When I lived in Indiana, I took my sister's small children on more than one occasion to the very good children's museum in Indianapolis. It is a five-story affair with a large central spiral ramp, sort of like a normal museum but with a miniature Guggenheim in the atrium to connect all the levels.

The museum came up with one of the best ideas for emptying out at closing time that I've ever seen for a facility that deals mostly with children. An employee dressed in full drum major regalia started at the top floor and loud circus / parade / marching type music started playing on the PA. Every kid in the place ran to the atrium and got something (a mask, a pennant, a yo-yo, a noisemaker, etc) to join in the "parade." As the drum major slowly worked his/her way down the ramp engaging in Antics of the kind children would like, every kid fell in behind making spectacular amounts of noise and generally running wild. The parade continued all the way down to the main lobby, then out the front door, then a short way around the block toward the parking lot…where employees were waiting to gather everyone's parade props.

The first time I saw this I was floored at how clever it was. They tricked a thousand toddlers into filing out of the building quickly and in relative order. Imagine how long it would otherwise take every parent to corral their kid in what is essentially a giant building of toys. Come on, honey, they're closing! No, you can't play just one more game! Leave the Legos there! No, get back here! We have to leave!

Instead, five minutes of the Bozo marching music and the building is ready for the night crew to clean up. Brilliant.

I keep thinking of this example as I read the increasingly numerous and alarming stories about our toddler-president and how hard the inner circle of people around him supposedly has to work to keep him from killing us all. Apparently DC Republicans are as aware that we are dealing with a child as the rest of us have been since Day One. So I, a childless man, wonder why we aren't using more of the tricks available to us for manipulating the behavior of toddlers. Apparently parents and professionals who work with children have a deep reservoir of tactics that are mysterious to the rest of us. What else have you got?

Maybe if every day the White House had a parade for Trump and everyone told him how great and wonderful and special he was, they could lead him outside and lock the door behind him. Maybe while he stuffed his pockets with candy someone could slip his phone out of his pocket. Maybe they could feed him so much cake and ice cream that he'd go on a titanic sugar binge for 40 minutes and then crash hard for hours while other people hurriedly did Governing Stuff.

What I'm saying is, we as a nation have a child. It is up to us to parent him, apparently, since life is not fair and the adults who are supposed to do it are being deadbeat dads. What are some of your ways to trick a 4 year-old into behaving well or at least being distracted? And can you send a quick note about it to Gen. Kelly?

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36 thoughts on “HAVE A PARADE!”

  • Isn't this why he gets his little scrap book of clippings exclaiming how awesome he is first thing in the morning? They've got to keep him in his seat so they provide some positive reinforcement, in the form of made-up news, to keep him there.

    I think if you look at any time Trump has said "many people are saying how good we're doing" you can trace it directly back to that scrapbook. Its his reality. I'm sure every time he claims "many people say" there's someone in the WH who's cringing or smiling because they successfully influenced the President

    It reminds me more, though, of the Twilight Zone episode "Its a Good Life." Those people are trapped by an angry toddler, and while they can pretend they've got control and fight amongst themselves, they're really stuck in the grip of a malignant solipsist.

  • I've dealt with many an adult toddler who was in a position to make my life miserable. Typically I try to avoid telling them anything important and try to distract them with shiny things. That happens to be the same way Trump's handlers appear to be dealing with him.

  • Of course, when my kids were toddlers if they got upset Seoul didn't get vaporized. So, there's that.

    Honestly you joke about this but to me that metaphor describes the Bush presidency to a tee. They gave him speeches to give and all of the credit, and Cheney and Rumsfeld got rich on war profiteering and engineered policy to continue it. The problem with applying this metaphor to Trump is that in his cabinet there are no parents, just other children. So it's like a daycare with no adults.

  • But by pointing out that our president is a man-baby with the ability to literally start World War III and kill millions and millions of Americans if he doesn't like someone's tweet, you're alienating the white working class voters for who put him in office.

  • @Scott; tonight on the PBS Newshour, they had two guests. The man insisted that Trump is a complete and utter joy who's inherited all the problems from the last administration. Sure, because calling people "Little Rocket Man" and making fun of handicapped American reporters and calling football players "SOBs" is completely something the last administration did. @@

    Actually, it terrifies me that the leader of our country is an impetuous, bad-tempered toddler. When my kids were toddlers, when they acted up they got time outs. Wish we could do that with the toddler-in-chief.

  • @Katydid: that anecdote is disgusting and terrifying and sadly utterly believable and why I no longer give to PBS/NPR. How dare they have guests like that on? Since they knew almost exactly what he was going to say and they had him on anyway. Have they no shame? (Rhetorical question, of course.)

  • @Scott, yes, I'm becoming disillusioned, too. They had someone to speak counterpoint, but she was young and he talked over her and the whole thing left me very angry. I was actually flipping off the tv, which was utterly stupid and pointless of me.

    Just like in dysfunctional families who deflect and twist reality to protect the golden member, supporters of Trump will go to any lengths to blame someone–anyone!–else for Trump's atrocities. Trump tries to start the apocalypse by antagonizing a crazy man with nukes? Well, well, well…Iran has nukes and nobody stopped that! So there! Trump tries to shut down NBC news for (correctly) reporting his words verbatim? Well, BENGHAZI!

  • Speaking of Mr. Ben Gazi:

    Last week, four American soldiers were ambushed and killed by terrorists in Niger. The NYT reports that they received no support from American helicopters. The command had previously asked for more resources from Congress.

    Trump was notified almost immediately of the deaths. He has not tweeted once about the attack nor made any official statement. The dead soldiers returned home on Monday. Neither Trump nor anyone from the White House attended their arrival. Instead the President spent the day playing golf.

    The right-wing media who made so much play about Benghazi haven’t pointed out the rank hypocrisy of a man who claims black football players quietly protesting police brutality are disrespecting the armed forces; but who cannot meet the dead, their relatives or even explain what those men were doing in West Africa.

    More info at https://www.salon.com/2017/10/11/trumps-benghazi-ambush-of-u-s-soldiers-in-niger-goes-unnoticed

  • As the primary not necessarily care-giver but keep an eye out for an eighty-five year old not quite Alzheimered great grampa as well as full time grampa to a handfull from a toddler to six year olds I'm leaning to the should probably be in a home side of the equation, but I'm not profressional, I'm just a contentedly retired Mad Scientist with only my day to day hands-on real world observation to draw hypothesis.

  • White working class Americans didn't put this clown kid in the Casa Blanca, Scott, it was country club repubs. And everybody on the planet gets to suffer. Ain't no exit parade.

  • Speaking as the parent of a 2 year old, I find these toddler comparisons unfair to toddlers. My son's a pain in the ass sometimes, and being two years old he's not good at impulse control or understanding consequences; but he has kindness and empathy and is learning to share his toys. The latter behaviours are not exhibited by Trump. See also: Remarks On Trump By A Toddler

    Also, you can set boundaries and enforce time-outs for a toddler. Bit harder to do that for POTUS.

    @negative 1:

    Cheney and Rumsfeld got rich on war profiteering and engineered policy to continue it. The problem with applying this metaphor to Trump is that in his cabinet there are no parents, just other children. So it's like a daycare with no adults.

    No, the difference is that Bush 43 would do as he was told. He could hold a meeting with Congressional leaders or foreign dignitaries without it becoming an utter trainwreck, and could least fake sympathy for others.

    Trump does not care in the slightest about understanding policy, acting presidential, or the well-being of anyone other than himself. It's largely irrelevant whether the likes of Kelly are competent adults; King Solomon himself wouldn't be able to manage Trump.

  • @Katydid My assumption has been they haven't been able to find anyone in the administration who could be relied upon to say the country's name with the right number of 'g's in the press conference.

  • I clearly was not old enough during my family's tenure as Children's Museum IN members to appreciate what genius that closing parade is.

  • Not a Real Tory says:

    The fact that the Republicans in congress as well as all of the cabinet know that they are dealing with a seriously disturbed man in Trump and refuse to do anything about it is both enraging and terrifying.

    The truth is they are pretty incompetent parents, allowing a toddler to run their household.

  • Read on the Twitter Machine last night that the way the Nat. Security team got Trump to focus on troop positioning in the world was by explaining to him what effect that would have on his properties/Trump Org. So I would say that is what the entire staff should do. First ask themselves "how will this affect his business negatively?" and then set about explaining it carefully to him. Ie: starting a nuclear war will not only actually destroy many of his properties, but will render people incapable of visiting his properties/buying his branded products, etc. So nuclear war bad for Trump!

    It's my only shot.

  • I'm with Talisker: that Dump in the White House is not like a toddler.

    Toddlers can have joy without sadism. They share. They get excited about baby birds, and get sad when one of them dies.

    He's something much worse.

  • Gerald McGrew says:

    Ok, the GOP has a toddler as their standard-bearer.

    Let's be real here…..has it cost them anything? Will it cost them anything? Unless they lose the House and/or Senate, they won't care.

    IMO, the bigger problem isn't that the POTUS is a big immature baby, it's that the Democrats are so incompetent that they not only lost to him, they can't even make his party suffer any real consequences for it.

  • Thanks, mago. Let's be a little more explicit here:

    It was country club MEGACHURCH idiots who elected the toddler.

    Fundamentalist Christians who are a little well off and are mad they can't send the cops to beat down the n%%^%ers and fags anymore. I know
    too many of them, even in Blue/Purple California.

    religion poisons everything.

  • "IMO, the bigger problem isn't that the POTUS is a big immature baby, it's that the Democrats are so incompetent that they not only lost to him, they can't even make his party suffer any real consequences for it."

    I agree with this, but a partial riposte is that the reason for this is a significant part of the American population is so poisoned by tosic religion, racism, class envy, greed, and lack of empathy that the only thing they care about is that their taxes are cut. Another big portion is so delusional in its world view that they join the tools of the vampire squid class in screwing themselves. Throw in the sad reality that the Dems are beholden to the Vampire Squids as well…and….I keep checking my lotter tickets. Uruguay or Portugal or New Zealand sound better and better.

  • and gun loonery. Can't forget that the Demoncrats are all coming for THEIR PRECIOUS. Ammosexuals would vote for Himmler rather than a Democrat.

  • This ain't a job for Dr Spock! I say go get a switch and woop his ass! AND if don't work fast enough …beat him upside the head …until the white meat show!

  • Bitter Scribe says:

    In a New Yorker profile of Rex Tillerson, someone remarked that all Trump has around him now are generals and Boy Scouts–a reference to Tillerson, who was an Eagle Scout. In other words, people who are sticking it out from a sense of duty to the country.

  • @BrianM; just one quibble; the megachurch morons in my little area of the world don't seem to have a little money. So many of them seem one flat tire away from bankruptcy. I'm not sure if that's because they're pissing away their money supporting their megachurch and associated megapastor (gotta have a private jet–it's in the Bible, don'tcha know?!?).

    But there's a definite megachurch mentality; I suppose it's the same mindset that has them buying into the prosperity gospel b.s. even though they don't have two nickels to rub together (isn't that proof their jebus hates them? They never see it that way). The cognitive dissonance and utter determination to believe at least six impossible things before breakfast–so long as the impossible things are fed to them by their approved sources.

    There's one in my office who goes on and on and on about how Trump isn't perfect (no, REALLY?!?!), but "everyone makes mistakes" and "must be forgiven". Except for Democrats, of course.

  • For a few years I taught high school math. It's hard, but can be very rewarding (not financially, unfortunately). But I have long had special admiration for those teachers who deal with very small children, from kindergarten to maybe second grade or so. They have special skills, and the best have special talents as well. I could never do that.

  • Yeah I have toddler twins. As much as they can be a handful they actually have redeeming qualities… So the 45 as toddler/child analogy doesn't work for me.

    But what really tripped my circuit breaker is the description of the closing time parade. That's a prefect description of our ongoing warts in Afghanistan Iraq and Yemen. We line up and match to that bozo parade music every night. No questions asked.

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