Rituals are important. They say that rituals hold societies together. From Thanksgiving dinner to watching the Superbowl to church on Sundays to fireworks on the 4th of July. Ask any Catholic in the English-speaking world, and he or she will tell you we all say the same prayer before dinner. The same damn prayer.

Like all families, we have our own rituals. Like that same damn Catholic prayer. Or like kisses before I leave for work, kisses before bedtime, notes in lunch boxes. That sort of thing. Only the boys are making them complicated.

Tornado S has to be the first to great me with a hug and kiss or all is lost for the known world. All. Is. Lost.

Tornado S and Tornado A have to wave me goodbye in the morning. They get their kisses and then follow me outside, where I remind them to stay in the front yard, not the driveway. Then I pull out, with windows down, saying “Goodbye. I love you; do your best; I’ll see you later.” Then I make my left turn, and because we live in a corner house, the boys stand in the front yard until I make my next turn. They wave until they can’t see me any more. I wave until I can’t see them any more. Like the end credits to “The Beverly Hill-Billies.” It’s only annoying in the winter.

Bedtime has also become overly complicated. At least, the bedtime kiss has become overly complicated. I kiss each boy goodnight and tuck them into bed. Then we say our goodnight prayer about guardian angels because I hate that creepy Protestant bedtime prayer. Then I turn out the lights before turning on the nightlight. Then Tornado A has to kiss me goodnight.

He kisses me on the lips. Then the forehead. Then each cheek. Then my chin. (?) Then my nose. (I hate that; I wipe it off, but I’ve been doing that since I was little.) Then he has to rub noses. Then he has to give me butterfly kisses on each cheek. He does this, holding my head firmly so I can’t get away. I’m caught between thinking it’s cute and creepy. Halfway through the ritual, I get annoyed because it takes so long. I mean, dude, can’t you procrastinate by asking for water like a normal kid.

I worry about the next ritual.


What’s that noise?: A way to get Mom in the room and get a baby brother in trouble

It was night.  I had put the boys to bed twenty minutes earlier. The next door neighbor’s dog started barking, again, but at least it was because my brother had pulled up front with his noisy bronco.


Evan: Mommy!  Mommy!  Mooooommmmmmyyyyyy!


Me: (walking into the room, talking in a hush voice) What’s wrong, Evan?  Shhh.  Your brother is sleeping.


Evan: Seanny woke me up!


Me: (There is no way Evan was already asleep as he was in deep conversation with Toothy his dinosaur just five minutes earlier.) Sh.  What did Seanny do?


Sean snores, but his snore is barely loud enough to reach the end of his bed.


Evan: Seanny was barking!


Pause.  Deep breath to keep the laughter out of my voice.


Me: That was the neighbor’s dog.  Now close your eyes and go to sleep.

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It’s bedtime, and I put Evan into his dinosaur pajamas, which are blue with a stripped dinosaur on them.


Evan: I’m a rainbowasaurus!  I’m a stripeasaurus!  Roar!


Me: Yes, you are.


Evan: And you’re a mommyasaurus!  And Daddy, you’re a hungryasaurus!


(More laughter from the parents.)


Evan: And Seanny is a babyasaurus!  Babyasauruses have sharp teeth!  Ouch!  They eat hamburgers, chicken nuggets, French fries, fried toast, and hamburgers!  Stripesauruses eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and blue suckers!  Can I have a sucker?!



Of course, this morning, Daddy was trying to sleep; while Evan was jumping on the bed.  Evan declared his Daddy a “sleepasaurus!”


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That Silly Tornado E: Or how to keep a child in bed

Tornado E has decided that he is ready for a later bedtime.  He has been trying to push his bedtime from 8:30 to 9:30 or later.  Yes, we tried earlier naps and shorter naps.  I sat in the hallway outside his door putting him back every time like Supernanny suggests.  During the evening, I’ve started taking him for walks and playing hide ‘n’ go seek to get him tired out.  I’ve given him the water and snacks he’s asked for, and I have ignored the requests.  My husband takes turns at times to see if he has success.  No go.  It wouldn’t worry me so much if he didn’t wake up every morning at 6.  I just don’t think he’s getting enough sleep.


I usually keep the master bedroom door closed because Tornado E will sneak in there and hide.  If he went to sleep in there, like he does sometimes at naptime, I wouldn’t mind, but I usually find him jumping on the bed.  Last night my husband decided he needed to go to bed early to get well faster.  (There’s a concept.)  While I did keep an ear out for Tornado E, I assumed if he snuck into our room he would just snuggle up with Daddy and I would transfer Tornado E when I went to bed.  Instead I heard little feet pitter into the master bedroom and patter out again.  I was naturally curious.


Upon entering Tornado E’s room, I found Tornado E laying on his pillow and the little throw pillow that he uses in our room. 


Tornado E: Look, Mommy!  I have both my pillows!


With a hush, I tucked Tornado E into his bed and kissed him goodnight.


As I finished the dishes, I heard the pitter of little feet running towards the master bedroom and the patter of little feet running away again.  I again went to check out the new development.


This time I found that Tornado E had confiscated my pillow as well and had all three pillows stacked under his head.  He, of course, was beaming from ear to ear.


Tornado E: Look, Mommy!  I have your bed in mine!  So I can sleep on it!  That silly Tornado E!


Since he had crept out of bed, I couldn’t smile, but I tucked him in again.  After I left the room, I shook my head and chuckled, hoping this would keep him in bed.  And it did.

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