A Frozen Reference

Olaf: Knock. (pause) Just knock. (pause) Why isn’t she knocking? Do you think she knows how to knock?

We watch a lot of Frozen. It’s Tornado A’s favorite movie. Tornado A wants to be Elsa, which is adorable. I think it’s the white-blonde hair and the blue eyes. Plus her power is ice magic. Who wouldn’t want that? In the pool, I taught Tornado A to play Elsa by splashing water in the way Elsa sprays ice. And of course, I play Anna to Tornado A’s Elsa.

During Tornado S and Tornado A’s swim lesson, Tornado E and I watched Tornado S’s swim class jump off the low dive. One little girl was having trouble jumping off.

Tornado E: Jump. (pause) Just jump. (pause) Why isn’t she jumping?

Me: Do you think she knows how to jump?

Tornado E looked up at me with a large grin. I smiled back.

Dude, it’s so awesome to have someone get all your references. The benefit of parenting teaching kids to hate what you hate. I mean like. I don’t think we’ve watched that Simpson‘s episode yet.

His Reputation Precedes Him

A couple of weeks ago, we were in the Friendly Giant’s neighborhood. And I thought why not visit my baby brother? I hadn’t been to his place since he moved in. So I texted him, and he was home and awake. The boys and I swung by and offered doughnuts for coming at the early hour of 10am.

As you can imagine, the boys had a great time. It’s their favorite uncle. And he owns an electric fireplace that changes color!

While the Friendly Giant was wrestling with all three tornadoes, his roommate came home. The wrestling game was put on hold (or “paused” as Tornado S likes to say), so my brother could introduce us.

The roommate: So which one likes Darth Vader and Hitler?

We all looked at Tornado S. He smiled.

To be fair, he only wanted to play a Nazi to play Indiana Jones. He’s not allowed to like real bad guys.

Meanest Grandma in the Whole World

People, I’m the meanest mom in the whole world. Just ask my tornadoes.

It’s true.

Well, sometimes. Sometimes I’m the coolest mom in the whole world.

Sometimes my mom is the meanest grandma in the whole world. You know, because she makes my tornadoes do their homework in their nicest handwriting, makes them pick up every toy, and makes them ask to turn on the TV or the Wii every time. So mean. Seriously, I don’t know if I could compete. Some days I only make them pick up most of the toys. But I totally am harder on how they speak to each other and having a taste of each food on their plate. And I don’t let them play video games or watch TV any time they want or how long they want.  I am so mean.

Naturally after one of these you’re-the-meanest-grandma-in-the-world, I had to ask.

Me: Who’s meaner? Mommy or Grandma?

Tornado E: Grandma!

Tornado S: Grandma!

Tornado A: Nana!

I gave her my oh-that’s-right-you-heard-it-here-first-I-rock face. She just gave a they’re-angry-right-now-but-just-wait-I’m-the-grandma-you’re-the-mom. And she’s right. She can trump my mom card any day. I have to be mean. She can spoil them if she chooses.

But I will not be brought down in my victory by mere facts and accurate guesses.

I’m cooler than my mom. I’m a cooler mom than their grandma.

So I had to brag to my dad and tell him the whole story when he got home. As it happens, I told him in front of the boys.

Papi: Who would be Darth Vader? Grandma, your mommy, or me?

Tornado E: Grandma!

Tornado S: Grandma!

Tornado A: Nana!

My dad and I exchanged smug looks. My mom rolled her eyes.

Papi: Ok. Who would be Luke Skywalker? Your mommy or me?

Tornado E: Mommy!

Tornado S: Papi!

Tornado A: Mommy!

My dad and I exchanged looks.

Papi: Ok. Who would be Han Solo? Your mommy or me?

Tornado E: Papi!

Tornado S: Mommy!

Tornado A: Papi!

Me: (to my dad) I really don’t know what to make of that. But at least I’m not a Sith Lord.

I Get By With a Little Help from my Friends

In my tweet for my last post, I wrote “I get by with a little help from my friends.”  And I do.  Seriously.  I don’t know what I would do without my amazing friends.

I lean on several to get the stuff out of my head.  I talk for hours about my fears and troubles and craziness.  And they listen and give comfort and give advice.  They’re so amazing.  Sometimes I feel like I’m vomiting words, trying to make sense of my life and how I feel and what I will do, and then I apologize for monopolizing the conversations and (lately) always being a downer.  Because they are awesome, they tell me it’s ok and this is how they support me.

If that isn’t enough to have them lend their strength and wisdom, they try their best to take care of me.

My Favorite Freshman drove two hours to be with me on the night I learned of the ruling.  Every time she visits, she thrusts clothes and random stuff for the boys and me into my arms.  She insists on feeding me and donating to the inevitable garage sale coming my way.  She’s promised to drive two hours to sit for me if I ever need it.  Seriously, how lucky am I?  For Mother’s Day, she bought me a family pass to the zoo because “you need to be able to be the fun parent too.”

Another friend insisted on taking me out to the movies the other week because I needed to get out and have fun.  I tried to give her money for the ticket, and she waved it away with “it was my idea.”

I could not function without Wally and Cat.  I know if I needed them, any time of day, they would move heaven and earth to help me.

An old college friend messaged me out of the blue, asking to talk.  We hadn’t talked on the phone for years.  (Stupid Facebook for making us believe we know what was going on in other people’s lives.)  We talked for several hours, and whenever I tried to turn the conversation to her, she would insist that she called to hear about my life.  Then to top off her awesomeness, she sent me a cookbook for cooking for one or two servings.  I thanked her, and she told me she did it to honor my new life and it would give me a reason to stay in contact to tell her how the recipes taste.  And to think, when we met as freshmen in college, she thought I was a bitch and we would never get along.  (She was only half right.)

Then there’s the Unicorn.  Who Tornado A blacklisted on my phone, so we fell out of touch for a few weeks.  She’s so awesome.  I’m so happy for her, and her texts make me so happy.  Then she sent me a whole bunch of stickers and candy and salsa spice mixes.  Yea surprises!  Now if only I could get to the post office to mail all the stuff I’ve been hording for her.

I’m lucky to have more awesome friends.  I know there are several that if I just called, they would talk with me for hours as though time never passed, and if I needed anything, they would totally be there for me.  I told Wally I was blessed.  Then I laughed because I hate using the word “blessed.”

For a while, I felt really guilty for being so lucky.  Then one day it dawned on me that if roles were reversed, I would be doing the same thing.  Before I was poor, I was treating my friends out for dinners and movies and buying them little “smile” gifts.  Before I became really poor, I was sending stickers, cards, and presents when I could.  I look forward to the days I can do that again.  In the meantime, I’m always happy to listen and console.  I’m always happy to babysit and feed people.

Even though a lot of parts of my life suck right now, I’ve got this amazing group of people supporting me.  If I keep my eyes on the prize, nothing is going to stop me.

A little vacation

I took the boys on a little vacation last week.  Just 5 days up to Phoenix.  Two nights with one friend in a two-bedroom apartment.  Two nights with another friend and her husband and son in a two-bedroom apartment.  I was worried about imposing and being the poor relation but . . .

 

My first friend is my Favorite Freshman from my senior year in high school.

And

She bought the boys toys and several outfits, including bright yellow shirts for them to wear to the children’s museum.

She insisted on taking us out for pizza and video games and paying for the children’s museum (“because that’s what sisters do.”)

She stocked her kitchen with tons of kid-friendly food.

She played with us at the children’s museum and at splash pads and watched movies with us.

Aidan: can we stay here?

Me: For how long?

Aidan: For lots of days!

 

And then

We spent the next few days with my close friend and her son.

Before her husband left for a friend’s house, he downloaded Plants vs Zombies for my boys to play.

She got us into the zoo for free.

She insisted on taking us out for pizza and video games and splitting meals we had out.

She has the cutest boy, and my boys love him.

And splash pads!

Aidan: When can we go to Cat’s house?

Me: Soon.

Aidan: YEA!!!!

 

Seriously, one of the best vacations ever.

And I’m seriously one of the luckiest people to have such awesome friends.

A Mother’s Son

While staying at a friend’s place this weekend, I fell asleep with Tornado A and Tornado S, who was suppose to be reading us a story.  My friend tried to keep Tornado E occupied, instead of letting him wake us up.  So she asked him questions.  He told her about the book he was reading and his favorite animals and all about dragons.  A lot about dragons.  For an hour, he talked all about dragons like they were a real, scientific species.

She shook her head and whispered, “You are your mother’s son.”

When I woke up and joined them, she told me the whole story.

My friend: He is your son.

I smiled.

Tornado E: Of course, I am.  Why wouldn’t I be?

I love that kid.

Missing them

My house is quiet.  And empty.  And quiet.  Of course, it’s 11pm, so even if my boys were here, it would be relatively quiet.  Except Tornado S snores.  And someone is always turning over.  And someone gets out of bed once, twice, three times a night.  Even though it’s night and quiet, if they were here, the house would feel . . . full.

I’ve had the boys five nights in a row, and I hate when I have to turn them over.  My house, my life seems so empty and quiet and dull.  When I signed up for this parenting gig, I knew for next ten years or more my life would be wrapped around their lives.  Not in a complete, my-kids-are-my-life way, but in a dinner-has-to-have-one-child-friendly-part way or weekdays-are-for-homework-and-child-activities way or a-sitter-needs-to-be-hired-a-week-in-advanced-for-a-few-hours-a-couple-of-times-a-month way, a vacations-will-mainly-be-about-the-kids way, a money-goes-to-kids’-needs-and-most-wants-before-my-wants way.  Let’s just face it.  I will never be one of those moms who is excited the ex is taking the kids for the weekend.

Every time I think about the ex having 50% custody or that the judge added her opinion of calling me “restrictive and unreasonable” over custody for those nearly 3 years of separation in the ruling, I get angry.  It’s not my fault that the ex decided he preferred to visit the kids on his time when he wanted to at my house, but that’s how his lawyer made it look.  Like I was keeping the kids away from their father.  The ex lied and said that I knew he was  living with his girlfriend (instead of the alcoholic roommate that he told me he was living with, which I didn’t want exposed to my kids) and that I refused to let my kids over to their place.

So it sucks.  Because I don’t always get to talk to them every night, even when I call every night.  Because I can tell they’re not getting enough sleep.  Because we don’t get to do all the crafts, activities, and science experiments I want to do with them.  Because they are adjusting.  Because this is hard on them.  Because I don’t get to cook and bake for them every day.  Because they are pushing at the boundaries and exhibiting unhealthy coping strategies.  Because I don’t have the money to take them to counseling anymore.  Because part of my heart resides somewhere else and I feel helpless to protect them when they aren’t here.

With any luck, I’ll have them tomorrow because the ex works and it’s summer and I’m a teacher.  We’ll fight over doing workbooks, and I’ll send someone to time out for hitting his brother.  We’ll go grocery shopping and maybe to the craft store for supplies for Papi’s birthday present.  We’ll argue over video game playing and candy.  I’ll listen to Tornado S read, and I’ll continue to teach Tornado A to swim, and I’ll have interesting conversations with Tornado E about superheroes or Skylanders or dragons or animals.  Tomorrow is going to be a great day.

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