In a couple of weeks, Oscar has “Pirate Day” at school; and though we fancy ourselves to be rather the swashbuckling family, we don’t necessarily have at our disposal the requisite garb. So, off we went this afternoon in search of a costume and props. As we cruised down the costume aisle, the one and only pirate costume looked as though it would barely stand up to one hour of trick-or-treating let alone a day of plundering at preschool preceded by fifty requests throughout the month of October to “try it on.” So, we passed and moved down the next aisle, the aisle with the masks. Oscar saw it first: “I want that Barack Obama mask!” Edgar followed suit: “I want John McCain!” There they were–two preschoolers in the shopping cart, one a three-foot Barack Obama, the other an only slightly shorter McCain. When we got home, the masks stayed on, the candidates debated, and at one point “Barack Obama” said, “Come here, Johnny McCain. I want to pick your nose!” Now that is the kind of interaction between candidates this election needs! Parenting books and magazines have numerous suggestions as to how caregivers can include young children in the election frenzy that has so occupied our waking (and occasionally sleeping) hours. I haven’t yet seen amongst all the suggestions: Take your child to Wal-Mart. Spend $20 on plastic masks–irreverant or otherwise–in the likenesses of the candidates. Let the mayhem begin! But after watching them role-play this afternoon, the nose-picking aside, it probably deserves a place. It afforded me the opportunity to see how they’re processing all of our talk about the election. And though, yes, we have age-appropriate books we’re reading to them; and, yes, we do plan to take them to the polls on November 4th, this seemingly surreal, child-directed, fabulously funny interlude was just the kind of moment we all need with just three weeks to go.