Baby Talk

Do you ever ponder the puzzle of your personality?

I do.

While I was rummaging in a cupboard today, looking for the circus peanuts I hid from myself last Halloween, I located a new source of information about what makes me tick: my baby book! The slim volume was wrapped in tissue paper and nestled next to some photo albums. It's a pretty pink satin thing with ribbons and bows, and the title reads The Story of Our Baby. My mother handed it to me several years ago and said, "Take this. It's yours." I brought it home and immediately lost it in my lair before I had a chance to read it.

When I found the book today, I flipped through it in idle curiosity. My mother was a biologist, and most of her entries read more like notes from a science project than chronicles of human life. Just when I was about to stow the book away and move on to my next destination, some passages caught my eye. Etched in my mother's sensible cursive were smatterings of tales from my infancy and toddlerhood. I'll spare you the details, but here are some highlights: on Christmas I was more interested in the tree than the gifts. Many of my favorite playmates were boys. I adored coloring books. And on my 4th birthday, my mother wrote, "Mamma expected 9 and 15 showed up. Seems Nancy had invited the whole neighborhood."

Those tiny portraits of me, penned by a mother who wasn't given to flights of fancy, tell me more about myself than all those free online personality tests I took earlier today.

(But just in case you're wondering: I passed the "Are You Neurotic?" personality test with flying colors; the wardrobe evaluation pegged my age as 18; the food questionnaire said I'm an easygoing forager; the "How Picky Are You in Love?" quiz advised me to raise my standards; and the "How Effectively Do You Spend Your Time?" survey told me to turn off my computer and go PAINT.)


Tabula Rasa  , 2016, oil on canvas

Tabula Rasa, 2016, oil on canvas