|Ella's first election, age 5 months|
|Ella's second mid-term election, four years later--age 4|
Ella's first election was on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010.
She still has those dimples and that crinkle nose smile, and this year--four years later--we spent the evening watching the returns while she was asking me questions.
Looking at the screen packed with head shots and stars and stripes: "Are they ours?" "Is ours the boy or the girl?" "They're both girls." There's three boys." "Did we vote for them?" And cheering.
"Are they presidents?"
"No, they're Senators."
"What's a Senator?"
I explained that there were teams called Republicans and Democrats and that we were Democrats. (Though I do expect that she can make her own choice one day, I think we can do the corporate We for now.)
It was the best returns party I've hosted thus far.
For her story at bedtime, I began, "Once upon a time, there was a fairy princess and she and her mommy and daddy went to the polls to vote for the Line Leader, and the other people that would be leading them all. Because they knew that there were millions and millions and millions of people and they needed a few people to be their leaders and help them get things done...." I told her this whole story about the voting process and winning and losing and learning to work with each other even if we didn't vote for them. When I came to a point where I could say "the end" (not really believing I'd gotten away with it), she wanted "one more story like that."
"Once upon a time, there was a group of friends..." and I named all of her six classmates. "They had a Line Leader, and a Snack Helper, and a Supplies Helper, and a Teacher Helper."
"That's just like my school!"
"Yes, it is. They all had their jobs to do. The Snack Helper made sure everyone had enough to eat, and the Supplies Helper was supposed to make sure everyone had what they needed so that they could create things together." I started listing off school supplies, and she added a few I had missed.
"The problem was that the Supplies Helper wasn't sharing."
Oh, her eyes! How can they possibly get so big at the very idea?
"Everyone could see that the Supplies Helper was piling up the pencils and not giving them to his friends when they needed them. The Line Leader, Snack Helper, Teacher Helper and Teacher talked about the problem and decided that they should ask the Supplies Helper why he was doing that. He said it was because he was afraid that if he shared the pencils, then he wouldn't have a pencil to use when he needed one.
"'That's silly!' said the Snack Helper. 'I share my food with my friends and I still have enough for myself.' After a while they were able to convince the Supply Helper that if he gave pencils to other people he would still have a pencil that he could use. He let them have pencils, and then they were all able to work together with the supplies that they had and they made a beautiful house with the paper, cardboard, tape, glue, stickers, crayons, and scissors. Everyone was happy and the Supply Helper realized that he still had a pencil that he could use, too. The End."