Posts Tagged ‘5-year-olds’

Preschool Politics- March 4, 2016

Friday, March 4th, 2016

I think we as Americans are collectively realizing this is no longer a joke. This ridiculously brazen reality TV star billionaire is somehow inching closer to becoming the leader of the free world with each new idiot he recruits. When I say I know no one who is supporting Donald Trump I literally mean I know no one who backs him, or would admit to backing him. I scratched my head as I watched Super Tuesday returns showing Trump winning seven states while Facebook friends vented outrage and my Twitter feed filled with #nevertrump.

One Trump opposer in my life is the loudest. I’ve watched her disgust for him grow with each debate clip or Today Show interview she happens to see. After cartoons, of course.

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Yes. My five year-old is a staunchly against Donald Trump. Let me be clear when I say my husband and I had not said much about him before the fall. That’s when our little girl was skipping through the living room early one evening and stopped in front of the TV. CNN cut to Trump speaking live at an Iowa campaign rally. She carefully eyed him through the screen. He carried on with his usual rants about walls and how everyone, even immigrants who would be kept out by his wall, love him. She asked who he was and what he was doing. I said, “That’s Donald Trump. He wants to be President of the United States.”

She scowled and said, “Mama, he is rude!”

From the mouths of babes, amiright? This is when the questions began. They say 5 year-olds ask 900 million questions a day or something like that. I’m convinced 890 million of those are to request a snack. On this particular day, she saved 10 million questions for an impromptu preschool civics lesson.

Her: “Why is he so rude?”

Me: “Well, he is like that. That’s how he chooses to talk.”

Husband: “Because he’s a blowhard!”

Her: “What’s a blowhard?”

I scowled at my husband.

Me: “He just doesn’t say things in the nicest way.”

Her: “Why is he gonna be the President?”

Me: “Well, we don’t know that he is. He’s trying to become president.”

Husband: “Lots of people are trying to become the next president this time. They give speeches like that to try to convince people to vote for them.”

Cue our explanation of voting: “When Mommy and Daddy go to the fire station and you get a sticker. That’s when we’re voting.”

Her: “What about President Obama?”

Me: “Well, his time is almost up. You can only be president for eight years.”

Her: “Who do we want to be President?”

I thought carefully about this. I remembered asking my parents the same thing. The first election I really remember was Bush vs. Dukakis in ’88. I was seven. We had an election in our 2nd grade class. I watched debates with my grandfather in ’92. I remember pondering the political choices of my parents and grandparents. They are the first shapers of our politics and civic mindedness whether we agree with them or make a complete 180 degree turn from their views.

Me: “Well, I like Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. They’re different from Donald Trump. I like what they have to say better.”

My husband went on to talk more about Clinton and Sanders. She listened before turning back to the TV. “BOO DONALD TRUMP!” She shouted. We chuckled. She lost interest in CNN and found her “My Little Ponies” as you would expect from a little kid. Months later, her dislike of Trump continues. This week she channeled her inner journalist with an in-depth one-on-one interview with Trump. She did apologize to Cookie Monster for making him be The Donald for this game. I can’t make this up.

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I had to talk to her when she made her own version of a protest sign with an index card and a chopstick using Disney “Frozen” markers. She marched and shouted “BOO, DONALD TRUMP! BOO, DONALD TRUMP!” Her chants started to sound less spirited and more nasty. This hurt my heart a little. She doesn’t watch that much news, right? Could the nasty political, discourse in our nation be influencing her young mind? Was she reading Huff Post? She can’t read words that have more than four letters, where was this coming from? I stopped her chant and explained that just because we aren’t voting for Donald Trump, that doesn’t mean we need to talk nasty about him. It’s a fine line to walk. Yes, I want her to be passionate about politics and protest what she feels is injustice in the world, but not do it in poor taste.

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That’s when I suggested she make a sign that is in favor of the candidate she wants to win, versus a negative one against Donald Trump. “Okay! I’ll make one with stars and sparkles that says ‘Go Hillary Clinton! You are the best! You are better than Donald Trump!'”

Sigh.

Or, I can just make plans to pay for a Poli Sci degree and watch her run a fierce smear campaign against the Republican nominee when she graduates in 2032.

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Keep Lying- December 3, 2015

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

I just wanted to have The Ellen Show on TV Wednesday afternoon while I cleaned and got things done. Ellen is awesome. She’s doing that Christmas giveaway thing and audience members lose their minds. It’s funny.

No Ellen. “Breaking news.” “Mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.” “Multiple fatalities.” That familiar wave of horror went through me and settled in my chest. I watched for a moment before going upstairs for something. The kids were upstairs in their rooms. My 2-year-old son was waking from a nap and my 5-year-old daughter was playing. When I came back downstairs she was there, standing in front of the TV. She eyed it. I watched the question I expected come to her lips. “Mommy, what happened?”

“Some people got hurt,” I explained.

I turned it off. We hurried out the door for dinner at church where she happily sang with the preschool choir. Adults said prayers for southern California as our phones buzzed here on the east coast with updates. “Searches for suspects.” “Standoff with police.” It all continued to unfold on the other side of the country as our evening went on.

In the car on the way home a news update came on the radio at the half hour with the latest from San Bernardino. I hear from the back seat, “Mama. Am I going to get shooted by a gun?”

Her question pushed on my chest. The weight of it stalled my breath. The worst image any parent can have came to mind. I said, “No baby. You won’t be shot by a gun. Why do you ask that?” I knew why she had asked. She said, “It was on the news on TV.” I assured her it was okay and that it happened far away. She said, “Well, are you and Daddy going to be shot by a gun?” I promised we wouldn’t.

I changed the subject and mulled over my answers to her as we brushed teeth and got in bed. As I tucked her in I gave her the whole Mr. Rodgers speech. The “look for the helpers” quote.

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I lied to my 5-year-old. I lied to her. We are lying to our children when we say “No, baby. You’re safe. You won’t be shot by a gun.” It’s a lie because they could be. As we’ve learned in the past decade any of us can be shot at a mall, movie theater, university, elementary school, church, medical clinic, holiday office party… I can’t even remember all of them now. Who can? This Washington Post article explains that on the 336th day of 2015, San Bernardino marked the 355th US shooting. Oh, and it was the second one on Wednesday. There was another in one of my favorite US cities, Savannah, Georgia.

In my mind I’ve played out scenarios of what I would do if I was at Target, the park or the grocery store with the kids. Hide or flee? It depends on where we were. Would the kids know to be quiet if we had to hide? How fast can I run with both of them? Let me be clear, I’m not a paranoid person. I don’t live in fear day-to-day. I just keep it in the back of my mind. My child does not show signs of any anxiety or excessive worry at this point. She’s only five, though.

We cannot honestly tell our children they are safe. Even quoting Mr. Rogers isn’t that comforting. My daughter asked who the helpers were. I explained that police officers and EMT rush to help people when they’re hurt. But, wait. What about children in communities with strained relations with law enforcement? Would a black child in Ferguson, Missouri see a police officer as a “helper?” What do their parents tell them?

Maybe all we can do as parents is lie. We can keep telling kids it will all be okay when we really don’t know if it will be. We can just keep lying.

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