As an English teacher and mother…

Tornado S earned another D on a grammar assignment. I was beyond piss. I sat him down and made him redo it. In the midst of my lecture, Tornado E walked in and listened. When I was done, I looked over at Tornado E.

Tornado E: Mama, are you angry at Tornado S for getting a D or are you angry at him for getting a D in grammar?

My child is too smart for his own good.


On our way to the second-run movie theater last weekend, Tornado E tried to spark conversation.

Tornado E: If you could collect whatever you want, what would it be?

Tornado S: Money.

Say what you will about Tornado S, that kid is smart.

The Fourth Child

No, I’m not pregnant. Though the boys are lobbying hard for a fourth child. A girl, please, Mommy. A baby sister, please, Mommy.

Um, it doesn’t work that way.

Take the other night.

Tornado E: When are you going to have another baby?

Maybe, never. You kind of need a willing male partner for that. Or a sperm bank. But that’s a little complicated to go into with a 5yr old, a 8yr old, and a 10yr old.

Tornado E: I would like a baby sister.

Tornado S and Tornado A: Yeah.

Me: You have two little sisters.

One half and one step but sisters nonetheless.

Tornado S: But we want you to have a girl.

He gave me that adorable smile.

Me: Maybe one day. I’m very happy to have my three boys.

Tornado S: Did you know you were going to have three boys?

Me: It doesn’t work like that. But each one of you was wanted and planned.

Tornado S: So did you know you would have three kids?

I rubbed his nearly shaved head.

Me: Not at first. I did want four kids though.

Tornado A: That means a little girl!

Um, not yet. Your grandparents would kill me if I had a baby now, living at their house.

Tornado E: So when will you have another baby?

Me: I don’t know. I always seemed to get pregnant when everything is perfect in my life.

Tornado E: What if I’m 15?

God, I hope it doesn’t take until Tornado E‘s 15 to be settled and married and have a perfect little life to ruin with a baby.

Me: Then I guess you would be babysitting.

I rubbed his nearly shaved head.

Tornado S: I won’t be!

If Tornado E is 15 and two years older, then Tornado S would be 13. Legal babysitting age is 12.

Me: You would be too.


Tornado S: Hmmm. I would be good at babysitting. I helped calmed down Tornado A today.

Me: You’re a good big brother.

I kissed his head.

I fear that once they figure out the mechanics of the whole thing, they’ll put me on or start a GoFundMe page to raise money for sperm. Lord help me.


We have some Angry Bird pillows here.  A small bird and small pig.  And two large birds and a large pig.  Can you guess who has the pigs?  Our very own Sith Lord.  But since Tornado A idolizes Tornado S, he wanted a pig too.  Being an awesome older brother, Tornado S gave Tornado A the small pig.

They walk around the house with their pigs squealing and cooing.  “Piggie!”  “BIG PIGGIE!”  “SMALL PIGGIE!”  It’s a bit adorable.

Then I walked into the older boys’ room to hurry Tornado S along and heard the boys squealing with their pigs.

Tornado S: PIGGIE!  Piggies are good!  Birds are bad!  We don’t like birds!

Tornado A: No BIRDS!

Is he…?  Is he teaching Tornado A to like bad guys?

Me: WAIT!  Are you teaching your baby brother to not like good guys and like bad guys?!

Tornado S smiled.

Me: No.  No.  We are the good guys.  We like the birds AND the pigs.

Tornado S and Tornado A: PIGGIE!

No, no.  I will not have a Sith Lord training an apprentice.

Always two there are, no more, no less: a master and an apprentice.

Hell, no.  I am not letting two sons go over to the dark side, much less one.

I need an intervention.

He says; he doesn’t say

He says Mommy and Daddy and Tornado S.

But Tornado A won’t say Tornado E.

He says Nana and Papi and Bobby, the name of his giant bear.

But Tornado A won’t say Tornado E.

He says bu’erfly and ‘nack and milk and juice and baby.

But Tornado A won’t say Tornado E.

He says truck and car and Mama’s truck and Papi’s truck and Nana’s car and Daddy’s car.

But Tornado A won’t say Tornado E.

He says pease and no and way for yes.

But Tornado A won’t say Tornado E.

He says Mickey Mou’ and Phin’us and Ferb.

But Tornado A won’t say Tornado E.

He says ghost and bisquit and all done and down and up and ball and moat and bug and EWWWWW!

But Tornado A won’t say Tornado E.

He says bite and puppy and ‘ish and meow and mine and shoes and bed and ‘illow fight and see and what’s this.

But Tornado A won’t say Tornado E.

He says ye’ow and pink and red and blue and tortilla and bread and cake for every sweet thing he sees.

But Tornado A won’t say Tornado E.

He says hi and p’ay and remote and this and that and circ’e and app’e and and bird and di’per and poop and potty and nee-nees for candy.

But Tornado A won’t say Tornado E.

He says bye and see you soon and see you ‘morrow.

But Tornado A won’t say Tornado E.

No matter how hard Tornado E tries to teach him.

What Big Brothers are for

Tornado A: (mumble) Mickey Mou(se) (mumble)?

Me: What was that?  Take out your binky, so I can understand you.

Tornado A spat the pacifier into his hand.

Tornado A: Watch Mickey Mou(se) soon?

Me: Yes.  After we drop Tornado S off at school.

Tornado A: YEA!

He popped the binky into his mouth.

Another parent: How did he get so obsessed with Mickey Mouse?  Did he see it a few times?

Me: No.  We don’t have cable.  I’m not sure how he got to know Mickey.

Tornado S: I taught him!

Me: Did you?

Tornado S: YES!  I taught him all about Mickey Mouse.

I shrugged.  Sean turned to Tornado A.

Tornado S: Tornado A, say “Star Wars.”  Star.  Wars.

The Friendly Giant and a Few Lyrics

Not too long ago, we were headed for dinner, and I was giving my baby brother a ride to the restaurant.  Why not?  I think of the environment and money always.  Besides he was the boys’ favorite person.

I could tell he itched to mess with my radio.  His taste in music is more eclectic than mine, finding good bands long before they hit the radio.  I blame it on the few years in radio; it changes a person.  I remember when I was the cool one.

Then “Some Nights” by fun. started playing.  The Friendly Giant reached over and turned it up.

Tornado E: Thanks, Uncle Friendly Giant!

Tornado S: I like this song!

I smiled.

Friendly Giant: Do you?  Has your mom bought the album for you yet?

Tornado E & Tornado S: NO!

Me: Hey, we own “We Are Young.”

Immediately I felt like a sell-out because everyone loves that song.  I hated being with the in-crowd.

A pause.

Tornado E: It is the same band!

I was trying to get him to listen and recognize voices.  Always handy when you are listening to music on the radio or being pranked phone called by your grandpa.

Because we were coming to an intersection, my attention switched to driving as The Friendly Giant entertained the boys.

Friendly Giant: Hold on, guys.  Fae, this part always makes me think of you and Tornado E.  I get a little teared up every time.

I only caught part of the lyrics.  “I look into my nephew’s eyes.”  I smiled at The Friendly Giant.

Later that I night I went online to get the lyrics.  Funny, that I hadn’t before.  I like lyrics.

“My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she called ‘love’
When I look into my nephew’s eyes…
Man, you wouldn’t believe the most amazing things that can come from…
Some terrible lies…ahhh…” (fun. “Some Nights”)


Then I felt my heart break a little.  I remembered a conversation over five years ago when I learned that my baby brother was not under my protection any more but that he wanted to protect me.  He cried because he couldn’t protect me.  No one could protect me from my own foolishness, even if they lived in the same city.  I cried as I told him I didn’t need protection, that I would find a way out, that I had a handle on this.  I didn’t.  I just couldn’t let my brother hurt any more.

But there’s the other part of the lyrics.  The nephew.  His nephews.  Sure, I walked through fire, got scarred up, and some wounds have yet to heal, and some battles are still needed to be fought.  But I have the boys.  Right now, they’re surrounded by men like The Friendly Giant who can protect them and teach them to be better men.  And my boys are pretty amazing.

I think it’s time for another movie night with The Friendly Giant.