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Modern Parenthood

The presidential debate makes the election more interesting for one household

Obama and Romney interrupting each other and a threat to PBS kept three young viewers glued to the screen.

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“Can you imagine if Pop was running this debate?” smirked Ian, 17. “It would be on time, on topic and they would debate each other and NOT him.”

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Lisa Suhay, who has four sons at home in Norfolk, Va., is a children’s book author and founder of the Norfolk (Va.) Initiative for Chess Excellence (NICE) , a nonprofit organization serving at-risk youth via mentoring and teaching the game of chess for critical thinking and life strategies.

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So apparently the debate needed a papa at the helm, at least according to my crew.

And then it happened, and I think every parent knows what the "it" was. Governor Mitt Romney uttered the fateful words, "I'm going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I'm going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually, [I] like you, too. But I'm not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”

At first the boys laughed, all being past the Big Bird age. Then the dawn broke and we missed a great deal of the debate as one broke out here in my house. “Whoa, whoa, whoa,” said Avery the cellist to Ian, who plays double bass. “Isn't that where the great concert series are on?”

“Yes! Isn't it where 'Dr. Who' is on?” Ian added in dawning horror.

Yet it was Quin who was red in the face and huffing, “Ruff Ruffman? 'Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman'? Is this that math problem with the 47% I keep hearing about? I can probably help him with this if it's just the math.”

Oh, such a long, long night, followed by a longer morning.

At 6 a.m., all three boys were like dogs with a bone. TV pundits were on while the newspaper was spread on the coffee table.

“Romney won the debate,” said Avery. “That's what everybody's saying, that he won.”

The boys were incensed that while no official winner had been announced, the talking heads were “telling us what to think” about who won the battle.

However, Quinny was uncharacteristically silent until we got in the car at 8:30 to drive to school. He broke his silence a block from the house with, “So obviously if we want things to go the way we want, then we all need to vote right?”

Sorta. Yes. Well, yes.

“So when do I get to vote?” he demanded. I informed him that would be happening in about 10 years.

He chewed on this and said, “Well that's no good, so then I have to go and get people who can vote to go vote.”

I am not going to argue with anyone who wants to work to turn out the vote. We live three blocks from Old Dominion University and I promised him I would call the campaign office nearest us and get him some materials he can give out on registering to vote.

When Quinny gets home, we are going to go there and I am going to support him in his effort to get people to go vote because I strongly believe that even the smallest voice can make a difference. Here comes the Mighty Quin.

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