Political socialization is occurring around here. Last week, Curious Girl saw a New York Times with a photo of President Bush on the cover. She stopped, cocked her head, and clucked, "Oh, Mama. Look at that. He's the one who doesn't listen. Mmm, mmm, mmm." "Mama, he needs a new job, right?"
This morning, she wanted a placemat at breakfast, and ran over to get one from the drawer. She came back carrying the president placement. "Will you tell me about all of them?" Sure thing, I said. "That's President Bush. He doesn't listen. That doesn't make you happy, Mama. We're going to get a new president." She pointed to several more presidents: Bill Clinton, then George Washington up top ("the very first one? is he dead now?"), John Adams ("For real did he marry Abigail? Is she dead? is he dead?"), Thomas Jefferson ("Violin?"), James Monroe, John Quincy Adams. Musically-minded readers will be catching our fondness for 1776 here (it was the first--and actually only-- movie I saw at Radio City), which makes John Adams more of a real figure to Curious Girl than he might be to most other five year olds. (here I pause for a small moment of disbelief at being the parent to a five year old.)
"John Adams!," she says. "John Adams! Mama, help him talk." I oblige. "Yes, Curious Girl, good morning."
"John Adams, this (pointing) is President Bush. He doesn't listen, so we are going to get a new president."
At this point, I realize I have no idea how to predict what John Adams' political views might lead him to believe about the Bush presidency. So I settle for "Well, I hope you like the new one."
"I like Hillary Clinton. She listens. That's good. He doesn't listen. He is the one not paying attention to the world. And that's not good!"
John Adams agreed: it was important for the president to pay attention to the world.
"John Adams! There is another Adams (points to JQ Adams). What was his job? Oh, I know, President, like you!" (giggles)
Then she moved down to Bill Clinton. "I like Hillary Clinton." Bill told CG that he helps Hillary as she runs for president, and that he thinks Hillary is very smart. At this point, CG's political stamina had run out, so she changed the subject, and told Bill all about how she was taking her first trip to the dining hall at school, and reviewed the rules of being in the dining hall with him.
In the car, she asked for 1776, and identified all the singers. "She sings so beee-yoo-tifully," she sighed about Abigail Adams' first lines. After her bath tonight, though, she wanted me to be John Adams and she was Abigail. "The children have the flu," she informed me, and we had to drive them to the hospital so their broken parts could be fixed.