My 4th year is notorious in my family. It's the year I nearly died--once by drowning, another time by my mother's hand. Okay, so my mom didn't really almost kill me, but that's how the story goes. My transgression: using my brick red crayon right in the center of the gold-colored carpet in our living room. The whole carpet had to be replaced. This was in the days before Spot Shot.
That was also the year I left my sister screaming in pain with her finger caught in a door, as I sauntered slowly off to find our mother, told her nonchalantly that Cindy wanted her, then wandered off. As my message wasn't urgent, our mother didn't hurry to find my sister. Cindy spent far too long caught in a door because of me.
I was disobedient the entire week my sister and I were left with our grandparents. When my grandpa threatened to spank me, I told him, "Go ahead. I know you won't do it!" And you know what? He didn't. He had to leave the room so I wouldn't see him laughing. Then when we went to pick up my parents at the airport, I ran to my mother yelling, "Grandma didn't feed me!" My poor grandmother was mortifed.
Oh, my entire life was ruined that year, too. I'd left my beloved stuffed Pluto at the dentist's office. As we were going back in a week to have cavities filled, my mother wouldn't turn around to get him. I sobbed that my whole life was ruined. Every bad thing that's happened since, I can point back to that moment.
My 8-year-old niece, Leah, is in a stage in which she wants to hear stories. Real stories. My sister was running out of tales about her own life, so she started in on mine.
Within 10 minutes of seeing me for the first time since Christmas 2006, Leah started listing off all the things I did when I was 4. Then she looked at me with big eyes and said, "You were a BAD girl!"