In the middle of our dinner with Sam's mom on Friday night, Paolo asked to go to the bathroom. Paolo is not one of those kids who has a problem with using public toilets … for any need … and he also can't be hurried. It wasn't a big restroom, so I just crouched down facing him while he went to work. Knowing that my food was getting cold while Sam and his mom finished theirs, I asked Paolo every few minutes if maybe he could finish so we could get back to the table. After the fourth time, he leaned over until our foreheads were touching and said, "Mama, have peace like a river."
As minutes ticked by, Paolo's roving eyes noticed a picture on the wall by the door: an immaculate Victorian lady pointed at a repugnant, stubble-faced, leering man. Below her the text read, If he can vote, why can't I? Paolo asked me what the lady was saying. It's never too early for a lesson in gender equality, so I explained that, once upon a time, girls were not allowed to pick their leaders, only boys could. Now, the rules are changed and girls get to pick the leaders, too, because that's more fair. Paolo was horrified. "WHAT?? No!" Clearly, next week's educational theme will be equal rights and the fallacy of gender roles. When we got back to the table, I smacked Sam in the head. He's probably still wondering why I did that.