Tag Archives: Parenting

Life at the Bottom of the Pig Pile

Owen (5yo, cozied up in my lap today as I watched the football game):  I know a good rule for our house, Mommy!!

Me (only paying half attention to my clever kid): OK, Honey. Tell me what your good rule is.

Owen (very assertively): We only go to the park on beautiful days.

Me (thinking there’s no harm in agreeing to THAT 5yo rule!):  Sure, Honey. Sounds like a good rule.

Owen (responding immediately):  Isn’t it a beautiful day outside, Mommy??

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HA!  OK, I’ve got to admit … I didn’t see THAT one coming! And while it didn’t quite get him to the park, it DID bring a ginormous smile to my face as I nuzzled his little neck with kisses.

Owen is the youngest in our home and is nearing in on six years old. His brothers are 9, 17, and 19 years old.  And his mom and dad are significantly older than that. Owen loves to initiate new rules, especially if they provide him with immediate benefits … but it goes deeper than that.  We hear, at least on a daily basis, Owen’s mantra: “You’re not the BOSS of me!”  That is followed by Mom’s musings, “Ummm … yeah. He kinds IS!”

For my youngest little man, it doesn’t even matter who he’s talking to. Dad is the boss of him. Mom is the boss of him. His oldest brother, when home from college, is the boss of him. His 17yo brother, when proving instruction or correction, is the boss of him.  Even his 9yo brother, who often knows better than Owen, is the boss of him. Owen pretty much lives life at the bottom of the pig pile! So … what’s it like down there? What view does he have when he looks up?

Imminent irritations likely imbue his days, leading him to assert his authority (or lack thereof!) in sputtering his oft-stated declaration. It goes beyond bossy big brothers though … Mom and Dad are tired leading to less play time; clothes usually come complete with holes; later night privileges are few in comparison to his brothers; and Mom will always call him “Baby” – just to name a few.

But to suggest that being the youngest provides a preponderance of problems would be hog wash (pun very intended)!  His youngest child status also affords him an array of advantages as he over-uses a hog-tied stance in life … Mom and Dad are tired so rules are less strict; he is coddled more and his actions are usually considered cute; the expected workload is often less; and Mom will always call him “Baby.”

Sometimes circumstances work to Owen’s favor, other times they do not. Incredibly, Owen hasn’t attempted the “Life’s not fair!” protest yet, but when he ushers it in, I’m ready. I’ve always been a fan of a local teacher who operates by a mantra of her own when dealing with her classroom kids’ protests as she replies, “Fair, but not equal.”

Owen (to our newest family member, Dutch, a 12 week-old Vizsla pup):  You’re not the BOSS of me!

Me: [Yeah …. This time he’s right.]

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Fait Accompli: Vegan Pasghetti

For weeks now, my five year old has been asking me to make Pasghetti for dinner. Of course, he REALLY intends to say Spaghetti but has said it incorrectly for so long that we don’t even bother to correct it any longer!  We just join him in his mispronunciations!  😀

The only problem with conceding to the wishes of one kid, is that it typically runs contrary to the desires of another kid.  This was the case last night.

Owen:  Mommy, can you pleeeeease make Pasghetti tonight? We haven’t had that for a really long time!

Me: Sure, Honey. I’m hungry for pasghetti too!

Isaac:  Really?  Do I need to eat Pasghetti? Can you at least give me a small serving? You know how I feel about Pasghetti, Mom!

Thought Bubble:  “OK. It’s 2 p.m. and I have nothing else planned. I DO need something to feed the troops this evening and Pasghetti would be quick and easy. I’m going to count that as a consensus. After all, we got 2.5 yes votes. Curt and Aidan are not here so can’t really weigh in on the vote. And I consider non-votes to be YES votes anyway!”

Me:  Yes, Isaac, we’re having Pasghetti. Sorry, Dude, but it has been a while and the littles have been asking for it pretty constantly.

I walked to the pantry to take a quick inventory:  Ragu (Roasted Red Pepper and Garlic Flavored) – check.  Whole Wheat Pasta – check. Fresh Garlic – check. Mushrooms – check.

A full 90 minutes after that conversation, I got the dreaded phone call from my husband inquiring about dinner.

Curt: I’m picking up hamburger so we can have Pasghetti tomorrow night.

Me:  Ummm …. we’re having that tonight.

Curt: But we have no hamburger.

Me:  Correct.  It will still be good though.

Thought Bubble #2:  He knows the vegan in me won’t eat the meat version and he’s generally been very supportive of my choices. He enjoys most of my vegan dishes without complaint that they are free of dead flesh, but I’m sensing that he wants the traditional meat-laden Pasghetti. Ugh!!  I have nothing else planned for tonight and I am HUNGRY!

Curt: We could eat pizza and you could just have whatever you want tonight. Then we could make the Pasghetti with meat tomorrow night.

Me: (Sigh ….. and a very pregnant pause) I suppose I could have peanut butter toast before training at karate tonight.

Curt:  OK. Go ahead and make the Pasghetti tonight. I’ll buy burger for next time.  The boys and I will have pizza tomorrow night instead of tonight.

Thought Bubble #3:  Whew.  I hate last minute changes!

I DID make Pasghetti last night, hurrying into the kitchen to begin it before anyone with substantial input could change their mind!  Fortunately I also found a package of TVP (textured vegetable protein) in the pantry to give the dish the texture that the men were missing. I hadn’t tried it out in anything yet and was worried I’d create a dish so horrid that I’d never be allowed another chance with vegan Pasghetti!  Other additions to the sauce included fresh garlic and mushrooms, along with some additional flavors from my plethora of spices that are lined up in my spice cabinet alphabetically for quick retrieval.

In the end everyone gave it a thumbs-up …. even the naysayers that approached this dinner with fear and trepidation!   As I cleaned the kitchen and washed the dishes, I noted how very little remained as leftovers.  That was telling. 🙂  As was this comment this morning:

Owen:  Do we have any Pasghetti leftover for my lunch today?

Vegan Pasghetti  . . .  Nailed it!!!!!!!!