Hide and Go Seek Sort of

Tornado E loves playing hide-and-go-seek.  He goes to great lengths to encourage that love in Tornado S.  When we play inside at home (because we only have two saguaro cacti and an air conditioner to hide behind; lots of fun there), Tornado E finds Tornado S a place to hide before he finds his own place.  Like any good rebel, Tornado S makes his own rules and jumps out to scare me just as I finish counting.

The other day Tornado E and Tornado S were playing hide-and-go-seek at Grandma-great’s house.  (Which is an awesome place to play with trees, bushes, and an RV from when I was a kid and now there are two sheds.)  Tornado E made Tornado S it and placed him at the almond tree to count (which was the same place we used to use).

Tornado S: One!  (Tornado E started running.) Two!  Three!  I see you, brother!

Tornado E: No, Tornado S!  Count to ten!

Tornado S: Ok, brother!  One! (Tornado E started running.)  Two!  Three!  I see you, Tornado E (in toddler speak)!

Tornado E: No! Tornado S!  Count to ten!  Like this: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

Tornado S: Ok, brother!  One! (Tornado E started running.)  Two!  Three!  I see you, Tornado E (in toddler speak)!


Reasons to stare at the wall than play Candy Land

My dad hated playing Candy Land.  I never understood why.  Until now.


1) Everyone wants the same color gingerbread man.  Every time.  It doesn’t matter if Sean’s favorite color is blue and Evan’s is read.  If the other had it first, then the second needs it NOW.

2) Sean must have more than one.  Evan finds this unfair.  I don’t care as long as it keeps the peace.

3) Evan must have every gingerbread man piece lined up just so, even if Sean is not going to play with the game.

4) Evan must make up an elaborate story before the first card is drawn.  Woe to those who try to play without listening to the long winded story.

5) Sean, who was once satisfied to just play with his pieces by himself and occasionally tornado through the game board, which gave me an opportunity to use my awesome visual memory, wants to pull cards too.

6) Sean: Blue!

Me: No, Sean.  Red.  That’s red.

Sean: Blue!

Me: No, Sean.  That’s orange.

Sean: Blue!

Me: Good job, Sean.  Blue.

Sean: Blue!

Me: No, Sean.  That’s green.  Grrrreeeeeennnnn.

7)Evan must make up a story about every move, every person, every color, every square, every picture, every move.

8)Evan: And this guy said hello.  He liked red, but he didn’t like blue.  Or green.  Just red.  And he said, “Look at those squares.  There is a red one and a blue one and a green one and a yellow one and an orange one.”  And he jumped to the red one because he liked red.  He said to the kids, “Come follow me.”  And they followed him.  There was a little girl, a little boy, another little girl, and another boy.  They sat at the- What’s this called again?  Oh, yeah.  The gingerbread tree, and they said, “Hello, gingerbread tree.” And he said . . .”

9) Evan has to ask the same questions over and over and over.

10) Evan: What’s that, Mommy?

Sean: Blue!

Me: That’s a peppermint beaver.  No, Sean.  That’s orange.

Evan: Oh, and what’s he doing?

Me: Cutting down-

Sean: Blue!

Me:- candy canes.  No, Sean.  That’s yellow.

Evan: And who’s that?

Sean: Blue!

Me: Mr. Mint.  No, that’s yellow again.  Same card I think.

Evan: What’s that?

Me: A peppermint beaver.

Sean: Blue!

11) Evan thinks that double squares actually mean three squares.  The first one doesn’t count.

12) Evan wants to go down the bridges, back and forth and without landing on them.

13) Sean is obsessed with ice cream.

Sean: Cream!  Cream!  (after he moved my head to look, pointing at the ice cream palace.)

14) Does any one remember when it was Princess Lolly, daughter of the King of Candy Land?

15) Evan: Mommy, what’s that?

Me: (How many times do I have to tell you it’s) The Chocolate Swamp.

16) Evan doesn’t want to keep drawing cards and is surprised he didn’t win as soon as he usually does; while, I kick myself for not stacking the cards And stacking the cards.

17) After finally making it to the chocolate monster, Evan wants to visit the peanut area.  And read the story.  And ask me more questions.  And tell me more stories.

18) Sean decides he wants to move the board.

19) Candy Land ends the way Monopoly used to end at my parents’ house when I was a kid.  Game pieces were thrown, cards scattered, and Mom yelling to quit it.

20) Evan wants to put away the board before Sean does.  Crying resumes.

21) Evan decides he wants a lollypop.  No, a candy cane.  No, chocolate.  How about some ice cream? 

Sure you do, kid.  That was the whole point of the game.  But I guarantee you, I need it more than you.

Sean: Blue!

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The Three Little Pigs According to a Three Year Old

Tornado E: Mommy, let’s play Three Little Pigs!


Me: Ok, Tornado E.


Evan: You’re the Big Bad Wolf!  And I’m the Little Pig!  This is my house of sticks!  You can’t get me!


Me: (Smiling as I sauntered over.  I knelt down to be eye level with the coffee between the wolf and the pig.)  Little pig.  Little pig.  Let me in!  (Enter a creepy thought of the Shinning.  I mean Shining. 😉 )


Tornado E: NO!  (Close enough)


Me: Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house in!  (Huffed and Puffed)


(Tornado E threw a great jab into my nose.  Tornado S laughed from the couch.  Tornado E grinned in triumph.)


Tornado E: Big Bad Wolf!  You can’t blow my house down!  It’s made of sticks!  And I punched you!


I guess if you can’t have a good defense, you might as well have a good offense.  Thank God he didn’t break my nose.

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Dr. Tornado E and Dr. Mommy

Tornado E: Ow! My nose hurts!


Me: (kiss on the nose) There all better.


Tornado E: No, Mommy, blow on it.


Me: (blow on the nose) There all better.


Tornado E: Thank you, doctor.


Me: I need a kiss.


Tornado E: (gives a kiss).  Oh, no, you have an ouchie.


Me: (granted I do have some dry flakey skin on my nose.  Sexy.)  It hurts.  Can you please blow on it?


Tornado E: (blows on my nose) There.


Me: Thank you, Dr. Tornado E.


Tornado E: You have a scrape on your nose.  It’s ouchie like cactus.  (He moves so our noses touch.)  Ouch!  The cactus is on my nose.  (He sniffs my nose.)  Eww!  It smells like turkey!  Let’s smell the whale’s nose.  (We have a stuffed whale.)


I’m laughing so hard that I run down the stairs to write this.  I hear “Dr. Mommy!  Dr. Mommy!  Where are you?!  I need a little help here!”

A Dr. Mommy’s job is never done.

A Night of Wonders

Last night was a night of words and wonders, starting with my two little bears. 


While I was submersed in a book with my ears open, the boys were watching a show that featured the cartoon boys pretending to be bears.  Sean came up to me, smiled, and growled at me, throwing his arms out as claws.  I mocked a scream and yelled, oh, no, a baby bear!  And Sean found this funny and did it again and again and again.  When Evan noticed the attention Sean was getting, he jumped up and became a bear too as I screamed and crawled away from my two baby bears, who gave chase.  They chased me around the room, growling, until I gave up.  I turned and tickled them.


Later after bath time, I shouted at Evan to make sure he was still alive and upstairs.  I didn’t hear a reply from the other room, so I shouted again and again.  Who should help me shout?  Sean looked up at me as I put on his diaper and yelled Evan.  This time Evan answered as I congratulated Sean, who yelled Evan as soon as he saw his brother enter the room.  I was so excited which didn’t prepare me for the next thing Evan said.


Evan: I’m Evan M.M. (or mother’s maiden name.)


Me: What did you say?


Evan: I’m Evan M.M.


Me: M.M?


Evan: Yes, I’m Evan M.M.


Me: No, you’re not your Evan L.N. (or last name)


Evan: No, I’m Evan M.M.


Me: No, you’re Evan L.N.


Evan: Ok, ok.  I’m Evan L.N. M.M.


(Now, I’m actually laughing, wondering where he heard my maiden name.  Though I kept it, I can’t imagine how he heard it, and we don’t call his grandparents that.  So where?  And of course, my husband isn’t going to like it.)


Me: Fine, you can be Evan M.M. for the night.


Evan: (thinking) Hmm, maybe I can be Evan M.M. always.


Whatever.  Let’s get your pajamas on.


Finally, Evan always gets out of bed once in the beginning, usually to complain that he’s bed’s too hot.  Tonight he said he smelled candy.  It dawned on me that I sprayed some lavender scent on his bed, hoping that it will keep him asleep all night.  I answered yes, it was to make sure he had sweet dreams.  Evan smiled and said that was all right.

Being a Bat or My Son, My Trainer

Cutting a non-stop swath of destruction, Evan is a tornado.  He doesn’t stop moving, unless he’s watching his favorite cartoon or sleeping.  Even when he sleeps, he rolls, kicks, and punches.  The kid could power a small energy if we could hook him up to the grid.  As for the destruction, it’s typical for your average three-year-old, just toys and crayons strewn across the room as I demand that he stop throwing almonds.  Before any one gives me that control-your-child look, I do make him pick up after himself. 


Did I mention Sean is a tornado in training?  He’s learning from the best, running across the room and throwing balls, especially the small, heavy wood ones (Thanks again, Mom).  The other day when he noticed Evan had juice and looked over to see his own cup on the little table, Sean actually sprinted to his juice across the room.


So I have to recommend that taking care of toddlers is the best form of exercise for those who are trying to loose weight.  I’ll admit I’m done with loosing the baby weight; it melted off with breast-feeding, though it was harder with the first one than the second.  Perhaps that’s because I was running around after Evan as well as feeding Sean.  Now I am working on the pre-baby weight that came with too many nice restaurants with good bread and desserts, sushi gorging sessions, fast food for lunch, and not walking everywhere like I did in college.  I packed on a few pounds, and all I want is to be a healthy weight, not the starving college student weight.  Too hard to keep it up.


Most days Evan is in charge of my workout routine, which consists of walking over 10,000 steps a day.  It means running upstairs and downstairs to get everyone dressed and night clothes put away.  It means running after Evan to get him to brush his teeth or eat a meal.  It means running after Sean when he takes a fork out of the kitchen drawer.  My mom doesn’t believe me, but it’s true.  While I do a small 15 minute workout every other day as the boys play by themselves and I watch the news, I really much prefer Evan’s work outs.


The newest exercise is “being a bat.”  Since we went to the children’s museum last weekend and learned about bats, Evan is a little obsessed.  Yesterday he wanted to be a bat with me.  This consisted of running around the room flapping your arms.  For an exercise routine, it’s not half bad as it gets your heart rate up and works on your legs and arms.  I made my wing flaps large for full effect.  Evan flapped at his elbows; while, Sean got in the act running and flapping his hands.  Yes, it was darling.  Keep this exercise up until they get bored, about ten minutes.


You can always do “the tickle monster,” which you stand above a laying child who is begging to be tickled.  Then you lift your arms straight in the air and bring them down to tickle the child.  Three reps of 15 does nicely, unless you have two kids then you better do four reps.  Be prepared to do this exercise often.


Another favorite of my three-year-old trainer is “Around the Mulberry Bush.”  I chase Evan and now Sean around the dining room table singing “Around the Mulberry Bush” at the top of my lungs as I try to tickle them.  This is great fun, which started when I was pregnant with Sean.  Then I could barely catch Evan.  Now we just chase each other until Evan and Sean gets tired or when I desperately need something to drink and a breather. 


After all the cardio, don’t forget the lifting.  Lift the child off the table he’s standing on.  Lift the child out of the crib.  Lift the child so he can see what you’re cooking for dinner.  Lift the laundry and carry it around the house.  If you are particularly generous, you can lift the child to see the mobile or the wind chimes or just to swing him around.  Usually these lifts are done when you are so tired you just want to curl up on the catch and watch the sticky-sweet ditzy Elmo.


But in case I get bored with my usual routine, my little trainers have come up with several different games and activities to get me motivated.  Sean is working on becoming a quarterback or pitcher (he doesn’t know which yet), so he needs a catcher, which is always me.  Also in training, Evan is attempting to make the US fencing team one day.  Of course, he doesn’t know that fencing does not have light sabers or bats.  We also have soccer in the evening and catch-me-if-you-can just as it turns to dark to see or when I am just too tired to move.  It’s a very strenuous workout that doesn’t stop after the kids go to bed; then it’s housework.


As you can imagine, I should be able to fit into all those tiny shorts I wore in college.  Except I don’t plan on being that thin again, so I choose to even out the workouts with my weakness for anything sweet and chocolaty.  I also find that if I want my sons to eat, I find to set an example, which includes mac-and-cheese, potato salad, sour cream, and French bread.  It’s a sacrifice all mothers must make.  So that our kids understand the good things in life, we mothers bake or buy desserts, in which we teach our kids that all good work deserves a reward.

Couch sliding

We have a new sport in my house.  Couch sliding.  It’s the newest sport the boys play, and they actually play it together.  A boy climbs up the back of the love seat with the aid of the kid size piano, and then the boy slides down the front of the love seat to land on the cushions.  I force them to take turns, or they would just land right on top of each other.  Then they would wrestle until Evan has Sean pinned and crying, like normal brother relationships.

Evan has been climbing up the back of the love seat for quite some time.  I have tried moving the toys around so that he wouldn’t be able to find a purchase to climb over.  Being a clever and determined toddler, he just was able to find more unsafe ways to climb over, and I thought I might as well let him do it safely rather than risk some sort of brain trauma.  It’s not causing harm, and it was only an issue when I made it an issue.  Basically he would do it once and then stop, forgetting about the trick for days or weeks.

Sean upped the anti.  He struggled to pull himself over the top, trying to do what his older brother could do.  When Sean finally did it, he gave a shout of glee and slid down the front of the love seat and rolled onto the floor.  At first I was worried that he was hurt because he didn’t even slow down on the seat.  But he got up, laughed, and did it again.  After a few times of watching Sean have fun, Evan joins in, trying to do it faster than Sean or just trying to land on him.  I’m now a referee.  During the whole game, they are laughing so hard that I can’t bring myself to stop it, or maybe it’s because it’s seven o’clock in the evening and I have no more energy to stop non-harmful, reckless behavior.

Now when Sean climbs to the top, he throws his arms up in the air in victory or like he’s on a rollercoaster.  Then he throws himself down the front of the love seat with the tiniest of pauses before he rolls onto the floor.  With a laugh he’s running back to do it again.  Show off.

I foresee a problem.  First off, it’s just a matter of time before someone gets hurt.  It’s all fun and games until that moment; then it’s a sport.  Then we’ll have to make rules, and someone will have to referee (oh, wait; that’ll be my job).  Then my husband will feel obligated to defend their behavior to guests.  Then my mom will tell me how this will bite me on the ass when they do it in public or at someone’s house.  And I’ll say, “I know, Mom.  I’ll handle it.”  Then they WILL do it in public, and it’ll bite me on my ass.  My husband will be mortified and blame me.  Then we’ll fight because I’ll mention how he ignored the behavior as he watched reruns of classic football games, conveniently forgetting that I was right there refereeing the whole sport, but it won’t matter because he should have spoken out if he had reservations.  Then we’ll have to go back to marital counseling, and I will have to admit to my mom she was right . . . once again.

So I guess I should stop this sport before all that happens.  Of course, this is the kind of thing my brothers and I would do when we were young and unsupervised.  We would just be a LOT more physical about it, until some one bleeds or tattles.  Then we knew we were all in trouble. But we were older than my boys and would know NOT to ever, ever do it in public because our lives depended on it.  I guess I’ll add that too the rules. 

You can practice gymnastics on the couch because it’s old and worn, and we secretly hate the stupid thing any ways.  You probably were too young to remember your father trying to tear the couch to pieces because it swallowed his cell phone.  Yes, the couch does eat things.  That’s why we never left you on it unattended on the couch when you were a baby; we knew it would eat you.  That’s why we put on that cover you and your father ignore.  And because I was tired of fixing your father’s back when he threw a temper tantrum, trying to throw the couch because it ate his cell phone AGAIN as he’s alcoholic loser of a friend called the cell phone over and over and over again.  But I digress.  You can only play your couch games on THESE couches.  No one else’s.  Not Grandma’s house, not Grandma Sue’s house, not at anyone’s house or store.  Do you got that?  And if you are EVER caught doing your games on someone else’s couch, I will say I had no idea and that you will be punished severely.  Plus no landing on any person already on the couch.

They’ll understand.  Evan and Sean are smart boys at ages 3 and 1.

Tornado S Says

Tornado S is an amazing sleeper.  All right, after Tornado E’s sleeping habits, any kid who sleeps through the night is an amazing sleeper.  But Tornado S is a deep sleeper, like me (or I was before pregnancy).  He sleeps through the night, since he was a few weeks old.  He sleeps through Tornado E’s crying as I send him back to bed.  If that isn’t enough, usually Tornado S wakes up and chills in his crib listening to his little toy aquarium, which is so unlike Tornado E who would demand to get him out of this crib NOW.


So yesterday I finished my blogging as I heard Tornado S cooing to his aquarium.  Just having a nice conversation with the plastic fish.  I poked my head into the nursery to watch a few minutes of this quiet monologue.  When Tornado S heard me, he stood up and leaned over the rail to smile at me, and I walked into the room.  Tornado S became excited and started to jump, holding on to the rail.   I began to jump little jumps.  Tornado S stopped, and I stopped.  Not sure what exactly was going on, Tornado S did a test jump and watched me jump once.


Realization dawned on Tornado S.  He jumped three times and then landed on his bottom.  I repeated only to crouch down instead of land on the hard floor with my bottom.  I just tend not to want to break my tailbone.  He laughed and repeated the procedure.  He jumped four times and landed on his bottom as I repeated his steps.  He swayed to the left and to the right and did two jumps, landing on his bottom.  I repeated this too.  Then he varied it a little with different jumps and sways.  When I was ready to leave, I held my arms out to him, and he shook his head no, proceeding to jump more.  As I had been at Tornado S Says for ten minutes, I was due for a break, and I was bigger, so I gathered him up and went down stairs to play blocks.

Red Light/ Green Light

If you have followed my post, you know that I am visiting family due to the unexpected, sudden death of my grandpa.  As it turns out, two of my cousins knocked up their girlfriends the same year I became pregnant.  One cousin is two months older than Evan, and the other is older by four days.  My cousin with the older boy married his girlfriend (before the boy was born), and they have a son two months younger than Sean.  My family rarely produces girls.  While my grandparents’ house is big and my grandma understands toddlers will be toddlers, I decided it’s better not to take the risk.  So I herded the three toddlers with Sean in tow into the back yard to play.

Well, the first rule at my grandparents’ house is no walking, stepping, touching the pool decking (or as we call it from our childhood the cool decking).  This is a tough rule for three-year-olds to follow.  Hell, we had a tough enough time when we were twelve with the rule.  Of course by that time, we swam like fish.  So here I was with my cousins (who apparently they don’t think I can handle four kids.  Ha), trying to keep the boys of the decking; while, they played a game of tag.  Good luck.  Well, I decided we needed a game.  What game is easier than Red Light/ Green Light.  Ha.

After explaining the meaning or the game and the colors, I had them stand about three yards away and yelled “Green light.”  Evan knew what it meant, but damn if he was going to leave his playmates behind.  So I yelled “Go!  Run!”  So they ran!  And I yelled “Red Light!”  And they ran.  I laughed and told them to tag me, but they hugged me instead.  So I lined them up and shouted “green light.  go.”  Then I shouted “red light. stop.”  And of course, they ran, but this time they stopped after a yard.  My older cousin laughed and told me that I made a lousy three-year-old teacher.  I shouted back, “Hey, they’re not on the pool decking, are they?  I think I met my goal.”

The game gets better as I choose Jacob to be “it.”  The boy is so quiet.  I wonder how he could be related to my loud-mouth family.  I lean down and whisper to Jacob to yell green light.  He nods.  “Ok, Jacob, now.  Yell green light.”  He whisperd it.  A little louder.  He does, a little louder.  So I yell it.  But by the time, I get him to say red  light, the boys are on him.  So we try it again.  Next is Broc who yells green light but runs to his cousins.  Well, at least they’re off the pool decking.

Next they played soccer with my brother Tim as coach, who keeps kicking the ball into the pool.  Finally he kicks it in about three feet from the edge, my three cousins, my brother, and I take two steps toward the pool and then realize how close we are to the pool and to each other.  We immediately all back up, eyeing each other warily as we remembered being pushed in at one time or another while retrieving a ball or same other toy.  Finally when two cousins go onto the porch to convince a favorite pool-pushed uncle to retrieve the ball and I was too busy playing the ball, my brother and another cousin teamed together to get the ball out.  Granted they had to keep the pool between them.  I guess old habits die hard.  I still won’t pee during a favorite show just in case my husband learns the house rule of when you leave the room you forfeit the remote.  Sometimes it’s nice to be married to an only child.

And where is Sean in all of this, oh he’s running with the boys because he thinks he’s just as big.  Oh and he said his first clear sentence.  “I like that.”  That being when he’s Papi holds him up to the ceiling so he can touch it.