Suburban Turmoil: The Chosen One

Thursday, July 23, 2009 at 12:00am

Like most kids her age, my 5-year-old is as obsessed with her future career path as John Rich is with ruining Love Circle. Make the mistake of asking her what she wants to be when she grows up and you’ll find yourself a captive audience to her mile-long list of future occupations, complete with coordinating hand gestures and facial expressions.

“I’m going to be a policeman, fireman, ambulance driver and a teacher,” she’ll begin. “And a doctor. And I’m going to fly airplanes.” She’ll take a ragged breath and continue as you furtively glance around for the nearest exit. “I’m going to take care of the tigers at the zoo and be a animal tracker and pet detective.” You’ll feel your eyes begin to glaze over as you nod and smile. “I’m going to be a singer, a actress, and I’m going to search for dinosaur bones. And my brother’s going to help me and watch out for danger.”

“That’s great, sweetie… ” you’ll say, hoping to distract her with the fact that Spongebob has appeared on the TV screen behind her.

“I’m not finished,” she’ll say, looking slightly annoyed. “I’m going to be a ballerina and a princess. And a astronaut. And a explorer and a fighter. And I’m going to make video games.”

I haven’t had the heart yet to tell her that we simply don’t have the money to pay for all of the college courses her limitless ambition requires. Besides, her latest occupational goal is making everything else look like…well… child’s play.

“Mommy?” Punky asked me from the backseat the other day. “I think God made me the Chosen One.”

I glanced sharply back in my rearview mirror, where my 5-year-old daughter’s eyes solemnly met mine.

“What does that mean, exactly?” I asked.

She sighed at my dullness. “It means I’m going to save the world,” she explained.

“And how are you going to do that?”

“I don’t know, by fighting or somefing.”

“Okay,” I said, shrugging. “Why not?”

I decided to ignore her new Chosen One status. That strategy had seemed to work well for Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s mom, at least for the first few seasons. But as soon as we arrived at our house, tuning out my little one’s savior complex became impossible.

“There can only be one Chosen One,” she said, squaring off with me over the kitchen counter. “But the Chosen One can have helpers. Only very special people can be helpers, and I’ve decided you’re one of them.”

“Wow,” I said. “Thanks.”

“So what are you going to wear?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m going to wear a red cape and silver boots,” she said patiently. “So I need to know what you are wearing to help me save the world.”

“I guess I’ll wear a golden cape and gold boots.”

“Great!” Punky rubbed her hands together with smug satisfaction. Within the next few hours, she had recruited a few more helpers: her father, her older sisters and the family dog.

But while being The Chosen One was going pretty smoothly at home, her playmates weren’t so into it. As she climbed into the car after her first day at Art Camp, she shot me a morose look.

“I had fun,” she quickly informed me, “but one fing made me very unhappy.”

“What’s that?” I asked with concern.

“When I told everybody I was the Chosen One, only two people believed me.”

“I can’t imagine why,” I said weakly.

“They said I couldn’t save the world. They said if it were that easy, anybody could do it.”

“Well, who did believe you?” I asked.

“The teacher and another girl,” she said. “I told the girl she could be one of my helpers.”

The next day, Punky insisted on wearing a feather boa and princess dress to camp. She also opted to bring homemade cookies for her classmates. It was all part of her strategic, three-step plan. “Step one, convince them I’m a real princess,” she told me as I strapped her into her booster seat. “Step two, convince them I’m a fighter. Step three,” she paused meaningfully. “Convince them I’m The Chosen One.”

“And if that doesn’t work,” I said, handing her the cookies. “There’s always bribery.”


“Nothing, sweetie.”

By the end of the week, Punky had managed to win over a total of four converts. She seemed content with her limited success.

“I just told the ones who didn’t believe me that they’ll have to wait until I grow up, and then go on an adventure with me,” she told me as we headed home. “Then they’ll see how good I fight and they’ll know. I’m The Chosen One.”

I’m still not sure of what to do about Punky’s preoccupation if it continues into the school year, but I will at least use it to my advantage the next time I find myself roped into conversation with a Brag Hag.

“Little Annalise speaks Mandarin and Spanish and she’s quite prolific on her violin,” I can see one of the moms at Punky’s new kindergarten saying after we’ve introduced ourselves and our children.

“Oh, that’s nice,” I’ll say sweetly. “God made Punky The Chosen One.”

I mean, really. How can anyone top that?

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31 Comments on this post:

By: Deanna Piercy on 7/23/09 at 7:08

Heaven only knows this world could use some help. Tell Punky she has another convert. I'll wear a purple cape with my Birkenstocks.


By: purejoy on 7/23/09 at 7:34

most kids just stop at superhero. i love that she thinks BIG.
and if she asked me?
i'd be in. totally in.
i'd love to know the Chosen One.

By: knewman4 on 7/23/09 at 7:40

Hilarious! Punky is incredible. I love the invincibility thinking of this age. What if we were all so confident? Maybe we COULD save the world? My son, who is about the same age, informs me frequently that when he grows up he is going to be a "superhero who never dies." I try not to laugh. Because, who knows?

By: thebloggingmum on 7/23/09 at 7:50

That's so awesome. We need a button for Punky. "Punky: The CHOSEN One." heh.
Funny as always!

By: LivingandLearning on 7/23/09 at 8:06

Hilarious! :D
I love big imaginations.

By: CanuckMama on 7/23/09 at 8:22

That rocks! That's so much funnier than when my 5 year-old (male) neighbour insisted he wanted to be a "mommy" when he grew up.

The Chosen One. Love. It.

By: Maggiesmama on 7/23/09 at 8:22

Bren -

Well SOMEONE needs to be the Chosen One right? There are much worse alternatives that she COULD have picked! I love how original and creative she is in her thinking!

By: learjet on 7/23/09 at 10:48

That is hilarious... she may have older sisters, but she has the confidence of a firstborn. :) And the combo of princess dress and how The Chosen One looks like a fighter? Perfect!


By: Keyona on 7/23/09 at 12:00

Seriously could you ever doubt her word? LOL!

By: ThisHeavenlyLife on 7/23/09 at 12:33

That is adorable :) My 3 year old wants to be two things when she grows up. 1) a fish swimming in a man-made pond at our local plant store, and 2) a good eater. Very specific goals, she has. I'm thinking that of the two, her becoming a fish is the more acheivable goal; she hasn't finished a meal since she was in utero. Approximately.

Wonderful story!

By: motherhoodisamazing on 7/23/09 at 1:52

That is AWESOME. Seriously, you must be doing a great job to have a kid with such an imagination. Two many kids these days are just glued to T.V.s and video games. I taught school before I had kids and I noticed the imagination just isn't there (overall). I'll be her helper (flip flops and a hot pink cape please.

By: motherhoodisamazing on 7/23/09 at 1:52

sorry, my blog address is

By: kellyinprogress on 7/23/09 at 3:15

How very precious little Punky is. I have no doubt she IS the Chosen One! Thanks for sharing!

By: teddi on 7/23/09 at 4:49

at least she has a plan! I'm all for that :)

:Included in my daughter's list of things to be when she grows up is . . . . a snowman. I just don't have the heart to tell her that career will be short lived. We live in Texas after all.


By: gillianeberhart on 7/23/09 at 8:55

This is just crackin me up! What I love most is that you let her wear the princess dress and boa to art class. Awesome.
We recently sucked monsters out from under my daughters bed, dumped the monster in a plastic bag so he could not escape, tied it up and ran it to the dumpster at our apt. complex. We sure didn't want to run the risk of him escaping the bag while in our trash can! Sheesh.
Gillian Eberhart

By: chainsofyesterday on 7/23/09 at 9:59

Okay, this is hysterical... no way can any other playground mom top this one. But I'm curious - WHERE did she get the idea from?
She's got an amazing imagination...

By: motherreader on 7/23/09 at 10:40

Well, you certainly don't have to worry about self-esteem issues for Punky. Plus I hear the Chosen One has great health benefits.

By: freshiebeth on 7/23/09 at 10:45

Indeed there can only be one - like the Highlander. Love the photo with her chef hat on while making the cookies!

By: brooke6277 on 7/24/09 at 2:29

I love, love, love the innocense of a child! Don't you wish they could stay that way forever?

By: zaftig chicks on 7/24/09 at 9:20

It doesn't get any better. My daughter has the disease where she will die if she stops talking for more than 5 minutes.

By: mandiegirl on 7/24/09 at 10:59

Cute. I used to nanny for a very spirited 5 year old girl that reminds me a lot of Punky through your stories. Very good memories. :)

By: justeatit on 7/24/09 at 5:07

Wow, she's gonna start her very own cult. You will be so proud:)

By: rubberbacon on 7/24/09 at 6:42

Have you been watching the Matrix with her? And I can't believe I'm the first to make the Matrix connection. Another strange Matrix coincidence is Obama mentioned the blue pill and red pill in his health care speech.

By: minor catastrophes on 7/25/09 at 2:58

You will not have to worry about this child when she grows up. The photo of her in that dress in warrior pose says it all. I want to BE her!
one mom, two dads, three boys and a very naughty dog...

By: MeredithB on 7/25/09 at 8:06

Awesome. I can't wait to hear how parent teacher conferences go when school starts!

My four-year-old wants to be a dentist, a princess and a whale trainer.

By: carlivia on 7/27/09 at 6:27

Now that's an imagination! Nothing like giving you never-ending material for your (very entertaining) writing. Thanks for a smile this morning.

Pam @

By: bakenate on 7/27/09 at 9:11

Thank you for the laugh. I have a four year old who thinks he was born to fight. He said he would email Punky. I think he wants a job lol.

By: mom et al on 7/27/09 at 12:12

Mom et al

By: mom et al on 7/27/09 at 12:16

We have similar goings on at my household involving Super Heroes. Fortunately for me, I've been recruited as well....providing I can prove that I can fly. Still working on that one.

I love that she wants to be EVERYTHING!!! The world is truly her oyster.

By: NineMonthstoLife on 7/28/09 at 9:32

You don't know me, but let me assure you I am an adjusted, stable, happy 23-year-old.

When I was 6, I did the exact same thing. Verbatim.

For me, I remember (vaguely) coming up with the idea because I learned in Saturday School (Jewish) that the "Chosen One" (AKA, uh, me) would bring peace to the whole world.

Duh, I could do that, I thought. So I started marketing myself. My parents did exactly as you did and tried to humor me.

My grandparents, though, the Orthodex Jews that they are, did not find it amusing.

But I turned out ok! And my grandiose plans of saving the world have only faded slightly.

And to Punky's credit, she swayed far more followers than I managed to. So kudos to her.


By: Cackle Loud on 7/31/09 at 9:35

I don't know - if I were you, I'd keep a look out for any suspicious lightning strikes and watch out for her katana. There can be only one.

(Although it sounds like if Punky's the one, we'll all have a hell of a ride.)