Yesterday I took The Dormouse along with me while I did my civic duty and voted in the mid-term elections. When I voted in the primaries a few weeks ago, I probably could have left her with a neighbor or found a sitter, but thought that it'd be a good learning experience for her to watch her mom vote. And while I realize that instilling a sense of democratic responsibility at three is probably overly ambitious, it was easier than working out the logistics otherwise. Whatever the case, she seemed to not be a huge distraction at the primaries so I brought her along again yesterday.

I love that voting always happens on a Tuesday, which just happens to be one of the days I telecommute (can't stand the acronym WAHM and "tele
commute" sounds sooo much more technical and important anyway). I love my "WAH days", as my colleagues call them because they don't care that I prefer the term "telecommute": I don't have to rush to get ready in the morning; shower; make a crappy breakfast that doesn't even have a modicum of health attached to it but that fits into the schedule; dress a writhing, flailing child; drop her off at preschool; then brave the traffic which by now has gotten so bad I may as well park on the shoulder and walk to work, then come back to get the car in a couple of hours. But the absolute best part (other than being able to spend the day with my daughter, be an involved mother, watch her grow up, blah blah blah) is the dress code. My office attire on those days consists of men's pajama bottoms with Cootie Bugs on them, a t-shirt, fuzzy slippers and no bra. For the supreme civil right of voting, I generally give my due diligence and opt for slipping a bra on under the t-shirt, throwing on a jean jacket and maybe changing out of fuzzy slippers and into shoes... maybe. I generally go right at the crack of dawn, so as few people have to witness me in my telecommuting splendor as possible.

Last time, there were maybe three or four other people besides me at 7:00 am. In fact, one of the election judges told me yesterday that there were stretches of hours at the primaries where they had nothing to do because no one came. While we were there, The Dormouse was quiet, stuck right by my side the whole
time, beaming up at people from behind my leg and looking cute. Other than the broad smile, it was almost like she wasn't there at all.

What I didn't count on this time was her excellent memory: after I voted at the primaries, a poll worker gave me an "I Voted, Yo
Voté" sticker. I gave it to The Dormouse; she stuck it on her shirt; end of story. I'd totally forgotten it and thought she had too. But yesterday, after I gave the self-righteous, way-too-anxious-to-find-a-teachable-moment-lecture about how 'this is how we choose people to make decisions about how our country is run' in the car and after we passed the throng of people six inches before the No Polling Beyond This Point sign shoving literature in my face, we got to the door and she announced loudly (and by "loudly", understand "LOUDLY" in a middle school cafeteria/gym)... "Oooooooh....This is where I went the other day and I got a STICKER!"

The cafeteria was a full as I'd ever seen it at a Presidential election (an encouraging sign that our community isn't as apathetic as previously thought) and I don't think one of the bleary-eyed workerbees dressed for a day at the office was able to stifle at least a chuckle. Then for the 30 minutes while we stood in line, she danced around the open area of the room, singing, "Sticker, Sti-cker, I'm gonna get a sti-cker." She also sang the entire Ariel refrain from The Little Mermaid, but I'm pretty sure I was the only one who recognized that.

So it was sweet when the first voter came out from behind the makeshift wall made from cafeteria tables and chairs and handed her his sticker, saying, "I heard there was someone over here who needed a sticker." She beamed, yelled "Thank you..... Thank you for the stiiiiic-keeeer!" after him as he walked out the door and danced the Victory Dance of Stickerhood. Then another voter came from behind the Wizard's Curtain and gave her his sticker. And another. And another. By the time I got to the front of the line, she'd racked up nearly a dozen stickers and two pieces of candy.

I've never been more proud of our democratic process.

One election observation/sidenote: Arizona defeats an amendment banning gay marriage but Virginia approves one? What kind of bizarro-world are we living in?