day I tried it. It was revolting, especially the jelly bits. My cat’s name was Shaky, a playful and mischievous grey mongrel who was the best cat in the world.
What weird stuff did you do as a kid? What funny ideas did you entertain? I’d love you to share it with me in the comments section below.