A Baby Nerd

Just recently my town remembered it was winter, and the boys and I raced to throw on our favorite winter shirts.  Tornado A’s happens to be a shirt with a ruler with black-rim glasses.  It reads, “Nerds Rule!”  Between the Star Wars, dragons, fairy tales, science experiments, loads of books, and filling their heads with knowledge and questions, I’m raising nerds.  But as I have already explained to my boys, “nerds get things done” and “nerds love to learn.”

So one sort-of-cold day, Tornado A pulled out the shirt and shoved it into my hands.

Tornado A: I a baby nerd!

I laughed and helped him into his shirt.

Tornado A: I am a Tornado A Nerd!  Tornado E is a Tornado E Nerd!  Tornado S is a Tornado S Nerd!  I am a baby nerd!  And you are a mommy nerd!  (He paused and smiled.)  And we get things done!

God, I love this kid.

Tornado A: You’re a pretty nerd, mommy!

Yup, he’s my favorite.

Dusting off Cobwebs

When I was a child, my family owned a cabin.  (Family as in the Clan; the cabin belonged to my grandpa, and his children took their families there.)  Every time we left, we had to pack the cabin back up.  Every dish and condiment was put away.  Chairs were folded and put in the corner.  Sheets were folded and put in trunks.  Plastic was draped over beds and counters and the table.  The outdoor swing and chairs were brought into the cabin.  The water basin was hung.  Drapes were closed.  Boards were put on windows.  The last weekend of fall, the ceiling was propped.

I loved going to the cabin.  I loved walking into the cabin the first time, smelling moth balls and ant killer and setting down the load I carried up the hill.  I loved waking up the cabin, opening windows, helping to take out the outdoor furniture, helping to take out the plastic to shake it out and fold it away, helping to make beds, and taking out things to make the cabin a home.  After the car was unpacked and the cabin was unpacked, my brothers and I were released to the forest to run as a pack up hill, down hill, along deer trails, sliding down pines.  Before we were called in to take the bucket out to collect kindling, I would collect flowers and pretty rocks to decorate the cabin.  No matter how brief the visit, I had to make the cabin my home.

Lately this blog has been more like a vacation home than a permanent, roots-deep home.  My classes have made it difficult to carve out any time for myself.  When asked what I do with my free-time, I blinked, saying “well, I used to…”  But now I’m student teaching, and I hope I’ll have a little more free time, though I’ll be teaching a full load in a matter of weeks.  Which reminds me, I forgot to write a paper that’s due… And there’s 5 lesson plans to write… And I should read Macbeth again…

But I miss this home.  I have to write.  I’m not happy when I don’t.  Only now have I had too little time.  Even in college, in between classes, anyone could find me with my journal out, sitting by the fountain, writing.  Now I hope to carve out the time to write.  Now that the divorce trial is over.  Now that I am forced to lose my boys every other weekend.  Now that I’m not jamming a semester’s worth of work into 5 weeks.  Because I want to perfect my craft.  Because I need a place to get these thoughts out of my head.  Because I need these stories to stop haunting me.  Because I need to breathe.

With any luck, I’ll see you tomorrow.  With more luck, I’ll start hunting everyone down.  Or more like I’ll ring doorbells of blogs and offer cookies and comments and tell you how much I truly missed you and ask for the latest news and gossip.

Brainstorming

I like celebrating holidays and traditions.  Life needs to be celebrated.  And food.  Food is good.  Years ago I started celebrating Chinese New Years with my boys.  (You can even find crafts on the blog.)  I have a knack for American Chinese food, so it gives me an excuse to go all out with crab rangoons and egg rolls and bean sprouts with green beans and cashew chicken or broccoli beef.  Yummy.  Only we have a slight problem.

Driving home from school.

Me: Boys.  We have a problem.

Silence.

Tornado E: What, Mommy?

Me: Friday is the movie night at the school.  Do you guys want to go?

Tornado E and S: YES!

Me: Cool.  We’ll do that.  Friday is also Chinese New Year.

Tornado E: So let’s celebrate!

Me: Good idea.  But we’re doing the movie night.  So what are we going to do?

Silence as the boys ponder.  I could almost hear the wheels in their head turning.  I figured we would celebrate Saturday, even decorate the house and do a few crafts.

Tornado S: I know!  Let’s take Chinese food to the movie night!

Movie night is Rio with the school serving Mexican food (I know, not Brazilian, but you know, whatever) for purchase.  I figured I’d pick up McDonald’s or Taco Bell.  But Chinese food . . . .

Tornado E: That’s a great idea!  Let’s do that!

Yes, that’s doable.  We can do that.

Me: Great idea, Tornado S.  We’ll pick up Chinese food and take it to movie night.

With that, we were working as a team.  If this goes well, maybe I’ll let them write the menu every week.  What could go wrong?

Winter?

At seven in the morning, Bart was sleeping peacefully in his bed when Lisa burst into the room and yelled “Snowball fight!”  She belted Bart in the face with a snowball.  With a laugh, Lisa ran off, being chased by Bart.  She slid down the railing with Bart following her out the door.

Bart: You’re going to eat a blizzard of…(looking around to notice there was no snow) unseasonable warmth?
Lisa: I made the snowball from the frost in our freezer! (And then laughs)

I hate cold.  I hate winter.  I hate snow.  I hate cold.  But even I’m getting weirded out by this unseasonable warm weather.  It’s going to be 78 degrees tomorrow.  How is that even possible?  I hate to say this.  But.  I kinda.  Maybe a little.  Miss some sort of winter.  It would be nice to have a reason to wear a long sleeve shirt and make hot food.

But then the electric bill being low is nice.  So is taking the boys out on bikes and not being able to see my breath in the morning.

Good luck, my northern friends.

The Dragon Castle

Tornado S got a castle and dragon Lego set for Christmas.  It’s pretty cool with good knights, an evil knight, an evil wizard, a princess, and a red dragon.  The castle was slightly too complicated for Tornado S, so we worked on it together.  I took pictures of it as soon as it was done, so I can admire my hard work for years to come.

Then one thing or another happened, and Tornado S declared he didn’t want the set any more.  Something like sour grapes or what not.  Are you kidding me?  Do you know how long it took us to build that?  Do you not understand how awesome it is?  Do you not get how much your uncles and I would’ve given for that when we were kids?

Tornado S: I’m going to destroy it.

Me: No!  I’ll take it.

Tornado S: Fine.  It’s yours.

Me: YEA!  Ok, so the princess was kidnapped by the evil wizard because he wants to blackmail her father.  But what the wizard doesn’t know is the princess has a dragon who is coming to rescue her along with her brothers.  And-

Tornado S: NO!  It’s an evil dragon!

Me: It’s my set.  It’s my story.  So the dragon attacks the castle, and the evil wizard is fighting him with magic.  Meanwhile, the princes engage battle with the evil knight after battling through a field of zombies.  The princess is fit to be tied because she’s trapped without her weapons.

Tornado S: That’s not how it goes!

Tornado E: And then the dragon breaks through the wall!

Me: And the princess calls for him to breathe fire on the lock to melt it!

Tornado E: The princess is free!  She jumps on her dragon!

Tornado S: NO!  The bad guy wins!

Me: They fly away to help her brothers defeat the evil knight and his army!

Tornado E: But the wizard hits the dragon with a spell!

Me: But the princess finds magic herbs to cure the dragon!

Tornado S: That’s not how the story goes!

Me: It’s my toy.

Tornado S: No!  It’s mine!  I want to play with it!

Me: (Shrugging) Fine.

Tornado E: But Mommy!  We were playing!

Me: You can play with your brother.  (pause) Or we have several Imaginatrix castles to play with!

Also I want female warriors in our Legos and Imaginatrix toys.

A Baby Dragon

A couple of weeks ago we had handymen at our house finally fixing the leaks in the roof.  Tornado A is obsessed with all things tools.  Also all things baking and cooking.  But when someone pulls out a tool, Tornado A is right there to watch.  Same goes with the mixer or rattling of pots and pans.  While he is easily included in cooking, baking, and family repair projects, I have to keep him from underfoot when its professionals.  Luckily the kid is cute, and most handymen love children.

These men were no different.  When they caught Tornado A watching them, one of the men struck up a conversation with Tornado A.

Handyman: What’s your name?

Tornado A: Tornado A!

Handyman: Do you go to school?

Tornado A: Yes!

Handyman: Do you like it?

Tornado A: Yes!  It’s where my friends are!  What’s that?

Handyman: Oh, that’s a scraper.  We have to scrape off the plaster first.

Tornado A: Oh!  And what’s that?

Handyman: That’s to put plaster on.

Tornado A: Oh!

Handyman: Do you want to be a construction worker when you grow up?

Tornado A: No!  I grow up to be a baby dragon!

The handyman looked at me.  I smiled.  What can I say, he’s my kid.

A New Helmet

I’ve mentioned the boys got new bikes and helmets this Christmas.  Unfortunately for Tornado A, his helmet was too small.  What can I say?  The kid has a big head.  He comes from a big-headed family.  So off we went to Target.

In the bike helmet aisle, there were plain colored helmets and Lightning McQueen helmets and Mohawk helmets and a kitty helmet.

And it was the kitty helmet he wanted.

Want that one!

How about Lightning McQeen?

No!  Want that one!

How about a Mohawk with a pirate flag?

No!  Want that one!

Fine!

Many of you know I would never bat an eye at one of my sons wearing a pink helmet with kitty ears.  I didn’t know.  But Tornado A loves Lightning McQueen, and he loves red.  I just wondered if he saw them and thought about them.  Since he rejected them, cat helmet it is.

Put it on!

So he walked around Target like that, earning compliments and aww’s.  And he was stoked.

Tornado A: Mama, I getting a girl helmet!

Me: Why do you think it’s a girl helmet?

Tornado A: Because it is a kitty!  Meow!

Me: Boys like kitties too.  That helmet is for kids who like kitties.

Tornado A: Like me!  My helmet is for kids who like kitties!  Like me!

Damn, that kid is cute.

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