Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dear Diary

My eight-year-old, Charlotte, needed a diary, or so she said. "I NEED one. With a lock. It has to have a lock." So I took her to Barnes & Noble to select the perfect one from a wall of contenders. Some journals were covered brush-painted flowers, some geometric designs, all were girly (woe be to the boy who wants to journal.)

She found the perfect shade of purple (with a lock) and I even sprung for a new pen, remembering how important my diary was to me. I wish I had it now for the entertainment value alone. Oh, the angst! Jennifer cut me in line and didn't even say sorry! Jason totally ignored me at recess! I hate soccer and why do we have to play it for gym!

But most of all, I remember writing about my mom. Horrible woman! So mean! So what if I got caught making prank calls randomly from the phone book? That's no reason to ground me.

Charlotte locks her door and writes in it every day. I mean, obsessively. She's either got the beginnings of the next War and Peace in there, or something is really bugging her.

Now she's at school, and I know where she keeps her key. (Right on top of her desk. Real smooth, Charlotte.) You have no idea what restraint it's taking for me not to go in there right now and read it. I know it's ridiculous. I KNOW. She's eight. What could it possibly say? Maybe I'm just looking for feedback--any feedback--on mothering. It's not like I have a boss to give me a performance review. And it's not like I'm going to find You're great at communication, Wendy, but the whole allowance area needs improvement.

Don't worry. I won't. I WON'T. She deserves a little privacy.

Damn it.

Did you ever keep a diary?

26 comments:

JLC said...

Aww! It is so cool that she has a diary. I never had one, but loved the idea of having a book that locked. Instead I kept a poetry journal when I was in Middle/High school. The poems were filled with angst. I read a few to my parents, but kept a few to myself as well.

Sara Spock said...

Gah. This has to be hard. My mom read mine when I was 11. I still remember how hurt I was when she let something slip and we had a major fight over it.

Ladybird World Mother said...

Oh! Am going through the same agony with my 9 year old and her diary. LONG to peep. Have just about managed to restrain myself So Far.
Yes, I kept a diary... one of those 5 year ones when I would see that last year I had written the amazing entry, 'Got up, had breakfast, had english, had maths, no homework, went to bed.' type of stuff. With the occasional Excitement of boy stuff. Not nearly enough of it for reading now. But good fun anyway!

Nadine said...

So tempting to look!

I had a diary when I was little, but I wasn't very good at writing in it although I wish I had now. I think the only thing I wrote about were the cute boys in class.

JenniferWalkup said...

I kept the same diary from when I was 11 until early 20s, though I didn’t write much in it in the later years. It’s still in my nightstand. LOL You have good willpower. I’m not sure if I could resist.

Hilary Wagner ~ Writer said...

I never kept a diary. My personal thoughts are too scattered to put in a diary that would make any sense, which is weird since I write books! Ha, ha!

My daughter is only two, so I don't need to worry about this yet, but gosh, I'd be so tempted to peek! I don't want to snoop or pry. I think with every mother, we all just want to protect our kids. That's all. You are a good mommy, Wendy!

xoxo -- Hilary

WendyCinNYC said...

JLC--I wrote poems and song lyrics, too. I was multi-talented. Or...something.

Sara--I can imagine! I don't think my mom ever read mine.

LWM--I think your old diary would sound like mine would now. Got up, had breakfast, wrote, walked dog, played on internet, picked up kids. Excitement.

Nadine--Cute boys is a popular topic.

Jenn--That's great you still have it! Hold on to that.

WendyCinNYC said...

Thanks, Hilary!

WendyCinNYC said...

Thanks, Hilary!

Kristi said...

How sweet! Good for you. I'd be so tempted! And how fun at that age to pick it out and get your own new pen!

Stay strong! I'm so glad I had a boy...I probably would have already peeped...

DebraLSchubert said...

Yes, I had diaries!

6th grade: Dear Cathryn (yup, that was my diary's name), Today Laura and I tried a cigarette. I choked so bad I thought I'd die. It was AWFUL!!!! I'm NEVER doing that again!!!!

Next day: Dear Cathryn, Today Laura and I smoked another cigarette. It wasn't as bad as yesterday.

OMG, kids can be friggin' STUPID!!!! (I didn't quit until I was 22. I-D-I-O-T-I-C.)

Sharon Mayhew said...

I sooo wish I had my diaries from my teenage years. They were full of feelings about my parents divorce, my moving to America and leaving my Dad and family in England and so much more. I know my mum never read mine...or she wouldn't be speaking to me, and I'm 44 now. :) Don't peak, just be open with your daughter. Talk to her about everything you hope to never have to discuss...boys, girls, drugs, alcohol, caffine, cigarettes, peer pressure, how embarrassing you are to her (cause we all are) and of course sex. Start those conversations NOW, so it's just normal not a big discussion at 14 or 16.

Janna Qualman said...

Argh! I fear I may be in your shoes in a couple years. So far, my 7yo shares everything. But it'll be so hard when she doesn't.

The trip to B&N sounds awesome. I think you rock, Mom.

SharonKendrew said...

I kept a diary but it was a notebook I wedged between my mattress and box spring. And I told it EVERYTHING when I was 12, including how much I hated my aunt.

Who just happened to stay at my house one weekend when I was at a friends house. Who also didn't like that my bed was too close to the pitched roof. So she pulled the mattress off the boxspring so she could sleep on the floor.

And when I got home my diary was sitting on my pillow...

btw, read it! It will be insightful and humorous, I'm sure!

WendyCinNYC said...

Kristi--I do know a diary-writing boy, although he calls it his journal. He's destined to be a writer, I think. Poor thing.

Debra--You were smoking in 6th grade?! You'd best be happy your mom never read Cathryn!

SharonM--We do talk a lot now. She's a chatty one. Still, I'm sure she doesn't share everything.

Janna-- Thanks! ;)

SharonK--Oh no! That's what she gets for reading it, I say.

Melanie Avila said...

I would make her hide the key so I wouldn't be tempted. :)

I had diaries at various times in my life, but I stopped in 8th grade when a "friend" read it and told everyone at school what I'd written. I didn't start again until I was in my late 20s.

Amy said...

I'm going through the same thing! I feel your pain!! I did keep journals, and my mom peeked. So I've already sworn not to do this to my own girls. It's tough at times, though.

colbymarshall said...

Aw, Wendy! Heehee. I know how that goes, though. I find myself doing this with things other than diaries, wondering what people say about me. I can imagine the temptation ;-) But she loves you...and she'll grow up to blog about what an awesome mom she has the way I do about my mom now ;)

marissaburt said...

I had a diary - I still have it, in fact, and the front two pages are covered with warnings like "This is PRIVATE. PERSONAL. And you may not read it unless I am DEAD."

Nice. Good for you for showing restraint. And make her hang onto it. It's definitely worth the laughs later on.

marissaburt said...

Okay. So I should clarify. My current journal does not have said warnings. The one from when I was eight does.

Allie said...

I had a diary that someone read when I was a kid. I got upset and burnt it in a parking lot after school. I never wrote in one again, and I think it has a lot to do with my aversion to writing non-fiction. I still kind of wish I had that insight into 14 year old me.

I could see how hard it would be to know your daughter is writing about stuff and not read it - but good for you for not snooping.

Steffy Rees said...

I personally started keeping a diary when I was 4 or 5 and my grandmother wrote out what my brother and I told her to in point form about the week that we spent alone in Ottawa, Canada with them. I still have this little book and it is so funny to see what was important to me then: "we went for a swim; not in the little frog pool, but in the BIG pool with Gramma and Grampa!" It really does make me laugh. Since then I've had about 5 different journals, none of which ever got completed. Throughout my life I've only ever wrote when something was bothering me: my cousin died, my friend was in legal trouble, my parents were fighting, the boy I love was dating THREE other girls that weren’t me (don't worry, he got out of high school and we've been together since =D) and right now I have my own blog space to rant about college. If something is bugging your daughter, why not ask her about it in a rather subtle manner? Maybe ask her how her writing is going, how she likes having her journal, and just maybe she will let you in on her little secrets. My parents were always great with those kinds of mind games.

Municipal Cupcake said...

Yes, I kept a diary from aged 10 t aged 20. Soon i was write 500 words a day. I was desperate for my parents to read it, to rescue me and help me. As far as I know they never did.

Timothy said...

Read it! :)

Kathleen said...

Writing is such a great outlet for our emotions and it is so wonderful she is writing - anything -! And I agree it is hard, but yes, she needs her privacy.

BUT, and this is a big but, if you notice strange changes in her behavior, and I doubt you will at age 8 - Then it may not hurt to take a peek.

annami said...

Oh no, don´t you dare reading her diary! Even though you stand so close to it. I threw all my diaries away. I do regret it! (but I do have my first one still. I wrote all about the food I liked to how I felt on a special day. I think I was about...8?!