The center of attention

As I stood bouncing Tornado A on my hip, talking to the other moms, Tornado E was let out of the class.  One of the last because he didn’t hear his name called.  Twice.  He pulled out of his backpack a plastic tube and held it aloft, like Excalibur.


Immediately 16 five-year-olds and two three-year-olds are swarming around Tornado E, yelling, “ME, ME, ME!”

Then off Tornado E raced with the pack behind him.  Off went my merry wanderer of the day to lead them all on a merry chase over hill, over dale, thorough brush, thorough brier, over park, over pale, thorough flood, thorough fire.

Well, at least, they’re getting all that energy out.

Recap 1/14

1. When soccer season was signing up, Tornado E wanted to play baseball.  Now that it’s baseball sign-up time, he wants to play succor.

2. Holy Cow, did Fae actually start doing Chinese New Year crafts with the kids?!

3. There’s a reason why I didn’t weigh myself while I breastfeed and lose weight; now I know how close I am to my goal, I want to get it done, but I’m still breastfeeding.  Ugh.

4. Tornado S is obsessed with Star Wars.  We’re debating if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.

5. Tornado A can officially get where he wants to.  And usually it’s where Tornado E is playing with his toys.

6. Now that I insisted on helping cook for my parents and brother while my mom does chemo, I can’t think of anything to cook.  I have until Wednesday.

7. Having a iPod alarm is awesome.  Now if Tornado A wouldn’t wake up three minutes before my alarm, I would be happy.

8. It’s hard being truly honest with yourself and the people around you.  Some days I think I’m a toxic asset.

9. Then I call my best friend who rolls her eyes and sets me right.

10.  Coolest thing that happened all week: Not the perfect day of behavior at school for Tornado E, not Tornado A raspberries and crawling into the backyard, not Tornado S putting on his clothes except his shirt without being asked 20 times, not the spontaneous lunch date with The Husband, but I talked to my pen pal of two years, For The FIRST TIME on the phone.

Gotda- Sonofa- UUGH!!!

Ever had one of THOSE mornings.

The morning that should go right because you DID get up early, you DID make lunches the night before, hell you even HAD the breakfast dishes out and ready.  Yet, with an hour and 45 minutes to get three boys ready and yourself, you barely made it to school on time.  BECAUSE they were playing with this toy or that, playing this game or that, complaining about this thing or that.  All the while you’ve repeated yourself enough times that you just KNOW this is a curse from your mother because you must have done the same thing. Once you had it to HERE, you pull out the big guns.  The ones you save for special occasions like when your child is trying to cock-fight with his brother or your child is trying to get a jar of jelly while bringing down the rest of them or your son is displaying his little manhood in public to his friends.  (Wait, that last one might be just me.)  So you use The Voice and command like God to get their acts together and get ready so help you God, you may have to something drastic.  Like strangle them.

Yeah, I thought so.

I once felt so brilliant.  The morning routine chart worked, having my boys ready to go, being dressed and prepared, getting school to early to snag the best spot and let Tornado E run off some steam before school.  But then cracks began to appear.  Tornado E was A personality and HAD to do everything in perfect order.  Tornado E and Tornado S made it a competition where someone always looses (usually Tornado S) and there were tears and fights, and I began to wonder if I was causing permanent damage to their relationship.  Then Tornado E realized that he could get the chart done right away or at the last second.  Either way, it got done.  So why hurry?  Now he doesn’t bother to do the chart at all.

I don’t like yelling.  I sound like a Harpie.  I don’t want to use The Voice because it’ll lose it’s a effectiveness.  I don’t want to be late; I hate scrambling.  I worry that if I start a rewards system, I’m rewarding them for things they should always be doing.  Like picking up their toys.

So I ask you, wise parents, any one got anything?

Santa, Baby.

We took Tornado E when he was five months old.  There was no line.  My mom insisted.  That’s why we went.

The next year we were given tickets to a Christmas train ride with a Santa visit that was only for OC Girl Scouts.  A neighbor gave them to us because her troop organized it.  How could we disappoint her daughter who loved Tornado E?

The year after we nearly got away without one Santa visit.  But as we walked through one of the neighborhoods where every house is strewed with lights and people walk around looking at the huge electric bills, we spotted a “real” Santa sitting in one of the yards with some young, cute (I’m married with two kids, not dead) Marines collecting Toys for Tots.

The year after that I was too busy with Christmas and the debating over moving to worry about Santa.  My uncle dressed up as Santa for the Christmas Eve party.  My dear, brave, social Tornado E ran for cover, too scared to come out.  Maybe not going to see Santa was a good thing.

Last year we just never got around to it.  I’m such an awesome parent.  My uncle dressed up as Santa again.  This time he bribed my boys over with presents.  Once they noticed he had bells on his buckle, they liked him well enough.  Tornado E showed his own Santa costume.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the kindergartners told Tornado E about the mall Santa.  And I was doomed.  Luckily one of the mothers came to my aid and asked if I wanted to go together.  After many dropped plans due to sickness, we went today.  While I was on time (HOLY CRAP!), she ran late, which was fine.  The kids danced around with each other, glad to be together, trying to get a glimpse of Santa.  After making their Christmas wishes, releasing snow into the air, and testing the naughty-or-nice machine (they came out nice which just means Santa is as forgiving as God), they saw Santa.  My boys just stood there.  As a helped lifted Tornado S onto Santa’s lap, I whispered, “Tell Santa what you want.”  My shy Tornado S launched into a monologue of toddler-accented list of toys.  Then it was Tornado E’s turn, who asked for a Pillow Pet and Blizzard maker.  Tornado A didn’t know what to think as he stared at Santa.  The picture came out nice, and then we added the other two kids.  It took 45 minutes.  And I was thankful that Tornado A was a happy baby without a morning nap.  Oh, and that there was no incidents to mark this as the last year we could visit Santa at the mall.

Then again, maybe that would have been a good thing.

What song?

About once a week I get to pick up Tornado E at school without boys.  (It’s like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders/arms for fifteen minutes.)  On this day, I can talk and ask questions without interrupting myself to say “Don’t hit your brother,” “Keep your hands off your brother,” “Don’t give the baby that toy,” and “Don’t practice laughing because it makes the baby laugh because it’s too loud.”

Tornado E: Today, at school, we learned about, Heaven and Hell.

Ok.  I knew there would be a backlash to sending my child to a Christian school.  But I was sure the Heaven-vs-Hell talk didn’t happen until the child was old enough to understand sin.  I thought I had a few years.  Crap.

Tornado E: And I raised my hand and told the teacher, that Uncle M, had a really COOL Hell song.

I guess I forgot about The Friendly Giant’s music taste and the fact he has taken it upon himself to educate my boys in the finer things of live.  Alternative rock.  Which I was fine with because that’s what I blasted around the boys, though tempered with The Beatles, Jewel, some country, and of course, classic protest songs of the ’60’s.  And all this was tied into one little word.  Crap.

Me: So what did the teacher say?

Tornado E: (in a disappointed and sullen voice) Nothing.

Me: Please tell Uncle M this story when you get to your grandma’s house.

And my ever-obedient son (I know, that was tongue in cheek) ran to The Friendly Giant’s room the minute he got into the house.  After a moment, I heard the loud and pure laughter of my brother ringing through the house.

I related the story to my parents later.

Papi: Tornado E could you sing us the song?

Tornado E: Ok.  (pause)  Where do bad people go when they die?  They don’t go to heaven where the angels fly.  The go to a lake of fire and fry.

And it was perfect pitch, tune, and tone.

Thank God, he didn’t sing it at school.

Understanding God

It was barely raining as we drove to Tornado E’s school.  Then it stopped.

Tornado S: Who turned off rain?!  Mommy!  Turn it on now!

Tornado E: God turned off the rain.

Tornado S: Oh!  He turn it on now?!

As soon as we got out of the car, God turned back on the rain, and I, being the crazy mom that I am, allowed my sons to enjoy it in all its glory.  Tornado S got to relish it more because he didn’t have to go to school and he was wearing his fireman’s boots to splash in the mud puddles.

We left the school with a happy, muddy Tornado S.

Tornado S: Mommy!  God turned off rain!

Me: Yes.

Tornado S: Where is he?!

Me: Um-

Tornado S: He hiding behind the mountains?!

Me: Well, He’s everywhere.

Tornado S: Oh!  He invisible!

Me: Yes.

Tornado S: And He hiding behind the mountains!

Later we picked up my mom to drag her to story time with us.

Tornado S: Grandma!  God turn off rain!  And He invisible!

Now all we have to do is teach him transubstantiation and he has all the makings of a good Catholic.