He is going to be an astronaut, a missions specialist to be exact.
We've been learning - on and off - about space travel, the sun, the planets, and all things astronomy since about January. It's been a lot less structured than I prefer, but he's learned a lot, and all of the sudden moderate interest has transformed itself into an encompassing obsession.
We've painted constellations on our ceiling, explored everything there is to know about the sun, talked about planets and moons, colored a printable book from NASA, read library books about space travel, and all sorts of other things, but one of the biggest things he has loved is this audio CD we have called Space by Twin Sisters' Productions.
I dug that CD up out of my mom's basement, let him listen to it once, and he has been hooked ever since.
To be completely honest with you, I originally thought he simply enjoyed it because of those dreadful, upbeat tunes (yes, the kind that drive me crazy because I get the song stuck in my head and walk around all day humming, "I'm feeling light as a feather! Bouncy as a ball!"). I didn't let him listen to it that often even though he would ask me all the time. His constant pleading got the best of me, and I had been letting him listen to it occasionally but didn't really think about what kind of impact it was having on him - that is, I thought he was listening it more for the upbeat tunes than the lyrics. Silly me.
Needless to say it took me by surprise when all of the sudden, in the past week or so, he has walking around the house telling me that he wants to be an astronaut when he grows up, and that he has to be really good at math and science because he wants to be a missions specialist. I'm a bit embarrassed that it did catch me by surprise so much because, after all, I should know better. That is, that we all too often underestimate kids and how much they're absorbing, how much they're paying attention to. It's one of those, Practice what you preach! sort of realizations which actually happens to me quite frequently. Oh well, you like and you learn.
He knows most of the songs almost completely by heart, even though he's probably listened to the whole CD less than two dozen times. The first song, called When I Grow Up, goes as follows: (which, sadly, I typed these lyrics out from memory)
When I grow up I want to be
Something very interestingThe job I'll do will help a lot of peopleAnd I'll like the work that I do
Each day will be adventurousAnd I'll strive to learn a lotThen I'll share what I know and our knowledge will growIt's the perfect, perfect job
Space travel has always been fascinating to me
So when I grow up, I want to be an astronaut
I know I'll have to study hard in school, be in good health, and work well with others
I either want to be a pilot astronaut, or a missions specialist
If I'm a pilot astronaut, I'll first have to become a jet pilot
If I choose to become a missions specialist, I'll learn how to do space walks, satellite launches, and experiments in space!
Now science is important so I'll study hard when learning about biology!Experiments in chemistry will help me learn to develop good hypotheses!And I'll read and I'll read and I'll read some more,And I'll share just what I learn
'Cause when I grow up I want to beSomething very interesting!
So there's a little glimpse into our life right now for you. Hunter, dreaming big, as all little boys do. It's fun to feed his passions, to encourage him, inspire him, because you never know whether or not he may one day realize his obsession. Perhaps, perhaps not. Either way, it's enjoyable, healthy, and beneficial for him to have a vision like that, even if it does change over the years.
Oh, and the side benefit? He has recently become hugely enthusiastic about math again. For a while, he had me worried, not worried-worried but just a little, er, curious about what he knows and doesn't know. But he's back to his normal self again, solving equations like it was nothing, loving math and also pushing me to teach him all sorts of different sciences. It's been a small breakthrough, and at just the right time, too.
It's been a fun adventure, which may last a week or a year or a lifetime, who knows. All I know is that I'm encouraging his dreams and loving every minute of it. And, it never fails to make me laugh every time I hear my four-year-old tell me he is going to be a missions specialist, (especially with his cute, minor lisp, the word specialist is incredibly adorable). It's times like these I will look back on for years to come, enjoying the wonderful world of life with a preschooler.
"When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour."
Hunter is 4 years, 1 month old