Jokes Go Awry

Lately the boys have tried to go on strike.  They don’t want to go swimming.  It’s 103 out there, and my boys don’t want to go swimming.  That is unacceptable in my household or, more to the point, in my parents’ household.  If I go swimming, they have to too because I’m not watching them.

Luckily now that my mom is a grandmother and closer to the end, she believes in bribery.  “Who wants a popsicle?  Ok, well, let’s get in our swimsuits so they don’t drip on our pirate clothes.  Ok, let’s go outside and put our feet in the pool while we eat.  Won’t that be fun?”

Yeah, I know.  It’s were I get my evil genius from.  Ok, my dad can be pretty evil too.

Grandma, Tornado S, and Tornado E sat on the edge of the pool eating Popsicles with their feet resting on the first step.  It didn’t take long before both boys were sitting on the top step, enjoying their Popsicles.  Eventually Tornado E finished his and was playing in the pool with me.  Papi teased Tornado S trying to nab a bite of Popsicle like a walrus trying to get a piece of fish from a trainer.  (Hmm, that was quite an applicable description.  Not to self: must tell Mom.)

Fearing for the safety of his Popsicle, Tornado S hid it behind his back.  Being an evil genius himself, it dawned on Tornado S that he could just hide it in the water.  He popped it out of the water to wave it in Papi’s face.  Tornado S was shocked to find the Popsicle had shrunk.  Papi and I laughed.

Tornado S laughed with us and stuck the Popsicle back into the water.  He pulled it out to wave it at Papi.

We became distracted by Tornado E running and jumping into the pool.  We looked back to see Tornado S had hid his Popsicle under the water again.

He pulled it out and went to take a bite.  His eyes grew big as he looked at just a stick.  He looked at us with his eyes saying, WTF, Mommy?  Where’d it go?

If we wanted to risk drowning, we would have been rolling with laughter.  Instead, Papi and I held on to the sides of the pool, wiping our tears away.

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Learning new words

I’m going to be called in to the principal’s office later this year.  I know it.

I recently found out that Tornado E was calling his Papi “jerk” as a term of endearment.  Apparently, Tornado E heard his grandma calling Papi that and automatically assumed it was a pet name.  That it is for my mom is not the issue.  The fact is my son has learned the word jerk.

Ms. Principal, I would like to introduce my mother, who is responsible for Tornado E’s language.

To make matters worse, I caught Tornado E saying the f-word.  He was upset, and it popped out of his mouth.  The world went silent as my brain try to understand what exactly happened.

When I finally recovered my wits, I took Tornado E aside and explained how that was a bad word, that we have so many good words to use that we didn’t need to say it, and how we should never use words we don’t know what they mean.

Last weekend, Tornado E told us that his daddy wasn’t nice.

The Husband was hurt by this and wanted to know why.  I can list off a whole list of broken promises, refusals on childish demands, the rare spankings.

Tornado E told us in his quietest voice that Daddy wasn’t nice because he said f-.

While my husband sat there astonished by the turn of events, I was ecstatic.  Tornado E understood that using that word was a poor choice.

Then Tornado E used it yesterday.

Ms. Principal, I would like to introduce the boy’s father, who is responsible for Tornado E’s colorful language.

Last weekend we were at an adult party, which we stopped in for an hour with the kids because we had no babysitter in CA.  The boys amused the adults with songs, conversations, and games.

As I talked to another woman, Tornado S pointed to a dog figurine and said “A damn dog!”


I tried to ignore it, hoping that he spoke in toddler-speak.

Instead, the woman looked at me and asked, “Did he just say what I thought he said?”

I nodded.

She, being a mother as well, nodded and said, “The Husband.”

Not ten minutes later, Tornado E said, “Where’s the damn ball?”

Double crap.

Another discussion of bad words versus good words.

Maybe I should just send The Husband to explain the language problem.

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The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Ok.  They’re not actually enemies, more like competitors, fighting for the same trophy of moral superiority.

But after a day of don’t-hit, make-your-bed, no-hitting, throw-your-fit-in-your-room, pick-up-your-toys, because-I-said-so, no-kicking, get-down-off-of-there, because-we’re-going-now, share, play-nice, let’s-go-now, no, I think I’m also fighting for my sanity and well-being.  When the boys have a glint in their eyes, I know they’re about to team up against me, if only to wrestle out their issue with each other.  Then I have to use The Voice because no one listened to me the first time or the third.  I don’t like using The Voice; things should be done when first Asked.

But then they found an unlikely ally.  Unlikely because he had to deal with the don’t-hit, don’t-wrestle, don’t-knock-your-brother’s-head-into-drywall, I-don’t-care-if-he’s-touching-you, stop-touching-your-sister, share, you-can-only-have-ONE-scoop-of-ice-cream, no-you-can’t-eat-his-tater-tots, knock-it-off, too.  But maybe not as unlikely because I was one third of the team slowly trying to steal his insanity as I yelled, “His leg is touching mine!”  (“For the love of God, you’re twenty, Fae!” “Well, her hair is on my shoulder” “T, your nineteen, get over it.”  “DAD!”  “We are always taking separate cars from now on.”)

But I changed teams!  I’m on his side now!  No harm, no fall.  He still has his sanity . . . well, most of it.  Some of it left with the hair, but still, we’re on the same team now.

Nope. As evident from yesterday’s post, my dad is decided to switch sides and help my boys shove me towards insanity.  I don’t know if it’s pay back or if what Bill Cosby said was true (which I changed a little because he was talking about his mom). “That’s not the same person I grew up with.  He’s an old person now.  He’s trying to get into heaven now.”

Take when Tornado E has refused point blank to eat dinner, even if he liked the same meal two days before.  Fine.  If he doesn’t want to eat it, then he doesn’t have to, but it will be there when he’s hungry later.  Of course, Papi sneaks in a cracker or a cookie or “Papi candy,” aka mint Lifsavers to the prisoner.  Papi also sneaks in “appetizers” like crackers, cheese, or chips.  No wonder the kid didn’t eat.  Not to mention Papi is a huge supporter of “Let the kid eat what the kid wants” theory.

I have no idea where this came from because I didn’t grow up with that.  I was forced to clean my plate.  If I didn’t like something, then too bad, eat it any ways.  I’m glad I don’t have to fight my dad on my food theories, but don’t act like that candy Tornado E has in his mouth wasn’t from you.  Besides your grandson ratted you out the minute I asked what was in his mouth.

But the latest evidence is the inflatable pirate ship kiddie pool that my father decided to “sail” on the pool after I explained that it wasn’t safe.  So there it was a kiddie pool sailing in the big pool.  Awesome.  Thanks for making me look like a unfun, hard-ass.  When the ship got to be too much, Papi beached it and helped Tornado E remove the squirting canon from the bow.  With Papi manning the hose, Tornado E was able to hit his mom anywhere in the pool.  No matter where I swam, when I came up for air, I was hit by a spray of water that Papi, ever so sweetly, made sure was on full blast.

So basically my dad still enjoys torturing me.  He just has some new teammates.  Teammates who would throw a fit if they were to go a day without their beloved Papi.

Just you wait, old man.  I’ll get you some day.

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Meet the other boy I watch

Sean: Mama!  Mama!  Mama!  Mama!  Mama!  Mama!

Me: Yes?

Sean: Mama!  Mama!  Mama!  Mama!  Mama!  Mama!

Me: Sean-Sean.

Sean: A feeesh!

Me: I see the fish.  It’s a red fish.

Sean: Mama!  Mama!  Mama!  Mama!

Me: Sean-Sean.

Sean: A feeesh!

Me: Yes, I red fish.

Papi: He really doesn’t stop unless you ans-

Sean: Mama! Mama!

Papi: wer.

Me: Sean-Sean.  No.  He doesn’t.

Sean: A pi-rate boat!

Me: Yes, a pirate boat.

Sean: Mama! Ma-

Papi: Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean! Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Sean!  Se-

Sean: (first smiling.  Now he put his hand out like a stop sign.)  STOOOOOOOOOOOOP!

Papi: Sean! Se-


Me: Do you really think that’s helping?  Either of you?

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A Few Choice Tornado E Stories

Tornado E is no longer concerned with the day I lost my keys down the toilet. Here are his NEW favorite stories.

Tornado E: Remember when we were swimming with Papi. And Papi yelled “Bee on you! Bee on you! Bee on you!” And Grandma jumped in the water. Why did she do that?

Me: Because she didn’t want to get stung. She didn’t know where the bee was.

Tornado E: Oh.

Tornado E: Remember when we were at the McDonald’s without the slide. And Papi took me to go potty. And I went pee. And Papi said, “Boy, you pee a lot.” Why did he say that?

Me: Because you do pee a lot.

Tornado E: No, I think he was teasing.

Tornado E: Remember when I threw up on Daddy the other day. It was a lot of throw up. It got all over us. And Daddy was yelling, “Mommy! Mommy!” (Pause, reflecting on the name Daddy actually used.) “Faemom! Faemom! Faemom!” He was funny. Why’d he say that?

Me: Because that’s my name and Daddy needed help.

Tornado E: No. You’re Mommy.

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Father’s Day Crafts!

Father’s Day is coming next Sunday, and I have been wacking my brain to come up with some great craft ideas.  If I had had a muse, I would have had this out last week, like I WANTED to, but my dad is hard to shop for; my husband is hard to shop for; my father-in-law is hard to shop for.  If it wasn’t for this blog, I would have gift carded the whole affair. 

Last year, we made t-shirts that said “You’re the best Dad (Papi) (Papa) hands down.”  I then put the boys’ handprints on the shirt with their names and ages underneath. 

Another tradition I started last year due to reading a Family Fun issue was to take a picture of the boys every year in the shirt (or outfit) their dad wore on the day of their birth.  Fortunately the husband wore the same shirt for both births.  Unfortunately I found it in a pile of dirty clothes last year.  I wonder where it is now.

This year I plan on making my dad chocolate cookies for Father’s Day.  I’m sure the boys would love to help.  We also did a few crafts.


Picture Frames

(This is a great craft with lots of variety.  The boys and I did this one last year.  They had a blast.  The husband loved it.)

What you need:

  • Unfinished thick picture frame (the thicker the better to give room for toddler creativity)
  • black or white paint
  • finger paints
  • paint brushes
  • sealer or top coat
  • sand paper
  • smock

First sand and prep the picture frame.  Next paint the background color with white or black paint.  Once the background paint is dry, have the child paint the frame.  After the painting is dry, paint the sealer or clear top coat to protect the painting.


For older children, a regular unfinished frame works well too.

The child can stain the frame.

The child can paint it black and the sponge paint it with gold, silver, or any other favorite color.

The child can paint it black and put stickers on it.  Glow-in-the-dark stars look really cool.

The child can paint it a solid color and glue rocks, shells or buttons on the frame.

The child can decoupage the frame with material, color paper, magazine articles.


Craft Foam Picture Frame

(I was trying to find a twist on the picture frame idea because grandparents and parents just love pictures.  The boys really liked decorating the frames.  Evan had a unique twist on the stickers as he used Halloween spiders.)

Things you need:

  • Craft foam
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Markers, stickers, anything you want to decorate with
  • Glue (craft or hot)
  • Picture
  • Magnets

Trace out a square for the picture on the craft foam.  Cut out the square.  (I left an inch and a half around the picture for the frame.)  Have the child decorate the craft foam.  Glue the picture in the frame.  Glue magnets on the back of the frame.  (I picked up decorative magnets for a buck at Michael’s.)


Magnet Artwork

(I have read several places about taking those magnet business cards and doing something with them, like gluing pictures on them.  I decided on art work for the boys to do.  As my b0ys love coloring and stickering, they enjoyed doing this.)

Things you need:

  • Business magnets
  • Craft foam or construction paper
  • Markers, stickers, anything else you want to decorate with
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  • Glue (craft or hot)

Trace the business magnets on the craft foam or construction paper with the black marker.  Have the child decorate the shape.  Cut the shape out.  Glue to the magnet.  (I have also heard of moms who make a scan of the child’s artwork and print it in business card size.  This would work for the magnets too.)

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What’s in a name?

Me: I don’t know.  I think he’s still playing M’s video game.

My Mom: The food’s getting cold.  The boys are ready to eat.

Evan: Chawles isn’t here.  Let’s just pray with out him.

Silence as we all stare at Evan because we never get used to him saying things like that.

Me: Daddy.  Daddy isn’t here, and we will wait for him before we pray and eat.


Evan learned his father’s name early on and uses it to his advantage.  The other day he called for my dad by his first name in a perfect mimic of the way my mom yells the name across the house, so we were curious to find out if he knew any one else’s name.

Grandma: Evan, do you know my name?

Evan: Linda.

Grandma: Good job.  Did you hear Grandma-Great call me that?

Evan: She calls you that when she’s mad at you.

Me: And when Grandma-Great is happy.

Evan: And when Grandma-Great is happy!

Grandma: Do you know mommy’s name?

Evan: Mommy –(Last Name)!

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In the eye of the beholder

When I was a young kid, we went grocery shopping as a family, so that my dad could manage the kids, allowing my mom to accomplish grocery shopping under an hour.  As the eldest, it was my job to try to turn the cart over, demand sugary cereals, and completely ignore my baby brother as he was cursed to be born a boy.  My brothers helped me in my endeavors.  My dad’s main job was to keep us occupied as my mom checked out so that she didn’t have to say, “Don’t touch the candy, don’t touch the candy, don’t touch the candy, no candy, no, no, no.”


My dad would take us over to the magazines, pull one out with Bo Derek, Farah Fawcet, or some other starlet on the cover and ask us who it was.  The response was always the same.  “MOMMY!”  When my dad relates the story to others, he always adds that when he would pick up a picture of Tom Selleck, we would yell “Tom Selleck.”  Not quite true, but it makes a great story.




The other day the boys and I were outside playing in my parents’ backyard with my dad, the beloved Papi, when my dad went into his tool room to fix something.  Like little puppies, my boys followed their Papi into a room they aren’t allowed to go in, and I followed to keep them in line. 

On the walls of the tool room are a couple of girly calendars that my brothers and I love to give my dad to annoy my mom and tease my dad over his little “hobby” of taking pictures of women in bikinis when he’s at the beach.  He does this to annoy my mom and exasperate the other women in his life, especially my friends.  (Trust me; it’s his way of having fun and training to be a dirty old man, chasing nurses one day in the old folks’ home.)  One of these calendars is a “The Girls Next Door” calendar as my family rarely missed an episode, especially my brothers and my dad. 

Evan took one look at the picture of Bridget and announced with glee, “GRANDMA!”

Sometimes the apple falls too close to the tree.

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A doughnut morning

It was a beautiful day in Arizona, as I snuggled down in the bed realizing that six, six-thirty, and seven o’ clock in the morning had slipped away and my boys still slept.  Of course, all good things come to an end, but it was nice to stay in bed until 7:30, even if I would have liked another hour.  Besides my brother was already awake, waiting, like a good uncle, to play with the boys.


With a cooing and a laugh, I went into the room to find the boys awake, and on hearing my voice, my brother came in to steal all my morning hugs from the boys.  My brother grabbed Evan and hugged him.  Evan jumped back, yelling “Don’t hug me!  I’m dangerous!”  He went on to try and prove his point by attempting to hit my brother, who lazily slipped away from the attempts to hug Sean.  Sean quickly learned he could get a laugh if he fell on his bottom, bouncing on the bed.  It didn’t take long for Evan to climb up and try to steal the attention.


Then my dad entered the room, delighting the boys, and I became nothing more than a shadow in the room. 


Papi: Do you want doughnuts?


Evan: (with pacifier in his mouth.  I know I’m a bad mom.)  Yes!


Papi: (mumbling like he has something in his mouth) Do you want doughnuts?


Evan: (still with pacifier in his mouth) Papi, I can’t hear you!  (pause)  Oh, yes, I can hear you now.


Papi: Take the pacifier out of your mouth.  Do you want doughnuts?


Evan: (takes it out) Yes! (Puts it back in.  I yank the pacifier out of Evan’s mouth.)


Papi: Do you want doughnuts or pumpkin bread?


Evan: We have pumpkin bread at our house!  Do you want to go and get it?!


Papi:  We have pumpkin bread here.


Evan: (looks out the window) I can’t see my house!  It’s too far away!


Papi: Do you want doughnuts?


Evan: Yes!


Papi: Do you want sprinkles?


Evan: Yes!


Papi: Really?


Evan: Yes!


Papi: I’m going to go get them.


Evan: Boys are hungry.  Dogs are hungry.  We need to eat.  We need to eat doughnuts.


So begins the whirlwind day at Grandma and Papi’s house.  With non-stop playing, games, and treats, it is the best place to bed.  When my mom mentioned making caramel apples and popcorn balls, my brother and I looked at each, remembering that it had been years since my mom had made these things.  Even if we aren’t the reasons, it’s nice to get the spill over.  She has to make more than two, right?

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.