Tuesday, September 29, 2009

advantage graber

Here's how the presidents rule our lives:

1) I found Martin on my bed this morning, reciting from memory the 7-minute online tour of the White House exterior. The monologue included scripted movements that mirrored the camera panning to various angles around the building. I also got a complete version of the credits, accompanied by swooping hand gestures to signify the words moving upward.

2) Martin asked me if he could have a bottle of wine this evening. "You have to be 21-years-old to have wine," I replied. "Like Chester A. Arthur," he said. (For anyone who skipped that particularly boring moment in high school U.S. history, Arthur was the 21st president.) Martin sometimes mixes up the presidents' numbers with their age. Tonight he asked me if I was George H. W. Bush. Trying not to be offended by a steep overestimate of my age, I replied that I am Lyndon Johnson. In an effort to make me the age of a president he likes better (or maybe he's in tune with Americans' desire to be younger), he then told me I should be John F. Kennedy instead. He's only 35.

3) I found a 50-cent piece by Martin's bed. He likes to sleep with it, because it has Kennedy's image.

4) Some Caldecott-medal-winning children's author decided to monkey with the ubiquitous pattern of presidential layout (starting with 1 and going to 44), choosing instead to group together presidents named William or James or John. I'm sitting in my living room, minding my own business, only to hear a terrified scream, "Where is Zachary Taylor?" No explanations for the unorthodox groupings satisfied Martin. He has no more patience for that book.

5) I had to explain slavery to Martin, who was reading another book about Millard Fillmore and James Buchanan's unfortunate support for human servitude. Martin didn't exactly get it.

I'm ready to start using this obsession to my advantage. Here's my plan. When Martin refuses to touch the delicious main dish I have made for our family, I will simply comment that James K. Polk - even more than his desire for more Northwest territory - loved pepper and rice casserole. In the nightly battle over teethbrushing, I will dwell on Lincoln's fabulous oral hygiene. Am I wrong to do this?


  1. If you're wrong, I'm right there being wrong with you! I use my son's obsession of lawnmowers and vacuums to "motivate" him all the time!!! Good luck!

  2. If any of you share Martin's interest in the White House, here is the video rainmom is referring too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktqgtlFjWRw&feature=PlayList&p=01B5A916909F4913

  3. You can only try this approach with Martin and if it works that is great and if not I'm sure you will come up with another avenue to try.

  4. A presidential series of those books you are always making? I am sure you might find out all kind of interesting information on various president's favorite foods.

    S. hated brushing his teeth and I made up a song.

    Spider Man, Spider Man... He brushes his teeth as fast as he can. Spider Man Spider Man...He brushes his teeth as well as he can...

  5. Thank you for such a delightful post and wonderful laugh. Use whatever works, woman.

    Jenny W.