Being the smallest

It must be tough being the youngest, watching your big brothers have a chance to go on rides that they don’t want to go on. It must be tough to be the smallest and know you can’t even be in line with your brothers until they freak out and beg to get out of line. It must be tough being the little guy, hanging out with your beloved Papi, doing other rides, eating secret snacks, visiting stores, instead of waiting in line with everyone else.

Tornado A was finally big enough to ride all the rides in Disneyland, except one. The Indiana Jones ride. Once he learned that, it was the only ride he wanted to go on, insisting he could grow one inch in a month. By Disneyland day, he had not grown that inch, but Wally, the beloved godmother, was determined.

While I stood with the older two, who begged not to be forced to go on the ride, Wally took Tornado A to the line operator and tried reasoning and sweet talking. But alas, Tornado A was a hair too short.

And oh, the wails of inconsolable grief! Barely drowning out the sighs of relief.

Me: I’m sorry, baby. Next year. Or I can take you off roading. It’s the same thing. It’ll be ok. Hey, Tornado A. Do you want to pick out the next ride? We’ll go on any ride you want.

Tornado A slowly lifted his tear-stained face from his hands. He sniffled.

Tornado A: The Haunted Mansion.

The begging continued from the older brothers. Just for a moment, I saw a mischievous glint in Tornado A’s eyes.

(And yes, the older boys were forced on the ride, but it loses its scariness when your mother recites every word during the whole ride.)

Points of Interest

  • I wanted to pack up as much stuff as possible the night before, but my parents decided that all we needed to do was put in the car seats and load the big bags.
  • The mini van was more narrow than my SUV.
  • I was ready at 6am.  They were ten minutes late.  I could have slept in ten more minutes.  Ok. Now I’ll drop it.
  • “Wow.  You should go away more often.  I’ve never seen your house this clean.”  “You’ve never visited at breakfast before the tornadoes are loose.”
  • I can now cuss only in my mind while I struggle to strap boys into seats on a bench slightly too narrow.
  • Best line: “I think your son just got the clap.”  My brother took them to the bathroom at a stop.  “Tornado S laid his junk right on the urinal.”  There is only so much theory teaching I can do.  By the way, Friendly Giant, do you mind teaching them to shake too?
  • My boys are completely melodramatic.  “My back hurts so much.  I’m going to die.”  “I’m so cold.  I’m going to die.”  “I’m so bored.  I’m going to die.”  “It’s so fluffy.  I’m going to die.”  (Their reference.  Not mine.)
  • It’s totally weird to find yourself getting excited like a homecoming when you no longer live there.
  • Two story suite.  A room with two queens and a crib for the boys and me.  The hide-a-bed in the living room for The Friendly Giant.  A loft room with a CA King for the parents.
  • Being a loft means there is a half wall at the head of the bed, overlooking the living room.  Up popped a very blond head with sparkling eyes and a mischievous smile.  My heart stopped.
  • And my dad laughed.
  • Mrs. Knott’s Fried Chicken.
  • Thanks to The Violinist for getting us discount tickets at Disneyland.
  • We would have been the first ones there except for the free breakfast.  FREE breakfast.
  • First ride: Star Tours.  I got the before and after interview on the Flip.
  • Thanks to the BFF for teaching me to snag Fast Passes and to hold them and snag when you can.
  • Both boys were tall enough for Star Tours, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
  • I’m going to say this just once. *I* did not lose any boys on my watch, in my zone, no matter how many I had.
  • Tornado S decided he will never do again nor should the party do again  Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, The Haunted Mansion.
  • I found my new hobby.  Building light sabers.
  • My family lacks communication when we are tired and hungry.
  • Nothing is more fun than the Buzz Lightyear ride with the boys.
  • To the jerk who stole a light saber from our stroller while we were in a ride, you suck.  I hope karma kicks your ass.
  • So maybe leaving the park at dinner time *was* a good idea.  I still didn’t have to like it.
  • S’more bark and the discussion on how we can make it at home.
  • Disneyland TWO DAYS IN A ROW.
  • Tornado E was just tall enough to do Indiana Jones.  He freakin’ loved it!
  • He also bought a necklace.  I call it creepy.  He calls it Frank.
  • Tornado A loved The Tiki Room.  And blue grass.  Go figure.
  • When we’re not tired and hungry, my mom and I kick @ss as a team.
  • My dad and I left the park after lunch for “naps.” But Tornado A fell asleep as we walked to lunch.  He slept through lunch.  He was not interested in napping again.  Far from it.
  • On the other hand, the older boys slept for an hour and half, and I had to wake them up.
  • Last ride on Star Tours, Tornado E was the rebel spy.
  • More souvenirs.  Little things.  I should have bought the boys more Star Wars cars.
  • The ice cream parlor was closed!  WTH!
  • The fireworks were awesome as usual, but Tornado A prefered to snuggle up in my arms and ignore them.
  • Getting out of the park was a b*tch as usual.
  • The weekend was much too short.
  • I didn’t get to see the BFF.
  • Tornado E came down with a fever on the way home and blamed the Friendly Giant for turning on the AC and making him sick.
  • I slept so very much.  Jane Eyre can’t be that boring.
  • Now that I think about it.  I should have bought more.  They have a website, right?

Super Trooper

With the knowledge that The Husband wanted a separation, I couldn’t face my family for Thanksgiving.  I didn’t want to answer questions.  I didn’t want to lie.  I didn’t want to be honest and bare my heart.  So did what any sane person does.  I organized a trip to California to take my family to Disneyland.

It was a crazy little trip.   The night before Thanksgiving, I demanded to go to our favorite sushi bar.  Not that it took a demand to convince The Husband, and afterwards I took the boys to yet another Target to buy more pants for Tornado E because he failed to the bathroom once a day.  I also stalked up on treats and such for the next day.

On Thanksgiving, we woke early, packed and excited.  Luckily the day before I had met with The Violinist and her adorable daughter.  Since the Violinist still worked at Disneyland, as she had when she was my college roommate, she graciously bought our park passes to use her discount (and yes, I gave her the money.  I’m not a user.).  She even told me that the family could walk across the street from our hotel and just take the parking lot tram.  (Thank you, Violinist!!!)

We actually arrived at the park a half hour after the gates opened, which is a record for us.  We proceed to Fantasyland to scare our children to never want to ride another ride without lots of coaxing, pleading, and bribing. (Snow White will do that to you.)  But after a trip to the Pirate Island, the boys were more than ready to taste their courage on The Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  Captain Jack awaited them.  After that, it was one adventure after another.  Even though Star Tours was closed (the one ride we couldn’t wait to take the boys on), we had a great time riding rides.

I was packed to the gills with the double stroller.  Tornado A did fine, though he was a little grumpy over the fact he had no rolling around time.  While Disneyland has a wonderful Mothers and Babies room, with changing tables, high chairs with feeding seats, and even a breastfeeding room with gliders, Tornado A just fed all over the park, like Tornado E did when he was a babe.  I only wish I had bundled Tornado A up in a sleep ‘n’ play rather than pants that rode up on his legs to expose a little bit of leg to the cooling air.

At Tornado A’s last feeding, The Husband encouraged us to seek shelter in one of the few indoor restaurants.  It was getting pretty chilly, and I had packed only light jackets.  The Husband bought hot chocolates, a brownie, and a rice krispie treat.  The boys ate gleefully (all of them), but they were fading fast (all of them).

The Husband: Maybe we should go.

Me: It’s not even eight yet.

The Husband: Maybe we should find a warm place to watch the fireworks.

Me: But we told the boys we would ride on Pirates again after that.

We looked at our tired boys.

The Husband: They look really tired.

Me: Who wants to go on Pirates?

Tornado E and Tornado S: MEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

I cocked an eyebrow.

The Husband: Fine.  But then we’ll find some place warm to watch the fireworks, AND THEN we’ll go back to the hotel.

Me: You’re getting to be no fun in your old age.

The Husband: Responsible.  I’m getting to be responsible in my old age.

Me: Whatever.

Then I looked over at the boys.  To find Tornado S with his head on the table, right hand curled around his brownie, and fast asleep.


I looked under the blanket.  To see Tornado A fast asleep, snuggling against my warm breast.

Double dang.

Me: Ok, Mr. Responsible.  Does this mean we go back to the hotel now?

Tiki Eating Habits

From the Tiki expert himself:


Evan: Tikis like vegetables.  They eat grapes and bananas.  No, they don’t like bananas.  They’re squishy and sticky.  I like bananas.  I eat bananas.


Yup, he’s still obsessed with the Tiki Room and the Tikis.  It’s amazing he hasn’t asked to be a Tiki for Halloween, but he did find my bobble-head Tiki god.  (I got it in Las Vegas at the “World’s Largest Souvenir Shop,” which was filled with lots of campy items.  It was awesome.)

Tiki Tornado E and Tiki Tornado S

Since the Disneyland trip, Tornado E has been running around the house calling himself a Tiki.  I’m sure he doesn’t know what it means.  Yesterday he put the laundry basket on his, and it fell to land mostly on his back, so that he looks like he has some sort of weird veil.  He loved it, yelling “Look, Mommy, I’m a Tiki!”  Tornado S ran after him.  Then Tornado E tried to sing the Tiki Room song, only he couldn’t remember all the words, so he asked me to sing.

“In the tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki room. 

In the tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki room,

All the birds sing, and the flowers croon,

In the tiki, tiki, tiki, tiki room.”

So now Tornado E tried to sing the song.  The tiki lines came out slow, and he always says the flowers grow.  Tornado S started to dance to his brother’s singing.  Then they began to stomp their feet as Tornado E shouted it was the angry rain gods.  After a little rain dance, Tornado E went back to singing the Tiki Room song.  Then after he has sang enough, he bowed and said “Thank you, thank you.”  If I don’t clap, he tells me I should.  Of course, Tornado S now knows with the first “Thank you” to clap.  Well, at least they’re playing together and using their imaginations.  I wonder if I should get them a Tiki.


Honestly I have to say I love the place.  Though sometimes I find it particularly evil.  I mean after the huge price you pay to enter the park they gouge with the high prices for food, drink, and souvenirs. The complete immersion that is Disney entertainment, all selling the cradle to the grave advertising.  But they still have Space Mountain.

I should confess that I used to disneyland, as in my dad was worried I would flunk out of college my first semester because I was off disneylanding.  I went to a college that was close enough to the park for me to buy a Disneyland pass.  In those days it was a hundred bucks for 300 days.   Perfect for out of state college students who wouldn’t be in town for the blocked out days any ways.  Yes, in my freshman semester, I had a Disneyland partner with a car that went to Disneyland every chance he could, and I naturally was excited to get off campus, much less to Disneyland.  Basically you could say I know the ends and outs of the place pretty well.

I was nearly jumping with excitement to take Tornado E who was now old enough to experience Disneyland, voicing his likes and dislikes.  Tornado E was just excited to be with his Grandma and Papi.  After we got into the park going through bag check, ticket sales, and the entrance, we had to drop things off in a TEN DOLLAR locker (absolutely necessary because I had brought lunches, several changes of underwear, sleeping items, and extra clothes).  My mom and I debated the closest bathroom, settling on one that was just outside Fantasyland, leaving us in perfect reach of Alice in Wonderland and the Teacups.  Tornado E was “done” with Alice in Wonderland half way through.  At first, he asked us to keep the teacups slow until he warmed up to it as Tornado S, being held by his Papi, reached out to us, begging to let him come too.  Next was Dumbo, where Tornado E  decided at the last minute there was no way on earth that he would go.  Peter Pan worked out well, but it was about this time that I realized Tornado E was in shock and needed some time out.  He was quiet and actually wanted to ride in the stroller.  What?

After a little snack and chasing some birds around empty tables, we decided to try the carousal. Tornado S was excited because he had a brass pole.  He laughed and banged on it.  Tornado E wasn’t sure what the hell was going to happen.  What the hell did his mom got him into?  Then the carousel started to move, and Tornado E became excited, and Tornado S gritted his teeth and held on.  Near the end, Tornado S relaxed and enjoyed the ride.  Later we would go on it again as Tornado S reached toward the glittery lights of the carousel. 

After lunch and an hour of rest, which Tornado S slept and Tornado E was read to over and over again, we rode the Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, and the Jungle Cruise, which in the scary parts Tornado S just held on with a death grip and waited for it to be over.  Tornado E freaked out when the toilet flushed near him, and that was the end of wanting to go potty for the rest of the day.  Great.

We went to the mother and baby center for Tornado E to try the training potties.  Actual toddler-size flushing toilets.  Wow!  Are you kidding?  This place has it all.  Tornado E refused to go as I changed Tornado S.  Fine.  We went out, and Tornado E asked for a sip of Papi’s drink.  So I pulled out the juice.

Me: Tornado E, do you want some juice?

Tornado E: No, thanks.  We have soda!


As we walked into Tomorrowland to ride the somewhat new Buzz Lightyear ride, Tornado E spied the rockets and demanded to ride that.  What?  You didn’t want to ride Dumbo; what makes you think you can handle the Rockets?  We convinced him to do the Buss Lightyear ride, and after convincing him that we would buy him the laser gun at the end of the day if he didn’t want anything else, he demanded to ride the rockets.  Fine.  We’ll see if you stay in line.  I briefly remember my brother wanting to ride the Boomerang at Knott’s Berry Farm when he was like ten or so, and when the rollercoaster passed the line that he was in front of with my parents (as my baby brother and I felt we were to smart to try and waited at the exit), they turned to ask my brother, who had finally found the courage to ride Space Mountain that year, what he thought, only to find him hurtling over the bars that formed the line, to far to grab and drag back.  Tornado E amazingly held in there and loved the rockets.

Tornado E did fall asleep in my mom’s arms as we waited in our longest line to ride the Submarines.  We waited a whole half an hour.  Laughable in my younger years, it was more tedious because I was trying to keep two toddlers entertained.  But we hung in there.  We actually made it to the fireworks.  Well, almost, Tornado S started throwing a fit due to lack of nap and wouldn’t be consoled by anyone but his mother, who rocked him asleep.

But before the fireworks and the huge unicorn sucker, Tornado E finally went pee.  My mom unsuccessfully tried to convince Tornado E to try the other potties and even the toddler potty.  Finally I took him in, with tears running down Tornado E’s face, fearing the rushing water of the toilets.  “Tornado E, just pee like your in the backyard,” I said as leaned him over the potty.  After a minute, he started to pee!  I pushed his penis towards the toilet as it started to spray on the back of the toilet.  At the end, I shook his penis a little.  When I told my dad, he threw back his head in laughter.  When he was able to catch his breath, he asked, “So done it before have you?”  Do I need to remind you how many boys and men I’ve seen pee?  That shut him up because he wouldn’t want to think about when his daughter was alone in college unsupervised.

Besides I’m a mom of two boys.

My husband went with Tornado E to buy his laser gun, feeling very proud and like a cool father for buying his son a toy his toddler had picked out.  Very cool until he realized he just bought a gun for a three year old.  So my husband told Tornado E he could only shoot robots, and Tornado E pointed to some people and exclaimed, “Those are robots!”  Well, he tried.

At the end of the day, my mom asked Tornado E what he liked best.  He described Pele in front of the Tiki Room.  Wouldn’t you believe it?  The thing he remembered most was the talking Tiki goddess of fire that scared him almost straight out of the waiting area.

Those Epithany Moments

Since I wrote about those moments that make the frustration go away, I have noticed the triumphs that make being a mom so worthwhile.  It’s the moments when those boys, who did not know more than they were hungry, tired, or wet, understand a new concept or do something that is unexpected and brilliant.  It’s the moments that make you realize wow!  humans are amazing because we can figure that out.

I remember the first day Evan smiled.  I was shocked to learn that babies did not know how to smile.  It’s smiling.  How easy is that?  You’re happy; you smile.  It HAS to be instinctive.  It isn’t; it wasn’t.  Watching Evan in my arms, getting lost in his blue eyes, I would smile, hoping he would smile back.  When it finally happened, I was amazed and deeply in love.  I realized that he needed me to teach him EVERYTHING, and I thought it was a daunting task, wondering what horrible psychosis will I give him.

Time went on, and I became more comfortable teaching him, until the day I caught him walking a toy person along the floor.  I just stopped in my tracks, jaw hanging down, thinking, “I didn’t teach him that.”  He had the toy rocking back and forth to mimic steps, and it seemed so natural.  But I didn’t teach him that.  He figured it out all by himself.  He used his imagination and his logic and figured it out.  My boy is a genius!  Ok, everyone figures that out, and humans are just so god-damn-smart.

Today I was running from one side of the house to the other, trying to get the few morning chores out of the way as well as catch up on the news.  (boy, that Ike is going to just rip up Texas.)  Usual the boys play on their own during this time.  Then I looked over at Sean.  He was holding Kung Fu Panda, dancing with him, while he sang a song.  What?  He was twirling around with Kung Fu Panda, rocking in motion to the babble song he was singing.  My god, why don’t I have the video camera charged?  (But I know my boys, I’ll get out the video camera, and the boys will stop what they are doing to come investigate what mommy is doing and what is that machine.)  I stopped, smiled, and watched as my baby boy used his imagination.  When the song was done, Sean smiled at me, running towards me for a hug.  It’s moments like that just leave me speechless.

Later on in the morning as Evan and Sean watched Mickey Mouse as I began to make my exit to the shower, Evan declared that he wanted to go to Disneyland.  Excuse me?  I want to go to Disneyland, please (With that adorable, manipulative toddler please that long esound).  Let’s call your Papi because he wanted to go to Disneyland too, and now that they’re coming for a visit he’s balking because your uncle wants to go to but can’t get off work and doesn’t realize we can go again; there isn’t limit of how many times we can go as long as we have the money.  So I called, and Evan asked his Papi.  My dad accused me of coaching.  Um, don’t you remember three months back or so when Evan wanted to go to Disneyland just for the popcorn?  The kid hasn’t gone in eighteen months!  So now Disneyland is back on the discussion table, especially because Evan has decided the beach is too scary for him.

So Sean can make up tunes and dance to them, and Evan can figure out where he wants to go on vacation.  Better yet, Evan wants to be as tall and healthy as Uncle Matt, so he will eat more spinach.  I shit you not, he actually told his Papi this, parroting what I mentioned last night over the spinach incident.  Last night, of course, “No thank you, I don’t want to be tall and healthy like Uncle Matt.  That’s not for me.”  Sometimes I feel like I’m being out-foxed by a three-year-old.

But even that just illustrates how much growth and development there is.  Maybe I’m not doing such a bad job after all.  They’re using their brains, their logic, imagination, memory.  I am amazed as I watch them develop and realize this is just the beginning.  Then I roll my eyes at the mess they made and get them to throw the toys back in their boxes.