Mother Knows Best

I thought I would record my predictions, along with my children’s own predictions about their future professions. Each time one of them muses about their ambitions, I chuckle at the lack of insight into their own obvious talents. So, here we go…

What Julia says: My eight year old daughter wants to be a Broadway actress. She has a flair for the dramatic, which is evident when she performs with her theatre group. This stage presence is also obvious at home where she directs her own academy award productions with such catchy titles as “Jonah accidentally but on purpose bumped into me and the pain is excruciating,” or “You can’t be serve chicken again for dinner, we just had it three weeks ago last Tuesday.” She has been drawn to the stage her entire life; before she discovered theatre, it was dance, and she certainly has the whole diva thing down. She “forgets” to clean her room even when she is reminded at three second intervals, and expects the plate fairy to clear her dishes. Somehow, she even gets her friends to carry her book bag around school.

What Mom says: The odds are stacked against my little Sarah Bernhardt. Even with the talent and the drive, there’s always someone more talented and luck has too much to do with one’s theatrical success. She will often ask me if I think she will “make it” as an actress. I am a hard core realist, and have let her know she needs a plan B. (Footnote: My friend thinks I should be more encouraging of my nine year old’s dream, and perhaps she is right). However, no one knows Julia as well as I do, and I have devised the ideal career for her, one where she can utilize her theatrical skills: litigation. My daughter should be a lawyer. How do I know this? First, it is in the blood. My side of the family is lousy with legal professionals. Next, she has demonstrated she has the talents that a successful lawyer needs. For instance, she is a ruthless contract negotiator. Recently, I asked if she would watch her baby brother while I tried to make some phone calls in the next room. I offered her five dollars. She asked for ten. I said no. She came down to seven. I said that seven would be fine if she performed the task well. She balked. She did not believe her payment should be contingent upon her performance. In the end, she refused to babysit him.  She was showing me she meant business for the next time we had to go to contract on something. Another example: her powers of persuasion are remarkable, and she will stop at nothing to reach her goal. One night after dinner we told her she couldn’t have dessert. It was not a punishment so much as it was a lesson in nutrition based on whatever she had consumed the rest of the day. Julia just wouldn’t take no for an answer. After the pleading persisted and it was clear she was in for the long haul, I had, what I like to call, inspired parenting. I told her, if she could write a four paragraph essay, with an introduction, two body paragraphs, and a conclusion stating why she should have ice cream for dessert, I would indulge her. Julia hates to write. I doubted she would do it. But she did. She got her ice cream. She should get her JD.

What Jonah says: Jonah wants to be what every self respecting five year boy wants to be: a Fireman. His love of fire is clear, he is first in line to volunteer to strike a match or blow out a candle in our house. On strolls through town he stops and gazes lovingly at the fire trucks parked in the driveway of the firehouse. He dressed as a fireman for Halloween for three years, and I think the saddest day of his young life was when he had to pass down his fireman boots and raincoat to his baby brother.

What Mom says: Jonah will not be a fireman. He hates loud noises. He freezes and clutches his ears when he hears a siren a mile away, so how is he going to ride the truck with the nosie blaring in his ears? He could never do night shifts. He is a walking disaster after 5 PM, and the idea of being conscious past 7 PM is not going to work for my boy. Besides, he is a klutz. He would break his leg while he learned to slide down the pole. However, Jonah does have many talents, and it is my belief that he will one day be an elected politician. Mayor, perhaps. Congressman, maybe, or even senator. All the signs are there. First, he lies. And he is not a proficient liar, either. This is a must for a politician. Once, while he was playing in my car, I asked him where my cell phone was. It had been on my desk and had mysteriously disappeared when Jonah went outside to play in the car.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I haven’t seen it.”

“Jonah, if you tell me the truth, you won’t be in trouble. It is always better to tell   the truth.”

“I didn’t take it, REALLY,” he replied as he batted his eyelashes and made a sudden swift movement with his hand in the direction of the back seat that ended with a thump.

I poked my head in the car to investigate, and much to this mother’s shock, my cell phone was lying in the back seat! I looked at Jonah who immediately burst into tears, “I forgot I had it! REALLY!” Yes, my son is a liar and a bad one at that.

He is also charismatic, with excellent leadership skills, another must for a politician. Recently, he organized a theme party for all his buddies at camp. He issued invitations, decided upon a time, date, and location for a “Bakugan party.” All of this without adult knowledge. In fact, until I started to get phone calls from the moms of the other guests, I had no idea of his plans. Bakugans are best described as little mutant magnetic balls that have the under ten males in our town selling their own blood to own. No little girl thinking clearly would ever wish to own a Bakugan. However, Jonah, always the ladies man (another famous trait of many politicians) even managed to get the girls excited about his celebration. One of my friends’s even had to buy her daughter a bakugan which I seriously doubt she has looked at since the party. Yes, I am quite certain that one day I will be able to say “My son the Senator.” I may not vote for him, though, unless he changes his views on child labor laws and decides that children should actually clean up their rooms and help around the house.

Jesse: At two, Jesse is too young to articulate what he wants to do. He has some definite interests, though, so after much consideration, I have decided on a career path for him. The little guy is fascinated by churches. He has spent all of five minutes inside a church, at a Christening where he was promptly removed after loudly protesting when we told him he had to whisper. This seemed to have been a pivotal experience in his life, though, because from this moment forth, every time we pass a church-and he seems to be able to identify them all- he will inquire, “Is that a church, Mommy?” Now, as we are Jewish, a career in the ministry or priesthood is out of the question. So, it is my belief that Jesse is destined to be an architect. Churches are beautiful structures, be they gothic in design, or plainly New England, as the one in our town. I believe it is the beauty of these buildings that is attracting Jesse. And while his siblings have shown no proclivity toward art and design, Jesse constantly wants to draw, paint and use play dough. Recently he has begun to walk around the house with a pencil tucked behind his ear. He is young of course, so before I lock him in, I will see how he does with the blocks and legos in preschool.

So, it is all very simple. Mommy knows best. My offspring need to cast their childish dreams away and leave their futures in the hands of their very capable, insightful mother. They may not be happy but they will surely be successful. I just need to figure out how to tell them.

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Published in: on July 25, 2009 at 4:23 pm  Comments (1)