This Special Moment

I tucked Tornado E to bed after he stayed late volunteering at school. His brothers were fast asleep.

Me: I love you.

Tornado E: I love you too.

Me: I’m so proud of you. I’m so lucky that you’re my boy.

Tornado E: I’m lucky to have you as a mama.

Me: You’re going to do amazing things one day.

Tornado E: Thanks, Mama. You’re going to do amazing things too.

Me: Thank you, baby.

Tornado E: Mama?

Me: Yes?

Tornado E: You need to brush your teeth. Your breath stinks.


Tornado E: …

Me: Goodnight.

Tornado E: Goodnight, Mama.



The Illness

The boys were all struck down by illness almost two weeks ago. It got bad. I didn’t get a full night’s sleep. So after a week, I was really drained.

Yawning as I put the boys to bed.

Me: I am one tired mama.

Tornado A: Who has three tired babies.

Yes. Yes, I did.

Thank goodness they are on the mends now.

Battle Cries

Tucson has been flirting with 90 degree weather. (Fahrenheit, for those visiting from outside the States.) But as we are in spring in the high desert, at night, we drop 30 degrees. Which means the pool we have is about 60 some degrees.

But it looks so inviting in the 90 degree heat.

Sunday the boys begged and begged and begged to go swimming. I finally relented, thinking, “What the hell?” I mean, if they’re too cold, they’ll jump out.

So the boys strip to their underwear because looking for their swim trunks from last year was just to difficult.

Tornado A took a running start and jumped into the deep end, screaming, “This Is SPARTA!”

As the nerd I am (nerd for ancient history, nerd for comic books, nerd for comic book action movies), I was quite proud. It fit. A scrawny nearly naked boy jumping into freezing water to test his mettle.

Wait a minute. Where did he learn that?

A Discussion in Church

The priest: Jesus loves you.  Take care of Mom.

He blessed Tornado E and then Tornado S.  They were as quiet and still as active children can be, which is to say, they wiggled and giggled and walked away with more noise and movement than they should have.

The priest: Body of Christ.

Me: Amen.

I received my communion as the priest blessed Tornado A.  I genuflected because some Catholic school habits die hard and turned to follow the boys.  Tornado E was already near the back, but Tornado S lingered a yard away.

Tornado S: Mommy!  (I couldn’t Shh or talk because my mouth was full.)  Did you like the cookie?!  Was it a good cookie?!  What kind of cookie was it?!

I gently turned him around and nudged him up the aisle.  I caught smiles from the adults around us.  I was able to swallow.

Me: (whispering) It’s not a cookie.  It’s more like a cracker.

Tornado S: A cracker?  Was it good?  When can I have one?

Ever since he was a baby, Tornado S has wanted communion. As a baby in arms, he would pitch a fit as we walked away from the priest without his communion. If I was the embarrassed mom type, I would have turned red. But since I’m not, I just held him against me to keep him from squirming out of my arms.

Me: (whispering) You’ll receive your First Communion when you’re seven.

Tornado S: So when I’m eight!  I can have one!

Me: (whispering) Yes.

Tornado S: (running to catch up with Tornado E) TORNADO E!  It’s not a cookie!  It’s a cracker!  And we can have one when we’re EIGHT!

It pays to have a sense of humor as a parent.

Words from the boys

Tornado S: Mommy, can you buy me Lucky Charms?  They’re on my diet!

(Note: Their father discusses what’s on his diet.)


Tornado S: Mommy!  Did you you hear that big noise?  Do you know what that was?  That was me cleaning up my toys!

(Note: Without being asked!)


Tornado S: Mommy!  I have a big hug here!  Do you want it?!

Me: Of course.

(He had his arms clasped behind his back and threw his arms around me to give me a bear hug.)


Me: You’re one of my favorite boys.

Tornado E: I am?!

Me: Yup!  Do you know how many I have?

Tornado E: THREE!

Me: Yup!  I’m pretty lucky!

Tornado E: Why aren’t Uncle Face and Uncle Friendly Giant your favorite boys too?

Me: Um.

(I’m just glad he didn’t ask about his father.)


Tornado E: Can you buy me a night cap?

Me: I don’t think they make them anymore.

Tornado E: Ok.  I’ll just wear my pajama pants on my head.

(Your guess is as good as mine.)



(Ok, so it’s not clever.  But when he runs at me with his arms wide out and yelling that, it’s damn cute.)

(This post was written three times on three different topics/stories.  I blame the kid laying down, whining that he didn’t want me to read to him.)

Grown ups

Tornado E: I don’t have allergies, right, Mommy?

Me: Maybe to some pollens.  But no.  Why?

Tornado E: The other day in Boy Scouts they asked if I was allergic to peanuts.  (One of the few times I left him alone at the meeting, which turned out to be a big no-no.  And the scoutmaster was audibly relieved when he asked me the same question and got a no.)  I said no, but that I was allergic to church.  The grown ups all started to laugh.  And I said no, my nose starts running and Grandma says it’s because I’m allergic to the cleaning supplies and then tells Mommy she needs to give me medicine before church.  But they kept laughing.


Tornado E: Mommy, why were they laughing?

Me: Because, baby, you’re a comedic genius at six.

Easy there, boy

During the move, at times, the boys got very excited about moving.  One day they helped load up my parents’ truck.  As my Mom and I went up and down the drive way with small pieces of furniture and boxes, the boys carried big toys down to the truck.  I noted favorite toys being loaded in the truck and decided I better yank them when we got to the new house, since we weren’t moving for a few days.

When we got to the new house and started unloading the truck and my SUV, Tornado S ran off to play with Tornado A, but Tornado E kept helping unloading things.  At one point as I passed him in the hall, he tucked the toy castle under his arm and gestured to his shirtless body.

Tornado E: They can’t handle all of this.

I think someone has been watching too much How to Train Your Dragon.

And I’m pretty sure I’m in trouble once he gets hormones.

Role Assignments

Me: Tornado E, I need Captain Recycle.

Tornado E: Ok, Mommy!  Hey!  It’s like you’re Jabba the Hut, and I’m a bounty hunter, and you have a job for me.

Me: You know, I prefer not to be Jabba the Hut.

Tornado E: Hmmmm.  Ok, you can be Princess Leia, and I’ll be R2-D2!

Me: Better.


Tornado S:  Mommy!  Mommy!  I’m Anakin Skywalker!  Tornado E is Obi-Wan Kenobi!  You’re Princess Leia!

Me: And who is Tornado A?  And Daddy?

Tornado S: Daddy is Mace Windu!  And Tornado A is Yoda!


Some days it’s just easier to pick your favorite.

Problems of being a big brother

I was making dinner when I heard this.

Tornado S: Tornado A, no!  Those are my toys!  You can’t have them!  No, Tornado A!  No, Tornado A!  A, those are MY toys!  Tornado A, stop that!  Tornado A!  Tornado A!  Are you listening?!  No, Tornado A!

Tornado A was crawling all over Tornado S to get to the Star Wars figures.  Sometimes having a little brother is tough.  I should know.  I had two.

We’ll see about that

Sometimes I get so excited about a brilliant idea that I forget about the inevitable consequences.  Like the first time I ate at Cold Stone, and I was warned not to get more than two mix-ins.  I think I ended up with six and a stomach ache.  Nice.  Or when I decided it was a great idea to introduce the boys to Lego Star Wars.

It made perfect sense.  In my head.  The boys love Legos.  They love video games.  They LOVE Star Wars.  What possible could go wrong?


The kind where every waking moment was consumed with the thought of Lego Star Wars.  They wanted to play it every minute they were home, and barring that, they played it in their minds.  They no longer played Star Wars.   They played Lego Star Wars.  They were actual Lego toys in the Lego land of Star Wars.  It was a sickness that descended on the house.

The worst parts were the side-effects.  The potty accidents because they would NOT hit pause.  The tantrums over “the game not working right.”  The tantrums because Tornado S wasn’t doing what Tornado E wanted him to do.  The tantrums when it was time to shut off the game.  The tantrums when they wanted to play the game.  Like I said, a sickness.

It all came to a head the other day.  Tornado E was upset that “the game wasn’t working right.”  As I made my way over to Tornado E to help calm him down, he threw the remote in anger.  That’s bad.  It hit Tornado A square in the back.  That’s even worse.

With a centering breath, I launched into action.  I told Tornado E to SIT while I checked Tornado A, who was unphased by the whole thing.  I marched Tornado E to the time out seat and plunked him down, reminding myself that even if it’s easier, spanking was not the answer.  I set the timer.  I turned off the Wii.  I sent Tornado S off to play outside.  I fumed as I worked on dinner.  The time went off, and I retrieved Tornado E from time out, kneeling to look directly into his eyes.

Me: Do you know why you’re in time-out?

Tornado E: Because I threw the remote.

Me: AND you hit Tornado A with it.  I want you to apologize to Tornado A and give me a hug.  And because you chose not to control yourself, you will not be able to play Lego Star Wars for the rest of the day and tomorrow.

Tornado E: Sorry, Tornado A.  That’s ok, Mommy.  You’re going to forget.

I raised an eyebrow in disbelief and stormed into the office, thinking Wanna f-ing bet?  I grabbed a sheet of paper out of the printer, stormed back into the great room, snatching a marker off the kids’ table.  I bit off the cap and spat it out.  I wrote in huge letters, “Tornado E doesn’t play Lego Star Wars.”  Then I taped it on the wall next to the TV.  You wanna test your Mama?  We’ll play.

Now where’s that marker cap?