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.
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?
— 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.
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.