What do you want to be when you grow up?

English: Paleontologist Matt Smith at work, Jo...

Flora turned 8 last week, and she’s seriously rethinking her career plans. It’s adorable. I am celebrating her life angst (Flora: “But can one be a veterinarian AND a paleontologist AND a museum curator AND an artist? AND maybe a horse-trainer?” Jane: “Yes. Possibly not all at the same time, but you know, life is long.”) by revisiting a conversation from the summer of 2008. Flora was 3.5 and Cinder just over 6, and they already had career plans they were happy to discuss with one of their aunties.

Auntie: So, Flora, what are you doing to be when you grow up?
Flora: I’m going to be a paleontologist, and dig up dinosaur bones.
A: Wow… well, you certainly live in the right area for that.
(We’re in Calgary, a stone’s throw away from Drumheller and the fossil rich badlands)
Flora: Yes, but I’m going to be a paleontologist in Patagonia.
A: Patagonia?

Patagonia. It’s where all the dino-digging action was in 2008.

Cinder enters the conversation: I already have a job. I do it every day, whenever I feel like it, for as long as I like.
A: Cool. What is it?
(Me–really curious. And really no idea as to what the answer would be?)
Cinder: Blowing up things.
A: Blowing up things? Cinder, you’re scaring me.
Cinder: Oh, nothing too dangerous. Mostly just baking soda and vinegar, you know. It’s so much fun, and I can do it over and over again, and try to make different kinds of explosions. And sometimes I add other stuff to it.
A: Maybe you’ll be a demolition man when you grow up.
Cinder: What’s a demolition man?
A: Someone who blows up stuff–like old buildings.
Cinder: Or blasts tunnels through mountains, or to make highways?
A: Yeah…

— conversation steers back to pinecones and what-not for a while, takes a side-detour to helicopter-flying–he has helicopters on his pajamas and she suggests perhaps that could be his job, but he’s not interested, although Flora pipes in that being an airplane pilot would be a pretty good job, and flying a plane, as well as riding a horse, are good skills for a paleontologist to have “because you never know.” After a prolonged interval, Cinder returns to the topic of his job.

Cinder: I also like setting fires.
A: What?
Cinder: Pretty safely, you know. My friend and I, we use magnifying glasses sometimes to use the power of the sun to burn things and make smoke. It’s pretty cool.
A: Cinder, you’re really scaring me. Blowing up things, setting fires…
Cinder: Oh, I like to do other experiments, where things don’t blow up, too. But sometimes I accidentally make noxious fumes.
A: So what are you going to be when you grow up?
Cinder: Oh, just me. And keep on doing stuff. [pause] But I’ll probably be taller.

And can I possibly add anything to that?

Photo: Paleontologist Matt Smith at work, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (NPS Photo;  Wikipedia)

More like this: Be the Fossil on UndogmaticUnschoolers.wordpress.com

And  big thank you to MomTimes4 for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award on her blog yesterday. I will pass on the love properly later in the week, but xoxoxo to a lovely lady in the meantime.

23 thoughts on “What do you want to be when you grow up?

  1. Those are some smart kids you have there!! When my youngest was Cinder’s age, he was really into burning & blowing things up. Hate to admit it but he is 17 now and STILL has not outgrown that! Loves messing around with fireworks, likes to do weird and sometimes scary experiments in the kitchen…I can’t decide if he is going to end up being a wealthy inventor or a mad scientist!
    Congrats on your award–it is well deserved!

  2. That is great! Such smart kids – it is amazing how smart sometimes. One of my girl’s wanted to be a book publisher in Kindergarten but now she is 11. She wants to work in forensics. hahaha Great blog!

  3. Oh man, your kids are so advanced! When my daughter was in Kindergarten she said she wanted to be a sheep when she grew up, in 1st grade it was a swimming lesson teacher (she still can’t swim herself) and now she’s a bit more ambitious with a music teacher or a contestant on American Idol!

  4. We are living parallel lives. My seven year old daughter wants to be a thousand things too! Veterinarian is just one of the many. Though she’s been cracking open her journal at 6:30 a.m. to record her stories. I may have a writer on my hands!

  5. So dang cute! My four year old loves dressing up like his daddy – in his “work clothes” and kid-size tool belt. He tells me he’s going to work and to call him when it’s time for supper. LOL Oh my gosh…so adorable.

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