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.

Me:…..

Tornado E: …

Me: Goodnight.

Tornado E: Goodnight, Mama.

 

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Maturity

Tornado S and I have been reading Harry Potter together. We’re on book 4.

Tornado S: I’ve decided what I want to be for Halloween.

Me: Oh yeah?

Tornado S: Lord Voldemort.

Me: What?! (Come on. Still? Why? Why always a villain?! Why can’t you like heroes?! Honestly!) Really? How about Harry Potter? You would make a great Harry Potter. Or a student from Slytherin House.

Tornado S: I could go as a Death Eater.

Me: (Somehow that’s worse!) What? Why? Why must you always be a villain?

Tornado S: I went as the Emperor for years, and you were ok with it.

Me: Oh, honey. I wasn’t. I was just waiting for you to grow out of it.

Tornado S: I did grow out of it. I grew out of it to Lord Voldemort.

UGH!!!!

Mini

We were at a school function for the older boys, and Tornado A and I were trying to get through the crowd to the other end. We ran into two teachers from the elemenatary school. The 4th grade teacher had taught both the older tornadoes and had a son in Tornado E’s grade. The kindergarten teacher had taught Tornado A and had a daughter in Tornado S’s grade.

4th grade teacher: I don’t know. What do you think? A mini-Tornado E or a mini-Tornado S?

Kindergarten teacher: That’s a tough one. But I think a mini-Tornado S.

4th grade teacher: It is tough. I see both. But I have to say a mini-Tornado E.

Tornado A beamed, and I laughed. We left them to their conversation.

Me: What do you think? Tornado E or Tornado S?

Tornado A: I look like Tornado E.

Me: (leaning down to whisper) I think you’re a mini Tornado A.

Tornado A’s smile grew larger.

We are our own.

Philosopher Princes

I’m a sucker for intelligent, funny boys. While the humor comes from the bloodline, I blame the drama boys who easily linked their crazy sense of humor to philosophy, engineering, pop culture, and literature. And so it was just a natural step that I encouraged the same thing from my own boys.

I’ve written dozens of posts on their sense of humor, and dozens more to come, but lately it’s the intelligence that catches me off guard.

My boys do not seem to inherited the quick-witted, street-smarts, jury-rigged intelligence that haunts my family. Perhaps I should just drop a box of wood, gears, and tools at their feet and see what happens. Although, I do see glimmers of it as they build unique Lego structures.

But what my boys have inherited is my lust for knowledge, the delver of something in books, something hidden that must be found. We have “scientific” books on monsters. The boys fish for articles and videos on video games and their theories. The why stage never ended.

Why are they burning Nikes?

Why does Grandma get so mad?

Why did our President say that?

Why can’t you take me to school?

Why do we have to have spinach again?

Ah, life’s mysteries. (Because spinach is good for you, and I’m hoping the taste will grow on you. Do you need to hear the hummus story again?)

But my favorite part of this intelligence is the connections. The boys come up with a theory, work it out in their heads, and then present it to me in a mini-lecture. On video games, on movies, on characters, on history, on philosophy. Marvel, DC, Trump, classmates, teachers, 9/11, environment, racism, sexism, Hello Neighbor.

They want my input. Without asking, they wait for the judgement. Did they guess right? Did they put the pieces to make the right shape? Is it strong enough?

Hoping I’m doing the right thing, I ask questions, prod their theories, correct assumptions, help recalibrate their understanding. I marvel as they try to figure out human understanding, to figure out how to solve the world’s problems, remembering that at their age, no one would listen to my philosophies.

I look forward to the day of peer-to-peer discussions with my own philosopher kings.

Maybe I’ll Think of Things Differently

At first, this blog was throwing bottled messages out into the ocean, wondering if my voice could be heard. Then it was a place to meet other parents, like-minded or not. Then it was a place to amuse people. It was a place for me to practice writing. Now I think I want it to be a scrap book of memories.

I look back and realize that I can’t come up with funny stories of the boys a year or two ago. But I can tell them all the ones I wrote about them. I can tell them first words and Penis Rules and little crazy adventures.

But now life is so hectic. Get up before the boys, get ready, get them off the computers, get them ready, help with breakfast, get to school, get freshman to learn something (ANYTHING), get home, get the boys to finish their homework, get them to eat, get them to do something (ANYTHING) other than computers, get them to bed, get the grading done, get the lunches made, get some writing done, get to bed.

That’s a lot of getting. Though that doesn’t count getting them to their practices and getting them to their clubs.

The weekends are not that much better. Now that school has started with grading to do and planning to do and homework and projects.

With Tornado E in his last year in middle school, I realize childhood is ending. Slowly. And I want to remember these moments. I desperately need to remember these moments.

And maybe I can use the blog as I did when they were toddlers. Finding the humor in their annoying antics.

And maybe one of these messages will help another parent struggling through this hectic, chaotic mess of a life.

So I’m writing for myself, even as I through the bottle into the sea.

The Awful Game of Bowling

I have probably mentioned before my dislike for bowling. I was forced to go bowling several times a week all summer long for most of my childhood. My mother is a bowler. And bowling was torturous. No bumpers. No granny rolls. We had to mind our hold, our steps, our releases. In short, I know how to bowl.

And my boys enjoying bowling. I blame my mother. She has grand schemes of bowling every week or every other week. She insisted that I sign the boys up for free bowling, which I did.

So a few days ago, we went bowling. While the boys have gone bowling with their dad several times, it became painfully obvious that no one has taught them to bowl. Then because they are my stubborn boys, they insisted they knew what they were doing and that they didn’t need any help. Sure, kid, whatever you say.

So this is the first time I have ever witnessed a ball being thrown in a way that it looks like an air hockey puck bouncing and rebouncing off the sides of bumpers. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a ball be thrown and it hit the bumpers to collapse the bumper and then slowly return to the bowler. I have never seen until that day a pin fly out 2 yards to get stuck in a bumper. I’ve never seen a pin land in a way that it shut down the lane. This was the first time I watched a ball spin half-way down a lane and then spin back to the player. I was highly perplexed.

It’s also the first time I got 3 strikes in a row.

Now my mom wants to go again.

A Battle of Wills and Water

I grew up in a competitive family. My parents played sports. My brothers and I played sports. We played board games and video games. We compete. Games are meant to be won. In fact, I have never finished a game of Monopoly because things would get heated when someone embezzle from the bank.

Lately my mother has been trying to compete with me. First it was over Duolingo. Now it is over steps. I refuse to be sucked into this. I shudder as I remember listening to my mother, her sister, and their mother compete over how many pounds they lost over the week. (Shudder.)

Today my parents, my boys, and I were swimming. I was forcing the boys to go over strokes when Tornado E decided to rebel in the middle of the deep in.

My mom: (To Tornado E) I bet you can’t tread water longer than me.

Tornado E did not know what she meant, and I have obviously failed as a mother. So I quickly taught him.

My mom: I bet I can tread water longer than your mom.

My eyebrow shot up. I have been swimming longer than I could walk. I spent my summer days in water, having the skin cancer to prove it. I have 12 swim seasons under my belt.

Me: Oh, I don’t think so. I can tread water longer than both you and Tornado E.

Tornado E: No, you won’t.

So we treaded water. I wish we had thought to time it. But it was too late before I thought about it. We treaded until Tornado E grew bored and complained about the contest.

Me: Fine. Quite. But I bet you I can outlast you.

Tornado E: How much?

Me: Five bucks; you can’t afford twenty.

Tornado E: You’re on.

We treaded more water and more. I regaled Tornado E with stories of treading water for five minutes and ten minutes. I told him in high school we would have to tread water without our hands.

Tornado E grew bored again.

Tornado E: What if I stopped and dunked you?

My mom laughed.

Me: Do not make me lose to your grandmother.

Tornado E: What if I did?

Me: How many workbook pages do you want to do over vacation?

With that, Tornado E turned and tried to attack my mom. She held him at bay with a foot out.

My Mom: Tornado A come play with Mama!

Tornado A, who had been torturing his Papi, turned to us with a devilish grin.

Me: Do NOT make me lose to your grandma!\

Tornado S looked over from his play with Papi. Both boys started swimming towards us.

Ah crap.

They swam straight for my mom, who held them off for a while. Barely. Seeing that they could not get close, Tornado A switched tactics. He climbed out of the pool and jumped in as close as he could to his grandma. The other two boys followed.

Tornado S: Ok. Guys. We should come from all different sides.

Me: Aww, they’re working together. (Stage whisper) Do it quieter?

My mom: Why are they all after me and not you?

Me: Because you’re the fun grandma.

I looked at my boys, trying to help me.

Me: You know. I don’t need your help to beat her.

Then the boys all jumped in. Tornado S distracted my mom; while, Tornado E dunked her. Tornado A swam into my arms and kissed me.

So I won.

And I have my own little minions willing to fight for me.