This was January 2014. I had just given birth to Ethan and my parents were helping out with Amanda. Being very religious folk, the 3 of them had been having nightly Bible studies. I have no objection to religious education of any sort so long as no one tries to convert me. Well, to each their own.
Anyway, one morning my mother showed me this, written by Amanda.
In case you can’t read her just-turned-9-year-old scrawl, the product of an immature pencil grasp, it reads:
What God Knows About Me by Amanda O.
1. I love chocolate.
2. I don’t like running.
3. I don’t like bullies.
4. I love plum candy.
5. I love new things at school.
6. I hate work my mum writes.
7. I love A on my report card.
8. I have many habits.
9. I have a bad temper (from my mum).
10. I am usually cross because my mum doesn’t have time for me.
11. How many times I’ve been bullied.
12. I now cry every night.
13. I have panda rings.
14. I am slow at most things.
15. I don’t like Maths.
16. My least favourite part of the day is bedtime.
17. I don’t think my brother loves me.
Now, I’ve been meaning to respond to this list, but as you can see from item number 10, finding the time hasn’t been easy. I’ve got so many balls in the air, I have considered joining Cirque Du Soleil or whichever circus will have me. Nevertheless, this is long overdue. So without further ado, here is my response in order of items:
1. You left out candy canes, keropok, jello, anything vaguely desert-like actually.
2. You take after me. God knows we live in a city and don’t need to out-run any wild beasts so you’ll be just fine.
3. Neither do I so give me their names and I’ll take care of them. Refer to post on death threats in the playground.
4. Refer to number 1.
5. You love new things, not just at school. You must learn to love the old things too.
6. Since Kumon, I haven’t written you anymore Maths or English questions.
7. Me too.
8. I know all about them. Trust me.
9. You could be right. But I make a real effort to rein my bad temper in.
10. Now that baby is older, we have time to talk and do stuff like we did before. Obviously no one wants to be in close proximity to a squalling infant so we have to work around baby’s nap times.
11. You were bullied 17 times in 2014. Dealing with the bullies, you came to to the correct conclusion that bullies bully because they feel inadequate next to you.
12. I’m very sure you’ve stopped crying every night. In fact, I think you’ve been secretly breaking the “NO TV on weekdays” rule before bedtime because I often find my computer with Safari open and Masterchef on it.
13. You have panda eye rings because of all that secret computer/TV usage.
14. What you lack in speed you make up with endurance and persistence. I know this from watching you run 15 rounds around the school field, long after everyone else had stopped.
16. This hasn’t changed.
17. You and your father, both. What does a baby have to do to prove that he loves you?