Getting to Know My 14-Year-Old--or Trying. Very Trying.

This idea is thanks to The Daily Blonde, who interviewed her 13-year-old son. I show the piece to Younger Daughter and suggest, “We could do this—it will be fun.”

Her: “Sure. Sure as in ‘We can do it,’ not sure as in ‘It will be fun.’”

Later that day, after she completes the latest stage in her quest to re-read all the Harry Potter books—she just hit the speed bump created by #4, which is a lot longer than #3—we adjourn to our neighborhood coffee shop/bakery.

Then to a second, when #1 proves to be—as is always, always the case on Sunday afternoons, and always, always forgotten until we’re looking at the sign on the door—closed after 3 p.m. After ordering, we settle at a table that lets us look out at the cold, rainy street.
it is not a bananaImage by -eko- via Flickr

What do you want to be when you grow up?

She shoots a blue-eyed glare at me from under her eyebrows, since she’s been asking me what she should be for quite some time now and I have apparently not provided satisfactory answers that let her decide her entire future. At age 14. Pursed lips, deliberative pause. She’s so pretty and smart.

There are a lot of things I want to do, but I’m not sure which one. It just has to have something to do with words and people.

Which she knows I just read in her 25 Things post on her blog. She’s picking raisins out of her bagel. That’s my girl!

What are some of the ideas you've had?

Being an English teacher, preferably Honors because—preferably Honors. Or editing of some sort as in newspaper, magazine, publishing house.

We recently discussed the distinction between copy editing and editorial decision-making. I think she means the decision-making kind.

Politics generally, which would be going straight into politics like looking to be a senator or president or something like that. Or going through being an English teacher and then trying to run for superintendent (of public instruction—a statewide office in Washington; we recently discussed whether the teaching profession had any political pathways).

Or train dolphins.

t’d also be really fun to run a coffee shop. I know I wouldn’t make big bucks but it would be fun. It would have to have a cool vibe. I’d want to burn candles but some people are sensitive to them.

Or I could be a trophy wife, go on a reality show.

Talk to me about the dolphin training.

They like fish.

I sense she’s giving up on this whole endeavor.

What do you like about the age you are?

That I have all my options open—well…. Okay, except some certain sports where you have to train since like before you were born. The sense that I have my options open and could do almost anything from here.

What don’t you like?

No one takes us seriously. Adults don’t take you seriously. Also my peers—most of them are stupid. Which is not to say that they’re not nice, some of them—just not smart.

Also I can’t get a job that will pay me enough, like a steady job, because people don’t hire 14-year-olds. I know that I have the responsibility to do it, but because of my age I can’t. All the age limits and everything.

At least I’m tall enough to ride the rides.

Does it make sense to you (that adults don’t take you seriously)?

It makes sense to me that they have more experience and therefore see themselves as higher beings, but it’s really annoying.

Are you going to share your bagel?

Is that an interview question? Is it now? (in a mocking/challenging tone)

Discussion about the raisins we’re now both picking out of the bagel. Nasty, squished-bug raisins, masquerading as chocolate chips. Not that this is a point I’ve made before or anything. We circle back to the interview.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Never Never Land.


Beause I was just joking.

If it were outside the US, it would be someplace like Paris, because come on--French people, fashion, food, coffee, French people.

Or a big city but not in the heart of it. Or a middle city like Seattle where there’s a ton of culture but you’re not flipping off all your fellow drivers—not all of them. Or somewhere near New York.

Or Never Never Land. There are mermaids there, but they were ugly in one of the movies. Not at all your usual stereotype. They tried to play with the mermaid stereotype but it was just ugly. Really fun to play follow the leader and bounce on logs behind Peter Pan, like the little kid with the Indian hat with the feathers.

Treading in dangerous waters, what do you like about our family?

Not too short.

We’re not too short?

Right. How tall am I going to be? Big Sister said about 5’8” or 5’9”.

She lied. What do you like about our family, besides not being too short?

Which one?

The family you live with the majority of the time.

Including or excluding the children?

Sweet Husband’s two kids, The Engineer and The Movie Sponge, are with us alternate weekends & half the summer. Eight-year-old Movie Sponge follows Younger Daughter everywhere, mimics her every move, sits beside YD watching her play Sims, claims to like TV shows she’s never seen just because Younger Daughter likes them. See poem “I Have a Little Shadow.” The Engineer pretty much focuses on making things and taking things apart.

She's stalling.
You decide in your answer.

Let’s see… We’re pretty good-looking.

Can’t argue with that, nor would you want to.

We have fun when we make sex jokes about Santa Claus.

This comment really should be followed by a full explanation about a carful of butt-gusting laughter occasioned by the giant blow-up naughty Santa on North Division who waved at us in leering fashion two Christmases ago. What does a naughty Santa pull out of his big bag of presents? No time though, as I’m having to prompt for answers—they’re not flowing like water here.

What don’t you like about the family?


After an awkward pause, the interview picked up a real head of steam when she prompted me to ask her about boys, making it far too long for one blog post. Boy stuff in another post.

Turn about is fair play; you can read her interview of me.

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