Friday, July 17, 2009

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up

When I was a kid, my parents and their friends seemed to ask me this question nonstop. At first, because I didn't talk very much and they wanted to engage me and later because I would routinely provide answers like "a table or maybe a lamp", much to everyone's entertainment. I'm sure if I grew up in symptomatic America, those responses would have gotten me institutionalized.

But I didn't, so I continued with my furniture and furnishings aspirations.

I swore that I would never ask my kids. But I broke that swear.

I don't ask them a lot, but sometimes I do, to see which way the wind's blowing and to gage how badly Husbandrinka and I should panic over our diminishing 401k plans.

My son wants to be a professional baseball player, which is a huge relief because they make tons and tons of money. He also has an interest in being Darth Vader, on a part-time basis, but I'm hoping that he'll grow out of that and just focus on baseball.

My daughter doesn't understand my question.
"I don't know," she says. She's 11. When I was 11, I knew that I wanted to be a banquet table, so I don't appreciate her laid back attitude about her future.
"It's not written in stone," I lie, jotting down some bullet points for Young Ladrinka's major league contract, "what do you think you want to be?"
"What or who?" she asks, but I suspect that she's just buying time.
"Who. I mean, what. Like a job."
"A journalist."

Of course. At camp, they've been reading The New York Times and every day she greets me with news of an ethnic conflict in China. "That's nice, honey," I tell her because for the first three days, I thought that she was talking about Tienanmen Square and I was feeling all 80s and nostalgic about it. And speaking of the '80s, I'm also sort of nostalgic about Madonna, because honestly, I hardly recognize her now.

So a journalist and a baseball player. Not too shabby.


Blogger *Akilah Sakai* said...

Not to shabby is right.

My 6-year-old son wants to be a rockstar and spy ... at the same time.

My 9-year-old daughter wanted to be a doctor but changed her mind becuse of the blood. Then she considered being a vet but doesn't care for getting bit by a dog or snake. She's still up in the air about her career if the two of them don't form a garage band together.

July 17, 2009 at 2:25 PM  
Anonymous peajaye said...

i think we all have a better understanding of why you were so hostile toward the altruistic & intellectual kathy ireland now. you resent her, not because of her modeling past, but because, being a home-furnishings maverick, she's living your girlhood dream in a certain sense. wow.

July 17, 2009 at 2:46 PM  
Blogger Tooj said...

I'll get back to you on what my 4 year old wants to be. I can't recall his latest answer. The 15 month old, however, aspires to be the next Dr. J-H. He's seriously got personality issues.

July 17, 2009 at 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Andrea's Sweet Life said...

My 5 year old wants to be an artist and a ballerina. We've gone ahead and started saving for her, because, someday we hope she'll be able to afford to move out.

My 2 year old wants to EAT when she grows up. So, yeah.

July 17, 2009 at 3:05 PM  
Anonymous Coco said...

I love Andrea's Sweet Life comment about them moving out. I so can relate. My youngest owed me a chunk of money but we told her if she moved out we would forget the money. It worked. For a little while.

July 17, 2009 at 3:24 PM  
Blogger Keyona said...

Not shabby at all. Mine wants to be a cop. What the fuck? I know. In my defense my mom and dad are both cops and they make that shit look cool.

July 17, 2009 at 3:49 PM  
Blogger Amy said...

Madonna. Her face has been pressed and startched. But I'm not saying that to her tight face because with those man-arms she could punch my head right off my shoulders.

July 17, 2009 at 4:00 PM  
Anonymous C @ Kid Things said...

My 5 year wants to be a chef. Sounds good to me, since I don't really like to cook.

July 17, 2009 at 4:08 PM  
Blogger Aunt Becky said...

Pretty sure Alex is going to a used car salesman.

July 17, 2009 at 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One day my daughter sarcastically replied, "A hooker." I took a moment to contemplate my answer and then said, "Well I wouldn't approve but I would still support you as much as I can. Now how about we make that appt. with the gyno?"

Wishing you a scent-sational day!

July 17, 2009 at 4:45 PM  
Blogger Carolyn...Online said...

I'm so impressed that you wanted to be furniture. That's so very clever. And peculiar. Which is awesome. I just wanted to be taller.

July 17, 2009 at 5:08 PM  
Blogger WhisperingWriter said...

Those are pretty good jobs.

My son wants to be in the military. Of course when he saw the garbage truck picking up our trash this morning he was all, "That job looks cool too." Hrm..

My daughter is only two so she thinks she gets to be a Princess when she's older.

July 17, 2009 at 5:50 PM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

I want to be a famous writer and a fashion photographer. Oscar wants to be a trapeze artist.

July 17, 2009 at 5:58 PM  
Blogger p said...

Don't be surprised if she actually does become a journalist. My mom did the same thing to me, she asked me what I wanted to be (I was maybe in the first grade at the time?) I told her I don't know and asked her what I should be. She jokingly said I should be a doctor (typical Asian.) Lo and behold, after giving astronaut, Power Ranger, vet, Britney Spears' back up dancer, and fortune teller a try... I now have my sights on going to medical school.

July 17, 2009 at 8:56 PM  
Blogger Jeanne said...

I have no idea what my daughter wanted to be. Does that mean I'm a terrible mom?

July 17, 2009 at 10:06 PM  
Anonymous Sophie, Inzaburbs said...

My eldest would like to be an astronaut, my daughter wants to be a "Superstar Mom", and the little one wants to be a caterpillar. I think I need to start saving 20 years ago.

I personally wanted to be an actress. A banquet table might have been more of a realistic choice.

July 17, 2009 at 10:38 PM  
Anonymous Halala Mama said...

So child just wants to be walking and feeding himself, which at 9 months is not a bad goal.

July 17, 2009 at 11:42 PM  
Anonymous Vicki said...

When I was little and in teh Russias, my parents also asked me this on a regular basis. "A Writer," I would always yell out with glee, high off having just written a 4-page narrative about a girl and her pony, replete with illustrations. They would shake their heads. "No, I mean what you REALLY want to be," and give me a little seemingly-innocent nudge. "I mean, a geneticist," I would say, and mom and dad would collapse to the floor in relief because Writers Don't Make Money. Somewhere down the road, I slacked on the geneticist thing and became an economist. So, long story short, make sure to waterboard your kids. Eventually they'll fall into something profitable. Like baseball.

July 18, 2009 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

My boys, for the longest time, had the same answers to the "what do you want to be" question:

Eldest: I want to work at Microsoft. But not doing any designing or anything. I just want to THINK of programs and have someone else create them. (hmmmmm. Sounds like a primo job.)

Middle: I want to be a dog. (No shit. A DOG.)

Now their answers vary a bit. We get "geologist" or "soldier" or "can't I just live here?" (Um, NO. No, you cannot.)

July 18, 2009 at 6:46 PM  
Blogger That one girl said...

I used to hate that question too. I mean, seriously, what the F?

But I think it does give you a glimpse into a kids personality.

I wanted to be a stuntwoman or a firefighter when I was five and when I think back, I was a pretty rad kid with some pretty failed aspirations.

July 18, 2009 at 8:28 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

My middle child wants to be a veteranarian. That is precisely why she doesn't eat me (she just informed me). My son just wants to make sounds affects, so I got no truly verbal response, but an audible response that counts for nothing. My oldest wants to be a lawyer like her mommy and so I spend a lot of time telling her my days suck so she will think of something else to be when she grows up.

July 19, 2009 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Jo said...

Okay. So the first time I ever asked my five year old this question, he responded with "Someone who doesn't have to work." BRILLIANT! I continue to check up on him every few months and he is pretty much set on this goal. Now I just have to define whether that means that WE will be supporting him or he is planning on winning the lotto. *sigh*

July 19, 2009 at 9:10 PM  

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