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??
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.]