I get confused about a lot of things. These days, they tend to be things like how construction loans work, whether traditional or Roth IRAs are better, and if I remembered to turn off my curling iron. This level of confusion is nothing new. I’d say I’ve been in a perpetually confused state since I was a kid. When I was younger, though, my misunderstandings where much more comical. Take, for instance, these examples.
1) How lotteries worked
My grandfather bought lottery tickets quite often, frequently using my birthday as his numbers. He always told me that if he won he would buy me the horse I had wanted practically since birth. Apparently the concept of some sponsor just giving away millions of dollars was too much for my young brain to comprehend, because I was convinced that “the lottery” meant winning a horse. I was under the impression that some lottery man, as I referred to him, would call you if you won and then you would go to some massive farm with every kind of horse imaginable and just pick whichever one you wanted. Imagine my disappointment when I leaned that all you won was a ton of cash.
Now, this one is not entirely my fault. I don’t know if this is something all pediatric dentists use to try and explain the importance of good dental hygiene to young kids, but my dentist would always tell me she was looking for “cavity bugs” hiding in my teeth. From this, I got the idea that there were actually little bugs that would get in your mouth and eat your teeth. I guess it was effective, because I was always super good about brushing my teeth. Unfortunately, my dental woes are still many for reasons beyond my control, but that’s another story.
3) Yule Logs
Back before I got my horse when I was seven years old, I would wish on every star, eyelash, birthday candle, and 11:11 for a horse of my own. Once I figured out that the “lottery man” was never going to call and offer me a horse, my efforts to aquire a horse by other means doubled. I would try ANYTHING.
The year I was five, Christmas rolled around and I was sure that I would at long last be getting a horse of my own. Why, you may ask? Because my aunt had told the about the magic of the Yule Log. Now, to be fair, I don’t actually remember what she told me about Yule Logs. Just, I assume, that they are some kind of special log you burn around Christmas. I took this to mean that any log that happened to be in the fireplace was a Yule Log and that you could make Christmas wishes on them that were sure to come true. So I plopped my little self down in front of the fire that Christmas Eve and whispered to the Yule Log my ultimate Christmas wish. I politely requested a purple horse that could fly, possessed human like intelligence, and would respond only to me. I had high standards, okay??
Now, I can’t express this next part enough. My parents did a really good job to never squash my imagination, so at this age I still whole heartedly believed in magic and Santa Claus and that Barney the dinosaur was my best friend. So I really and truly thought I was getting my purple horse (that I planned to name Wind Whistler, after my favorite My Little Pony) that Christmas. I was kind of crushed when, although I got lots of wonderful presents that day, none of them was a horse. In fact, I may still be a touch bitter about it.
4) Middle Names
Around the time of the Yule Log debacle, I remember having a minor identity crisis. My kindergarten teacher was writing my name on a bunch papers, and I saw that she was writing three letters on all of them- M.E.R. My initials, of course, I just didn’t know it at the time. I figured out that the M and the R were my first and last name, but I couldn’t figure out what the E was. I asked my teacher, and she told me that was my middle name- Elizabeth. I was oddly baffled by this. I don’t know if I had just never realized I had a middle name or had known at one point but forgotten, but that night I made it a point to ask my mom about it. Unfortunately, I was a little jumbled up, so my question came out something like this: “Is Elizabeth really my name?” My mom, assuming I meant, “Is my middle name really Elizabeth?” told me yes. Which I then took to mean my name wasn’t really Megan but Elizabeth. Wanting to rectify the situation as soon as possible to avoid problems down the road, I spent all of recess the next day telling my friends that they would have to start calling my Elizabeth because that was my real name. Luckily, my best friend Sarah took matters into her own hands and called my house that night and asked my mom, who quickly set me straight that my real first name was, in fact, Megan. And all was well for the next 7 years until I decided I hated my name and needed to change it to something obnoxious and “unique.” Luckily I hear that wanting to change one’s name is considered developmentally normal and is fairly common amongst pre teens…
I was really sad that I was one of the only kids in kindergarten who was an only child. When a teacher asked me if I had any siblings, I decided to make myself fit in and say I had a sister named Kelsey. I talked about playing in the yard with Kelsey and exploring the woods with her. I told stories about my dad getting mad at her when she stole our neighbor’s Barbie doll. All of these stories were true. I just wasn’t describing my sister. I was telling stories about my family’s German Shepherd.
Now, I wasn’t confused about whether a dog was the same thing as a sister. I was just tired of never having anything to contribute when my friends started telling stories about there siblings. My friends and teachers all believed me…until my teacher asked my mom how old Kelsey was one morning when she dropped me off at school. My mom as was like, “Uh, maybe three? I don’t really remember when we got her.” I can only imagine how confused both my teacher and my mom were.
Me and my “sister” Kelsey