When I was in second grade, I had an elderly babysitter who would prepare a hot lunch for me at her room in a nearby nursing home on school days. I loved her way of preparing spiral pasta. She really jazzed up the canned sauce. One day when I was there visiting, I used the washroom on my way out. It was right beside her front door.
I saw a needle used for insulin injections in her trash basket. I thought I could use it to play veterinarian with my dolls and teddy bears. I took the needle from the trash basket and left to go back to school, without being seen by Mrs. Brown.
At school again, I showed the needle to a friend as we were going back inside from lunch. I told her I had found it on our playing field. That night, the friend told her mom. I guess I had made her feel scared about the field at school. Next, her mom called my mom and our teacher to tell them what I had told her daughter about the needle which my mom did not know about at all. My mom was a doctor. Her mom must have thought somehow that my mom had given it to me. It must have looked bad on my mom, but I’ve never really thought about that until now.
At school the next day, when my class was in the library, my teacher and mom asked me about it privately. I lied to them. I said I never brought anything to school, even though I had carefully discharged the syringe to be sure it was empty and wrapped it neatly in toilet paper to conceal it from view as I departed. Worst of all, I said that the other little girl was lying.
They already knew the truth because the old woman who had taken care of me had called my mom too when she found a needle was missing form her trash after I had left, so I was caught in my lie and ashamed.
After that, my mom told me about the risk of what I had done and about the damage of the lie I had told. She said it would be a long time in the future before she could trust me and believe me again. It really scared me to realize trust could be lost like that.
I never wanted to repeat that kind of experience with anyone, so I became very careful about being honest. Sometimes, I worried about getting into trouble with the truth. I worried that naughty things I had done would carry harsh punishments, but I knew that honesty about my flaws and mistakes would always feel a hundred percent better than lying and suffering from the guilt.
Now that I am a mom, I teach my kids it is very important to be honest with people because lies have a way of getting bigger; at best they will embarrass you and at worst they could lead you into some serious trouble.
There are more than thirty babies and toddlers, lying, sitting and pulling themselves up from a concrete ground where they are gathered. There is one baby in the middle of the pile of babies who is sitting in a high chair. If you look closely, you can see that at least three other babies are sitting in low reclining chairs too, but most of the babies, even small infants are directly on the concrete. In the background, there is a city skyline, crowded with very tall buildings. It looks like a sunny day.
1. Who are the babies’ parents?
2. Where are the babies?
3. Where are their parents?
4. What city and country are they in?
5. What is the air quality like?
6. How old are the babies?
7. Who is taking care of them?
8. How many adults are nearby?
9. Are they happy playing outside?
10. When is the last time the babies took a nap?
11. What is the one who is crawling at looking toward the camera thinking about?
12. Is the little baby who is trying to stand hurting the baby whose head she is using for support?
13. Why is only one baby in a high chair?
14. Why do I feel worried about these children?
15. Are they warm enough?
16. Do they get enough attention?
17. Do they get enough to eat?
18. When are their parents coming for them?
19. How many babies are actually in the picture?
20. Will anyone adopt them?
21. Are they all healthy?
22. Can any of them talk?
23. What are their names?
24. What do they like?
25. What do they already know about the world around them?
26. What are they each most afraid of?
27. When will they each learn to walk?
28. What will they remember of this time in their lives?
29. Have they all survived?
30. What do they dream?
When I was a kid, I had this book about a kingdom
that was infected by “cold pricklies”
and saved by “warm fuzzies.”
I learned about how we can feel
and how others can catch it.
I loved that book, but my mother turned it against me.
You’re being a cold prickly, she’d say,
whenever I was in a bad mood.
I’d swallow the ice cubes whole and wait for them to melt
I knew deep down I was a warm fuzzy
there was lots of heat to melt whatever cold prickly
I’d been feeling
Always a way to melt away the infections
Always a way to get burned too
See I have a problem with self control
when the rage pony in my heart rears righteously
And friendship may be magic but anger is isolation
no matter how loud they hear you roar.
Unless it’s funny, cuz if you’re loud
plus you’re funny,
you’re practically a comic
and comics are strong;
They have observations
Poets are soft, like melting ice cream
cold, but smooth,
not warm… but sweet
and falling for the sun
So, let’s try to talk this over
Let’s pour some coffee into it
Let’s eat a cookie
Let’s hug it out
…walking in Vancouver Rain.
It takes more than you bargained for
to find the right moment to ask.
It takes a lot of courage to win.
It takes a lot of faith to keep moving.
To find the right moment to ask,
when everything seems an illusion;
It takes a lot of faith to keep moving.
It takes a brave woman to believe.
When everything seems an illusion—
That the heart muscle knows how to lift.
It takes a brave woman to believe
that my feet know how to float.
If the heart muscle knows how to lift,
then his eyes are not lost in his questions.
If my feet know how to float,
will we walk the bent path to the sea?
It takes the strength of his kindness.
We need a lot of courage to win.
It needs the gentleness of my hands.
It takes more than we bargained for.
© Sonya Littlejohn, 2012