It’s incredibly fun to guess at what our children will be and do and love when they grow up. The kids give us sneak peeks now and then when they’re tiny, and then, as they grow older, start to develop real interests and are able to articulate them. Our oldest, Tomas, is already in that latter phase. Tristan, the baby, is still in the sneak peak phase. Phoebe, perpetually in the middle, is somewhere in between.
Tomas, now nine, has forever been a bit of a hedonist. One of his favorite books as a three year-old was “Bali Living”, a coffee table book with fabulous photos of Balinese villas. Not your typical toddler pick. He’d sit cross-legged on the floor and gaze at it for hours, his rich curls tumbling over his forehead. He’d point out the features he wanted to have in his villa when he grows up: the infinity pool overhung by frangipani trees; the super-sized soapstone bathtub; the spacious open-plan living room with 360 degree views of emerald rice paddies. The luxury villa is still a part of his vision, though now his big plan is to live in a penthouse apartment in a major metropolitan city, probably Manhattan, where he’ll play shortstop for a pro baseball team, probably the Yankees. Our remote mountaintop scene is not a part of the picture for him, he says. “I just want to live in a city. Why, oh why, do we live in the middle of nowhere?” he bemoans his current setup.
Phoebe, who’s five, has strong interests, pretty typical for her age, in princesses and fairies and their glittery accessories. We fight a constant battle with her sparkle dust, which has a tendency to reappear at disadvantageous times and in the wrong places, e.g., all over the leather seats of Phoebe’s grandfather’s new car, or on Gary’s brow when he’s heading into a meeting with top people at an important organization. I’m guessing Phoebe will grow out of these things, or will at least resign herself to the minuscule likelihood of becoming a queen when she crunches the numbers on available princes in line for the throne. She does show other interests and talents that I think will be lifelong ones, and that may even portend her future career. She’s a wonderful artist, demonstrating vast patience for and focus on creative projects requiring enormous dexterity; she’ll sit for hours to draw, paint, glue, and sculpt playdough figures. A few weeks ago she was listening to music on a synthesizer keyboard her grandma bought the kids. The piece was a form of Asian muzak, something you might hear in the bathroom of a Chinese restaurant. Moved by the synthetic zither sounds, Phoebe whipped out a piece of paper and her box of markers and drew the picture that the music generated in her head: an Indian princess on a spotted pony, swathed in a mist of floating musical notes. In addition to her artistic interests, Phoebe loves being a farm girl: she likes to plant seeds in the garden, dig up worms, and harvest radishes and carrots, and the other day she had her first go with a power drill. My daughter may be an artist/organic farmer in the making.
And Tristan…well, the sneak peaks have been loads of fun and, occasionally, if we weren’t the chilled out parents we are, some might be remotely alarming. There’s the fairly standard toddler-age fireman obsession, which recently took a new turn. At a community fire awareness event we attended, an elite team of helicopter firefighters showed up — eight tall, handsome men and one petite pretty woman. Tristan was in awe of the guys, but when he saw the woman he turned to me and, breathless with excitement, he said, “Mom, Mom! I don’t want to be fireman. No, I want to be fireLADY!” Beyond firefighters, Tristan gives us potential glimpses of his future self in the incredible costumes he wears almost every day. A few of my favorites are below, with my conjectures about what they may herald for my youngest son’s future.
Pink Princess Fire Chief. At this young age, Tristan already knows you can be big and tough and fight fires and look pretty. May he always be comfortable with such seeming inconsistencies.
Fairy Godmother of the Henhouse. Maybe he’ll raise poultry, using his fairy magic to confer better egg-laying on his hens.
The bon vivant. At two, Tristan already enjoys a good foot spa. May he always know how to enjoy the small pleasures of life!
You can never be too safe. Tristan is all for safety gear — helmets, shin guards, pads, masks, his big brother’s baseball cup, often all at once. I’m hoping this portends a future in athletics or safety gear production rather than one in automobile crash testing.
Pro wrestling under the alias Puff the Magic Dragon. I’m hoping not…
The Gloved Avenger de Papillon. Perhaps Tristan will be an avid naturalist and defender of butterfly habitat. Clothed only in his butterfly wings, and wielding a baseball bat to keep the log skidders at bay, he’ll bring the attention of the public to the many threats facing the monarch.
Who knows?! This one keeps us guessing…