For going on a year now my daughter has had the ambition of growing up to be an international jewel thief. Interest in this career path was sparked when she began to research gems, rocks, and minerals. One trip to the hall of gems at the Field Museum in Chicago later……I’m saving for bail not college. She intensely studies security cameras when we are out and about. She shows no hesitation asking skeptical guards about what security systems they have in place. Forget it if an armored vehicle drives past, she insists we follow it. She is very interested in safes and how they work. She asked for rope, wire cutters, and a circular glass cutter for her birthday. She got Legos and chapter books instead.
While we were running errands after swim lessons yesterday I was stunned when she announced, “Mom, I have decided what I am doing with my life. I am going to be a foster mom.”
This is the child who has zero interest in marriage, domesticity, and an even smaller interest in having and raising babies. Not that she has to be married to be a foster mom, I just didn’t think raising a family was something she was interested in. She doesn’t particularly care for babies, she never really asks to hold them nor shows an interest in playing with them. She loves animals and animal babies, but as she recently told me, “Human babies gross me out.” I wasn’t sure she had full understanding of what it is foster parents actually do.
“You know that means you have to raise little kids, right? Unless you only took in teens.” -Me
“What are you talking about? Gross, I’m not raising babies. I’m mean a DOG foster mom. That’s what I am going to be.” – eight year old Amelia
“Oh! A dog foster mom. Well that is a good thing, too. There is a need for foster homes for shelter dogs, breed rescues, puppy homes for therapy and guide dogs….” -Me
“I just don’t know how I will fit in my science.” -Amelia
“Actually, there is a lot of really cool science taking place using dogs. We can look it up online. Dogs can smell when blood sugar is off in a diabetic and warn them before they have an insulin crash, dogs can help people with traumatic stress and really bad dreams, dogs can even smell cancer. There is a lot of research going on with that right now. Maybe you could be a scientist at the Center for Disease Control or a research facility and foster the dogs who help you research how to help people. You could be a scientist and a dog foster mom.” -Me
“Well I’ll be!” -Amelia
This morning at breakfast Amelia seemed upset and was sighing heavily into her bowl of cantaloupe. I asked her what was wrong and she replied, “Now I know that I can be a dog foster mom and scientist, I just cannot figure out when I will fit time in for my work with bats.”
“What do you mean, ‘your work with bats’? What bats? When did this start?” -Me
“Last night. I’m using bioluminescence to capture them and then I study them.” -Amelia
“Uh huh. Did this research start before or after you asked for that shoe box last night? I thought that was for fireflies.” -Me
“Oh, honey.” -Amelia
“Before? Or after? Amelia what will I find if I go upstairs and open that box?” -Me
“Well, if you don’t ever open it then you’ll never find anything.” -Amelia
“WHERE. IS. THAT. BOX.” -Me
And now it seems I’ll be transferring the bail savings to pay for a series of rabies shots once I find that damned box.
You know, all this “we need more girls in STEM” rallying…..I’m not sure we’ve fully considered the implications here……and what responsibility we have as parents to society when we raise mad scientists. Rabid mad scientists…..