You’ve probably realized this by now, but Annabel is kind of a ham. She comes by it genetically.

Hams? Us?
Hams? Us?

Mike and I were both outgoing kids who didn’t shy away from crowds. We liked making the people around us laugh. Annie is exactly like us, and right now she has an easy audience in Mike and me. However, I’m starting to impress upon her the importance of time and place, which is probably wasted effort at this age but I’m terrified she’s going to be that kid in school. You know, that kid: the one that disrupts the class constantly with jokes and talking out of turn. In other words, me.

Mike was kind of that kid, too. He and I were talking about this the other day:

Me: If something came into my head and I thought it was funny, I would say it. Just totally interrupt the class.
Mike: I was like that too. But then, five minutes later, if something else came to mind I’d think, “Nah, I just interrupted the class five minutes ago. Better keep this one to myself.”
Me: Yeah, I did not have the ability to think before I spoke.

I look back now and I cringe. I want to apologize to every teacher and every fellow student I disrupted, and ugh my poor parents, who had to sit through countless parent-teacher conferences that started with, “Heather is a good student but we need to discuss her…talking.

It’s not like my parents didn’t constantly talk to me about keeping my mouth shut and thinking before I spoke. I knew what I was supposed to do, but the desire to make my friends and teachers laugh was overpowering. I also remember having a feeling like, “If I don’t say this I will explode.” That sounds ridiculous now, but it was how I felt back then.

I made life a lot harder for myself. I got into trouble a lot and suffered the consequences at school and at home. It never made a difference in my own learning, but the thought that it might have had a negative effect on my classmates never occurred to me at the time and really mortifies me now.

I do not want this for Annabel.

Before every gymnastics class or dance lesson, I get down on her level and impress upon her the importance of listening to her teachers, waiting her turn, and not talking over others. Then I sit outside the class and I fret. I like that she is outgoing and confident. She already stands up for herself. I don’t worry about her making friends. But I worry about this. She is so much like me, and I’m afraid she’s going to have the thing I like the least about myself.

Jr Ham

I worry.