Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election

Yesterday was the election. Grinning broadly, nervous hands poised to display their photo IDs, my kids approached the poll. As they neared the door, a man (my husband) disrupted their path with bags of pretzels and an exhortation to "Vote for the jungle gym! A vote for the jungle gym is a vote for exercise!" This in spite of the fifteen crayon clad posters on notebook paper throughout our house urging us to "Vote for the Pop-up Camper!" "Pop-up Campers ROCK!" Some with fabulous artwork to boot! In conjunction with the campaign speeches from the night before and Olivia's spontaneous Halloween candy handout on Sunday, punctuated with "Vote Pop-up Camper!" and "We appreciate your vote for the Pop-up camper!", the campaign itself might have deterred a lest ardent polster, but not Josh! He was at the door in full force! The vote would have been unanimous, too, were it not for my voting booth conversion to the Jungle Gym camp. (Contrary to Josh's probable supposition, it was NOT the pretzels that swayed me -- I just wanted to mix things up....and I thought a jungle gym might be fun:).

The vote was spurred by two factors: 1. Our involvement in the whole process (campaigns, primaries, debates, etc.) of the OTHER election, and 2. The undecided Grand Prize in our family reading program. For various reasons, I put together a project (complete with a giant wall hanging of a flower whose stem we will climb toward the grand prize should have seen what I IMAGINED it might look like!) to keep everyone excited about reading. Each family member maintains individual point breakdowns [i.e., Olivia gets 10 points for a picture book, 50 for a chapter book, etc.; Josiah gets 20 points for letter sounds, 30 for three-letter words, 100 for easy reader books, etc.; they both get 10 points for every sibling listening when they read their books (more if the book is longer); Josh and I get smaller point values for books we read to the kids, 500 points for books we read to ourselves... (which almost never happens anymore), and (this is a rider proposed by my husband, who, I think, is getting a little anxious over my project) I get 2000 points for every chapter of my dissertation that I finish. Everyone is rooting for mom, now! (Even more than before!)] We get a family fun day at 3000 points (leaf #1), a membership to something at 7000 points (leaf #2), and a grand prize that was subject to such debate that we decided to cabbage onto family election hysteria (we are a house divided, which makes for constant conversation) and vote on it, formally.

THE POP-UP CAMPER WAS VICTORIOUS! In spite of Dad's lobbying, the kids stuck to their guns and voted their consciences. So the center of the giant construction paper flower was adorned today with a picture that I found online of someone's father in front of a random pop-up camper. If I've estimated appropriately, I should be able to put $10 per week in a jar to significantly offset the cost when the point total is attained. However -- they've been reading like mad, so I'm anxious to see what the Saturday tally reveals! (Anxious in every sense of the word!.....Better start finding ways to fill that jar early, I think!).

You should have heard the victory speeches. Josiah noted that "With a pop-up camper, I would never have to be homesick!" and Olivia walked us through a series of "Can you sleep in a Jungle Gym!? (Well, maybe you can...but...) Can you cook over a fire next to a jungle gym (maybe, I guess....but....) can you take a jungle gym with you? No! And does a jungle gym have beds!? NO! Pop-up CAMPER WINS!!!!!!!!"

And then (my favorite), Josh's concession speech (which I will botch horribly, I know, but even if I got every word right, I could never capture the spirit and intensity with which it was delivered...or the uber-political hand gestures that accompanied it). "We fought a good fight...ran a good campaign for the jungle gym. I want to thank all of our supporters, my staff, and everyone who voted for the jungle gym. We congratulate the Pop-up camper on its victory. It was a well fought race. And rest assured, we will be back. This is not the end of the jungle gym." No. I'm sure it's not:)

After the vote, the tally, and the celebratory hooplah, we grabbed popcorn and watched blue and red Rorshach blotches coagualate across a giant a family.

What election did you think I was talking about?


Sherry said...

Wow, I don't even like camping and I'm almost ready to find a jar to start saving for our own pop-up camper! I love your creativity.

graceling said...

Hmm, I would have voted for the jungle gym- pimarily because it could be enjoyed by kids without a lot of parental effort (ie- mom needs a cup of coffee and a few blog clicks, so go play outside on the jungle gym!)

Cindi Clark said...

I was lucky enough to be able to observe part of the campaigning and election! It was impressive! These fun and beautiful children were excited and nervous about the election outcome! They spent days lobbying for the pop-up camper! The posters were wonderful!

The presentations of the photo id's and entire voting process were taken so seriously! What a delightfully creative idea!

Gotta say though...I hope I'm around when all five kids are lobbying their ideas a few years from now
since they will definitely be in the not so silent majority!!! :)

Love it! Love you all!


Anonymous said...

Very creative! ;) I'd vote for pop-up camper too!

Hope the littles are doing great. I'm still waiting for pictures of your MIL's sling/carriers.

Until then, you're tagged! :)