Marisa Mackle: Doctor? Lawyer? My boy's set for the dail
I'd like my son to be a politician when he grows up. I think it would be nice for him to travel the world along with like-minded people, and be on the telly. There was an era when mammies like me would have had aspirations for their beloved sons to become priests or to work in a bank, but not anymore. Neither profession is quite as prestigious as it used to be.
Law and medicine are still popular choices, but the hours are very long for doctors and there are a lot of solicitors out of work at the moment. The last thing I want is for my son to ever be out of work because he'll need to look after me in my old age.
The construction industry has collapsed so it's not an area I'd be encouraging him into, and there must be plenty of architects wondering where it all went wrong. So, taking all of this into consideration, I would encourage baby Gary to be a politician. At least he'll be well fed and watered, and indeed there'll always be the odd session to be enjoyed with colleagues. Who knows, as a close family member I might also get to whiz around in the Government jet with himself and the boys? Now that'd be a laugh alright.
In America politics seems to be all about image and, of course, Barack Obama is a fine-looking man. However, in Ireland we don't insist on our politicians looking like movie stars. Anything but, in fact. And you don't even have to dress up. An anorak will usually do. I think the fact that Ireland isn't image-obsessed will take the pressure off Gary in his quest to become a politician. I wouldn't like to see him killing himself in the gym just to get a job. If he does get elected, he can charge his haircuts and the rest to expenses.
There are people who might accuse me of being pushy. Not so much a stage mum but a political stage mum. Instead of enrolling him in drama school, he will join a debating society where he will learn to waffle at length without ever answering a question.
Instead of kicking a ball, I'll encourage him to do fencing. If he can master a double-edged sword, it'll stand to him in the Dail. But now I'm getting ahead of myself. I mean, Gary isn't even two. He's just started to walk and can't even talk yet. I was a bit worried about his lack of speech until I discovered that Einstein didn't speak until he was three. That put my mind at rest because, like every mother, I already know my son is a genius.
Nevertheless, they say you should talk to your child as much as possible to encourage them. He can say 'car', 'shoe', 'bye' and 'teddy' but I feel his vocabulary should be extended, so last Saturday I kept saying "Mama" and pointing to myself. Then I said "Nana" while pointing to my mother. The child never responded. But the following morning in Mass we found ourselves sitting behind a big Dublin property developer. Suddenly Gary found his voice. "Nama," he shouted. "Sshhh," I said, mortified. But Gary seemed delighted with his new word and couldn't understand why I wasn't, too. "Nama, nama, nama" he kept yelling as I ushered him out of the church with a red face. "He's only saying what we're all thinking," muttered an old woman seated near the church door. Hmmm. Maybe Gary will be running the country yet.