Who’s in Charge?

"Dad, you've got to be firm!"

“Dad, you’ve got to be firm!”

My son came up to me and said, “I’m hungry,” and proceeded to rub his belly and give me a look of famished on the verge of fainting.

I get these acts daily from the nine-year-old with his piggish appetite.

But before I could brush him aside by saying that dinner will be ready soon, his six-year-old sister beat me to the punch.

“You’re always saying that,” she told her brother, “and one day you’re going to eat us out of the house.”

My son’s face dropped.

“All I wanted was a rice cake,” he said.

“Yeah, and then another rice cake and then another and then we won’t have any food and we’ll all be hungry,” the youngest said. “Isn’t that right, Dad? You tell him.”

“Ah, well…”

I started to respond and then stopped and watched wordlessly as my son marched off with his head down and then looked at the youngest as she smiled at what seemed another of her many triumphs in authority. And all I could think was that somewhere along the way I lost control of the household to a mighty mite with a sharp tongue.

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