Thursday, October 25, 2012

A career for every day of the week

Mary Clare is just now starting to talk about what she wants to be when she is older. Jobs are a big deal to her, and people who help others get top billing. Helping is a big deal to three-year-olds, and firefighters, police officers, doctors, nurses, teachers and the like are all stars in Mary Clare's world. (No word yet on what she thinks about pharmaceutical sales or the ambiguously titled role of a creative manager.)

For the longest time she was stuck on being a doctor, just like our pediatrican, Dr. O'Neil. She would tell us time and time again that if kids were hurt, she would fix them. While I would like to think she was finally showing signs of empathetic behavior, I think she was more swayed by the fact that our pediatrician's office hands out stickers and Lorna Doones after every visit. I know this because she made a big point of telling us—and Dr. O'Neil—that when she is a doctor, after she fixes kids she will give them stickers, vanilla cookies and chocolate cookies. Chocolate cookies, it appears, are going to be a key differentiator among pediatric practices in the 2040s.

This week Mary Clare expanded her list of potential careers to include a teacher, a builder and, in a nod to ambiguously titled jobs, a worker. And then yesterday, as we drove by a bus, she proclaimed, "Someday, when I'm big, I want to ride a bus. No! I want to drive a bus." And then softly—dreamily, even—she said to herself, "And I be so happy."

Go for it, kid. As long as you don't inherit my driving skills.

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