Unlock. . . Lock. . . Unlock . . . Lock

Mommy!  Mommy!  Can you get the game now?  Mommy!  Please, Mommy?  Now?  Can you please get the game now?  Can you go out to the car and get the game now, Mommy?  Please?  Mommy!  Mommy?  Mommy?  You said you’d get the game after dinner.  Mommy, are you finished with dinner?  You’re done eating, Mommy.  Can you get the game now?  Mommy?  Mommy!  I want to play the game now.  Please can you go get it?  Mommy.  Now.  Get done talking.  Aren’t you done yet, Mommy?  Please, Mommy.  Get the game.  I want to play the game, Mommy.  You said I could play the game.  Please, Mommy.  Please go get the game, Mommy.  Mommy?  Are you listening?  Are you done, Mommy?  Can you get the game now, Mommy?  Please.  Mommy?

Tornado E created the sound track to after dinner conversation at my parents’ house.

My mom: You should make him wait and not interrupt you when you’re talking with adults.

Me: Yes, Mother.

Was anyone else listening?  I tuned him out after the first whiny “mommy” came out of his mouth.

Me: Tornado E, let me finish this story, and then I will talk to you.

It dawned on me that I could see my truck from where I sat.  I bet I could click it unlock.  I clicked it.  It beeped and flashed its lights.  Hmmm.

Me: Tornado E, you can go get the game.  It’s unlocked.  Next time wait patiently.

Tornado E: OK, MOMMY!

He ran out of the room, out of the house, and down the walk to the sidewalk.  Just as he reached the door.

My dad: Lock it!

I clicked it.  The truck beeped and flashed its lights.

Tornado E tried the handle.  He ran back to the house.  When he got halfway to the house, I clicked the truck unlocked.

Tornado E stopped and ran back to the car.

I clicked it locked.

My dad and I were laughing.  Tears were forming in my eyes.  I was laughing so hard I forgot to unlock it.  Tornado E ran into the house and into the room.

Tornado E: Mommy, the car is locked.

Me: Ok.  Ok.  Here.

I clicked it unlocked, and Tornado E ran outside.  Just as he got to the truck door, I clicked it lock again.  My dad and I burst into more laughter.

Tornado E turned around to head for the house.  I clicked it unlock as he ran a few steps.  He turned, and I clicked it lock again.  He turned to talk to Tornado S.  I clicked it unlock.  Tornado E grabbed the door and pulled it open before I could click it again.  He rummaged around and pulled out the game.  All three boys ran into the house.

My dad and I were doubled over in laughter.

Tornado E: Thanks, Mommy.  I got it.

The boys ran off to play the Wii.  My dad and I took several minutes to collect ourselves.

Kids can give you such joy.

7, 8, 9

Tornado E: Mommy, why was 5 afraid of 6?

Me: I don’t know.  Why?

Tornado E: Because . . . because . . . six got nine.

Me: Tornado E, why is 6 afraid of 7?

Tornado E: Why?

Me: Because seven, eight, nine.

Tornado E: Huh?

Me: Eight and ate.  Seven ate nine.  Seven, eight, nine.  It’s a number sequence.

Tornado E: Um, ok.


Tornado S: Mommy, why was 5 afraid of 6?

Me: Why?

Tornado S: 010101!

Me: Ok. How about?  Why is 6 afraid of 7?

Tornado S: Why?

Me: Because seven, eight, nine.

Tornado S: Mommy, why is 4 afraid of 3?

Me: Why?

Tornado S: Because 2, 5, 6, 3!

Me: Um.

Tornado S: Why is 2 afraid of 1?

Me: Why?

Tornado S: Because 1, 0, 0, 9!

Me: Uh.

Tornado S: Mommy!  Why is 0 afraid of 1?

Me: Um, why?

Tornado S: Because 5, 3, 1, 2!

Me: Um.

Tornado S: Mommy!  Why is  . . .

At the Check Out

It was like every other Monday, packing the kids in the car to go grocery shopping. I reminded the boys that we couldn’t take the car cart because of the last time. They helped select fruit and bread. Tornado E danced among the aisles, and Tornado S took turns in the cart, in the seat, and out of the cart. They handled themselves pretty well, even though I though Tornado S was trying to knock over a jar of pasta sauce. I never want to experience the shame of telling costumer service about the mess my child made again.

We made it to the end. We were stuck behind two people with large baskets, but at least one was in the middle of checking out. I tend not to get anxious over waiting because I Always pick the wrong line. But a cashier took pity on me as I herded the boys away from the candy, the magazines, and the soda, asking me to follow her as she opened a lane. But the boys were ogling the soda in front of the cart; while three shoppers jumped at the new lane. I shrugged and told the woman behind me to go when she asked if I needed help. Now there was just one person in front in the middle of checking out. The woman behind me commented on how rude the cashier was not to make sure I got into the new lane. Oh, well.

I started to unpack the cart, using two hands, hoping to cram everything on quickly. The boys were still admiring the cold soda at the end cap. I was putting down the cheese and tortillas when a large man ran by, grabbing Tornado S.

My heart stopped. My eyes widened. I was a yard away from my baby. My momentum moved forward.

Then I realized neither Tornado E nor Tornado S screamed. I recognized that large back and those brown and grey curls.

“Hi, Dad. What are you doing here?”

“Your brother finally picked a type of cake for the reception on Saturday. Your mom was right behind me.”

“T. Stay with your daughter and help her watch the boys while I get the stuff I need. Fae, do you know if I’m out of milk?” my mom yelled as she strolled by us.

My heart had returned to normal. It’s not like kidnappers actually do a run-by-napping. They would lure the child away. But still. My baby was too far away from me to help. That’s frightening to me to think I won’t always be there to protect him, to shield him, to kick someone’s ass if needed. I’m not a superhero. But I wish I was.

Of course, I’ll never admit how scared I was to my dad. He’d only exploit that.  He’ll probably get me one of these signs.  You know: Caution, Kidnappers at Work.

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A Comedian is Born

Humor runs in the family.  Nothing makes my family happier then sharing a joke, making a joke, being in on a joke or becoming the butt of a joke.  Ok, maybe the last one is a stretch, but if it’s a good joke, even the butt can find it amusing or at least tolerable.  In my experience, if my dad is telling a story where I have to come out looking dumb for the joke, I just sit back and take it, knowing the more I protest the story the dumber I look.  I think the daughter does protest too much.

We weren’t surprised when Tornado E started to aspire into the family hobby.  I was more surprised at where he started.  He skipped over basic fart and burping jokes and went straight to knock-knock jokes.

Tornado E: Knock-knock.

Me: Who’s there?

Tornado E: Wormy!

Me: Wormy who?

Tornado E: Wormy has a hat! (Insert Tornado E’s manic laughter.)

If you get it, let me know.

But the uncles worked on him.

Me: Knock-knock.

Tornado E: Who’s there?

Me: Boo.

Tornado E: No, Mommy.  You have to use a word!

Uncle M: Trust us, Tornado E.

Uncle T: It’ll be funnier near the end.

Uncle M: Knock-knock.

Tornado E: Who’s there?

Uncle M: Boo!

Tornado E: NO!  Uncle M!  Use words!

Uncle T: Let’s try it again, Tornado E.  Knock-Knock . . .

After many hours of training, Tornado E made it.

Tornado E: Knock.  Knock.

Me: Who’s there?

Tornado E: Boo!

Me: Boo who?

Tornado E: (in a high pitched voice) Whyyoucrying?!  (insert Tornado E’s manic laughter.)

But the banana-orange knock-knock joke is far beyond Tornado E, but I won’t repeat the laborious hours of teaching that joke.  (WHY DO YOU KEEP SAYING BANANA?!)  I have spent all afternoons saying “whose there” and “boo who.”  We haven’t gone to anything more complicated, waiting for him to get older, smarter, more sophisticated (because that’s what you need to get a good fart joke, according to the uncles.)

Then the other day Tornado E was eating breakfast with Tornado S while I unloaded the dishwasher.

Tornado E: Mommy, what do you call a man with a coconut on his head?

Me: I don’t know.  What do you call a man with a coconut on his head?

Tornado E: PAPI!!!! (insert Tornado E’s manic laughter)

My son made is first insult joke, alluding to my dad’s bald head.  My first thought was “Wait, until I tell Papi; you’re now open game.”  My second thought was, “Welcome to the family, kid.”

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My parents’ mistakes

I’m lucky to be alive, if you listen to the family tales.  My parents were young and stupid, and sometimes I think they should have read a few books before they decided to have a baby.  As the oldest, I knew I was the one they wanted, and if you listen to the jokes my dad used to tell us in our difficult teenage years, I was the only one they BOTH wanted, and I still gave them problems.  But as those first traumatic years are quite hilarious, I thought I would share and act as a warning.


Like I said, my parents wanted me.  They tried for me.  If my dad wanted to get my brothers out of the family room to have the TV, he’d tell them how my mom would start without waking him.  Yes, they ran for the hills; while, I stubbornly did not picture it.  But for a woman who wanted a baby that bad, she really tried hard to lose it.  My parents were young and broke and inherited not only an old oven but an old dresser.  My PREGNANT mother decided both pieces of furniture needed to be sparkling new for the baby.  She proceeded to use oven cleaner to clean the oven and paint stripper and paint on the dresser.  Obviously my mom didn’t read the very large warnings on the back.  Good job, Mom.  She even tried to go skiing, with the excuse that the doctor first said yes.  God must have been looking out for me that day.  It snowed, and my dad has still never skied.


My mom was determined to have a girl.  When I was born, no one knew what they were having.  After much arguing, they settled on my name that my mom found in a romance novel, which is probably why I avoid them.  But my mom refused to pick out a boy’s name, even though boys ran two to one in my family or that there had not been an eldest girl child born in living memory.  (I’m from a long line of oldest children.)  When my dad called his family to know it was time, my grandma demanded a boy’s name, and my dad gave her one.  Ebenezer.  Sometimes I really think he would have named me that out of some sick sense of humor.


My mom had a hard labor where they sent her home because she didn’t dilate.  She never did, and my heart rate dropped dramatically.  I was C-sectioned.  Not to much cause for an alarm.  Of course, I looked so much like my dad that my grandpa asked my mom if she had anything to do with me.  My mom admitted she was out when she delivered and I could be my father’s mistress’s.  Yes, they tell that story too.


It’s worth mentioning that I am a summer baby, born a few weeks before my parents planned to take a vacation.  No, I wasn’t early; they just assumed they could take a small infant on vacation.  Since they were forbidden to go any where, they used the vacation money to buy a nice microwave.  From that moment on, my poor mom had nightmares that some one was going to break in the house and put me in the microwave.  It was perfectly logical fear for her, until she was out of the hormonal crazed mind and back to her usually sane self.


In those days they insisted that mother’s set the breastfeeding schedule, every four hours.  (My boys ate every two.)  My mom happily stuck to the plan.  Except there was a glitch, I slept through the night from the first night home.  What luck, what bliss, but their daughter was missing the night feeding, and I became woefully underweight.  So much so, that my dad’s father would cry after every time he saw me, wondering if it would be the last time.  I nearly succumbed to SIDs twice, yet my parents caught me struggling to breathe and picked me up, so I could get air.  I was a fighter.


On my first overnight trip, my parents bonked my head with the hotel door.  Neither will confess on who held me and who held the door, though they both accuse the other of not holding the door.  The door slammed on my head, and I turned a bright shade of red.  As a parent, I would have rushed to the nearest hospital.  My parents decided to wait and see.  The family always assumes that’s what’s wrong with me.


I had several weird firsts.  My first roll was off the coach and into the corner of the coffee table, when my dad went to answer the phone.  My first picnic was out to the shooting range as the picture of a little infant with ear phones, sleeping next to a police bag could attest to.  I was also hospitalized for the croup, which really isn’t my parents fault, but it should be thrown in here.


My parents played Vatican roulette (the rhythm method) to conceive my little brother.  I was only six months.  My mom was in denial and had a cold, so she took Nyquil.  When she knew she was pregnant, she rode the Matterhorn; while, my dad held me.  My parents must have become wiser because there are no stories of my baby brother.  Just toddler stories of how I wandered away in Vegas and the state fair or how my little brother had the rotten luck of burning his hand pointing to something under the grill.


Now doesn’t that make you fill better?  You either didn’t make that many mistakes, or you did, but if you did, you can rest assure my brothers and I turned out rather intelligent and normal.  And, Mom, if you read this, did I miss anything?