What questions would you ask your two-year-old self?
September 25, 2010 10:58 AM   Subscribe

Help me start an annual 'birthday interview' tradition with my soon-to-be two-year-old. What questions should I ask her?

I'm thinking of starting a birthday tradition with my daughter who is about to turn two. I'd like to record an 'interview' with her each year going forward. I think it would be really neat to have this history of her growing and changing.

I'm looking for ideas for questions or a structure for the interview that could remain somewhat consistent as she grows up. Any suggestions or recommended resources? Any examples where something like this has been done before?
posted by nuffsaid to Grab Bag (15 answers total) 62 users marked this as a favorite
Favorite song? Best friend? I'd love to hear my two year old self tell a story, but I can't think of a consistent question to prompt one...
posted by maryr at 11:03 AM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: I would ask her to tell you the story of the best thing that happened this year. It can be anything she likes that happened since her last birthday. It'll be great for her to be able to look back as she gets older on all of the blessings she has enjoyed in life, year after year.

Also, ask her to tell you the story of her favorite book and what she likes about it. First, because it's amusing to hear little kids recount stories they know, and second, because she'll get to tell you what she's learning and what matters to her.

I also really like, from the last round, asking her to tell a joke. When she's little, sing a song might also be fun, but I can see a 12 year old dreading or refusing that one.
posted by decathecting at 11:17 AM on September 25, 2010

I would ask standard questions every year such as what do you want to be when you grow up which can morph into a more sophisticated what are you life goals as she gets older. I would also ask age appropriate questions now so that she (and you) can have some age appropriate "memories". Questions like what is your favorite kind of cake, toy, etc.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:20 AM on September 25, 2010

Have her create a (top 10?) list of things that she remembers. The memory thing is really interesting. Granted it will be front loaded now, but later it gets interesting.

Also you might ask her what you as a family did together that she remembers.
posted by ptm at 11:25 AM on September 25, 2010

That's a very cute idea. We have an audio recording of my partner (now 61) giving such an interview to his father on his 4th birthday. It's precious.

Have her sing her favorite song each year.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:32 AM on September 25, 2010

If I were you, I'd watch the Up series for inspiration! :)
posted by so_gracefully at 11:34 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Funniest joke.

What does she want to be when she grows up?
posted by Addlepated at 12:02 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Just some background kinds of suggestions:
- Get a shot of her against a tape measure to show how much/fast she's grown
- Have her wear her favorite outfit
- Have her hold and talk about her favorite toy or book or use other props (favorite sippy cup, favorite stuffed animal)
- Include in the video what her room looks like, have her give you a tour

As she's young now, I'd try to avoid really open-ended questions, try to be specific and talk to her about the questions a few days ahead of time to get her thinking so you don't get answers based on what she did in only the past few days. Like, "Wow, we've been a lot of places this past year; the zoo, the playground, the beach, which one was your favorite?"
posted by NoraCharles at 12:10 PM on September 25, 2010

Best answer: For an excellent film version of this:
posted by k8t at 12:20 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think you're going to have to switch the questions up, or at least modify them. Most questions which would be interesting to ask a two year old would be stultifying to a ten year old, whereas most questions I'd be curious for a ten year old answer would be beyond the comprehension of a toddler.

Love the props idea and the idea of a tour of her room, or really anything where she's interacting with her surroundings. That's something that can evolve really naturally as she ages.

Telling jokes and singing songs - also love that. I think that, as long as you're willing to let the questions evolve, that could work well even into the teens. What if "let's sing I'm A Little Teapot" became "sing me a song" became "what's your favorite song?", which became "what song most describes your life right now?"
posted by Sara C. at 12:30 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

The Up series of movies might be another good bit of inspiration. Though those movies start with the children at seven, which is old enough to answer much more complicated questions than a two year old would be able to answer.
posted by Sara C. at 12:32 PM on September 25, 2010

Your question reminded me of this Reddit thread, I Am A 4 Year Old Girl [mentioned in this Metafilter FPP]. It might provide some good ideas.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:22 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ask her what she's most looking forward to in the upcoming year. Ask her what her favorite color is and why (the "why" will be more interesting to look back upon than the specific colors, but it will also be fun to see if it changes every year or remains steadfast). Ask her what she wants to be when she grows up and why (ditto previous parenthesis). Ask her if she remembers any recurring dreams she's had that year (the asleep kind, not the aspiration kind). Have her show-and-tell one or a few meaningful object(s), classroom style. As a two-year old, maybe it will be her comfort blankie or a favorite stuffed animal; as a ten-year-old, maybe a sports trophy, school award, or piece of artwork she created; as a teenager, maybe her learner's permit, driver's license, prom corsage, artwork/musical performance/whatever she's into in 11 years, etc. Ask her to describe her perfect day. Ask her to speak a message to her future self. Ask her what, *no matter what*, she will *never* do as an adult (mine would've, at various points in my childhood, included drinking alcohol, using recreational drugs, kissing, having sex, and getting married. I would love to have myself on video as a child pledging to never get married to play at my wedding reception or rehearsal dinner or whatever one day).

Very cute idea :)
posted by jitterbug perfume at 6:32 PM on September 25, 2010

Who do you hate?
I have memories of a local bully (this was more like 3-5 but still), and I'm very curious if those memories are as accurate and as bad as I remember, or if they've grown out of proportion to the reality.
posted by krieghund at 9:26 AM on September 29, 2010

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