At 8:56 p.m. last night, I'm all settled onto the couch, bowl of ice cream in hand, laptop fired up to CNN, Politico, MSNBC and the Political Junkies section of our local cyber-coffeehouse site for moms in our state. This is my Super Bowl.
"Mom-meee?" says Betty. "I can't sleep."
Usually this means that she a) wants to read; b) wants me to read to her or c) wants me to lay down with her in her twin bed till she falls asleep. Options A and B were sufficiently tried earlier in the evening; Option C was not an option last night.
"Betty," I said firmly. "I am watching something on TV in three minutes. It's not Hannah Montana, it's not Barbie Island Princess, it's not Dora. It's the stupid presidents." (That's Betty's terminology, not mine, and yes, we've been trying to convey that they are candidates only, and they certainly aren't stupid. That only applies to ... well, you know who.)
"You have a choice," I continued to Betty, in my hopefully-authoritarian sounding parental-tone reserved for bedtime procrastinations. "You can go back to your bed or come down and lay here on the couch and watch the people who want to be president." As much as I'd like to instill some political knowledge and passion in my kids, that desire was overruled by my hope that the debates put her to sleep.
She came downstairs and settled next to me on the couch. Barack Obama started talking, and her eyes lit up. She was grinning. We're doomed, I thought. That charisma and star-power is going to keep her up until midnight, I thought.
"Oh, Mommy! I never heard him talk before!"
And with that, a political junkie was born.