I was born at 12:40pm on December 10th, 1986. My parents, both in their mid-20s, took me home to their condominium in Indianapolis, where they dressed me in pink and put me to bed in a nursery decorated in pastel colors. Pretty typical stuff.
My dad was an air traffic controller and worked weird hours while my mom stayed home with me. She read to me and talked to me and couldn't leave me with a babysitter because I'd scream and thrash and hyperventilate until she came back. Otherwise, as she tells it, I was a pretty easy baby.
My earliest memory is of listening to the Beatles' song "Yellow Submarine" at 10 months old. I didn't know what a submarine was and I probably didn't know what yellow was, but the song fascinated me! When I was 18 months old, my mom videotaped me sitting in a rocking chair, staring at a wall for concentration and reciting two long poems. One of them I still remember:
Girls and boys, come out to play
The moon doth shine as bright as day
Leave your supper, leave your sleep
And come with your playfellows into the street
Come with a whoop, come with a call
Come with goodwill, or come not at all
Up a ladder and down a wall
A halfpenny loaf will serve us all
You bring milk and I'll bring flour
And we'll have pudding in half an hour.
And that was the short poem. But I'm not bragging. It sounds like it, I know. I'm not, though--I'm still trying to figure out how I did that 22 years ago when I have a hard time remembering to eat lunch on a daily basis now. Whatever. Different kind of memory, I guess.
I was afraid to stand on grass when I was about that age. I suspect part of it has to do with my dad trying to make me walk on grass with bare feet. That's on video. Also on video is me clinging to him and screaming.
When I was 2, my parents and I moved a few miles south to Greenwood, IN. A year later, my brother Brian was born. I was cool with it, because by then I could read and write and draw and generally entertain myself while Mom was busy with the baby. Plus, I got to jump around and say silly things to make Brian giggle!
My mom says that I had playdates and preschool friends, but I have no memory of any of that. I remember my imaginary friends (which, um, yeah, I might possibly still have one). I played with dolls a lot and pretended to be a special ed teacher. And oh my God, I read. Everything. When I ran out of things to read, I wrote. Up until Brian was born, Mom and I had a routine of one story at naptime and two at bedtime. By the time I was 4, I liked to read the Reader's Digest, backs of cereal boxes (the video of me reading the Cheerios box is hilarious), and of course books. My favorite was a chapter book about a woman who rehabilitated baby owls. Ah, here we go! The beginning of my owl obsession! People think I'm kidding when I say I've "loved owls as long as I can remember." For reals, though, I mean it!
Speaking of reading. When I was 5, I read an article in Parents magazine (my mom kept them around, therefore I read them) about common household toxins. And then I read it again. And again and again and again. The toxins, for the approximately zero of you who are interested, were: carbon monoxide (my favorite--I wrote a song about it when I was 7 and a report on it when I was 8), lead, radon, asbestos, and formaldehyde. I made my dad buy a carbon monoxide detector, I got really excited when they gave us radon detectors at school for a science project, I had just-scary-enough dreams about dying of formaldehyde poisoning.
A theme emerges. It seems that I tend to get really focused and fixated on whatever piques my interest (anyone who knows me would laugh at that because of how much of an understatement it is).
(More laterishly. Tired now.)