Dear Diary: Keep Out

It didn’t surprise me when my 8-year-old daughter asked for a spiral notebook.

“I want to write stuff down,” she said matter-of-factly.

Dear Diary...

“What stuff?” I asked.

She just looked at me.  And then gestured wildly, “Just STUFF.”

Sigh.  So on the next Target run I brought home a notebook.  Which she promptly turned into:


Suddenly I felt like I had been sucked back in time and was living in a Judy Blume novel.  Only now I was the mom in the book.

I had a diary in third grade.  It was a hardbound tiny book with Hello Kitty on the front.  I took a label maker and punched a “Keep Out” sticker that I pasted on the cover.  I wrote about all sorts of things like soccer practice, Valentine’s day, my dream crush on Rick Springfield (I sent him my school picture after getting his address from Dynamite Magazine) and my real crush on a boy in my class named S********.  (You think I’m actually going to reveal his name? Please, people.  I still live in the town I grew up in.)  I kept my diary under my bed.  A very safe hiding place, right?  All secrets would be secure.  No one would ever find it there.

Until my older sister did.  The “Keep Out” sticker was apparently not powerful enough.  She read it and then told S****** that I liked him.


How could my sister do that?!  She taunted me for weeks with diary details. It was excruciating.  To this day, all of my sisters make fun of my inventive spelling in the diary.  Like when I spelled “Barbie Clothes” “Baribie Clotneths”.  Ha ha.  Hilarious.  Not upsetting for a child at all.

I now look at my daughter’s pink polka-dotted notebook she drags around the house.  She writes in the family room.  In the basement.  Her bedroom.  I innocently ask what she’s writing and she just smiles.  I get that most girls have a diary.  That’s not the problem.

The problem is, I want to read it.  Badly.  Yes, she needs privacy, blah blah blah.  But I want to read it RIGHTNOW.  I want to get into my daughter’s budding mind.  Her secret thoughts.  I’ve known everything about her since she was born, and all of a sudden a little polka-dotted notebook has trumped me.   It knows the inside scoop.

And it enjoys taunting me.  It sits on her bed, in its hot pink glory.  Not even bothering to hide under the bed.  I could flip open the cover.  What if it dropped off the bed and happened to open up?  What if I was putting it away on her book shelf and a large breeze suddenly blew the pages open?

I’m not sure what I’m hoping to find in that little journal.  What if I didn’t approve of it?  What if (gasp) she wrote about me? Would I say something?  And admit that I violated diary privacy?  Don’t they have an American Girl Doll book that addresses this??

I saw her writing in it tonight.

“So, what do you have in there?”  I ask.  Hoping she’ll share.

“Hmmm, some thoughts just for me,” she says.

I swear that darn polka-dotted book laughed at me.

4 thoughts on “Dear Diary: Keep Out

  1. Oh goodness, I don’t blame you. When my daughter is that age, I just really hope she hides it well. If it was out in the open, I would totally read it! But really, what bad things could she be saying? And if she leaves it in the open, maybe she’s just writing innocently?

    I still have my diaries from middle and high school. I wrote one scandalous post (let’s just say it was the first time a boy went to second base!) – I promptly blacked that out with a sharpie. What I wouldn’t give to read that now!

    • I love that you still have your diaries, Lauren! That must be a great read – and some good laughs. I think I might break down and take a look… and of course blog about the contents. Kidding! Kidding!

  2. I am cracking up reading this post. I know exactly how you feel. My daughter for the longest time would not let me read her journal. She finally let me read her writings and I felt a huge blush of pride at what she was creating in her mind. There were no secrets – just a creative mind beginning to bloom with ideas and wonderment.

    She will open up that pink polka dot book to you soon because secretly they want to share, but on a timetable that drives parents simply mad with curiosity.

    I will have to tell you the story about The Moving Alien, sometime. Oh, that little girl with her journal is now a senior in college with a passion for writing, has passed her language arts teacher certification and is studying for the law school entrance exam all because of The Moving Alien story.

    Pink Polka Dots Rule!

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