Vinnie’s Mom Needs Some Space



Eight a.m. . . .

The door to Vinnie’s bedroom creases, “Mom, Dad, can I come out? I think Dexter wants to go to the bathroom. Rupert is starving.”

Vinnie’s mom calls out from the kitchen. “Yes, Vinnie, you can come out if you promise to apologize to Mr. Johnson this morning.”

“Sure, Mom. What am I apologizing for? Mr. Johnson said it was okay for me to sing.”

“Vincent, do you want to eat breakfast in your room?”

“No, Mom.”

“Can I write him an email?”


“Can I text him?”


“Can Uncle Mike come with me?”


“Okay, Mom. I’ll go over after breakfast. Promise.”

“I’ve made your favorite breakfast, it’s on the breakfast bar.”

“Rupert, Dexter, we’re not on house arrest anymore, let’s eat,” screams Vinnie slamming open the bedroom door and racing down the hallway carrying Rupert football style under his arm. Dexter is chasing him, howling, on the hunt for food.

Vinnie slides across the floor on his stocking feet stopping next to the stool at the breakfast bar. Dexter skids to a stop sticking a belly landing on the waxed Saltillo tile floor. Rupert smiles as Vinnie places him on the breakfast bar counter. Vinnie stares at a bowl of oatmeal and a dish of vanilla yogurt.


“Yes, Vinnie?” says Vinnie’s mom already knowing Vinnie’s question. She quickly adds, “You cannot have pizza for breakfast.”

“But, Mom. You said it was my favorite breakfast.”

“If you try it, you’ll never want pizza for breakfast,” says Vinnie’s mom wondering why she is trying to reason with Vinnie. She’s knows she’d have better luck reasoning with Rupert, the stuffed grizzly bear.

Vinnie is stirring the oatmeal around with his spoon. “Mom, can I have more sugar, raisons, honey, and jelly to put in my oatmeal?”

Vinnie’s mom is near the stove top. She turns and places her hands on her hips, and cocks her head to the side. “Vincent, I know what’s is good for you and this breakfast will give you energy all day. You’ll be happy you ate it.”

“Can I only eat half of it, Mom. And, if I do . . . “

“Don’t even mention the word pizza again this morning, Vincent.” Vinnie’s mom understands this conversation is into an endless loop. She changes it, “Vinnie, any more thoughts on work day this coming Friday? Dad is excited about taking you to work.”

Vinnie’s working on his yogurt. “The yogurt is pretty good, Mom. I wish they made yogurt in a P flavor. I’d eat it all the time without complaining.”

“P flavor?” As soon as the words passed her lips, Vinnie’s mom regretted it.

“You told me I can’t say the P word, Mom. If you made oatmeal with sauce and cheese and pepperoni, I’d eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”

“Dear, God. Help me here.”

“What, Mom? Are you asking God for a recipe for P flavored oatmeal? Maybe Uncle Mike will give you his secret pizza sauce recipe if you ask nice.”

Vinnie’s mom says, “Vinnie, finish your oatmeal and yogurt. When you finish, brush your teeth. I want to check your homework for Monday. After that your free.”

“Where are you going, Mom.”

“I’ll be on the deck for a minute getting some fresh air,” says Vinnie’s mom walking toward the door leading to the deck. She stops when she reaches the door and turns toward Vinnie, “Do not give Dexter your food.”

Dexter hears his name, rises to all fours, and barks.

Vinnie says, “Can he lick the scrapings?”

“Okay,” says Vinnie’s mom suddenly tired knowing how it is going down as soon as she closes the door behind her. She sighs and walks out onto the deck, she needs space.

Vinnie watches his mom go out to the deck. He takes a bite of the oatmeal and hollers, “The oatmeal is great, Mom. Thanks for making it.” Vinnie takes his full bowl of oatmeal and remaining yogurt slides off the stool and places the food on the floor in front of the Dexter, the beagle vacuum and says, “Tell Mom it’s your favorite meal when you finish, Dexter.”

All Dexter hears is the clicking of his jaw as he chomps his way through the oatmeal and yogurt. Five seconds later he looks up at Vinnie wondering if there’s a second course.


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