Thursday, February 16, 2012

A month of dead presidents can be confusing

On nights like this, I barely have the will to think, nevermind write a blog post. Jenn's working late, and the boys were ... challenging. The only way to describe an evening like I just experienced is to imagine herding 17 cats through a water-filled tunnel with mice running in the opposite direction. That's how things felt tonight.

But I must admit that the bedtime conversation a few minutes ago was memorable. I had already tucked the two older boys into their beds and was putting the finishing touches on Colin's bedtime routine. This involves quietly singing songs to Colin while rocking him in the dark room – and yes, I just admitted that I sing nursery rhymes and made-up songs to my child.

While I was rocking and singing, I could hear voices, then louder voices, then screaming voices. Thankfully, Colin flopped into the crib and I slipped out of the room. I went back down the hall to visit the two debaters and before I could even ask what they were arguing about, out it came.

Matthew screamed, "Josh thinks President Obama is dead!" I assured them both that the president is alive and well, I asked them to please stop yelling, and I tucked them in for a second time. As I was walking away, I realized that Josh's confusion probably comes from a month of schoolwork devoted to dead presidents. Since Jenn and I haven't progressed very far in our explanations of world geopolitical systems, Josh has a limited understanding of how the nation's government functions. Since Lincoln and Washington are dead, he might assume all presidents are dead.

A minute later, I was in my office when the debate resumed:

Matthew: "Josh, he's not dead!"

Josh: "Yes, he is."

Matthew: "Josh, didn't you hear Daddy? He's not dead."

Josh: "Well, Abraham Lincoln's dead. George Washington's dead. Presidents die. So Obama's going to die."

Matthew: "Yeah, Josh, but then they'll get a new president."

They continued on for a while longer before puckering out. On another night, I might have visited them again to explain things in great detail and eliminate the confusion. But I didn't. I didn't have the strength. Not tonight. Tonight I just wanted them to stop talking. Blessedly, they have.

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