“I’m going to be shut on a Thursday”, Liv tells us through mouthfuls of Weetabix, takes a drink of water and explains: “Thursdays are for being a Cowgirl”.
She’s talking about her Engineering place which, it transpires, she plans to open where the car wash is, “I’m going to take it over when it’s old, you know.”
We make the mistake of calling it her company, which upsets her. “It’s just going to be me, doing one thing at a time.’
Imogen is going to be a firefighter and work night-shift but I overhear them in the swimming changing room talking about an underground tunnel from ‘Liv’s place’ and weekends being mad scientists with their cousin Rose.
Oh, the places you’ll go!
It was World Book Day that triggered this chat, these plans. Their school suggested they dress up as their ‘dream job’ – the idea being that reading can help us toward an exciting future career path.
And so today – a heart-warming collection of little doctors and dancers and pilots and princesses and vets and astronauts and footballers and rockstars – streaming in and out the school gates.
Among them were a happy little firefighter and engineer, but the truth is, initially they wanted to be a Gruffalo and a scullery maid.
I tried not to say the words “YOU CANNOT BE A GRUFFALO WHEN YOU GROW UP!” to my insistent 5-year-old, but I was relieved when she finally let it drop. Similarly, while I didn’t say out loud that a maid was not quite, eh, aspirational enough, I was rather more encouraging when I heard the word ‘engineer’.
I have been thinking, in hindsight, of this theme of reading and knowing and going places. It can help us, of course, become engineers and firefighters (especially girl ones, fist pump). But the places reading gives us access to include the Deep Dark Wood, the wild west and a castle kitchen.
There aren’t enough dress-up outfits for the people we get to be when we open a book, there aren’t enough days of the week for the places we can go if we’re readers.
And honestly? I like the idea of being a Cowgirl on Thursdays.