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Being 10 in 2010: Monnik Williams and LaDaysha Lucas

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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Think of your life as a popsicle. The years are layered, flavor upon flavor. At the center, hidden by time, is the popsicle stick. You can add 50 more flavors, or lick them all off, and there it will be: the quintessential you -- ever-present, unchanged.

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That stick is you at age 10.

You were stubborn or reflective or effervescent or introverted. You were full of certainty, confidence, bluster. So what if you didn't know what you didn't know? There was no Who Am I yet. You could still locate the thinnest ray of light in the dark and skip in it. Blue moods didn't last so long; a hand at the back pushed you forward. Maybe it was a Darwinian survival skill; maybe it was God's way of protecting you; maybe it was your parents. Maybe it was just the magic of being 10.

But what about 10-year-olds growing up now? Wars rage, terrorism lurks, the planet is warming, jobs are vanishing, poverty is growing, there are more children diagnosed with disabilities. There are the influences of the big M Media (Miley Cyrus pole dancing?) and the little m media -- video games rated M, for Mature; XXX Web sites; Explicit music; texting and sexting and sexual innuendo permeating even the bubble of childhood.

What does it feel like to be 10 in 2010? We decided to take a stab at it.

We won't pretend that the three profiles of Washington-area children we publish here reflect every 10-year-old, or even most of them. Nothing that grand. But we'd still venture to say that, despite all the bad influences and grown-up-world worries that surround kids today, there remains something timeless and magical about being 10.

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MONNIK WILLIAMS AND LADAYSHA LUCAS

By Monica Hesse (hessem@washpost.com)

When Monnik and LaDaysha turn 18, they are going to live in an apartment together. It will have a pizza place in the living room (but not gross pizza, like at the school cafeteria) and a McDonald's, which will be open 24 hours a day and will serve them unlimited triple cheeseburgers. Monnik and LaDaysha will pay the cashiers one dollar an hour, which is a lot of money, so the cashiers should be ready to work really hard. There will also be a buffet, a racecar track, a movie room that will play all of the "Bring It On" movies, including "Bring It On" movies that have not been released anywhere else, and a separate cheerleading practice room. No boys will be allowed; Monnik and LaDaysha don't think anyone should date until they are --

"Twenty!" Monnik says.

"No," LaDaysha says. "Twenty-two!"


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