Tuesday, November 2, 2010

We Voted!

You know what I just realized? If I took all the time I spent reading other people's blogs and spent that time writing in my own blog, I'd actually have a blog worth reading. Seems like a no-brainer, but I hadn't seen that before. So, I've turned off my phone in the middle of reading about how someone else's child celebrated their recent birthday and am going to put up a post before Z finishes his lunch.

Today is Election Day, so Daniel, Zachary, and I headed to the polls after bible study this morning. (So convenient to be already out of the house. Getting two little ones in the car is such a hassle, it's nice to get two things done at once. Not that I ever regret having two little ones, but I like to combine effort wherever possible.) Thankfully D fell asleep on the way and slept the whole time. I had the single stroller with me, so no seat for Z (can I just tell you how much I like having two different strollers?? One with two seats and one with one, depending if I anticipate Z needing a seat or not. Love it. Except for the days I forget what's going on and have the wrong stroller in the car. Oh well.) I spent a fair amount of time while driving explaining to Z what behavior I expected from him. I often forget to do this and regret it later. Toddlers and preschoolers do so much better when they know your expectations! I know this sounds like another no-brainer, but as a parent I often forget that children don't yet know what behavior is expected, especially in a new situation. And today's talk worked! Z did very well - there was no running around, no yelling, no sword-fighting (a recent favorite). I confess I did bribe him with goldfish. Those little golden crackers are my children's favorite currency (yes, D has eaten his fair share of goldfish already, and he's not even 1! Brothers like sharing is all I can say.)

We had paper ballots and Z wanted to "color" too, so I found some paper for him (not a ballot!) and we "colored" together. He told me he wrote his name and my name. I wish I could have taken a picture, but no cell phones allowed and taking pictures with my ballot right there would probably have been frowned on too.

When we left, the exit official gave Z an "I Voted" sticker too, which he loved. Later, someone posted something on Facebook about bringing your kids to the polls to educate them about the importance of voting. I'm sure it makes an impression on them, but what I started wondering about was how other parents respond when they bring their older child(ren) who may have questions about what's going on. You're not supposed to discuss the issues while in the middle of voting, but how do you respond to your child without sounding like you're indoctrinating them or trying to influence those around you who just can't help but hear your conversation? (Ignore them I suppose. Don't like that option either.) Z is at least a year, if not 2 or 3, away from really wondering what's going on at the polls and wanting to know how I'm voting and why, but I'd be curious to know how other moms and dads have handled this situation? I suppose once your kids are in school (and I mean full-time, not the 4 hours that Z does now), you vote while they're in school and the issue is completely avoided. So then who is targeted by articles talking about taking your kids to the polls? Stay at home moms with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers? Of course we're going to take them to the polls! What else are we going to do? The whole point of going during the day is to avoid the after-work rush, and I bet there are very few of us going to pay a babysitter just so we can vote without little ones hanging onto our legs and trying to push the stroller and wake up sleeping siblings.

So, that was our Election Day 2010 and now we get to complain about how our country is governed because we voted (j/k, sorta). And if there are any SAHMs and SAHDs in the area who would also like to complain but would prefer to vote without said little ones, we're home the rest of the afternoon and would love to have friends over and so be absolved of doing any housework for the rest of the day!

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ehart said...

In my state, they want the kids to vote as well and even give them their own ballots and polls so they can. The polls for the Kids Vote is run by the high school honors constitution students throughout the day. One mom of a 2nd grader said her son wouldn't allow her to vote without him. She sat with him while he voted and read the ballot to him. It's visual as well as written so in the end, she was amazed at his logic. If he didn't know the candidates for that office, he voted for the ones with an American flag in their picture because "that means they're for America."

We vote absentee so we can use the internet to research voting records of the candidates as well as the judges and other items on the ballot such as constitutional amendments and tax resolutions. If you visit the website of your local election officer, you can probably print off a sample ballot and discuss it with your sons beforehand. Those are also useful as "cheat sheets" to have in your pockets in case you forget how you intended to vote yourself.

Jennifer said...

I love the "Kids' Polls" concept! I'd never heard of it before. Very cool. A cheat sheet is a very good idea. I wish I'd had one with me for the constitutional amendments. Thanks for visiting, ehart, and I'm sorry I didn't get to your blog very often and comment even less frequently.