When I was little, my nickname was Cricket. I guess someone in my family chose this lovely moniker for me because I hopped all over the place. I couldn’t sit still. I was quick and could zig and zag and you couldn’t catch me. Years later, watching my daughter play ultimate frisbee for the women’s team at WVU, smiling because she was no bigger than a minute, but here she was zigging and zagging and getting points. Cricket #2.
It did have its advantages. If I didn’t want to come in when it was bath time, you’d have to come get me… Zig…. Zag…. I don’t know why my mom didn’t try something else, like maybe let me go dirty. I knew once she caught me I would get a whippin. With her hand.
My mom burned the palm of her hand when she was a baby. She put her hand on a stove top. The palm of her hand was a swirl of scars and it was the ugliest thing I had ever seen. Well, watching her take out her dentures and scrub them while I was spying through the cracked bathroom door was a real shocker. My mouth dropped open on that one. But, none of us wanted that hand to touch us. And she hit us a lot. So, I zigged and zagged. About three or four times and then I would run around her and into the house. I did this on a daily basis. She always tried to grab at me, but I avoided the Hand.
“Vickieeeee, time to come innnnnn”………………..I see you looking at me. It’s time to come in……………..Vickie……………Vickie…….
Vickie…………..Vickie……………NOW!!……………..Vickie……………..Vickie…………….Don’t make me come out to get you!…….Vickie…….”
Well, my dad would have none of this. He was always reading the paper. Or maybe hiding behind it so he wouldn’t be asked to do any parenting. I think he was scared. I remember pulling down the newspaper and leaning into him, giving him a kiss on the cheek before bath time.
Well, it was Christmas Eve, circa 1959. I was three years old. Santa Claus was coming tonight, so we had to get our bath and get to bed. Well, I took my bath, but I wasn’t ready to go to bed. I couldn’t find Victor. Victor was my little green turtle. I think I wrote about Victor before. I think that they are illegal nowadays. Victor lived in a shallow habitat and always walked off. I usually found him in a corner, hanging out among the dust bunnies. I couldn’t find Victor on Christmas Eve.
Now, I don’t know if you can remember what you did when you were three, and I don’t remember much. Most are from reports given later from my mom. “When you were three years old….” After hearing these things, you think you remember them. Well, I don’t remember any of it. Not at three. So, just humor me and pretend I remember.
My dad decided that I should go to bed and he would hunt for the freakin turtle. He probably had a bike to put together or something that would make him stay up past midnight. He took me by the arm to lead me to my bedroom. I decided to hang in the air. Like a monkey. I guess something happened to my shoulder and I screamed in pain. I have no memory of any of this. My mom said that my dad felt so bad, that he disappeared to his room. My mom took me to the hospital. I guess my arm came out of my socket or something. Cricket dislocated her shoulder. I came home with my arm in a little sling. I betcha I probably didn’t go to bed until I found Victor. No one was going to force me to go to bed after that trauma to my little psyche. I should have asked my mom that one.
Fast forward to 1990. My daughter, Alex, was three years old. Yep. Christmas Eve in the emergency room. We were at my husband’s grandparent’s home and she was playing with her cousins, and one of them pushed her down. I’m pretty sure they were playing, but she hurt her arm. We took her to the emergency room.
My husband drove. He was supposed to be Santa Claus at the dinner party, so reindeer on the rooftops was either canceled or delayed.
So, yeah, Mother and daughter both spent Christmas Eve in the emergency room when they were three years old. Pretty ironic. At least she didn’t find a dried up dead turtle in the corner, covered in dust bunnies.