We were sitting down to breakfast yesterday when Michael announced that when he grows up he wants to design a huge gun to blast tires in a junkyard. After a moment when my brain simply stalled attempting to formulate an appropriate response, I tried the following: "Well, actually, they usually recycle old tires into things like rubber mats and playground mulch like we saw on that show How Things Are Made. Perhaps you could design a huge tire recycling machine when you grow up?" After a millisecond of thought he rejected that idea. "No, I'll just design a really big gun."
Umm. Okay. I obviously needed a new strategy. "Well sweetheart. You can be anything you want to be when you grow up. You can learn all kinds of things at school." He perked right up at that suggestion and happily told me, "Great! I'll ask Miss Marlene to teach me to make a big gun at preschool tomorrow." At that point there was a huge awkward pause while I contemplated exactly the extent to which that strategy had backfired. Finally I stuttered, "No, don't ask Miss Marlene that..." and kind of trailed off. He came right back with, "Why not?"
Alrighty then... I launched into a huge discussion about how first you go through preschool where you learn letters and art and science and then grade school and high school where you learn reading and math and science and history and art and music.... And then, I explained, when you get to college you can choose to study what you want to be when you grow up. I told him that mommy learned how to be a teacher and a speech teacher. Daddy studied computers. Grandpa studied chemistry. His grandmother learned how to be a nurse. I then suggested that he could study to be an engineer who makes prototypes and plans for things to be built in factories.
At that point, I'm pretty sure he had stopped paying attention. Hopefully the huge long conversation will at least have distracted him from his original intention of asking his preschool teacher to teach him how to build a gun. A mama can hope, right?