Tag Archives: writers’ kids

Being influential: the terrible responsibility

One of those scary things about having kids is how they start doing as you say and do.

My daughter is seven. For the last few years I’ve let her choose her own Halloween costume which drives me a little crazy because she never settles on anything and it’s always last minute. This year she was much more interested in looking at the decorations and party stuff than the costumes and then suddenly was set on this monkey hood with ears and a vinyl nose mask. Okay.

Well, the mask thing didn’t last any time at all. I don’t know if it was uncomfortable or smelled like vinyl, but she wasn’t having it. Still she was happy to be a monkey. Only full monkey suits are only for toddlers. See, my husband is a big guy, and my daughter is very tall and big-boned. Her shoulder span is almost the same as mine and she’s in second grade. She hasn’t been able to wear little kid clothes for a few years now–a circumstance that causes me undue stress year ’round as I look for non-slutty clothes that suit a second-grader who happens to wear a size 12-14.

Anyway, suffice it to say that with all the slutty Halloween costumes for little girls now, finding a costume is equally daunting. When she chose the monkey, I tried to find her a brownish leotard and tights. The closest I could get was nude. But when I got them home…not decent enough. Especially not for down here in the South where people absolutely freak out over things like little kids who can’t quite keep their pants from slipping and showing a little crack. You know, they’re not doing it on purpose, it happens, OMG. Seriously, another mom pulled me aside at Chuck E Cheese when B was three to let me know about the problem and informed me that if her six year old let that happen, she would kill her. Really? Plumber’s crack is a capitol crime now? Wow.

But I digress. Bigtime. I bought a tutu-like skirt to go over leotard. Well, Briar didn’t want to be a dancing monkey, but then decided she was going to be a mama monkey. So she got together a stuffed monkey baby and some baby care items and wore that to school on Friday for their Halloween stuff.

By Monday she was no longer interested in being a monkey. I was trying to get us out the door for dance class and told her I didn’t care what she wore, but she needed to get a costume from her dress up box and put it on. I made some suggestions. I should never do this. The last thing she’ll pick is something I suggested.

So she goes, “What would Buffy wear?”

Now, generally speaking, I think this is a decent question for a girl to ask herself, though maybe not at seven, but I was like, “No, you can’t be Buffy. She just wears regular clothes, which is hardly a costume, and then no one’s going to get that it’s a costume and we can’t go trick or treating if you don’t dress up as something.

She comes back a few moments later with this white moose beanie baby and says, “This is Edward. I need a stake.”

Do you see the influence of me at work here? My kid doesn’t watch Buffy, she just watches me wear my Buffy staked Edward shirt a lot and knows that I love it. So I went to dig under my bed for my stake, but I think the dog must have eaten it because it wasn’t there. Note to self: check emergency equipment more often.

So Les went out to his workshop to make her a new, blunt, kid-friendly stake in the last few minutes before we had to leave and Briar went for Halloween as Buffy staking Edward.

Briar also does a lot of story-telling, talks a lot about writing books, and this morning we talked about creating a video game together someday (when she learns the computer stuff).

All this makes me think about writers and their kids. About PC Cast writing with her daughter, about how excited Lauralynn Elliott is that one of her boys has started writing, and I think Holly Lisle (or some other writer I follow?) recently said that her son is writing.

Kait will remember this: A few years ago, she and I came across a blog post in which an author’s daughter showed an interest in writing, and that author was actively trying to talk her out of it and into something more practical. Both Kait and I, having spent a lot of time in school and trying to do things that were more practical, were very affected by this. It’s one thing when people who don’t get it bash at your writerly dreams, but that was just sad. It’s not that we don’t get that most everyone has to do something else to support themselves, but that wasn’t how this mom talked. It was more: I want her to give this up and go do something with her life.

Years later, that post is still with me and I wonder how other writers and book lovers feel about it. Would you be excited if your kid came home and said she was going to be an author when she grows up?

Would you like to regale us with tales of your influence over your kids?

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