But the worst was repeatedly having to endure the classic taunt, "Cat got your tongue?" to which I wanted desperately to respond, "No, you idiot! Cat got your brain?" But I couldn't, of course. I was too shy.
Now a recovering shy person, I find myself hoping that my 2-year-old daughter will retain her unparalleled ability to speak up -- one of my dearest hopes is that she'll be assertive and confident enough to hold her own in the classroom, on the playground, and in the company of strangers in a way that I wasn't throughout my own childhood.
Christina Frank writes about health, psychology, and parenting issues for several national magazines. She lives in New York City.