Four years ago I sat down with my oldest son for an interview of sorts. I can't remember where I first saw the questions, but I thought it would be neat to find out what his answers were. It was a fun activity, and I've done it a couple times since then -- last year when he was 6, and again just the other day. It's pretty interesting to see which answers have changed over time and which have remained fairly consistent.
Here are the questions, and my son Riley's responses when he was 3, 6, and 7 years old:
What is something I always say to you?
3yo Riley: “Uhhhhh. Mommy.” “Yes?” “Mommy.” “Oh, you’re saying I say ‘Mommy’ to you all the time?” “Uhhhh. Can you turn Curious George back on?” “No, seriously, this will only take a couple minutes.” “Hmmph.”
6yo Riley: "You say ... I need to clean up my room and the carpet room."
7yo Riley: "Clean up your room."
What makes me happy?
3yo Riley: “Notes.” “Like notes you write to me?” “Yeah.”
6yo Riley: "When I hug you. And that makes me feel happy too. I like how soft you are." (pats my arm)
7yo Riley: "When I do something without you telling me to do it. Like, you know, cleaning up my room."
What makes me sad?
3yo Riley: “I don’t know.”
6yo Riley: "When I don't do what you say. Or when Dylan won't give you kisses and you pretend like you're crying. But you're just kidding."
7yo Riley: "That's a toughie. I don't know. When I lose a nice toy you bought me, maybe.
How do I make you laugh?
3yo Riley: “Tickling me.”
6yo Riley: "When you make a joke at me. Like when you pretend to be a bear and you say RRRAAAWWRRR."
7yo Riley: "Like when you tell funny jokes."
What do you think I was like as a child?
3yo Riley: “I don’t know.” “Well, happy, angry, funny, hungry—?” “Yeah! Hungry.”
6yo Riley: "You had fun. You probably liked to play games with your mom and your dad."
7yo Riley: "I think you were like playing with dolls, and going with your mom, and ... playing a lot."
How old am I?
3yo Riley: (holds up three fingers) “Three?” “Yeah, three. Mommy, how many pounds are you?” “Next question!”
6yo Riley: "Thirty-seven."
7yo Riley: "You are almost 38, but right now you're 37." (Close: I'm 38.)
How tall am I?
3yo Riley: “This tall.” (raises arms above his head)
6yo Riley: "About this long." (Holds arms far apart.) "I don't know. You're pretty tall."
7yo Riley: "You are about ... six feet? Is that the right answer?" (No.)
What is my favorite thing to do?
3yo Riley: “Color.”
6yo Riley: "Play games with me."
7yo Riley: "Play with the kids."
What do I do when you’re not around?
3yo Riley: “Um, I don’t know."
6yo Riley: "Read your book. Work on your computer. Uh. Yeah, that's about it."
7yo Riley: "Write on your computer, doing articles. Or play with Dylan."
If I become famous, what will it be for?
3yo Riley: “I don’t know.”
6yo Riley: "For writing. Because you're the best writer in the world, I think. No other writer is gooder than you, right?" (Wrong, but I like where you're going with this, kid.)
7yo Riley: "For that ... for that your children are really great." (laughs, slaps his knee)
What am I really good at?
3yo Riley: “Chasing me.”
6yo Riley: "Doing your computer. Oh! And killing flies with one swap of the fly swapper."
7yo Riley: "You're really good at playing soccer. I mean, a lot of times you hit goals on me. Oh, and writing. I think you're probably the best writer in this family."
What am I not really good at?
3yo Riley: “Uhhhhh.” My husband: “Taking out the trash!” Riley: “Yeah, taking out the trash.”
6yo Riley: "You're a little bit bad at not getting a ticket from a policeman." (Jesus, a person gets ONE speeding ticket in their children's presence ...)
7yo Riley: "Doing a flip in the air." (True.)
What is my job?
3yo Riley: “You go in the excavator.” (?)
6yo Riley: "Your job is to write three articles a day and for doing that you get a check every month."
7yo Riley: "Your job is to be writing articles and stuff because you don't have an office anymore. Hey, I'm glad I'm not in daycare anymore. I'd be one of the oldest kids there by now!"
What is my favorite food?
3yo Riley: “Hmmm. Chicken?”
6yo Riley: "Daddy's steaks that he makes. You say oh, that's the BOMB. I heard you say that a couple times."
7yo Riley: "Salad. Well, you almost like everything that's a food." (Again: true.)
What makes you proud of me?
3yo Riley: “About watching me when I’m watching Curious George.” (Uhhh, okay.)
6yo Riley: "Because you're nice to me a lot. You only get mad at me once in a while."
7yo Riley: "That you beat me sometimes when we play games. You know, like soccer."
What makes me proud of you?
3yo Riley: “When I clean the toys up.”
6yo Riley: "For cleaning up my room without making you say. When I'm a good big brother. Also when I pick flowers for you."
7yo Riley: "Remember when we had gym class? And Dylan hit me but I didn't hit him back? You were definitely proud of me for that."
What do you and I do together?
3yo Riley: “Get marshmallows tomorrow. Hey! Can we do that?”
6yo Riley: "We read books about mouses. We do P.E. together, like jump jump jump." (jumps around for a while distractedly) "We shoot the BB gun target."
7yo Riley: "When we have a Mommy and Riley day we watch movies and eat popcorn. Sometimes we go to the store together, just me and you."
How are we the same?
3yo Riley: “You look like me, your eyes are the same as me.”
6yo Riley: "Well, you're a girl and I'm a boy. I have short hair and you have longer hair. But wait a minute, we both have shirts like this!" (points to my sleeveless shirt) "Maybe tomorrow you could wear one and I could wear one."
7yo Riley: "We both get really dark tans during the summer."
How are you and I different?
3yo Riley: “Your hair looks funny.”
6yo Riley: "Because you're big and I'm a little kid."
7yo Riley: "You are a girl and I am a boy. And you have longer hair than I do. You're bigger and older, too."
How do you know that I love you?
3yo Riley: “I don’t know.” “Maybe like at bedtime when I tell you I love you?” “Yeah! At night night time.”
6yo Riley: "Because you're a mom. Moms always love kids. Even if they're babies and they poop all over, they still love them!"
7yo Riley: "Because you're my mommy! Moms always love their kids. Also, because you're a Sharps. The Sharps family all loves each other."
What is one thing you wish you could change about me?
3yo Riley: “I don’t know. CAN I WATCH CURIOUS GEORGE NOW.”
6yo Riley: "I would like to change you into a kid like me. So we could play together with toys. You could share my airplane!"
7yo Riley: "There's nothing I'd change about you." (Awwwww!)
What do you wish you could go and do with me?
3yo Riley: “Go get marshmallows.”
6yo Riley: "I wish we could do Mommy and Riley day when we get ice cream together. I like those days."
7yo Riley: "Um ... go to the store and buy another Green Ninja. Because, well, I sort of lost mine."
Have you ever tried a quiz like this with your kid?
Image via Linda Sharps