I am a happily married mama with three little ladies. I am a teacher, a poet, a playwright. I live on a tiny island in the Pacific Northwest and write babybythesea.net often, or at least when I'm not making espresso or sneaking chocolate.

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Interviewing Children

I’ve been bewitched with James Lipton’s famous interview questions on Inside the Actors Studio since before marriage, before children. I asked all friends these questions over a three year period.  Each answer penned in black ink within a journal from another place in life.  Each answer reveals details, peels away to the character’s core.  This journal sits atop my wooden, unlatched box of letters I’ve moved from state to state since college.

While picking up strewn beads from a broken necklace the other night I opened Journal, 1998-2000 and devoured past, luscious conversations.    All these people still remain in my life.  Some seen through Facebook and texts, with others in long phone calls across time zones, state lines.  Today I thought how amazing it would be to mail these interviews to friends.  Some might not remember their 2 AM answers, their apres ski conversation.  Most remarkable is how their answers would likely be the same, still, after all these years.

Last night, my husband and I smiled over our kindergartner’s report card.  With a teacher conference fast approaching, we asked simple questions about what she likes learning about, what she’s curious about, what she’s proud of, and what she’s struggling with.  Since I can’t even remember what groceries to buy when I walk through the market’s doors unless I have a list, I wrote down her answers so we could share them with her fabulous teacher.  This process at the dinner table felt so official, so important it wasn’t until our three year old pouted a lip and exclaimed, Hey!  Isn’t someone going to ask me any important questions?

Three year old cutie felt left out, while Mama felt inspired.

I quickly grabbed both black pen, college ruled paper and created an interview.

The answers are written as my six-year-old’s first, and my three-year-old’s in parenthesis.

What is your favorite word? Love (Fairy).

What is your least favorite word? S#$! (S#$!).

What is your favorite thing to say when you’re mad? I don’t like this (I’m mad).

What is the profession you’d most like to do when you grow up? A Mommy, Singer & Artist (Animal Doctor).

What profession would you least like to do when you grow up? Scuba Diver (A Laundromat Clothes Washer & Folder).

What do you love? Peace (Babies).

What makes you uninterested or upset? Being Pushed (When someone pushes me).

What sound or noise do you love? Laughter, Giggles (Hammering, Drumming).

What sound or noise do you not like? Sound of sadness, Crying (Loud planes overhead or someone drinking loudly).

What makes you scared? Being yelled at (Thinking about a lion eating me, being in a crowd).

What makes you feel safe? Being with my stuffed elephant (When I have lots of my own space around me).


As they grow, change and move ahead I’ll be curious to see how many of their answers change, how many remain.  I’ll pull this out in our years to come, ask again and record.

Either for a laugh or for a window into their ever-changing being, I urge you to do the same.  As for me, it looks like I need to stop using their least favorite word when I’m angry.  Oops.

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Comments (3)

  1. Pingback: » Spring Skiing Baby By The Sea

  2. Katie Neuman 03/26/2011 at 8:52 am

    Loved this! I started asking Theo questions and jotting down our conversations quite a few months ago. Such a great way to collect little snippets of who they are.

  3. Rachael Herrscher 03/24/2011 at 10:58 pm

    Love this! I have done interviews with my kids too. This reminds me I need to do another one soon. It’s been too long!