A few weeks back, whilst eating dinner with my host family, the classic question of 'what do you want to be when you grow up?' arose, to which the twelve year old answered something along the lines of a fashion designer with the chance of a singing career attached on the side and the five year old... a dinosaur. Obviously. I'm pretty sure that a university somewhere will provide a study in how to become a dinosaur among the other, equally as valid, subjects such as 'shoe studies' (I genuinely met a girl at university studying this).
Actually, to go off on a tangent, I couldn't help myself but to do a quick good ol' Google search for the top ten most ridiculous university courses and the results were honestly more bizarre than I was expecting. Among my favourites is 'Arguing with Judge Judy' which is stated as being 'NOT about the application of law or the operations of the court system', but 'students interested in argument, TV and American popular culture will probably be interested in this course'. Probably. I think that says it all really. 'Oh, Look, a Chicken!' is another legitimate sounding course title, with the ambiguous course outline being: 'embracing distraction as a way of knowing'. Suddenly studying to become a dinosaur doesn't sound so absurd. I will iterate that these courses are only available in the US. Go figure.
Though, I am slightly worried that the five year old is developing a new life goal of becoming a musician. The shrill, banshee cries of an abused recorder being blown directly into my face are doing no favours to my ear drums. And who made the rule of having to be encouraging to children when they show an interest in things that are apparently cultural? I think it's definitely not the done thing to answer a child's question of whether you are enjoying their music with a string of ways in which you would like to see their instrument be destroyed; the less humane, the better. I suppose you have to convince yourself that even Beethoven was once a beginner. I'll take the dinosaur, thank you.
I just love the way children's minds work in such hilarious and unpredictable ways. Another great example of this was when I was having a conversation with my five year old little buddy about animals. After mutually agreeing that pigs are very dirty because they lie in mud all day he declared that he found cows the most scary because their eyes are so small on their heads. I had never considered this before, but I started to understand where he was coming from, they are fairly bulgy, yet in terms of diameter are unnervingly small in proportion to the rest of their face. In the end I convinced him that they are good because he likes milk. Although he still wasn't sure as he said chocolate milk is better. So I asked him where chocolate milk comes from. He then went quiet for a little while and I could see in his face that the cogs of his brain were turning, his head cocked to one side like an inquisitive puppy and proceeded to say 'ummmm, mice, I think' with such surprising clarity that I even believed him for half a second myself! Where on earth did he pluck that piece of utterly arbitrary information from? The only thing I found myself able to muster as a reply was 'oh yes, of course'.
But these musings aside and back to the initial question itself, I realised that 'what do you want to do when you grow up?' is for me synonymous with 'what do you want to do now?' The overwhelming realisation that I'm an adult and am expected to act like one was brought painfully into the foreground and that my days of dreaming of being a dinosaur are definitely at an end. Boo hoo. Having said that, playing Juno (junior uno) for, on average, six hours+ a week (and secretly enjoying it a little bit) definitely helps harness the whole growing up too fast thing.