Meetings and Dreams

I made it. The last parent-teacher conference. Friday. After having a night of a dozen for my students. Then Tornado E’s. Then Tornado A’s. Finally Friday Tornado S’s.

And I had a plan.

Like the other two, I rushed out of school and drove as fast as I legally could to get to the boys’ school. I would make it with mere minutes to spare, meeting my mom and Tornado S. Tornado S and I would have our meeting. My parents would drop off the other two boys on their way to the football game. The boys and I would have delicious BBQ before going back to the school for the Book Fair/Dance/Chili Cook Off. Then books, soda, friends.

Brilliant!

Except Tornado S and I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited.

I texted my mom to let her know the issue.

30 minutes later. The parent-teacher conference before us ended. Awesome. And I asked the secretary if Tornado E and Tornado A could wait in the lobby if they were dropped off before we were done.

And it goes like I expected. Tornado S is a sweet kid. He’s bright and oh-so-smart. She tells me how she can see it in his face when he’s following her, when he’s thinking, when comprehension dawns on him. We discuss his testing results. She already has plans for him.

Me: Has he told you what he wants to do when he grows up? The science stuff?

The Teacher (The official science teacher of 5th grade): Why! No! Tornado S, what do you want to do when you grow up?

Tornado S: I want to study Tesla’s work. I think I can finish his work and make electricity from his (looks at me for the word but I just smile) things. I’m going to make electricity out of the air and give it away. Like Tesla.

The Teacher looked at me, surprised. I smiled and shrugged.

The Teacher: You’ll have to tell me when you do that.

Me: Are you kidding? The world will know.

Tornado S beamed.

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Tornado S and the Concerts

Every one of Tornado S’s concerts has this running commentary, either in my head or whispered to my mom: Is he? Is he lip syncing? He’s lip syncing. That kid is lip syncing. Tornado S. When I get my hands on you….. You have music class. Jesus. Does anyone else notice? Nope. He’s that good. Talent. But still. I swear, kid. He better not do that for the next song. Yes, yes, he is. That kid. He better not do it with the recorders. Are you kidding me? What does he do in music class? Sit in the back? Hide like a ninja? Wrong note, kid. At least, practice pretending to play your recorder.

Every after concert lecture goes like this: Tornado S. What were you thinking? Why didn’t you sing? Yes, I could tell. How about the recorder? Yes, I could tell. What do you do in music class? Honestly, kid, the world needs your voice. God gave it to you, and He wants to hear you sing, no matter what you think of your voice. Come here. Kid, what am I going to do with you?

Last Friday Tornado S had another concert. Because it had been spitting all evening, they moved the concert from outside to underneath the roof of the outside hallway, drastically reducing the seats. Of course, Tornado S didn’t know when he had to be there, so I assumed a quarter till. Um, no? Maybe. Doesn’t matter because the place was already packed with standing room only.

I was annoyed by all the grandparents for a moment until I remembered my own parents were on their way with the other two boys. My father regularly checks the calendars of the boys’ schools and Boy Scout Troop; while, I monitor the newsletters. Between the two of us, we manage to get everyone where they need to be. Note to self: check teachers’ blogs.

The principal offered the picnic tables behind the children out under the cloudy sky. A couple of parents and I shrugged and walked through the crowd of seats and passed the band and singers to the picnic tables. We pulled them out, wiped them off, and sat in the light sprinkles. My family joined us along with a teacher and a few other families.

It was a lovely concert.

Best of all, I have no idea if Tornado S sang or not.

Stories

Sometimes I worry about how the boys will feel about the blog. How will they feel about embarrassing stories of their toddlerhood. How will they feel about the private becoming public. How will they feel about The Penis Rules section.

We were sitting down for dinner when Tornado A asked for a baby story about Tornado E. I told one, and they all laughed. Then he asked for one about Tornado S. I told one, and they all laugh. Then he asked for one about him. I told one, and they all laughed.

Then Tornado S asked for one about him. And I told one, and they laughed. So Tornado E asked me a story about him, and I told one. They laughed. Then Tornado A asked for a story about him. I told one, and they all laugh.

I must have told a dozen or more stories with promises of more. So, my little tornadoes, your memories are saved online for you and all the world to read when they want.

 

Good luck with that.

So It Begins…. Again

It’s been a hectic two weeks. And I know it’s just the start.

First, school is in full swing. I’ve been to four open houses. One for each boy and my own.

At my own, I repeated myself five times with the same speech, same jokes with the same silence. I really need a sound machine with the sound of chirping crickets. I talk about the course, my expectations, my joy of teaching their kids. I assure every parent that yes, your kid is doing fine. (Really, it was this last week that they were given the ball to drop; sometime this weekend I’ll learn how many decided to turn in their first homework assignment.)

The first open house was Tornado A’s where I learned he’s so bright and sweet, so smart, so with it. I’d wish you luck, but you already have him. Good luck, any ways. You’re going to need it. Behind that sweet smile lies the mind of a mad genius.  I also was stopped by several teachers to ask how my year was going, to exchange notes and ideas, to whisper good luck and congratulations. You have no idea how much high school freshmen are like elementary kids.

Then it was Tornado S’s open house. Usually we discuss his many weird, complex issues. But my parents have already talked to the teachers, and two out of three teachers had already had Tornado E. So I introduce myself. And Tornado S is so sweet and kind, so brilliant; we just need to help him get it out, and by the way, how’s the school year? I exchange notes and ideas with the other teachers, explaining the math common core for a few families while the math teacher talked with another family about homework. You have no idea how much high school freshman are like 5th graders.

Finally Tornado E’s open house arrived. I carpooled with a friend, and I was spoiling for some answers because Tornado E had been bumped to the regular math class because of a pre-assessment. Then he was getting a solid C in his new math class after I had lobbied for a retest or re placement. But since my boy is becoming more cautious in new situations, I don’t start out with, “Hi. I’m Tornado E’s mom; I’m so sorry.” I introduce myself, and immediately I get, “Ah, yes, Tornado E. Smart kid. Really smart. Just quiet.” Yeah, give him time. Then it was time to talk to the math teacher about her methods, expectations, her weighting practices. After all that in front of the parents, I talked to her privately about Tornado E, who is impressing her greatly, who she thinks is capable of algebra with a little help, who she hopes isn’t discouraged. Well, he is. He loves math, and he’s proud of his math scores. Oh, but he took a test the day after he got into my class and got a C without instruction; that was impressive. That C has him off computer and video games. Oh, well, then. We hammered out a plan.

And this is just the beginning. Cub Scouts goes into full swing next week. So does religious classes. Tornado S wants to join Kung Fu with his brothers. Tornado A would like to add a third martial art. Uh, no.

And I should have 140 essays to grade this weekend.

Signs. Signs. Everywhere Signs.

We have come into some wood. Random pieces cut in random ways. Over the summer, Tornado A made a sign for the big family room. “Don’t come in” was written on one side. “Come in if you want” was written on the other side. He is meticulous in using it on the door.

Sunday he decided to make a sign for me. One side. “Saye out.” For when I need people to stay out of my room.

Thank you, baby.

Then he made one for his bedroom.

How cute.

Then one for the bathroom.

Thank you, sweetheart.

One for the office.

Papi will love that one.

One for my parents’ room.

Nana: Thank you.

One for the main hallway.

Um, ok. Awesome.

One for the dining room.

This one is great, but, baby….

One for the living room.

One small sign doesn’t really work for a room without a – no, it’s cute.

And then we had to stop him. Sweetly. Kindly. We asked him to hold off on signs for a little while. How many could he want to make? We love them, but we’re tripping over them.

Then he wailed and wailed and wailed.

I promised he can make more next weekend.

Worry Doll

Lately I’ve been having nightmares every night about my failure as a parent. Stupid things. But obviously my sub-conscious wants me to work something out.

This morning I told my dad my latest nightmare. He shook his head with a grin because it wasn’t much of a nightmare.

Tornado A: Mama, are you worried?

Me: Yes, baby.

Tornado A: About what?

Me: About you boys and being a good mother.

Tornado A gave me a solemn nod and ran off.

Later as I finished getting dressed, Tornado A sat on my bed.

Tornado A: Mama, make sure you sleep on this pillow.

He pulled it back to show me the tiny worry doll from his set that I got him months ago from the Grand Canyon.

I gave him a hug and kiss.

Me: Thank you, baby.

Just a Friendly Wave

When I have the boys in the morning, more often than not, Tornado S stands outside the house to wave at me.

We live on a corner of a T-intersection. Obviously the driveway is furthest from the stop sign. So I pull out and drive parallel to the yard, waving back, yelling, “I love you! Do your best! Have fun!”

Then I turn left, driving passed two neighborhood streets before making another left and driving out of view. The whole way, Tornado S and sometimes Tornado A are waving goodbye to me. So I wave all the way down the street, thinking of Ever After and how it’s tradition to wave at the edge of the drive.

The other day as I’m driving down the street waving back at Tornado S, a woman, walking a dog, came down the street. Seeing me waving, she became excited and waved enthusiastically. “Good morning!” she shouted.

I made her day. And I laughed. I called back, “Good morning.” Then I laughed and waved all the way to my turn.