Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sweets and savories … and politics

He came downstairs from his lair the morning after the elections and rubbed his eyes. Hair sticking up all over. It looked as if he'd been up all night (or slept on his head at the very least).

"Who won?"

I considered changing the subject.

"Cheerios? Banana bread? How about chocolate for breakfast?"

Who won? Met Romney or Rock Obama?”

Such is life with a five-year-old boy who owns a "presidential blazer" the day after election day.

See, on November 5, the day before the 2012 presidential race, the child had decided he was betting the horse farm on the Republican hopeful.

There we were, comfortably ensconced in the living room: I was sitting on the couch, quietly inspecting the insides of my eyelids and basking in the warmth of the wood stove. He was building imaginary cities out of LEGOs on the coffee table.

"I frink I want Met Omni to win," he said, forcing my eyes open and into a cycle of rapid-fire blinking.

"What?" I stammer. "Why do you want Mitt Romney to win?"

He smiles his best Alex P. Keaton grin and lays out his logic:

"Well ... I think that Met Omni will be better for kids. I heard he's going to cut the school day, what would be good for me because I only want to go to school in the morning time and for gym."

I love that he's interpreting information and finding his opinion among the facts and soundbites, but it's not as if I can remain speechless. It reminds me of my own childhood introduction to politics.

Apparently (as the family lore goes) I had informed my father that I would be voting for Mr. Reagan over Mr. Carter because no Red-blooded American child would EVER pick peanuts over jelly beans. It would be an abomination.

And as any red-blooded Kennedy Democrat might, my dad explained in no uncertain terms why I was deluded.

He shook his head and then said something about unions and poverty, trickle-down economics and cavities. “Everyone wants the sweets, but all you get for it is holes in your teeth.”

I didn't care. All I cared about was the candy. Teeth, schmeeth.

Fine, but if you want to vote for Reagan, you'll have to go and live with the neighbors.”

He laughed. I laughed. But we both knew he was serious.

My son could probably sense the same sincerity as I tried to explain to him about how candidates make all kinds of promises during elections they don't always intend to keep. And how sometimes they make promises that, if they were to uphold them, might be bad for us.

To my way of thinking, The Champ's shorter school day (with no-way-of-telling how many sugar-saturated snack breaks and lack of raising one's hand he'd added for good measure) would be detrimental to his education.

He didn't care. He'd rather have more free time and less math time.

Fine, but if you want to vote for Romney, you'll have to go and live with the neighbors.”

Poor kid. His eyes did some quick calculating: If he added up all the free time he was going to have from a truncated school day; subtracted the area of his bedroom and all of the toys inside; and divided that by the number of friends he'd wouldn't be able to invite over for play dates …

He came up with a different candidate.

I changed my mind. I'm voting for Rock Obama.”

I wasn't convinced. He'd had the night to “sleep on it.” His decision could have changed.

Well? Who won?”

Barack Obama,” I said hesitantly.

Yeeeeesssssssss!” he punched the air as he shot past me toward the breakfast table.

I won.”

I know. It's great. … Now what do you want for breakfast?”

I'll have a peanut-butter-samwich. Can I wear my presidential blazer to school?”

And then it hit me: He'll probably grow up to be just like his grandpa.

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