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Dreams I Have for My Daughter

My husband and I love "MasterChef."

There. I've said it.

We love it because it's ridiculous. And just when we think it can't get any more ridiculous, it does. Like that time Joe Bastianich threw a pile of money into a frying pan, drizzled it with oil, and set it on fire in order to illustrate the point that the cash prize at the end of the show was nowhere near as important as the glory of being able to call yourself a Master Chef. I mean really. I can't even.

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Every once in awhile, after I finish making dinner, my husband Michael asks me, "Would Gordon Ramsay approve?"

No. No he would not.

Then "MasterChef Junior" happened. And while I questioned the wisdom of allowing one's child to participate in a high-pressure, nationally televised reality competition show, I couldn't turn away.

I mean really.

Now that the second season is up and running, Michael likes to say to our daughter, "Emily—Are you going to be a Master Chef one day?" And maybe she will. Who's to say she won't? After all, the possibility exists that she will surpass us in everything.

I feel that, as parents, we dream bigger for our children than we ever do for ourselves. We try to nudge our children toward certain interests, perhaps ones we also have or ones we wish we were better at. In reality, the probability that our child will share our interests is just as high as the probability that they will love everything that we hate. But there's nothing wrong with dreaming.

Here are just a few of the ludicrous fantasies we hold for our 4-month-old daughter:

1. America's Favorite Dancer

I can't dance worth a damn, and survived merely one season when my mom placed me in ballet lessons as a child. But I sometimes watch "So You Think You Can Dance with Em," dancing her around the room in loops and twirls and think: Maybe you'll be good at it.

2. Rock Star Yogi

I am a vinyasa yoga instructor, and I love it—both the practice of yoga and the teaching of it—to bits. When I was pregnant, I registered for a baby yoga mat and daydreamed of practicing side by side with my daughter in our sun-lit living room. We now go to mommy and me classes together. But will she drop it all like a hot potato as soon as she's old enough to think for herself?

3. Rock Star, Period

When she screams especially loudly, we predict that she will someday be a singer.

My husband and I are both musical. I played piano and clarinet and also sang weddings and funerals way into adulthood. My husband was the lead singer and guitarist of a rock band. Now the only gigs Michael plays are in our kitchen, as he serenades our daughter. When she screams especially loudly, we predict that, because of those strong pipes, she will someday be a singer.

4. Word Nerd

I've loved reading from a young age and am now make my living as a freelance writer and editor. What I really hope for is that Em will love reading as much as I do. But when I handed her a board book version of "Jane Eyre," she slammed it closed with an indignant growl. Are we doomed?

5. Scientist

My husband is into science, and likes to watch "The Universe" with Em. Sometimes, while transporting her between the car and the house, he'll point up at the sky and show her the stars. He already owns several of the "Geek Dad" books.

6. Athlete

This has nothing to do with me or my husband and everything to do with our families, who think it would be hilarious if the two most unathletic, sports-disinterested people ever ended up with a kid who loves sports. My family is obsessed with baseball. My father-in-law and sister-in-law run marathons. My brother wants to take Em paintballing. There is a pair of Yankees socks in Em's dresser drawer. Ugh.

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7. Web Developer

We both work online, my husband as a web developer and me as a writer. Em certainly gets plenty of inadvertent screen time, which I feel endlessly guilty about. Will she pick up the habit and end up in a pretty lucrative industry, like her dad? Or will she rebel completely and go full-on Luddite?

Only time will tell.

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