Existential Crisis

Tornado S did not want to go to religious class. But I made him. He whined. He cried. He begged. Video games were not going to be in his future.

When we arrived, Tornado A jumped out of the car. I told him to go ahead and go without us; we’ll catch up. I opened up Tornado S’s car door.

Me: Come on, Tornado S. Time to go.

Tornado S: (crying) But why are we here?

Me: Because I am raising you Catholic, so you have to come to classes.

Tornado S: But why?

Me: Because this will give you a place to start. A place to start questioning and searching and trying to understand the world.

Tornado S: But why here?

Me: Because this church has a lot to offer, and it agrees with a lot of what I believe.

Tornado S: (still crying) But why are we here?

Me: (sigh) Because you have to go to class.

Tornado S: No. Why are we here?

Me: What?

Tornado S: Why are we here? Why do we exist? Why do we live?

Wait. What?

Me: You want to know why we are here on earth, living this life?

Tornado S: (sobbing) YES!

Me: Well. I think we’re here to learn. To experience. To love.

Tornado S: But why is life so horrible?

Kid, you ain’t seen nothing yet. But then this is the kid who cried watching a Save the Children Fund commercial.

Me: I don’t know, baby. A lot of people have tried to find out why. Listen. Let’s go home. You can rest. You don’t have to go to class. When you’re ready, we’ll talk more about this. Let me just let your teacher know.

So I walked into the building to find that Tornado S’s teacher wasn’t there. In his place was the director of children’s ministry.

Director: Hey. You don’t look like Tornado S. But I see a resemblance. (Yeah, we’ve been in the program for a few years now.)

Me: It’s the nose and the cheeks. Yeah, Tornado S is having an existential crisis in the car. So I think I need to take him home.

Director: A what?

Me: He wants to know why we’re here. Not here for class, but here as in our lives.

Director: OH! Wow. Ok. Yeah. Tell him I wonder that myself. It’s fine. He’s a good kid. He told us all about the homily the other day.

I stopped making eye contact as I watched Tornado S walk past the windows to the door. He came into the room.

Tornado S: Hi, Mama! I figured it out!

Me: Um, ok.

Tornado S: We’re here to have fun!

Um.

Tornado S: I’ll stay for class.

Director: Tornado S. I won’t make you do any work today. Just listen. Ok, bud?

Tornado S: Ok. Can I go get a snack first?

Director: Sure, go ahead.

Me: Um. Ok. Well, then. See you in 50 minutes.

What the hell?

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The Argument

Wonder Woman is out this weekend. I wasn’t a big Wonder Woman fan as a kid; I felt her forced onto girls. I found other superhero girls to love. Red Sonja, She-Ra, Jean Grey. But in recent years, I’ve come to appreciate her much more, especially since I’ve been getting gifts with Wonder Woman on them.

And then I saw Batman v Superman, and I was like I want to see more Wonder Woman. I’ve been waiting months for this movie.

And so have the boys.

Since the first trailer, they’ve been begging to go see it. My MO has always been to watch the movie first and then let them see it. But opening weekend is on my weekend with the boys.

Please, Mama, we love superhero movies!

Please, Mama, it looks really good!

Please, Mama, we want to go with you!

Please, Mama, it looks really fun!

Please, Mama, we’ve seen all the Iron Man movies and Thor movies and Avengers movies.

Please, Mama, Daddy let us see The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings movies.

Please, Mama, it has a woman superhero, and don’t you want us to see movies with strong women in the lead and support gender equality. (Tornado E, everybody; that kid is too damn smart.)

And it didn’t help that my dad turned on Batman v Superman in the middle of the movie to get my goat because I hate starting movies in the middle, and I really hate when we start movies in the middle for the boys. But my dad started it right before Wonder Woman jumped on the screen to kick butt in the final battle scene. I called for the boys, and we watched it together.

Then the boys got me a Wonder Woman picture for Mother’s Day.

Please, Mama!

Fine! Fine! We’ll go. I’ll take you. I won’t sneak off without you to see it.

I Have a Question

Tornado A had his well-visit today. Luckily, my mother took the other children, so it was just Tornado A and me. He was on his best behavior, excited to pretend to be an only child.

The doctor came in and talked to Tornado A, explaining what she will do and why she would do it. Then she asked Tornado A if he had any questions. He shook his head.

Doctor: Do you have any questions?

Me: Ye-

Tornado A: I have a question!

Doctor: Oh? What is your question?

Tornado A: Am I going to get a shot?!

Doctor: (smiled and shook her head) No. You don’t get any shots today. You won’t until you’re 11.

Tornado A: My brother is 11! Is he going to get a shot?!

Doctor: At his next visit, yes.

Tornado A: Good!

Then he gave a nod to signal he was done and satisfied with the conversation.

Right.

It’s Only the First Day.

Go ahead and emphasize a different word in that sentence. And it totally describes moments of today.

The first day of summer. Ish. I guess Friday was, but I kept the boys busy, helping me clean up the classroom, watching The Simpsons, and painting.

Today we had a lot more down time. Because kids can entertain themselves.

Or fight with their sibling.

So when one of my boys gets bored, he picks on a sibling. Kicking, punching, name-calling, laying on him, leaning on him, touching him, making annoying noises, taking his favorite toy, making him mess up on whatever he’s doing. You know, sibling stuff.

It’s already driving me crazy.

It’s only been a day.

So I’ll go back to what works. Time outs for name calling. Punching the punching bag when it’s a physical assault. Picking up toys and doing chores for boredom. Putting in a jewel in our kindness jar when I catch them doing a kind deed.

I hope I can get this taken care of before I take them on vacation in a couple of weeks. The boys and I trapped in a hotel room with nowhere to go sounds like a nightmare.

 

Yup, That’s My Kid

Football is a thing in my family. My family are Dallas Cowboy fans. Football is a thing for my ex. He is a San Diego Chargers fan (or whatever they’ll be calling themselves when they move.) Football is not my thing because we are paying men to play a game. A game I never really cared to play in my athletic days. Football is not a thing for my boys because they pretty much hate all sports.

But they understand it is a thing for the rest of the family, especially their dad and uncles. They have grown up with the rivalries. And they understand that their dad’s second favorite team has a tie for whoever is playing against the Oakland Raiders and whoever is playing against the Dallas Cowboys. So naturally my father and brothers encourage the boys to root for the Cowboys, but no one condones rooting for the Raiders.

Tornado S: (sitting in a chair, blurts out) Mommy! I know what to get Daddy for Father’s Day!

Why, yes, I do take my boys shopping for their dad’s birthday and Father’s Day. Because I’m a good parent, damnit.

Me: What?

Tornado S: (grinning from ear to ear) A Raider’s helmet!

Me: (looking down at Tornado S, beaming with pride) The (insert my family name) is strong with this one.

 

Yeah, my kids do that a lot. Early Bloomer and Timing

The Tooth Fairy Cometh

About a year ago, Tornado A lost a front tooth. With the excitement and seriousness of any five-year-old, he placed it in his homemade tooth pillow and placed it under his bed right before he went to bed at 8pm.

And I promptly forgot about it.

Until I was getting dressed the next morningĀ  in the dark in my bedroom while Tornado E slept in my bed.

Well, at least, I remembered the tooth before Tornado A did, and I would do my classic move of “Did you look underneath the bed?” and then toss the dollar on top of the bed. Then the boy would look on the bed in disappointment and wonder how the money got there. Weird.

As soon as I was dressed, I extracted my wallet from my purse. I opened it up and pulled out the first bill. I have a system, small bills in front, moving to larger bills in back. Not nearly as cool as Matt Murdock’s system, but we can’t all be as cool as Matt Murdock, and this system works well.

Like a ninja, I crept into the boys’ bedroom, removed the tooth from its pillow, and placed the bill in the pocket. I stalked out of the room, back into my room. I tossed the tooth into the trash with a slight clang.

Yes, I used to keep their teeth. All their baby teeth that were not lost on the way to the tooth pillow. Until I looked into the special box that was holding the teeth. Then I realized I looked like a serial killer with trophies. Out they all went.

As I was doing my hair, the boys woke up and started getting dressed. Tornado A, determined to beat his brother’s to breakfast, was the first dressed and into the kitchen, where my dad asked if the tooth fairy came.

I curled my hair with a smug smile as Tornado A ran by back to the bedroom. I was on the next section when he ran by again. That’s right, folks; I have this parenting thing down. Then I heard:

The tooth fairy gave me TWENTY DOLLARS!!!

Crap.

I put down the curling iron and ran out into the kitchen, where Tornado A was dancing around the room, waving a twenty dollar bill. What stupid person puts her biggest bill in the front of her wallet? My dad and I made eye contact. I ducked out of the room, laughing. I couldn’t catch my breath as I ran back to my room, pulled out my wallet, and saw the dollar bill still sitting in the wallet.

I overheard my dad.

Papi: Tornado A, that’s a lot of money. Do you think it was a mistake?

Tornado A: No, the tooth fairy never makes a mistake.

Papi: Do you think the tooth fairy wanted you to share it with your brothers?

Tornado A: No!

Papi: Do you think the tooth fairy wanted you to share it with Mommy?

Tornado A: No!

Papi: That’s a lot of money for a kindergartner, do you think you should donate some of it?

Tornado A: No!

I walked back into the room. My dad looked at me. I shrugged. I was a long term sub; I got paid half of pennies; I could use that $20. But I couldn’t take it from my boy. It was my mistake.

Me: I’m sure Tornado A already has plans for it.

Tornado A: Can we go to the store this weekend?

This is my dad’s favorite story to tell. I wonder if it reminds him of another blonde kindergartner with deep-set blue eyes who found $5 dollars in a church parking while walking to church one Sunday morning.

My dad: Fae, do you think someone dropped that on accident?

Me: No, Daddy. It’s from God.

My dad: It could be someone’s tithe. They could be giving it to God.

Me: And God gave it to me because I tithe every Sunday at your church and at Mommy’s church.

My dad: But Fae, it might be important to someone. That’s a lot of money. I have to ask around.

Me: But, Daddy, God gave it to me.

I dutifully handed it to my dad, who asked around. When he returned it to me because he couldn’t find any one to claim it, I insisted that it was a gift from God.

Superstition

We stood waiting for the brides to return from their 2nd jaunt of picture taking.

Me: I remember when I was a flower girl, and I was so hungry waiting to get pictures done and over with. When I got married, I didn’t any one to suffer like that, so the ex and I met with the photographer two days before the wedding to take as many couple wedding pictures we could.

A bridesmaid: Really? You were ok with that?

Me: Sure. The ex was worried about seeing me in the wedding dress before the wedding, but I’m not superstitious. What’s the worst that could- damnit!