Much of my time as a parent is spent carefully crafting my next sentence for possible tantrum prevention. It goes something like this:
Baby, at 8:30 right before leaving for daycare: "Bubbles outside."
Pause, wait for "No," "Not right now," and "Are you kidding me with this?" to pass through me like dark clouds before opening my mouth.
Me: "Sure. We can blow bubbles when we get home."
Baby, not fooled: "Bubbles outside!!!" Stomp, stomp.
Me: "We'll blow bubbles later. We are going outside right now. Do you think we'll see a doggie?"
Baby, turning head toward door: "Doggie. DOGGIE!!!"
Much like the American public, my daughter is not stupid, just easily distracted. Much like an American politician, I know how to spin, how not to answer questions directly, how to misdirect, and how to completely change the subject.
For example, when Baby demands Puffs (essentially baby crack) in the car, and I foolishly do not have any because I was rushing out the door, but I do have some broken crackers packed as my own snack from two days ago, I might say, "Ooooo, look what I have...crackers! Yay!" Yes, I seriously might do this. It even occasionally works. Sometimes she'll even clap her hands, like she asked for them in the first place, like tax cuts for the rich. They're not good, but I make them sound pretty good, and sometimes that's all that's necessary.
As Americans wean themselves from credit cards, employment, and their own homes, we are trying to wean Baby from her night-night bottle. For two nights she didn't even ask for it, so we didn't offer it and gave her a cup of milk which she completely ignored. On the third night, the jig was up: "Bottle!" she cried, horrified and appalled, as I poured milk into a cup. So I brought both the bottle and cup into her room. The next step, according to websites and her doctor, might be to slowly snip the top off the nipple until it's almost like drinking from a cup. Slow, premeditated treachery. You and I both know that when that milk starts flowing out with nary a suck, she will look at me and wonder at the depth of my betrayal (we're looking at you, Greenspan and Madoff, et.al.). "What has happened?" her eyes will ask as milk runs down her chin. "What have you done?"
I believe in honesty. I do. But sometimes toddlers, much like Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men, cannot handle the truth. After Baby eats three pickles and asks for more, I might eat the last one just so I can honestly say they're "All gone." Am I as bad as the bankers and blustering politicos? Hard to say. Many parenting books back up my choices, but then again, many covert, international, conspiratorial organizations probably back up the bankers' choices. The biggest difference may be that, as Baby starts crying because I am limiting her sodium intake by restricting her pickle binge, I--the parent politician--simply say, "Let's blow bubbles outside!" and all is well. Unfortunately for them, the real politicians' bubbles keep bursting.