My older son, Unglam Boy1, 6, is the mayor of a city! Maybe you haven’t heard of it before since not all trains stop there, but in our house it’s a major destination. It’s called Grumpsville. He was born there and is ostensibly a lifelong resident. I tried to get him to move to Joytown, but he adamantly refuses to entertain that idea. He says he feels more at home in Grumpsville and likes it there. And now that he’s been elected mayor, well, my case is considerably weakened. However, it struck me tonight that I should make the mandatory conditions for election public in case more kids are looking to run for office. Maybe he won’t have any competition, but at least no one can accuse me of showing partiality by relation, right? The compulsory requirements for the position listed in the memorandum I got were:
- Candidate’s life cannot be fun.
If your kid has ever said, “wow, thanks mom, this is FUN!”, I’m sorry he’s automatically disqualified. The mayor of Grumpsville cannot and will not find any activity designed or organized specifically for his enjoyment, fun. In fact, enjoy should not even be a valid word in his dictionary, and he should be able to defend this under oath. If you show him the word “enjoy” in the OED, he should be able to walk away in a huff and pretend he was never shown any proof of its existence. An art project is no fun, neither is live theater. Going out to eat in a family restaurant that only serves grilled cheese isn’t so rad either. A whole day spent in a superhero costume fighting imaginary bad guys under forts made from all the pillows and blankets the family owns is okay but not “too fun”, so that doesn’t count either.
In short, if nothing is total, absolute, exhilarating fun for your child he is still in the running.
- Candidate must be unwilling to lose.
The mayoral candidate cannot, under any circumstances, be willing to be defeated. If he senses the big D looming ahead in a game of, say, scrabble he will upend the board and storm of wailing. YOU obviously made him lose by not playing fair. Who made the rules about only making words in a certain direction anyway? Not him, that’s who. And if they ain’t his rules, he ain’t gonna play by them! How’s it fair to him if game rules are made to make him lose? Even if you do end up compromising (after threatening to never play a board game with him again), what about the pesky little things known as “other kids”? They never bend the rules for him, and since he doesn’t take losing well, he will spend most of the evening wallowing in the injustice of it all and not playing at all!
So, if your kid has some sportsman spirit and can take a loss in his stride he can try FairCity — Grumpsville is not his town.
- Candidate must have formidable argument skills.
“V, it’s time for bed; please put away your drawing.” “One more minute, I forgot to draw the mole on his temple.” 1 minute later, “Let’s go.” “It’s been only 42 seconds.” “You’re already late.” “But tomorrow isn’t school; you said I could stay up on weekends!” “Yeah, you already did stay up later.” “But you said I’m older now and I should listen to my body. Well, it’s not sleepy!” “I can see how tired your eyes are, you can barely hold your pencil.” “How do you know I’m tired?” “I’m your mom, I just know!” “I amn’t! Moms don’t know everything!”
Sound familiar? Your kid is in. Exhausted just after reading it? Sorry, different career choice recommended for yours.
- Candidate must not appear outwardly cheerful at all times.
Does your child automatically smile at friends and loved ones? Is he willing to wave hello if you prompt him to? Does he run to open the door when his friend arrives for a planned playdate instead of hiding in his room for the first five minutes leaving you to awkwardly make excuses for his sudden reluctance to play? If you answered yes to any of the above, your election to this position isn’t very likely. He isn’t applying to be mayor of Cheerland after all.
So. Does your kid qualify for this position or am I the only one blessed with the perfect candidate*? 🙂
*This picture is a couple years old but it captures his current countenance perfectly.