Not my Mom

Me: What’s wrong?

I had just picked them up from their dad’s house.  Tornado E looked unhappy.  He sighed.

Me: What’s wrong?

Yeah, like I’m going to let you close down on me, kid.  Good luck with that.

Tornado E: Sometimes I get so mad at the L & R.

The boys that lived next door to their dad’s house.  One is a year older than Tornado E.  One is in between Tornado E and Tornado S.  It’s been really neat for my boys to have neighborhood kids to play with.  It’s been since Orange since the last time we lived next to neighbors with kids.

Me: Why do you get so mad at them?

Tornado E: Because they call The Girlfriend my mom.  No matter how many times I tell them she is not my mom, they still call her that.  I don’t like it.  You’re my mom.  The Girlfriend is not.

There’s still a lot of anger and hate in me.  But my son isn’t complaining about The Girlfriend.  He’s upset with his friends not listening to him.

Me: Baby, I don’t think they mean to make you mad or hurt you.  They’ve known The Girlfriend longer than you, and she is the mother of The Daughter who is their sister’s playmate.  They just don’t remember that you have a mom.  They only see her with you, not me.  It’s a slip of the tongue.  It’s easier to say “mom” than “your dad’s girlfriend.”

Tornado E made a noise of not being convinced.

Me: Besides they don’t understand.  Their parents live in the same house.  They may not understand that it makes you mad because you have another house and a mom who doesn’t live with your dad.  They probably don’t understand that sometimes that’s really hard.  So I want you to tell them nicely, “She’s not my mom.”  Can we practice?

Tornado E made a noise of yes.

Me: Tornado E, your mom wants you.

Tornado E: That’s not my mom.

Me: Ok.  Be nice.  They’re not being mean.  Try again.  Tornado E, your mom just called you.

Tornado E: That’s The Girlfriend, not my mom.

Me: Ok.  Much better.  You could also say, “Please call her The Girlfriend.”  Remember they’re your friends and aren’t trying to make you mad.

Tornado E: Ok, Mommy.

Me: And, baby, you can always talk to me.  I’m always here to help you find solutions to your problems.

Tornado E: Ok.  I love you.  Hey, what are we going to do now?

We’re going on adventure.

Why I Don’t Sleep

It’s been noted that I birthed three morning larks and that I’m a night owl.  This is a problem.  But I have naps.  This last quarter, I worked from 8am to 3:30 pm officially. (Unofficially there’s another two hours of grading and planning, and more time on the weekends. Woo)  Naps became a problem.  I began to go to bed early.  Like midnight.  Which is like early for me.

But now it’s summer.  And I can have naps again!  Since I’m up later, and the boys are up earlier.  (The sun!  It’s up!  The day must start NOW!)  Oh, but wait.  Two boys don’t need naps.  They need to read.  And one needs to read out loud, so I can make sure he is actually reading.  Or the boys need to do their workbooks, if they hadn’t already done them.  Or maybe we’re working on a complicated craft.  Goodbye, naptime….

Then there are nights like last night.

I crashed early because … ok, fine… I was sleep deprived from the night before.  I fell asleep over a book.

Then at 12:15.  One.  Two.  Three boys jumped in my bed.  Nightmares.  What could I do?

1:15. My God, where’s the AC?  Why isn’t it on?  I pushed aside two bodies to make room to get out of bed.  I stumbled to the thermostat and adjusted it.  I stumbled back to my bed and pushed aside bodies to make room.  (This is probably where I should’ve carried boys back to sleep, but my brain stops functioning logically after I fall asleep.)

2:15 My God, are there dwarves with pick axes inside my head?  I pushed aside two bodies to make room to get out of bed.  I stumbled to my bathroom and took pain relievers.  I stumbled back into bed and pushed bodies away to make room for myself.

3:15 My God, why must they be glued to me?  I need air!  I pushed aside two bodies to make a little more room.

Please God, let me sleep.


Oh, for the love of God!

That’s Me Part 2

To go along with the commercial theme, again we were watching TV.  (It’s become very educational.  I think I’ve got Tornado S on the side of the good guys with Teen Titans Go.  Fingers crossed.)

Then the Capri Sun commercial came on the TV.  The one where the moms are debating who is the cooler mom.  At the end of the commercial, one of the moms gives her son Capri Suns to give to his friends, and she says to her friend, “Wait for it.”  The kids in the background shout, “Cool!”  And the mom says, “That’s me.  Cool mom.”

Tornado E turned to me with a smile.

Tornado E: That’s you!  Cool Mom!

Me: Really?

Tornado E and Tornado S: YEAH!

Tornado E: Yeah, you’re the coolest mom I know.

Yup, that’s me.  Cool mom.

He’s going to hate that in high school.  I did.

That’s Me

Because of my student teaching, my sons have been exposed to commercials at my parents’ house.  Back a few months ago, Rice Krispies was running a commercial with an African-American mother and her two kids, making Rice Krispie Treats in egg form and placing a couple of candies in the middle.

We were eating a snack at the breakfast bar in my parents’ house, watching TV, when the commercial came on.

Tornado E: Mommy, that’s you!

Me: What?  (I mean.)  Why do you think that’s me?

I’m just a few shades darker than albino with blonde hair and light eyes.  I don’t tan.  I become a darker shade of white.  I do not look anything like the mother in the commercial.  Besides my hair is a lot longer.

Tornado E: Because you like making things with us, just like the mom in the commercial.

Oh.  Well, there’s that.

Me: (smile) Thanks, baby.  I do like making things with you.  Should we make those?

Tornado E: YES!

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.


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.


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?

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!


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.

Questions and Answers

“All knowledge is worth having.” – Jacqueline Carey

I’ve always been an intensely curious person.  Even as a child, I wanted to know things.  In first grade, I deciphered a book on knights, just so I could know the words to dubbing knighthood.  From knights to sharks to whales to Civil War battles and movements to medieval weapons to Queen Victoria to…..  I collect knowledge like a dragon collects treasure.  My head is filled with fun facts.

So when the “Why Stage” happened for each boy, I took each question seriously.  What I didn’t know, I looked up.  I praised them for their curiosity, explained that we should always look up what we don’t know, and encouraged my questions.  To my dismay, the “Why Stage” didn’t last long.

Of course, the boys still ask questions.  The older boys tend to ask a lot of questions in the car, especially on our way home from school.  “Why is the sky blue?”  “What is an atomic bomb?”  “Why is ‘shut up’ a bad word?”  “Why do ninjas use nunchucks?”  “Why do you always make that noise when someone is talking about the pilgrims?”  “Why do I have to go to time out?”  “Can I play video games before homework?”

I always answer the questions to best of my ability.  Except the last question, that’s always a “no.”  Sometimes I break into a lecture.

Tornado E: Why do we need gas?

Me: Well-

Tornado E: NEVERMIND!  I don’t want to know!

Ok, maybe I lecture most of the time.



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