Monday, September 22, 2008

How the Republican Party Improves My Parenting Skills

These new Republicans are great at politics and lousy at governing, but they deserve credit. They've given me a lot of good parenting tips.

Spin the Truth

I took Luke and Max to the car show festival on Sunday, and there was a booth set up for building cars out of zucchini and racing them pinewood derby style. The boys picked out their zucchini and stuck in their toothpick decorations, and I tacked on the wheels.

When it was their turn to race, I knew one of the boys was going to have hurt feelings. What I didn't know was how to handle the situation. I thought about going with the old "you win some, you lose some" theme.

The starter lifted the bar, and down flew Luke's car in first place, well ahead of the other vegetables. In contrast, Max's car was still stuck against a wall near the top of his lane. The race official redirected the car, but it kept turning into the same wall. He turned the car backwards. Same pathetic result. Finally, he just took Max's zucchini car off the track and handed it to me.

Luke was joyous. Max was near tears. What now? What would Karl Rove do?

"Luke, your car is the fastest in a straight line. And Max, your car is the fastest in a circle. But this isn't a very good track for fast-circle cars."

"My car is the fastest in a circle!" proclaimed Max.

If You Can't Spin, Lie!

After the Leadville race a few weeks ago, Max and Luke were having a difficult time understanding how I had managed to win a medal and a belt buckle without winning the entire race. I didn't have a good answer for 4-year-olds. While I trained hard, raced well, and pushed myself so much during the race that I ended up in the emergency room, I managed to finish in 504th place. I'm number Five-Oh-Four! That's not what they want to hear.

"Yes! I won the whole race!" I declared. After all, they weren't there.

"No, he didn't win," said Wendy, playing the role of an elitist blogger who wanted to make the situation needlessly complex with icky nuance. "He just won a buckle for finishing in under 12 hours."

"No, I won the whole race!" I said in my best John McCain impersonation.

Use Ironic Labels Unironically

In the spirit of the Clean Air Act, which made industrial pollution restrictions more lax, I came up with a great idea for feeding the boys lunch. I put a bunch of healthy food they don't like in a bowl and called it a Fun Bowl.

"Hey, do you guys want a Fun Bowl for lunch?"

"YES!!!"

A word of warning. A Fun Bowl needs to have more than carrots, broccoli, and the like. You need to throw in a few marshmallows or gummy fruit. There has to be some truth in the label, or it won't work.