“Yes!” Lydia pumped her fist in the air. “That’s three out of five of us that want to watch Star Trek tonight. So, take that Clara. It’s Democracy.”
I shook my head sadly, “Actually, Lydia, that’s not Democracy. But I like what you are thinking. While we wait for Mom to come back, we will use Democracy to decide what we are going to watch tonight.”
The three of them glanced at each other and shrugged.
“Okay, Gideon. You sit over here.” I placed him in a chair. “Now, here’s what we are going to do. I am going to be the representative for the parents. I get one vote for what we are going to watch tonight, and I will vote for whatever is recommended by a representative from you guys, the children. So, you guys have to decide who is going to represent you.”
I moved the girls around in front of Gideon’s chair. “Clara and Lydia, you are both going to be candidates to represent your group. But Gideon gets to choose.”
“But he already said he wanted to watch Star Trek, like me,” Lydia explained softly.
“Okay, then you should have a really good chance to win the election.”
Clara scowled, but I could tell, devilish machinery was already rolling in her little head.
“You can each make a speech. Tell Gideon why he should vote for you to represent him this evening. Lydia. You go first.”
The little girl adjusted her rainbow-colored skirt and t-shirt. “Um… okay. Gideon. You should vote for me because you want to watch Star Trek and I am going to pick Star Trek. Clara said she doesn’t want to watch Star Trek. So… this should be pretty easy for you.”
Gideon smiled open-mouthed and nodded vigorously. He was enjoying the attention. He turned to face Clara.
“Is it my turn?” she asked softly. “Okay then.” she straightened her back. “Gideon… I have four reasons why you should vote for me.” and then under her breath, she added, “compared to Lydia, who only had one.” She cleared her throat, “First, you should vote for me because I am your big sister-”
“I’m also his big sister,” Lydia politely pointed out.
There was an attempt at a finger snap from the bigger sister, “Your turn is over,” she said without looking at her opponent. She smiled sweetly at Gideon who folded his hands in his lap and waited. “As I was saying. One, I’m your BIG sister. Two, I’m stronger than you.” and at this, she chuckled to herself.
I was not entirely sure what that point was even supposed to mean, and I narrowed my eyes at the back of my eldest daughter’s head as she continued.
“Three, I know things that you do not. For instance, I know TV shows that you have never heard of before. And who knows, maybe I’ll vote for Star Trek anyway. I haven’t actually decided yet.”
Her sister rolled her eyes. Gideon just nodded his head as if he understood. As if all of this was a reasonable thing for a candidate to say in an election speech.
“Oh!” Clara stuck a finger in the air, “how could I have forgotten reason number four?” She motioned towards her little brother, “Reason four, Gideon, is that I have marshmallows.”
Gideon’s eyes popped open wide and he let out a faint “Ohhhh…” Lydia slapped herself on the forehead so hard she spun in a circle three times and nearly fell down. Clara bowed casually and walked to the couch.
“Well…” I said after a few moments, “what a furious campaign by both of you. Lots of surprises there. Um… wow… Great speeches guys. So, well, I guess it’s now time for a vote.”
“Gideon!” Lydia shrieked in desperation, kneeling in front of his chair and clawing at his legs. “Gideon, vote for me! Don’t be crazy! We already know three out of five of us want to watch Star Trek!”
I shushed the poor little girl, reluctantly. “I’m sorry, Lydia. There is no electioneering. The polls are now open.” I lifted the little girl and seated her next to her sister on the couch.
“Gideon, Lydia has promised to vote for Star Trek. Clara has said that she isn’t sure what she is going to vote for, but she is your big sister, she is stronger, she is smarter, and she has marshmallows. Who do you want to represent you in tonight’s vote?”
The little boy tapped his finger on his chin and looked back and forth. “Well…” he pondered loudly. He was taking this responsibility very seriously. “let… me… think…” Then with a flourish, he pointed, triggering both the cheering of victory and the groans of defeat.
“You have a new representative!” I said, with a bang of a pretend gavel. “I ask that they approach my chair and we will take a private vote about what to watch during dinner this evening.”
A few minutes later, Andrea stepped down the stairs and handed out salads. “So, what did we decide to watch tonight?”
“We didn’t decide,” Clara said quietly. “Democracy did. And tonight it picked Star Trek…”
Lydia simply smiled and pat her sister on the leg apologetically.