Think back to your childhood and try to remember what you wanted to be when you grew up. My dream job of choice has fluctuated over the years, but I think that my first fantasy was to be a princess. Not the sort of princess you might be picturing — a very specific sort of princess, related to the worlds of books and lands full of dragons and wizards and magic (and the occasional beautiful gown). Of course, I eventually realized that I couldn’t be a princess (especially the sort of princess I wanted to be), and I moved on to other possible jobs.
[President: Thomas Jefferson pillow doll by Late Greats; Presidents of the USA book by Elizabeth Graeber; Make-up Artist: Make-up wooden toy by Armadillo Dreams; Fireman: Puppet by Cate & Levi; Meteorologist: Storm toy by trootoys; Weather toy set by Armadillo Dreams; Sun print by Finka Studio; Farmer: Strawberry counting and sorting toy by Aly Parrott; Baker: Vintage mixer toy from SoYesterdaySoCool; Vintage toy cookies from Vintage Toy Town; Vintage oven at bettiecouture; Musician: Microphone scarf by Ann Moore England; Wood teether guitar by Little Sapling Toys.]
If you asked me what I wanted to be in elementary school I probably would have answered “a writer,” but if you found my yearbook from eighth grade it would say “interior designer.”
[Veterinarian: Wooden girl and cats by miela siela; Paint the Jungle zine by Paiorfa Editorial; Doctor: Vintage doctor playset from The Wild Burro; Dentist: My Sweet Tooth rubber stamp by The Small Object; Writer: Pencil scarf by Sara Carr; Vintage Tom Thumb typewriter toy at aliciaanais; Ballerina: Vintage book from Elizabeth Wren Books; Botanist: Leaves puzzle by Manzanita Kids; The Little Florist vintage kit at Front Street Antiques; Paleontologist: Dinosaur prints by intheearlyhours.]
The interest in interior decorating was short lived — by the time my senior year of high school rolled around and another yearbook editor was asking the “what do you want to be?” question, I was back to writing again (with “shop owner” thrown in for good measure).
[Astronaut: Wooden rocket rattle by Bannor Toys; Astronaut stuffed toy by Jungs and Sohne; Zoologist: Wooden animal balancing puzzle by Tinocchio; Forest animal blocks printable PDF by pukaca; Plush lion by finkelsteins; Hungry Lion, Hungry Bear flannel board story by ABC Sensei; Zoo By Numbers book by BADABUM; Hippo bean bag by ilSaccotto; Architect: Modern dollhouse by New8th Furniture; Empire State Building knit toy by Colette Bream; Wood building blocks by Kutuu Blocks.]
Shortly after receiving that yearbook and graduating, I worked for my town’s recreation department for the summer. I spent many hours sitting at a picnic table in the shade of some pine trees coloring and crafting with a crew of 5 to 8 year olds. While we scribbled and sharpened, I’d interview them and take notes on their favorite books, movies, pizza toppings and ice cream flavors. At the end of the summer I’d send them home with their own little yearbook filled with facts about their friends. Naturally, I also included their dream future job. I always loved the kids who would have a super-specific answer, like the boy who really wanted to do something with plants (I added “botanist” in this post in his honor).
[Carpenter: Wooden workbench by A Summer Afternoon; Tool baby rattles by fede; Vintage Lincoln Logs from Krause Haus Antiques; Photographer: Wooden toy camera by Twig Creative; Artist: Frida Kahlo pillow by Jane Foster; The Little Artist print by Abel Jimenez; Scientist: Science Print by Lisa DeJohn; Vintage Scientist Sam book from Moonkitten’s Timeline; Chef: Felt food by CreationsByM; Vintage salad dish set from Grandmother’s Attic; Pilot: Airplane pillow by Little Korboose; Fashion Designer: Vintage paper picture weaving dolls from Linda Paloma; Librarian: Let’s Read print by Cuddlefish Press.]
Little 7-year-old-wannabe-writer-me always appreciated a journal or book; I’m sure that your aspiring architect would adore a heap of blocks to design some buildings with and a prospective patisserie owner could use a pretend oven to test recipes.
What does your son or daughter want to be when they grow up? Your niece or nephew?