a young child - quotes and descriptions to inspire creative writing
A seagull hops over the quay as if too lazy to spread its white-grey wings. Amy admires its yellow beak, though the way it droops downward to a point puts her in mind of a witch. She imagines the pointed end to be like the nose and the beady eyes to be conjuring dark spells. Amy giggles at her own imagination and wanders after the bird, flapping her arms and wiggling as she walks.
Dakota was a sweet and gentle child when I knew her, though it may sound like a cliche, it’s true. Her hair was lighter back then, chestnut I suppose and she would braid it for hours in front of the mirror; but Dakota was already disturbed by the age of six. Though the toilet was only a few metres from her bedroom she would crawl under an old pool table and urinate on the carpet. No-one knows why she did it. It was as if some animal instinct drove her to do it, to hide somewhere dark, somewhere that felt safe. She played with her dolls and was kind to her siblings. She was a fighter, never staying down if she fell or got knocked. She would go out of her way to be nice to other kids at school, but mostly stuck to just two friends who didn’t mind how old her clothes were. Did I say she has freckles? She does. She was a skinny kid but mostly healthy. She loved animals, as most little girls do. She hated jelly and sausages. She was a teacher pleaser, always doing her best in classes and clever too, learning quickly. But her childhood was rough from the start, some kids have it worse, but her home was turmoil and violence; not constantly, but enough to make her less stable than she should have been. I wish I could have saved her from the years ahead of her, but I was only a teen myself back then.
For Carrie happiness is simple. It's hugs with her mama and playing "let's pretend," it's an uplifting story at bedtime and the knowledge that me and her mom have life all taken care of. Food is always available, she has a comfortable bed. She has friends to play with. We walk in the woods and splash in the stream. She doesn't care what the time is unless she's hungry. Sure, she throws a fit when her brain can't understand her world, I'm sure I still do that too. Sometimes she screws her face up and stomps her feet, goes red in the face and waves her hands; but then my tantrums don't look pretty either - not that she ever sees them. I want to learn from her how to be happy again, I want to see the world through her eyes. If you showed her a gold coin or a kitten and asked her to pick one, she'd take the silly cat every time. There's a simple wisdom there and I love it.
Lara is slumped at the breakfast table, her brows creased and face tense. When Mom sits, coffee in hand, she asks "What's up?" her tone casual and light.
Lara's scowls at her scrambled eggs, "I don't know whether to do basketball or swimming. I like both but I only see Claire at swimming."
Mom takes another sip and then continues, serious faced, "I see, well, what's does your gut tell you? Which one do you want more?"
Lara's face crumples again, "I don't know!"
Mom makes her face straighter than a poker player and says, "Lara, you're not going swimming." For a fraction of a second the corners of Lara's mouth twitch upwards, until her conscious mind asserts control again. Then Mom says "Actually, no, you're not going to basketball." Lara's face is serious all the way from her eyes to her mouth, no pleasure at all, not even masked. "OK," Mom says, "We'll finish this set of swim lessons, then switch to just basketball. You can still see Claire every week, OK honey?"
On the day Matilda opened her eyes for the first time, her parents were hazy blurs, but she had taken in their aromas, bathed in their soft words and felt the warm touch of gentle hands. Each time she had cried they came at once and so an idea of safety in her world developed, a foundation on which her future personality would rest. In the years that followed life wasn't so simple. Her father struggled to provide enough for the family and her mother had returned to work. Life was now daycare and tired parents who fitted every house chore into the weekend. Though they adored her with every atom of their bodies their tempers frayed, with each other and with her. She was praised when they felt guilty and chastised when they were frustrated. Inside, little Matilda grew a seed of worry, powerless as she was to mend the parents she loved or articulate her feelings. At school she became the teachers pet, at least by hard work she could avoid more angry voices coming her way...
Kayla bounced in her high chair like she was dancing to music only she could hear. Her head and arms went up and down while her face was a picture of concentration. The flavours in her mouth seemed to be causing her so much pleasure she couldn't be still, but at the same time dinner was clearly a serious business. Unlike her siblings at he same age she never dropped even a pea, scattered or threw food. Every piece was sacred and she cleared the bowl in her intense way until finally it was empty. Her face would become dismayed and with diminutive hands she'd clasp the bowl, banging it and squealing. After dessert she did it all over again, before being lifted out. Then she'd plant cherry-pie kisses on her parents and toddle off for a book...always the same book..."The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle. With each cardboard page she pointed to the food, learning to count, learning to speak. So long as they got her into bed before she was overtired life was peaceful...
The kid moved like her knees were just hinges, wobbling to and fro before falling on her padded bottom. Then she clapped like it was all part of the plan and rolled to her stomach to get up again. She was asian looking and cute as hell. She was dressed in a primrose pinafore dress and those soft first shoes kids wear, the ones they can still feel the ground though. Then from behind an over-sized rhododendron came her mother with a smile to light up the whole town. The girl giggled, waving her arms for the pick-up she knew was coming, but before she was hoisted high she was on her bottom again. I think it's scenes like that that keep me going back to the park for lunch. I need these little reminders that people are inherently good and loving; otherwise I think the tide of doomsday press will sweep me away into some fearful and narrow-minded thought pattern. I never wanted to be like that and I still don't.
Behind the counter was an old woman, snoring into her tightly folded arms, a shawl draped over her sagging shoulders. Hayden turned to leave when he saw a pair of eyes looking out of the shadows between the sacks of grain. He bent down as if to tie his shoe and placed his newly purchased raisin loaf on the ground near the eyes, letting the fresh baked aroma do what no amount of words could. He pretended to tie the lace wrong and start over until a small scuffle sound told him the bait was taken. He shot out an arm to grab the child that must be no more than two. He was as lean as a super-model and his skin bore the tell-tale blues of bruising. His face buckled and he raised his hands to protect himself, squirming as if to lessen the impact of the blow he expected. Hayden scooped him up and held him until he gave up. Then he bent down for the bread and passed it to the kid a chunk at a time. "Another street kid," he thought to himself, "born into poverty, ill-health, starvation..."
When I think of Latif it's as a young child, always the first to pick up a friend who had fallen; his heart bigger than the soccer ball he kicked around the backyard. He had these chubby cheeks, I'll never forget them, how they dimpled when he smiled. He wasn't a perfect child, but then who is? Is it ever fair to demand perfection? He prayed with love and hugged his mother like she was made of glass, always the gentle one. I want to go back, back to that time and hang onto my baby boy with fatherly hands. With his brown skin and strong Islamic faith he was a target for those monsters, the ones who told him their own brand of "truth," put a plane ticket in his pocket and a gun in his hands. Somehow they radicalized Latif, they took the love in his heart and made it a terrible weapon. They twisted his faith into something barbarous. These people are killing muslims too, muslim boys and girls. So who is radicalizing our kids? Who has the deep pockets & a void where their morals should be?
Matt buttoned up his sheep-skin jacket and glanced at his wrist watch out of habit - still broken. With an audible grunt he looked up a the sky for the sun position. Three hours or so before dark, that was good. Half-blinded he took a step and almost fell over some kid. With a choice swear word he righted himself; six feet of fifty year old bones doesn't do well hitting the dirt. It was some girl, covered in mud and dressed in not much more than a rag. Her face was a perfect picture of misery. He was practically a giant to her and with a face like dried lava he had scared grown men, but she stood rooted to the spot. What could possibly be so bad that she'd take a risk on him for protection? With that flaxen black hair and brown skin she had to be local, she'd never understand a word he said anyway. He swore again. At nightfall the heat of the day would evaporate along with the last sunrays, that shiver of hers would soon be hypothermia, she'd die. The nearest town was miles away...
On a plastic hallway chair sat a child, legs kicking in the air, clearing the floor by several inches as they swung back and forth. James was mesmerized by the red rubber boots on his feet and blue duffle coat, somehow the kid reminded him of Paddington Bear. His face had unhealthy look to it and his eyes were hard open as he stared at nothing on the wall. James stopped. The boy's legs weren't swinging in the care-free way he'd first assumed. Each one was more like a kick, sharp and pointed. He crouched down in front of him, letting the boy see his white coat and stethoscope and brushed his blonde bangs from his face.
"Hey there, I'm Doctor James. What's your name?" The boy became still and was quiet for a moment, sitting further back into the chair.
"Ben," came out almost like an accident, spilling out of his drawn inward lips. His brown eyes lost their harshness, becoming rounder, more glossy. Then all at once his face buckled, his breathing stopped momentarily and tears streamed..
At the front of the bus sat a kid so tiny his bobbled hat only just peaked over the back of his seat. With every bounce of the suspension his head wobbled like it was only loosely attached to his neck. Then every once in a while he would disappear from view, only to bob right back up again. After ten minutes or so he wiped the condensation from the window with mittened hand and pressed a button nose to the glass. Hayley glanced around trying to see which one of these people looked like his mother. The kid was white, but that hardly helped, almost everyone on the bus was. His hair was covered. She gave up, it wasn't a very rewarding guessing game and she was going all the way to the depot, time for some music. By the time they arrived it there were only a few folks left, the kid included. As always, she got off last, hurrying just wasn't her thing. The boy was actually a girl, under that hat were auburn curls and in her hand was the leash of a puppy. When she walked off with no adult...
Cuddled into the front of the woman was a young child, too big to be a baby but still very young. For the most part he kept his head buried in her woollen jacket, his black tufty hair sticking out behind like he'd just woken up from a long nap. His fingers curled into the fabric, not clasping it tightly, but just enough to reassure him they were staying together in this strange place. Against his red jacket his black skin was flawless, beautiful. India wanted to scoop him up, to give him a hug of her own, but she knew that would never do. She wasn't his mother and that's all he wanted, so long as he had her everything was going to be alright.
Once upon a time there was a baby called Einstein, not the famous one, but another. When he was five years old he wanted to know about life the universe and everything. But first he wanted to know what he was made of.
His father sat him on his knee and said you are food, you are water and you are love. Einstein looked thoughtful. Okay, he said. "I can see food and water, but love, can I see that too, Daddy? "
His Dad grinned. "You sure can he said. Everytime I look at you it will be there in my eyes, but most of all it will be felt inside you because that is how God connects to you and He is love. That's what makes all children so special, a gift of love from our Heavenly Father."
Einstein had lost focus, he was watching a dog run up the street without an owner... just as well, his Daddy was welling up and he preferred not to look to soft, a man can have some pride, right?
Look, look toward the kitchen door, it’s you! You at two years old. You’re so cute! Look at those chubby cheeks, the little legs moving like a clockwork toy. I love those clothes, so fashionable for back then. Stay quiet now, I’m going to ask your toddler self to choose between saving Kitty and taking the money. You’re younger self is listening and your little eyes don’t even more than flick at the cold yellow metal on the table; you only have eyes for Kitty. See how smart you are. You already know that life is sacred, it’s just that you got reprogrammed with all the wrong stuff by our greedy and insecure culture. But don’t worry, we’re going to fix you. But incase you are still thinking saving Kitty is silly, let’s move on further.
Binka picked up the roughly made cup and turned it in the light to see the greenish glazing all the better. As she did so Mila's eyes followed her mother's movements, studying her facial micro-expressions. Binka knew not to be too quick to praise, her daughter always suspected it was shallow when she did so, too long and her little heart would fall into her wintry boots. She let her face flood with a smile and Mila clapped her little hands, pulsing on her toes. "It's beautiful, my darling. It has that rustic charm that takes back to my own childhood. I will treasure it always!"
Georgie throws his head back and giggles like only a young child can. It's that infectious kind of laugh that lights up adults – like an echo of the children they once were. On the surface of the pond there is a duck, white with the most orange bill you ever saw, dipping his head in the water and shaking it. The drops fly outward, landing in the almost ripple-free water to make tiny waves that move outward in ever growing circles. Georgie claps before digging his hands into the bread crumb bag and throwing it as far as he can, which isn't very. The duck quacks and swims in, his wake stretching behind in a classic v-shape. It waddles out following the trail and now Nila has to restrain the pre-schooler as he dives forward to greet it. The duck raises his head, moving it side to side, deciding if the treat is worth the danger. Nila drags him back a few paces and the duck goes back to the bread, eating it in the same way Georgie approaches spaghetti.
The water is so cold Maddison screams. She knew it was coming, she asked to be hosed down. Once the shock wears off she'll smile. The slight breeze on wet clothes is the finest way to cool outside. She stands in a puddle, dripping on the patio that must feel hot to her bare feet. In just a second her face lights up, her teeth flashing white in the sun. Cold water is the only antidote she needs to high August heat, works like magic every time.