I have another theory about why my youngest is so brash and demanding. He’s a celebrity.
I thought he couldn’t read, but he must have discovered his starring role in the Jelly Mom column and now he treats the whole family like we’re dim-witted assistants that he can just order around and fire at will.
“Here’s your breakfast, kiddo.”
“I said I want eggs!”
Oh, don’t worry. I don’t fry him eggs. I just take away his only option for breakfast. It makes him a little more courteous at lunch.
“Here’s a tuna sandwich.”
“That I want peanut butter. Please.”
It’s a token please, tacked on the end after great personal struggle with himself, but now we’re finally getting somewhere.
Just about the time I think I’ve civilized him again and think he might actually ask for his snack in a more polite tone, his older brother comes home from summer school bearing gifts he earned for behaving all day. I can just read the youngest one’s mind: See ya, Mom, and all your stupid rules about courtesy. Big Brother brought me toys!
Well, soon enough the two boys are fighting. Big Brother has repossessed Little Brother’s toys because he can. He says Little Brother was rude to him, but I know that Big Brother giveth and Big Brother taketh. (Sometimes I wish he wasn’t so generous in the first place.)
Yet I take Big Brother’s side when Little Brother pops off with rapid-fire demands: You give me the toys! You play with me out back! You stupid idiot!!
He comes crying to me for justice. “Momma, no one will play with me.”
It’s not easy being the youngest in the family. All those promises about how great it is to be a big boy and you still don’t get your own way, still can’t make people do what you want them to do, still can’t do nothing!
He thought that when he turned five-years old he would start going to school the very next day. He packed his backpack, carried a book and told me he needed a lunch to go. But I said he had to wait until the fall, some mysterious other time that is still too difficult for him to fathom, sometime after an equally puzzling thing called ‘summer vacation.’
He gets up at the crack of dawn every day, just in case that’s the morning school starts. He can’t be late for the bus! He packs his backpack again and I tell him to wait some more.
I almost pity him. But when I give him grapes for his snack and he screams at me, “I wanted apples!” I pity the kindergarten teacher he will get.
For now, someone needs a nap.