It appears Claire is learning some bad habits, no doubt from absorbing the mindless drivel that seeps out of the TV and talk radio I unknowingly expose her to. Not only can she identify Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann by sight, but she's also able to recognize the Fox News Channel - not because of my incessant screaming of "you lie!" at the screen - and proudly declares, "Fox News is propaganda!" But that's not the worst of it. Yesterday, Claire discovered a Toys-R-Us catalog in the junk mail pile. Seeing page after page of toys on display, she assumed the catalog was hers. After paging through it, she eventually started telling me, "Papa, I want this and this and maybe this, and..." Essentially, we're looking at about $2,300 worth of battery-powered jeeps, inflatable bouncing pits, a water slide and a sandbox. Are you listening, Grandpa and Grandmas?
Tiring of listening to her tell me over and over and over again what she wants, I decided to ask her, "How do you think you can get those things?" She responded, "You and Momma will get them for me." Ah, of course. But like most parents, we definitely don't buy her anything she wants. I mean, seriously, who can even do that? You can't walk through Super Target without her pointed out a half dozen things she wants (although I did buy her a can of Pork-N-Beans yesterday after she said she wanted to try them). So I told her, "You need to earn rewards like toys. Do you know what 'earn' means?" I doubted she knew, but I've found it best to try to ask her more questions than she can ask me if I ever want to experience a few minutes of quiet. To my astonishment - and disappointment - Claire replied, "Yes... I have to do what you and Momma say." I was shocked. She was on the right path but veering off toward the ditch.
Getting back to my original point about her developing bad habits, it appears she's already learning the game of politics. More specifically, in order to get elected, promoted and/or attain power, you have to do whatever the special interest lobbyists tell you to do. "Public service" has become an oxymoron - emphasis on moron - at least in the case of national politics (see also Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, etc.). But Claire's got an uphill battle if she wants to be a national politician. First off, she's not a 75+ year old rich white man with a huge forehead, shiny dome and annoying southern drawl. Seriously, do we need any more 80+ year old senators? I'm talking to you Arlen Specter, Robert Byrd and John McCain. Okay, so McCain isn't 80 years old, but he sure as hell looks like it. Anyway, at least Claire's being raised by a couple of left wing lunatics (I guess that's what you call anyone who disagrees with conservatives these days), so maybe she'll actually develop a strong sense of - dare I say it - empathy should she choose the path of public service. But I'm still holding out hope she'll be the next Lindsay Whalen. Note: For you non-Minnesotans, Whalen's a Minnesota high school and U of M basketball standout who recently signed a contract to play professional hoops with the Minnesota Lynx. Should that day ever come, I'll be sure to be knocking on Claire's door holding my Golfsmith catalog pointing out, "I want this and this and maybe this and..."
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the (future) distinguished senator from the great state of Minnesota: Claire Elizabeth Stewart