10 things about Tornado A

1. His favorite food is food.  He’s always starving if some one has food.

2. He’s already a climber.  Heaven help me.  He doesn’t even walk yet.

3. Tornado A adores his brothers.  Even when their love is closer to torture than actual love.

4.  He’s a horrible napper.  But at least he goes to bed super early.

5. He has to sleep with one of my already worn night shirts.

6. He hides his binkies.  I don’t know how he does it, but out of a dozen, we’re down to three.  What the hell?

7. He’s a laid back kind of kid.  Unless he’s teething, then he’s f-ing possessed.  Which he has been.  For over a week.

8. He knows the word “no” already.  He stops, looks at the person saying it, smiles, and then does the thing any ways.

9. He’s fearless with a death wish.  See number 2.

10. A year later, he’s still blue-eyed and white blonde, but he’s a bit bigger and much more solid.

And, Tornado A, if you read this one day, no matter what your father or grandmother say, you don’t have to become an accountant because of your birthday.  I actually prefer you don’t.  Happy Birthday, Baby.

Standing back and letting go

I’ve mentioned before that we stay after school for a while to let the kids run off some steam before us moms have to drag away our children and be locked away, alone, with our kids.  The other day one of the little girls ate an apple and set down the core next to her lunchbox because there are no garbage cans.  It wasn’t long before Tornado A crawled off his blanket to investigate it.  He rolled it, banged it, scratched it, and crawled away with it.

I assessed the danger.  Gross, yes.  But I highly doubt the child had some horrible disease that Tornado A would pick up.  Besides he had his binky in his mouth.

After crawling around with the apple core, getting it covered in dirt and tiny leaves, Tornado A sat and investigated the core some more.  Then he smelled it.  He spat out the binky.  He took a bite.

The mothers next to me shuddered.

I assessed the danger.  A little dirt, a little plant particles, and a little random saliva.  What’s the harm?

Yup, that’s how laid back I am.  I let my baby boy eat someone else’s apple core that he’d been dragging around the dirt.  And you know what.  He survived.

I’ve learned to pick my battles and go with the flow.  Sure, I can become a wall that the boys crash into when they go to far, but most times, I just let them be.  Some times they make choices I never would.  Like wearing a turtle neck, shorts, and cowboy boots in the pre-summer.  Like deciding to poke a cactus with shorter and shorter sticks.  Like drawing all over your own face with colored markers.  But they are learning and being their own person.

When one of the mothers came to school late, with a thunder-cloud hanging over her, I asked her what happened after she delivered her daughter to class.

Mother: I just wanted to brush her hair.  That’s all.  And she throws a huge fit.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  She does it every time I do her hair.  But she had a huge rat’s nest in it.  I noticed it yesterday, and I thought I need to do her hair.  And she fought and cried and yelled and wiggled.  I don’t know what I’m going to do.  Now we’re late.  It’s just . . . .

Me: Hard.  Parenting is hard.  And you’re a good mom.

She took a deep breath.

Me: Maybe you let her go without her hair being brushed.  Or you give her the choice to brush herself or let you.  Or maybe you cut it so it doesn’t become a problem.

Mother: I know.  It’s just . . . .

Me: Hard.  Let it go, love.  You’ll be happier.  She’ll be happier.

So we talked for a while longer until I convinced her she needed to let it go and she was able to get out her frustrations.  We parted ways.  And you know what.  She went back to the class and asked to see her daughter.  She pulled her daughter outside and gave her a hug.

I can learn a lot from other moms.

A typical Sunday

Where does the day start?

At 12:30 AM when I finally forced myself to bed?

At 1:20 to 3:30 Am when Tornado A was alternating screaming his head off and dozing?

At 6:15 when Tornado A was whining from his bed?

6:15 Get Tornado A out of the crib, feed him pain medication, feed him breakfast of bananas and toast that he will smear all over the high chair instead of eating.

6:25 Tornado S stumbles out.  Put out breakfast for the boys, milk and day old blueberry muffins.  Tell Tornado A to stop whining because you’ll be back.

6:30 Tornado E stumbles out.

6:45 Get Tornado A out of high chair, wipe him off.  Swallow a bowl of cereal.

7:15 Dress Tornado A.  Encourage older children to get dressed.

7:43 Save Tornado A from rocking chair.  Ask boys why they aren’t dressed.

8:00 Shower.  Dress.  Save Tornado A from mountain of stuffed animals.  Ask boys why they aren’t dressed.  Point out they can solve their own problems.

8:10 Try to bribe older boys to get dressed.

8:20 Morning nap for Aida.  Cartoons for boys.  Morning nap for me.

9:30 Tornado A is up.  So am I.  The older boys are still alive and relatively unharmed.

9:45 Make meringue cookies.  Start debating baking dessert for the week.  Ask Tornado S where his underwear is.

10:00 Save Tornado A from the rocks in the back yard.  Make him spit out the rock in his mouth.  Learn the boys have emptied the sand box and that it has water from the rain.

10:03 Strip beds.  Put sheets in the wash.

10:39 Tornado E learns to climb his bed without a ladder.

10:45 Save Tornado S from the top of his dresser.

10:46 Save Tornado A from mountain of stuffed animals.

11:00 Pizza nuked for the boys.  Cheese, raisins, hard-boiled yolks for Tornado A.

11:10 Put sheets in the dryer.  Debate doing my sheets.  Tornado A starts to whine.

11:30 Get Tornado A out of the high chair.

11:33 Remove slice of pizza from Tornado A’s hand.

11:34 Remind older boys that Tornado A will eat what they don’t.

11:45 Learn that the wagon is filled with water, sand, and mud.  And that Tornado A found it.

11:50 Learn that the older boys can survive 50s in only a shirt and underwear.

12:00 Tornado A starts loosing it.  Give Tornado A pain medication.

12:05 Tornado A’s afternoon nap.

12:15 Lunch for me.

12:30 Clean up kitchen.  Encourage boys to get dressed so they can help bake or do crafts.

12:40 Pretend I’m somewhere else.

12:45 Mess around online and look for new dessert recipes.  Older boys have a wet sand fight.

1:00 Find new recipe.

1:10 Start recipe only to hear Tornado A screaming.

1:10 Tornado A  will not be consoled.  Tornado A must be carried.

1:15 Agree to let the boys make a potion.  Obviously I was not thinking.

1:30 Bake while alternating holding Tornado A and placing him on the floor to scream.  Realize the boys are too quiet but don’t care at that moment.

2:03 Learn what making a potion really is.  Demand that boys clean up bathroom.

2:07 Try to make beds.  Hold Tornado A instead.

2:30 Take out cupcakes out of oven.  Console a screaming Tornado A.

2:45 Tornado A is content to play with a ball.  Tell boys that we’re leaving in 15 minutes.  Attempt to make beds, which makes Tornado A scream.

3:00 Tornado S is naked.  Tornado E has clothes on but no shoes.  Tornado A is screaming.

3:05 Pack up Tornado A.  Drag Tornado E to the car without shoes and tie.  Buckle him in.  Tornado S hands over underwear and pants.  Dress those clothes on Tornado S.  Buckle Tornado S in the car.

3:30 Grab rest of the clothes.  Go to parents’.

3:45 Carry Tornado S into parents’ house and hand him over.  Carry Tornado E into parents’ house and hand him over.  Carry Tornado A into parents’ house and hand him over.  Go back to car for stuff.  Debate fleeing to Mexico.

4:00 Feed Tornado A late.  Hand Tornado A back to my dad.

4:30 Read the paper.

5:15 Hand Tornado A to my mom.  Help with dinner.

5:45 Dinner.

6:25 Wonder if parents would realize if I left the boys with them.

6:45 Pack up boys.

7:00 Dress Tornado A.  Feed Tornado A.

7:15 Put Tornado A to bed.

7:20 Draw bath for boys.  Dump them in.

7:40  Bark orders to get the boys dressed for bed.

7:50 Read bedtime story, prayers, and lullaby. kisses.

8:00 Boys are officially in bed.

8:01 Crash on the couch.

9:30 Clean kitchen and great room.

10:30 Write menu, chores list, grocery list, rental list, email and bum around on the internet.

When would you say Monday starts?


The other day I walked into the great room after taking a shower to check on the boys.

I found Tornado A sitting on the train table playing with toys.


I have no idea how he got up there.

Now his favorite trick is to climb into the boys’ little green recliner.

At least now he turns around and sits instead of holding the back of the chair to stand and dance with.

Now I need to teach him to get down feet first, instead of head.

Words, words, words

A debate rages on in the household.  Over Tornado A’s first word.

Tornado E’s first word was dada.  Tornado S’s was mama.  Tornado A had to be the tie breaker.

Tornado A said mama first.  But I didn’t mention it to his father because of the separation and wanting his father to have his own joy of hearing a first word.

But after a week, Tornado A had not said his word in front of his father.  After a week, Tornado A said dada.  So his father believes that dada is Tornado A’s first word, and nothing I say will dissuade him from that belief, which he is vocalizing as gospel truth.

But then there is the baby book.  She who fills out the baby book, records history.

Sometimes I wonder

It must have been the third or fourth time I fed Tornado A with solid food.  Because no one else was there to witness it and therefore to calm me down.  I was left to my own devices, which is not always a good thing.

As I got the spoon in place to shove rice cereal into Tornado A’s mouth, Tornado A opened his mouth wide like a hungry bird.  While his mouth open, out shot a stream of “spit?”

I naturally gave out a tiny, high pitched screech and jumped back.  In case, it was venom.

Because all that flashed through my mind was that scene in Jurassic Park where there cute, tiny dinosaurs all of a sudden start to shriek and spew out poison.

Then I realized it was the weekend, so I couldn’t call the pediatrician.

And my parents were out, so I couldn’t call them.

I started formulating my question for the magic box.  “Baby Venom.”  “Antidote to Baby Venom.” “Help my baby spits venom.”

Of course, the logical part of my brain clicked in at that moment.  You know, the part that reminds you to pay bills, shut the oven off, lock the car, not to walk the half of block to get the mail and leave the kids in the house alone (even if they are cranking and you NEED to get away), not to say “what” and give your dad the opening to the joke he is setting up, that a ton of feathers and a ton of bricks both weigh the same amount.

“Um, did you just actually assume your child just spit out venom?  Please tell me how many years of education you have.  Please promise me you will not mention this to Dad because he will never let you live it down.  Jesus, some days, I’m embarrassed for us both.”

Right.  Thanks.

So I returned to spooning rice cereal into Tornado A’s hungry mouth.

But it is weird my son shoots out a thin stream of spit, right?


I’m a klutz.  It’s a gift really.  I took out four champagne flutes in one shot.  (As in the beautiful champagne flutes I registered for and was putting away.)  Now that is talent.

So I don’t freak out when someone breaks something in my house.  Even if it is a plate from my favorite set, which is why I bought like 20 of them.  Or if it is a glass from a set that was given away when you bought so much gas, which means it’s much older than me and I dearly love that set.  And ok, maybe I do hold on to a little sadness, but the important thing is I mourned it  after the person left.  So when someone steps and breaks a plastic pirate plate, I shrug it off and hand him the baby because I have more important things to do.

Since I’m a klutz, I’ve spilled a lot of stuff.  Since I grew up with a grandma who inevitably knocked over her ice tea glass every dinner, I learned that accidents happen.  Even if I should never have left a full glass of milk where Tornado A could get to it, and I definitely should not have forgotten I left a full glass of milk where Tornado A could get to it.

Since I’m a klutz who spills a lot of stuff, I have learned to clean spills up right away.  Or else other spills happen or they stink or someone gets injured or it leaves a gigantic stain that stays there forever.

After I cleaned the milk out of the carpet, I figured Tornado A needed a bath, and Tornado S was more than willing to help.  Once Tornado A was washed, I wrapped him in a towel and left the room in search of a diaper and pajamas.  Then I heard the unmistakable sound of water hitting carpet.  Lots of water hitting the carpet.  I turned around to see Tornado S drenched and the bath tub on his feet.  So I handed over the baby, stripped Tornado S, and started soaking up water from the carpet, wondering who thought it was a brilliant idea to put carpet in a bathroom.

Well, at least, I didn’t have to take the extra time to bathe Tornado S.

Tornado A, the trouble-maker

Tornado E has always been a risk taker.  I blame it on his first playmates.  They were ten; he was one; they treated him like he was eight.  Whatever they could do, Tornado E and the kids believed he could do it too.  So I watched them play together with my heart in my mouth, fearing if I said something the delicate balance would crumple and someone would get hurt.  Within moments, I realized, Tornado E could do it.  It didn’t matter if it was climbing up and down stairs, through banisters, down beds, across rock walls, the kid could do it.  He had grace, strength, and confidence.  He acted like a second-born.  And I knew I was screwed.

Tornado S was not as graceful.  Watching him do the “dangerous” things his brother did, I knew he was just one wabbly misstep away from really hurting himself.  But he had the confidence.  If Brother can do it, then so the f- can I.  I watched with my heart in my mouth, ready to spring into action.  Other than stitches at 14 months because he fell into the corner of the coffee table, everything was fine.

Then came Tornado A.  I know.  He hasn’t had a lot of time to cause me worry.  But my God, this kid is like a bat out of Hell.  I swear, he’s out looking for trouble.

Guess how many times Tornado E and Tornado S rolled or fell of the bed.  None.

Tornado A: 5.  FIVE.

The sick thing is he did it himself.  He rolled off at the hotel back in November.  We cuddled him and mourned our stupidity and put him back, keeping a sharper eye on him.  AND THE KID DID THE EXACT SAME THING!  He looked at me as to say, “I’m really sure gravity is no longer working, Mother.  I’m going to roll onto the air now.”  I know.  I’m a bad mother.  I was right next to him, throwing my hair into a pony tail.  Apparently trying to block him with my leg, only slowed him down.  The first time was The Husband’s fault; he was next to the bed on the phone.  Apparently, I should have done the silent military signals to tell him to watch the baby.

Guess how many times Tornado A has pinched his fingers.  3.  THREE.

In things we had when Tornado S was a baby.  Tornado S never pinched his fingers.  After I soothe the pinch and put Tornado A down again, I watched him like a hawk (because of the bed issue), and sure enough, the kid scrambled back to the scene of the crime to try to do it all over again.  What was the pain not excruciating enough for you?

Or take the rocks.  We have a rock backyard.  (Not our fault; it’s a rental, and it sucks.)  Tornado A crawled out back to be with his brothers.  I allowed him to try crawling across the rocks so he can learn “Hey, this kind of hurts.”  He got about two crawls out and started to cry. I picked him up and placed him on the porch with a few toys.  I turned to see the newest sand box creation, only to hear Tornado A’s cry for help.  You were just there!  And if I’m not careful, he’ll do it again and again.

I don’t know what I have on my hands, except Trouble.  I shudder to think what will happen when testosterone floods the risk part of his brain.  At this point, all I know is getting a pool now would be negligible homicide.  Lord, I’ve got to go find a pen of some kind for the kid.

P.S. Is it wrong to be woken up at 6:15 by a chattering baby, a snuggling three-year-old, and sick, whiny five-year-old and wish desperately you were in Hawaii away from all this crap?  On second thought, to wish you were ANYWHERE but dealing with that crap?

Match the reaction

  1. (Loud Crash) (giggle)  Mommy!  You’ve got to see this!
  2. (Loud Crash) Wha!
  3. (Loud Crash) CRAP!  I mean.  crap.
  4. (Loud Crash) Uh-oh!  MOMMMMMMMYYYYYY!

A. Fae

B. Tornado E

C. Tornado A

D. Tornado S

Recap 2/25

1. Holy crap!  It’s the end of February.

2. The best thing about a baby crawling is seeing that face poke around the corner and beam at you.

3. The worst thing about a baby crawling is he gets into Ev.Er.Y.Thing.  As in: Who left out the Lego head?  Who’s ninja is this?  Pick up that little tiny pirate compass before your brother eats it.  Who dropped coins and didn’t pick them up?!  (Oh, wait.  I think that was me.)

4. Nothing like a bleeding cut on your nose to remind you to cut a baby’s fingernails.

5. Some moms, when they don’t get out and away from the children enough, giggle like school girls at the heady feeling of freedom and being in a bar.  Which brings down the cool factor.  At least it became equal when the other two moms had their third drinks

6. I’m starting to suspect Tornado E is possessed.  I need a couple of gallons of holy water.

7. Something in a kid’s brain hears “Don’t touch” as “Please touch.”  Don’t touch the cookies.  Don’t touch that rock.  Don’t touch that cactus.  Don’t touch that.  Don’t touch my bottom.

8. Tornado S only needs to learn three more letters to finish off the alphabet.  As long as he can say it before pre-kinder, I’m still good, right?

9. I’ve been so busy that not only did I didn’t read my usual blogs this week, I’ve learned the book that I checked out and haven’t read in two weeks is a week overdue, and yes, they did send me a reminder notice to my email a week ago, which I didn’t find until last night.

10. I’m becoming quite impressed with my own ability to fake optimism and mornings.