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Writing Helps Weston Girl Feel Grown Up

My son Josh, who is 7, comes home with a cardboard doorknob hanger. On it, he’s written “Joshua’s Room” and  “Private: Do Not Enter.” His 4-year-old sister Sophia, who is still expecting to grow big enough to turn the tables — so that Joshua is the baby and she is big sister — instructs me to cut out a paper rectangle with a doorknob-sized hole, then dictates:

“If I’m gone, don’t come into the room.” “Don’t Break the Glass.” “This is only for kids.” “Don’t Touch the Fire.” “Don’t Touch Anything.” “Don’t Enter.” “No Grown-Ups Allowed.” “Don’t even touch our new entrance.” “Don’t look at the sculptures.” “Don’t come in until Sophia’s ready.”

Finally, she asks for a circle with a picture inside of what is supposed to be a crossed out smoking cigarette. As far as I can tell, the closest she has ever come to cigarettes are drawings in restaurants and other public places, saying what one may not do.

I scribble quickly with a blue and then a purple marker as the phrases keep on coming, covering the page. The words on top are written in an arch to fit over the doorknob hole.

Now that we’ve got that covered, she has only five more projects that need tending before she goes to school, which starts in minutes. Under protest, she agrees to put her other writing off until this afternoon. At that time, she will have me write a list of all the people we know so she can make all of them birthday cards.

In our world, it’s your birthday any day Sophia says. And if you’re lucky, this will happen many times a year. Using my list as a guide, she writes names on computer paper. Long names loop back at the right side of the page and head back to the side she started on — a logical approach, especially considering the Hebrew she has learned at school. Left, right or right, left — it’s all the same as long as we are writing, as long as we are doing what the big kids do.

Amanda Geffner is a writer and psychotherapist living in Weston. Email her at .

What message would your children like to put on their doors?

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