Explaining Politics to Kids

My daughter is eight and my son is four and both are interested in the idea of electing a president.  I remember elections being, exciting when I was little, but also a little scary and very, very confusing.  Even a lot of adults struggle with the Electoral College, PACs and more. And this is why I am a huge fan of Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty for President.  {sorry there is no picture – my new computer is cranky about keyboard shortcuts}

Bad Kitty books have a hybrid comic book/chapter book vibe and are perfect for the 7-12 set, but even my son likes them.  In this brilliant addition to the Bad Kitty’s adventures, our anti-heroine decides to run for president of the neighborhood cat council.  Over the course of the book, the cats have a caucus, kiss babies, debate, run advertising, gather endorsements and cast ballots.  Although feline issues differ from ours, the cats divide themselves into two political parties, one representing the right side of the street and one for the left side and engage in a political battle royale that illustrates how the national government in D.C. is supposed to work.  Better yet, the Bruel also teaches kids how politics actually functions.

So go ahead, read, laugh and be enlightened. 


Garden Fail

I hereby declare my summer gardening over.  The vegetable harvest is done.  The only thing on a plant is an inch and a half long red pepper that never grew big enough to harvest.

This year was more successful than last.  Our four cucumber plants produced over a dozen tasty treats.  The kids loved eating sliced cucumber still warm from the sun.  I wish the other plants had been half as productive.  From four green pepper plants, we harvested a single green pepper in addition to the non-grower.  Of the eight tomato plants, only the patio tomato provided produce in the form of nine two to three-inch round tomatoes.  The herbs grew and we had fresh basil most of the summer.  Still, as I assess this past season, it goes in the failure category.

Now is the time to repeat the same pledge I made this time last year.  “This is the last year I try a backyard garden.”

Today I’m feeling

When I had an office, I had a cutesy magnet with a variety of facial expressions and a marker to move a round to highlight one face or another.  If I still had one, it would currently say “Today I’m feeling livid.”

I spent my weekend packing books, toys, shoes and more in an effort to remove all but the furniture from my second floor in anticipation of having bamboo flooring installed today. But that’s not happening.  Not today and not until Friday at the earliest.

The forty boxes of flooring sitting in my children’s playroom all say the right thing, but when you open the box, it’s clear the manufacturer, Wellmade, put the wrong flooring in the box.  It’s not even close.

Instead of spending the day celebrating the release of my book Winter Fairy (I use a pen name), I spent a good portion so far sitting at the flooring retailer as we try to resolve the problem. Rather than preparing the fun stuff I had planned to do on release day, I moved furniture.

My children packed up their books.  At this point, we won’t be able to unpack them for at least a week.  I will also have to plug in an assortment of lamps and clocks upstairs so they will be able to wake and sleep in their otherwise empty bedrooms.   It is a terrible inconvenience that will be dragged out an additional five days. Yet at this point, no one is taking responsibility.  The problem has been acknowledged, but we’ve been offered nothing in terms of compensation for our inconvenience. This is what really makes me mad.  The lack of accountability. I want an apology from the persons responsible. Is that too much to ask for?