“How do birds fly?” asked Meri, my five year old daughter…
“I try to fly but I can’t” she said vague flapping her arms.
“Well, birds have wings with feathers and they don’t weigh very much which means that when they flap their wings the air goes down and they go up.” I answered.
Miraculously, she was satisfied with my butchering of Newton’s third law in my explanation. “You’re very clever daddy. You know everything.”
Now, never one to blow my own trumpet, I felt some humility was in order, “I don’t know everything Meri. I just know almost everything. When you become a daddy, they send you to special daddy school to teach you almost everything.”
She gave me that slightly disappointed and quizzical look as if to say: you’ve gone too far and spoilt it again.
The next day, we were sitting around the conservatory table and I thought some current affairs education was in order. I put down my newspaper.
“So, Meri,” I started with some weight in my tone. “This week, there’s going to be something called an election. Do you know what an election is?”
She looked up at me from her colouring with her adorable big brown eyes and shook her head.
“An election is when everyone in the country has to go and chose who they want to be in charge. We all go into a little booth and have to write down on a piece of paper who we want to be Prime Minister.” I know it’s not strictly accurate but I thought that I might be wasting my breath in explaining the vagaries of our first past the post constituency system to a five year old. “Do you want to come with me when I go to vote?”
She ignored my question. She was still thinking about what I had said earlier.
“I think you should be in charge, daddy,” she said. I was astounded as she carried on. “I think you should be Prime Minister.”
My monstrous male ego was well and truly flattered.
“Do you think I should be Prime Minister?” I asked her.
“Yes,” she said. “You know almost everything.”
My ego was on a roll. “Why just Prime Minister? Don’t you think I should be President as well? What about Majestic Uberlord of the entire Universe?” I was getting into my stride.
This time she didn’t say anything at all. She just gave me that look and went back to her colouring.
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