Real Life Ranch Wife

Life lessons from Levi

Despite being the third child, Levi has plenty of lessons to share, from impractical practicalities to curiosities about nature.

Despite being the third child, he has plenty of lessons to share, from impractical practicalities to an unfortunate hands-on curiosity about nature.

As a parent of three children, I’ve learned plenty while raising the first two. By the time the baby of the family showed up, I’d already experienced, documented, photographed and exclaimed about most childhood milestones. Our youngest child and second son, Levi, was not the first to walk, eat solid food or blow raspberry kisses on my cheek.

But he is the first to teach me (and his siblings) other important life lessons, though. Here are a few.

If you’re not first, you better be fighting for second.

Levi was not content being ponied on a gentle horse by Mom when his big brother and sisters were loping around on their own mounts. He now insists on holding his own reins, and when he sees the other cowboys build a loop, he takes his rope down. It doesn’t matter if he’s riding a fat pony that he can only kind of steer; he points his left hand at the cow and starts swinging. His modus operandi is to bail in headfirst and figure the finer points out later.

Muffins don’t go in the shower.

Adults are so practical (and boring) that we wouldn’t even consider taking baked goods into the bathtub. But a young child sees no reason not to take a freshly baked muffin into the bathtub — until his mother informs him it isn’t a suitable snack for bath time.

But after the fact, I reconsidered the rule. Because you know what actually would go splendidly with a long soak in a hot tub? A raspberry Danish. Maybe thinking like an adult is overrated.

Never put a cactus in your pocket.

To a grown-up, this life lesson seems obvious. But to a 5-year-old who wants to explore nature with his hands and take pieces of it home to further investigate at a later date, this was a hard-won lesson. The barrel cactus “pup” (as baby cacti are called) seemed soft and fuzzy at first touch, but once plucked from the ground and placed inside Levi’s jeans pocket, it turned prickly and hostile.

Levi quickly realized the error of his cactus-packing ways and yanked the pup from his pocket, but it was too late. Dozens of superfine, barely visible baby cactus spines had already embedded themselves into the tender skin of his upper thigh. We tried pulling them out with tweezers and mailing tape, but red bumps continued to sprout. Finally, Mom’s face waxing kit did the trick and pulled out most of the spines. A pair of soft cotton shorts and an episode of “Wild Kratts” did the trick to soothe the rest of his frazzled feelings.

Always drink from the garden hose.

When Levi was 3, I asked him where he got all his cuteness. He replied, “I get it from the water hose.”

So, there you have it. Mystery solved — explorers can immediately halt all searches for the Fountain of Youth and simply turn on the spigot by the flowerbeds. It’ll keep you young, or at least young at heart.

Falling off is fun.

Big brother and sister both had their turns falling off the pony when they were his age, so we all knew it was bound to happen at some point. But I was unprepared for his reaction the first time Levi slid off her back and hit the ground.

“That was fun! Can I do it again?”

So, maybe I’m raising a future steer wrestler? We’ll see how he feels about slamming into the ground off of a running Quarter Horse and encountering the resistance of a fresh, five-weight steer, but I’ll encourage his ambitions all the way to the dirt.

2 thoughts on “Life lessons from Levi”

  1. You are amazing ! Love what you write about , my life married to a “Buckaroo “ for 41years 7months and 3 days! I miss my Cowboy and the life we shared the place’s we lived and the people/ friends we met . RIP Britt Lay
    Hugs around to your family!


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