Forget a Chicken in Every Pot – Give them the Apple Tablet!

Believe it or not there are actually two major speeches happening today – The State Of the Union and Apple’s State of the Tablet.   According to my social networking world the Apple speech is the way more exciting, anticipated and prone to wild projections and fantasies of the two.  The State of the Union is really not jazzing up the masses.  Over on Slate there is a great parody of Steve Jobs giving the State of the Union Address Apple-style.  While the article is tongue in cheek what it underscores is that everyone wants the next big thing and a year ago that was Obama (unfortunately now in Massachusetts it was Scott Brown) – but for those who were energized on the web for politics last year it is now the Apple Tablet that is giving everyone hope.

It’s pretty funny that a gadget that has yet to come out has been praised as the second coming, declared the savior of the publishing world and then pretty much declared a let down by last night – all before it has been unveiled to the public.  But, Obama should take a page from the Apple hoopla and get back to the viral marketing and grass-roots web work that made his campaign successful.  He seems to have forgotten that young people and tech centered people are who created the energy around his initial campaign and they are just as passionate and interested in the world around them, just not necessarily the stodgy old world that Washington represents and of which Obama now seems entrenched.  There is nothing cool about Washington DC (that perceived coolness lasted about 6 months)

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NYC Moms: How About a First Fish in the White House?

fishbowl

The Upper West Side of Manhattan is one of the great dog capitals of the world.  On a bright spring day the dogs can outnumber the strollers winding the paths of Riverside Park.  One of the elderly ladies in my building even has a grand-dog who stays with her on the weekends; she does not however have a grandchild.  So, my daughters live surrounded by adorable puppies and mellow older dogs, which they feel the need to stop and coo over every time they pass one on the street.  The owner will inevitably say, “Oh, they really love dogs, you should get one.”  And then my daughters will dramatically sigh and drop their shoulders and bemoan, “We can’t because my mom is allergic.”  Yes, blame me.

This is how it went until President Obama put a puppy in the White House despite the fact that his oldest daughter, Malia, is allergic.   My daughters seized on this immediately and declared that we could get whatever breed the First Family picked because that would be an allergy free dog.  Of course, as the NY Times pointed out, there is no such thing.  I also had to point out that I’m sure Malia and Sasha’s bedrooms are the size of our entire apartment, and they have a full time cleaning staff to make sure that all the dog hair and dander is vacuumed up several times a day.  But, none of this could wipe the disappointment off my daughters’ faces.  Thanks Mr. President.

And so we did what many allergic families do, we got a fish.  Two fish actually.  Here’s the thing about fish – its lots of fun to pick out all the stuff, the tank, the colored gravel, the plants, the little castle and the actual fish.  It’s thrilling to set it all up and watch the fish enjoy their new home.  But, two days later my daughters barely register their existence.  A little glance in the morning, maybe check in on them while they do homework at the kitchen table.  Lets face it, fish don’t run to the door to greet you, or cuddle with you on the couch, or play fetch or walk you to school in the morning so all of your friends can pet them.  Also, as we learned this morning, fish don’t live very long.

Unfortunately, my daughters will have to suffer through their childhood without a lovable pooch by their side.  And I will feel guilty as I hear them dream about the many different kinds of dogs they will raise when they have their own homes.  In the meantime they will watch the happy go lucky Obama girls romping on the White House lawn with Bo, no sneezing or itchy eyes in sight as I head to Petco to pick out a new personality filled fish.

This post originally appeared on nycmomsblog

Generation Hillary

HillaryThis morning Isabel, one of my six year old daughters, asked me if she had to take down her Hillary for President sign that she hung on her bedroom door 8 months ago.  I told her that it was her choice.  She thought about it for a minute and then decided that she should take it down and save it to copy when she runs for President some day.  Now, I think a lot of kids say they would like to grow up and be President.  My daughter would also like to be an astronaut, a ballet dancer and an American Idol.  But, unlike all of those career options, until this presidential campaign she did not have a concrete example of a woman running for the highest office in the land.

Isabel became a Hillary supporter early on.  We were watching clips from the Iowa debate one Sunday morning and she asked why there was only one girl on the stage.  We explained to her that Hillary was the only woman in the race and that there had never been a female president.  Well, that was it for her.  “I want the girl to win,” she proclaimed.  And when your daughter unknowingly declares herself a feminist at five years old you do what you need to do to support it.  An on-line shopping trip to the Hillary2008 store ensued.  My daughter wore her “Hillary Cares About Me” shirt to school the day of the primary when voters were traipsing in and out of her school cafeteria.   She got into a war of words with a classmate who told her that Hillary was horrible and only Obama was good.  (We had to explain to her that both candidates would be good options and that Obama wouldn’t like his supporters calling other kids stupid heads.)

Isabel is too young, thankfully, to understand or grasp the media misogyny that so gleefully played itself out during Hillary’s campaign.  But, she encountered her own gender politics and struggles this year in, of all places, kindergarten.  For the first time in her school experience the boys and girls separated and segregated during free play and work time in a way that I wouldn’t expect in 2008.  Isabel often came home upset because she was the only girl at the block building area, or the only girl at the math skills table.  The other girls tended to choose drawing and the pretend area, leaving her as the sole girl among boys who recently discovered that teasing can be a team sport.  This is something that shook her up to the point where she did not want to go to school.  When we spoke to her teachers about this – and these are very progressive teachers mind you – they told us that that is typical kindergarten boy behavior and that they try to help but Isabel is just in that situation because she enjoys the more “boy” stuff.  Really.

So, here is where Hillary comes in, and here is why no matter what her mistakes and foibles are – and yes I know there are many – I will be grateful that she put herself out there in a way no woman has before.  Hillary toughed it out.  Not always well, not always fairly, and probably for too long, but that kind of tenaciousness and endurance is not something that is taught to little girls.  Not even now.  Little boys are told to suck it up and get back on the bike, dust themselves off and stick up for themselves.  Little girls are told to find another thing to play, or to find other girls to play with rather than deal with bullies.  Isabel rode that roller coaster campaign right along with Hillary.  She witnessed those bitter defeats and subsequent triumphs, and ultimate loss.  But, more importantly, she saw Hillary on stage with men, holding her own.  For a six year old trying to figure out her own place as a “girl” in her small world Hillary was an enormous source of inspiration and validation.

When Hillary finally conceded and we told Isabel that it was over she was resigned, but happy that Obama would be the first black man to run for President.  Having a “first” seemed important to her in some way.   “Don’t worry mom,” she told me as she looked up at me with those earnest big brown eyes,”Now I can be first woman President and you can vote for me.”  I can’t wait.

This is an original post to New York City Moms Blog.

This post was nationally syndicated by McClatchy/Tribune

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