*This post is a prompt from Maggie Mason's book No One Cares What You Had For Lunch.
1978: I am born early on October 14th in Rochester, Michigan. Had my mother not stopped to iron her outfit and vaccuum the house after her water broke, I may have been born on Friday the 13th. My parents are living in Michigan because my father is playing football for the Detroit Lions. As such, my birth gets a little bit of local media attention. Years later I find a news clipping about me that says "With a name like Hollywood, she's destined to be a star." I make my squishy, fat TV debut during the annual Detroit Lions Thanksgiving game of 1978 -- this is the first time my California family sees me.
1979, aged One: Still living in Detroit, I celebrate my first birthday as normal kids do -- hands and face full of cake. On my mom's side of the family I am the only grandchild. This can mean only one thing -- and that thing is that I must take a nap halfway through opening my presents. This tradition continues for the next few years during all gift giving holidays.
1980, aged Two: I have grown very fond of my rainbow knee high socks and wear them everywhere. One of my first memories is being about this age and hanging from the kitchen table wearing them. It is probably the only time in my life I am considered short. I begin the Montessori school in La Jolla, where we are living because my dad is now playing for the San Diego Chargers. Living by Shamu is about the coolest thing ever, but having to go to preschool is NOT. I cry daily when my mom leaves me but eventually I come around and learn how to speak French and chop vegetables with the other little kids. I kiss a boy named Kirk. At night when before my dad goes "to work" I make him promise to wave at me on the television. When I see him, I wave but he doesn't wave back. When he gets home I get mad at him because he ignored me -- it takes me a few explanations before I understand that the TV goes only one-way.
1981, aged Three: My Aunt and Uncle have a German Sheperd of whom I'm very fond. His bristly hair is comforting and he is always warm. One day, while he's enjoying eating his food in the garage, I decide he should play with me but he's not that interested. Instead of waiting for him to finish his lunch I kick him -- you know, to let him know who's the boss around here. He picks me up by my head and sets me down on the other side of the garage and calmly goes back to his Kibbles'n'Bits. It proves my first experience in the hospital. As I roll into the ER squirming, the hospital staff puts me in a strait jacket and sutures my head under a local anisthetic. The whole time I watch through teary eyes and it appears the Doctor is using a needle and thread. Despite the fact that my grandmother handmakes matching outfits for me and all of my dolls, sewing never becomes a hobby in which I show much interest.
1982, aged Four: I start Kindergarten in Fremont, where my family finally settles down. Being an only child, the adjustment to a classroom full of fellow students is tough. I start as a "late-bird" and get transferred to being an "early bird" in the first week. It freaks me out because I don't feel like I have any friends in my new class, but I ultimately meet my best childhood friend Megan. I get excited when we finger paint -- especially in orange. I want to bathe in Tempera. I also enjoy the mock-kitchen because it has an allure to me even then, but what I really want to be playing with is the saw and the work horse. Everyone knows only boys play with the tools, so disappointed, I always shy away. I begin first grade with regrets.