When I was a child I kept a diary. In volume upon volume, I wrote about my days and my worries. But I also wrote instructions to my adult self, telling this familiar stranger how to act around children.
Here’s a list I wrote on the day before my ninth birthday:
THINGS I MUSTN’T DO WHEN I’M AN ADULT
- Speak to friends on the phone and say it has been too long and we must see each other soon. If I would like to see them, I should just see them.
- Argue with my husband.
- Visit people and look surprised when you tell their children they have grown. This is stupid. Children are supposed to grow.
- Clean the house for two days before visitors are allowed in.
- Tell children when to go to bed. We go to bed when we are tired.
- Be sad if you divorce your husband. If it makes you sad then just don’t divorce him.
- Believe it when the child’s dentist says a tooth needs drilling. Dentists like to drill and sometimes lie about it. Especially the new one in our school. I think she is very, very old.
- Make a promise to a child and not keep it. Children remember.
- Speak in code language in front of children. I know that aunt A doesn’t take the bus. When they say that, it means something else. I’m not sure what, but it’s something bad.
Posted 14th June 2018