Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Madame Speaker? (and the political education of a toddler)
My almost 5-year-old daughter, Madison, visited the House chamber in the North Carolina General Assembly the day after adjournment. She found herself at home in Speaker Joe Hackney's chair and, as you can see by the accompanying photo, is already practicing to wield the gavel. Oh how she makes her parents proud!
Of course, for those who are familiar with Madison's occasional visits to legislative committees and the House floor with her mother, Rep. Melanie Wade Goodwin, Madison is often more intently listening and courteous during debate than many of the legislators. And she is certainly much better at coloring within the lines.
True story Number 1: Back when she was a tad over 3 years old, Madison frantically called her mother - with help from Grandma - on the telephone. Melanie had been in session all day. Madison, however, had been in preschool and had realized that her favorite baby doll had remained in the car which was parked underneath the Legislative Building. She exclaimed to her mother, without coaching - "Mommy, I am so sad. My baby has spent all day under the Legislature!" Hence, her first four-syllable word.
True story Number 2: Since the time she rode in her first parade several years ago with her Daddy and Mommy, Madison has a very simple yet appropriate answer to the question, "How do we vote, Madison?" ... "Vote Democratic, Daddy!" She has become quite popular at rallies with that one.
True story Number 3: One day during the 2006 legislative session I was escorting Madison around the Legislative Building and running various errands. We bumped into UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Moeser. Seeing an opportunity for her to ham it up, I immediately said to the Chancellor, "Watch this! ... Madison, how does that song go? " With my merely saying the first two words - "I'm a ..." she then ran with the rest of it and proceeded with her rendition of the Tar Heel fight song. With her early passion for all that is Carolina, I'm still hoping it might get her tuition waived.
True story Number 4: Melanie and I had it all planned ... name the baby "Madison" if a girl or "Jackson" if a boy. That's right, our child was going to have the name of a Democratic President no matter what. With no women elected President yet, we were quite limited in what to name our baby girl. (Though we did briefly consider "Eleanor", spouse of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.)
True story Number 5: I kid you not ... in what was a sure sign that she had been to too many political meetings, in October 2006 Madison was overheard telling someone "I support Larry Kissell because Robin Hayes took our jobs away!" Suffice it to say that all who heard our daughter - then a mere 4 years old - were stunned. Including her parents. Frankly, we didn't teach her that one. I didn't realize that nursery school focused on CAFTA quite yet. But, hey, if no child is going to be left behind then they need to know these things.