This summer will mark the seventh year I have worked at the same children’s camp. Last summer I had one of the most interesting child experiences of my life, and there is one child that keeps killing me in my dreams, so kudos to last summers kid.
It all began when I went to go play with the youngest group of campers and the smallest little six year old took quite the shine to me. The next morning I was sitting outside as the campers arrived and I saw the small six year old from the day before step out of her car, make eye contact with me, look down towards my feet, look back at me and get this ridiculously crazed look in her eyes like I was made of cotton-candy wonderfulness.
The small child ran over to me, no hello, and immediately crouched down by my feet and began yanking my shoe off my foot. Once the shoe was successfully removed she ran away laughing maniacally and zigging and zagging around the yard. No more than a minute and a half later the Small Child returned, yanked off my second shoe and resumed running away like a crazed dinosaur.
While I stood barefoot with the outer layer of my skin burning off from the hot asphalt, I was absolutely dumbfounded. Finally, the Small Child returned and told me that she hid my shoes and I would never find them. I sent some eight year olds on a scavenger hunt to go find my shoes and they returned about five minutes later and gave me back my footwear. I assumed this was just a weird thing of the day for the Small Child and didn’t put much thought into it. However, for the next two weeks we went through the exact same morning process. Small child gets out of car, we make eye contact, crazed look, my shoes are gone and eight year olds go find my shoes. I began bringing two pairs of shoes to camp. She stole both pairs.
Eventually I decided I needed to sit down with the small child and I explained that she just cannot take my shoes because my feet are burning off. She argued with me about this for a while and fought fervently for her cause of stealing my shoes and hiding them. After a good ten minutes of debate, she came up with an ultimatum. She said, “I won’t steal your shoes anymore if you let me build a Jewel-Cage.” The small child had mentioned the Jewel-Cage before but I just brushed it off as the crazed talkings of a small, six year old, shoe thief. I said, “Absolutely. You can totally build a Jewel-Cage.” I did not see the Small Child for the rest of the day.
At the end of camp, my intern Ezra came up to me and said, “You would not believe the conversation I had with the small child today.” Ezra presumed to tell me the funniest conversation to ever happen between a sixteen year old and six year old ever.
From my understanding thus presumed the longest awkward silence between a sixteen year old and six year old ever.
Shortly after Christmas I was told by one of my co-workers that the Small Child informed her during Musical Theatre Class that she was planning a special trip to Missoula to kid-nap me or some crazy Small Child stuff because over in Missoula there won’t be any adults who tell her what to do and that she can’t build Jewel-Cages.