A recent conversation in the car:
“So, Axel, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I asked.
Mostly, I asked because I was trying to get away from our daily discussion of what day it is, and why it is that day, and when it will be a different day, and if I am certain that it is Wednesday, not Tuesday.
I was not quite prepared for his response.
“A dad,” said Axel,
“That’s great. You’d be a fun dad.” (Lots of internal oohs and awes. How sweet. He wants to be a dad, to take care of other people! He loves babies.)
“Yeah. You wanna be a dad when you get older?” he asked,
“Well, sure.” (It doesn’t seem like the time to derail the conversation by noting that I am biologically incapable of being a father. We’ll leave all that sperm meets egg stuff for later.)
“OK. Yeah, I’m gonna be a dad.”
“I’d be really excited if you were a dad. When you are older. Much, much older. Much much much older. In your late 20s, at least. You’d be a good dad.”
“No, I’m going to be a bad guy dad.”
(Ummm, what? Cue visions of deadbeat fathers and jailhouse tats.)
“What’s a bad guy dad?”
“Someone who gets in fights and jumps in a car to go to the pirate ship.”
(Yeah, sweetness is all gone. My only solace is that he didn’t mention prison, making people walk the plank, or his hidden cache of automatic weapons.)
“Yeah! And I’ll be a pirate that will scare people. A scary pirate dad!”
“But you’ll have friends, right, like pirate friends, and you’ll take care of them?” (Yes, this was my weak attempt to get away from the violence. Pirate friends! Friends to help you pillage! Like a bad guy dad gang!)
“Yeah, I’ll be friends with them. We’ll scare people together. Mama, I need a scary mask. Get me one today!”
“Hey, did you know it’s Tuesday?”
Later, he very enthusiastically repeated his ambitious future goals to Sean: “I am going to be a pirate dad. A bad guy dad. I’ll get in fights!”
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Jonas responds to the question by saying, “Yisss!” or “Dogdog” or, his new word, “Moooose.”
A moose and a bad guy dad getting in fights and scaring people. Oh, we will be so proud.
So, what do your kids want to be when they grow up?