In today’s column I share one of our big family goals for the coming year: to rid our lives of diapers. The time has come, my friends. Before the year is out, I shall be released.
There are other milestones we’re looking forward to in 2012. The Whirlwind turns five in a month, and he’ll start school this fall. He’s more than ready; he can write all his letters and he’s starting to read. But he’s also quite keen on going to school. As in an actual classroom with other kids, that’s not in our kitchen. He’s told us that he’s looking forward to going to school and getting on the bus, and he’ll see us when he gets home. No fear or anxiety whatsoever, which would be the total opposite of our oldest.
Of course we’ve been homeschooling so far, but we’ve always said we’ll take it year by year and kid by kid. Oscar is a completely different personality than his older brother, and he’s thriving in preschool. We’re having some very open-ended conversations and we’ll see where we end up in the fall.
I’m looking forward to Maliah’s first real words this year as well. Her development tends to come in spurts, and there’s definitely another light clicking on lately when it comes to language. She’s paying much more attention when people talk, observing the shapes of our mouths and the sounds coming out of them. She’s “babbling with a purpose” these days, making a lot more sounds than she used to. And today she started saying “sssss” — a sound she’s had trouble with to date — then she led Shawna to the cupboard, pointed to the candy bowl and picked out a sucker. Hard to say if her vocalization was intentional or coincidental… we try not to over-react about these things, because progress is always slow and steady. But it’s coming. She just gets more delightful all the time.
We’re also considering a new house in 2012. We moved here four years ago with a plan of staying for five, but Kid No. 4 also showed up earlier than expected so we’re definitely starting to outgrow the place ahead of our plan. The physical act of moving is one of my least favourite activities in the world, but the idea of having more space is appealing enough that I’m willing to suck it up.
And finally, I have a personal goal for 2012: I want to find a publisher.
I am a writer. I’ve been lucky enough to make a living with words, but I’ve wanted to be a novelist since I was about 10 years old. And I’ve actually written a couple of books for teenagers. They’re just not published yet.
Usually I don’t like talking about this. Like most unpublished wannabe writers, I get all flustered and start mumbling if my work-in-progress comes up in conversation. We writers are often a sensitive bunch who find it audacious to refer to ourselves capital-W Writers — especially if we’re not published.
But I’ve been hanging out more with actual published writers lately, plus I read this incredibly awesome blog post on writerly resolutions (be forewarned, it’s also very profane), and the common thread of advice is: get over yourself. Just write, and be confident about it.
So: I’m a writer. I have two published short stories to my credit, plus two novels on the go — one that’s very funny and potentially awesome but in need of a bit more work, and one that I think is legitimately ready and marketable to teens. I’ve gotten some encouraging feedback along the way, and I also have a drawer full of rejection letters with thanks-but-no-thanks comments like “this has potential, but’s not for us.”
But somewhere out there there’s an editor or literary agent who will say, “Oh my goodness, I love this and I can’t to see it on bookshelves everywhere.” I just have to find that person. And in 2012 I’m going to give it my best shot.