Grocery Shopping

I picked up the boys early from their father’s because Tornado S had a doctor’s appointment. I brought worksheets, books, and tablets. But worksheets first. And they groaned.

Then they started acting like brothers, getting on each other’s nerves with sounds, touches, and whatever. In a tiny examination room.

The doctor and I had a long conversation about Tornado S. He just has all these weird little problems that feel like they should add up to something. He hates making eye-contact, but he loves giving hugs. He gets frustrated easily. He can’t tell that his shoes are on the wrong feet; he hates wearing shoes; he’ll kick off his shoes and walk on the back of them. He loses focus easily, but then he’ll really concentrate on math. He chews on his shirt when he’s stress. He’s behind in his fine motor skills. He has brilliant insights. His output is delayed. And a bunch more.

She said as long as he was being helped and making progress, then a diagnosis wasn’t needed, but she did put in a referral for a neuro-psych eval.

After the appointment, we headed to the grocery store to get a few things. The boys messed with each other in the car and in the parking lot and in the store. As I waited at the meat counter, I started looking for things to occupy them.

Tornado S: Why are we here, Mama?

Me: We need to get a pound of salmon.

Tornado S: Oh.

And back he went to antagonizing his brothers, who gave as good as they got.

Me: Tornado E, find me the deli turkey on sale please and bring me some. Tornado S, could you please find out how much blueberries are? Tornado A, hold my hand.

Tornado E and Tornado S ran off to do their errands and ran back.

Tornado S: (beaming) Two for four dollars!

Ok. Then the butcher was ready to help.

Butcher: Where are the boys? Oh, there you are. Little man, what can I get you?

Tornado S: Salmon!

Butcher: All right! I love that. How much?

Tornado S: One pound!

Butcher: Perfect! I’ll get that. Are you learning how to cook? Everyone needs to know how to cook. Good! I knew I would like you guys because you’re Star Wars fans.

Tornado S and Tornado A: ME TOO!

Butcher: I could tell! I saw your shirts! Is that good, ma’am? It’s a little over.

Me: That’s fine. Thank you.

Butcher: Now you boys are going to cook this, right? My son is a little older than you, and he makes the best salsa. You have to start early to cook well. Here, you go, ma’am. Anything else I can get you?

Me: Thank you. No, thank you. Just the salmon. Have a good day.

Butcher: You too, ma’am.

And for ten minutes, the boys were helpful, carrying my groceries to the register, waiting in line, going to the car. And then they started up again. Parenting.

 

The Argument

Wonder Woman is out this weekend. I wasn’t a big Wonder Woman fan as a kid; I felt her forced onto girls. I found other superhero girls to love. Red Sonja, She-Ra, Jean Grey. But in recent years, I’ve come to appreciate her much more, especially since I’ve been getting gifts with Wonder Woman on them.

And then I saw Batman v Superman, and I was like I want to see more Wonder Woman. I’ve been waiting months for this movie.

And so have the boys.

Since the first trailer, they’ve been begging to go see it. My MO has always been to watch the movie first and then let them see it. But opening weekend is on my weekend with the boys.

Please, Mama, we love superhero movies!

Please, Mama, it looks really good!

Please, Mama, we want to go with you!

Please, Mama, it looks really fun!

Please, Mama, we’ve seen all the Iron Man movies and Thor movies and Avengers movies.

Please, Mama, Daddy let us see The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings movies.

Please, Mama, it has a woman superhero, and don’t you want us to see movies with strong women in the lead and support gender equality. (Tornado E, everybody; that kid is too damn smart.)

And it didn’t help that my dad turned on Batman v Superman in the middle of the movie to get my goat because I hate starting movies in the middle, and I really hate when we start movies in the middle for the boys. But my dad started it right before Wonder Woman jumped on the screen to kick butt in the final battle scene. I called for the boys, and we watched it together.

Then the boys got me a Wonder Woman picture for Mother’s Day.

Please, Mama!

Fine! Fine! We’ll go. I’ll take you. I won’t sneak off without you to see it.

Rituals

Rituals are important. They say that rituals hold societies together. From Thanksgiving dinner to watching the Superbowl to church on Sundays to fireworks on the 4th of July. Ask any Catholic in the English-speaking world, and he or she will tell you we all say the same prayer before dinner. The same damn prayer.

Like all families, we have our own rituals. Like that same damn Catholic prayer. Or like kisses before I leave for work, kisses before bedtime, notes in lunch boxes. That sort of thing. Only the boys are making them complicated.

Tornado S has to be the first to great me with a hug and kiss or all is lost for the known world. All. Is. Lost.

Tornado S and Tornado A have to wave me goodbye in the morning. They get their kisses and then follow me outside, where I remind them to stay in the front yard, not the driveway. Then I pull out, with windows down, saying “Goodbye. I love you; do your best; I’ll see you later.” Then I make my left turn, and because we live in a corner house, the boys stand in the front yard until I make my next turn. They wave until they can’t see me any more. I wave until I can’t see them any more. Like the end credits to “The Beverly Hill-Billies.” It’s only annoying in the winter.

Bedtime has also become overly complicated. At least, the bedtime kiss has become overly complicated. I kiss each boy goodnight and tuck them into bed. Then we say our goodnight prayer about guardian angels because I hate that creepy Protestant bedtime prayer. Then I turn out the lights before turning on the nightlight. Then Tornado A has to kiss me goodnight.

He kisses me on the lips. Then the forehead. Then each cheek. Then my chin. (?) Then my nose. (I hate that; I wipe it off, but I’ve been doing that since I was little.) Then he has to rub noses. Then he has to give me butterfly kisses on each cheek. He does this, holding my head firmly so I can’t get away. I’m caught between thinking it’s cute and creepy. Halfway through the ritual, I get annoyed because it takes so long. I mean, dude, can’t you procrastinate by asking for water like a normal kid.

I worry about the next ritual.

The Birds and the Bees Part 3

So Tornado S eventually came out of his blanket caccoon yet still refused to name the boys who told him. I warned the teacher, who asked if I could investigate without pushing. Life went on as usual.

Then one day we were returning home from running a few errands, and as I jammed to music, I listened to the conversation in the back seat.

Tornado S: Tornado A, where do you think babies come from?

Me: Tornado S.

Tornado A: (Pause) Well, they come from mommies’ wombs…. And God makes us…. So God makes the baby and gives it to Jesus, who kisses the baby and puts it into the mommy’s womb.

You could here the pride in his voice as he figured out the solution to Tornado S’s question.

Tornado S: Not even close.

Me: Tornado S!

Tornado A: Tell me!

Tornado S: I can’t. You’re too young. It’s a secret.

Me: Tornado S.

Tornado A: Tell me! I’m not too young!

Thankfully, we had just pulled into the driver.

Me: It’s not Tornado’s responsibility to tell you. That’s my job. Tornado S, out of the car and into my room. Now.

So I marched Tornado S back to my room and started the part of the lecture series in “So Help Me God, Child.”

Me: You do realize that Tornado E was explained sexual reproduction at your age. Did he ever tell you? (No.) That’s right because he was mature enough to know that this is a conversation between a child and a mother, not brother to brother. It is my job to talk to Tornado A about this, not yours. I will tell him when he’s ready, not when you want to show off your knowledge. Do you understand? (Nod.) You will not talk to your brother about this. (Pause) You will not tell your friends about this (Pause) until you’re in high school. And you will only talk about the facts as you have learned them from me. And if you do tell your little brother, the consequences will be severe. Video games disappearing severe.

Sure, that’ll work.

At least, Tornado A still doesn’t know where babies come from.

A post about nothing in particular

There’s not much to say.  I’ve been buried in school work.  My last 5-week class had a huge amount of reading and writing every week.  This class promised to be less.  Except I went away for four glorious days without the kids.  I figured I would enjoy myself more if I didn’t have to worry about work that needs to be done and finding the time to do it and borrowing someone else computer and pray that the internet connection would hold up.  So I pushed myself and got it all done early.  Then I saw last weeks pile of work.  The two largest chapters in the book, a 90 page booklet, a 30 minute web video, 2 papers, and of course the online discussion, which started Thursday, meaning all the reading was “suppose to be” done by then.

My father gave a rousing speech about how ridiculous it was to have assignments due on Thanksgiving weekend.  It was beautiful.  It was one of those moments where a huge American flag drops down behind them and “America the Beautiful” starts playing in the background.  I wanted to give him a standing ovation.  Instead I said, “That’s all well and good, Dad, but their excuse is that I could have done the work early if I didn’t want to do it over the weekend.  This is the price I pay for an accelerated program.”  God, I tried explaining to him about holiday day pay and temporary or part-time retail workers, and he just couldn’t wrap his head around the idea people have to put up with a lot of sh*t to get a job.  Ah, city employees, sometimes their jobs are pretty sweet.

My mom maintains that the reason I’m doing so well in school is because I’m older and taking it more seriously.  Mom, you have me confused with my brother.  You know your child that took 8 years to get his bachelors.  I’m the one who made Dean’s List all semesters but one, who graduated with almost a full year’s worth of credits over what I needed, who was invited to be on the English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta.  (To be young and an STD)  No, I’m doing well because I didn’t bite off more than I could chew in classes.  (I totally bit off more than I can chew in life, but you know, that’s life.)

This week I have ONE chapter to read and ONE paper and just ONE discussion question.  I’m thrilled by all that free time.  I can blog!  I can read blogs!  (Seriously, people are going to think I don’t like them any more.)  I can email my friends!  (See, last aside.)  I can call and text my friends!  (Um, again, the aside before the aside.)  I can study history!  I can start on next week’s project!  I can start on Christmas gifts!  I can shop online!  I can do chores!

I’m obviously getting a little overexcited about the “free” time and the exclamation points.  But those are a nickle a dozen.  In reality, I’ll catch up with what needs to be done and not feel like something is breathing down my neck.  If I was smart, I would be home finishing this up and starting the phone calls that HAVE TO BE DONE, and that I think I’m avoiding.  Instead, I’m at my parents’ house because Tornado A was so damn cute asking to be with my mom and my mom invited me to lunch, which didn’t happen, but hell, at least I can blog.

Heads is . . . .

I think I’ve mentioned my sons’ obsession with “Zombies vs Plants” and their desperate need to watch their dad play the game.  So after dinner, the boys started begging their dad to play.

Evan: Let’s play zombies!

Sean: Come on!  It’ll be fun!

The Husband: Daddy has to work.

Sean: Peeeeeaaaaaasssssssssse!

Evan: Let’s play “Head’s and Memorials!”  Heads will be we will play Zombies.  Memorials will be you go to work.

The Husband: Ok.

Evan flipped a penny.  It came up tails.

Evan: That didn’t work.  Let’s do it again.

Evan flipped the coin again, and it landed on tails.L

Evan: Let me do it again.

This time Evan held the coin a foot above the floor, head side up.  Then he dropped it. I saw the tails.  Evan scooped it up.

Me: Evan what did it land on?

Evan: The floor!

Me: (laughing) No.  What side landed up?

Evan: Heads!  Let’s play Zombies!

The Husband: Let’s play then.

I laughed harder.

Me: Evan.

Evan: (sighed) Let’s switch.  Heads will be Daddy goes to work, and memorials will be Zombies. 

Evan dropped the coin.

Evan: MEMORIALS!  Let’s go!

Preview

This isn’t the real post, but for those of you that have been wondering if I dropped crafts, I did, but I think I had a great reason (you know, vomiting, fatigue also known as morning sickness).  But now that Christmas is coming and, well, the economy has hit us, we’re doing craft gifts this year.  Yea!  Plus I now have energy and only vomit after a serious round of coughing.  (Stupid cough!  I hate you!)  So I thought I would give you a heads up on the crafts this year.

Homemade hot chocolate mix

Chocolate dipped spoons with marshmallows

Chocolate dipped cookies

Apple sauce cinnamon ornaments (love these)

Artwork tiles by Evan and Sean

Now the last ornament I’m in a debate: Gingerbread men (made with cardboard and “decorated” by the boys) or Snowmen (made with styrofoam balls and beads) or maybe both.

So stay tune.  Or heck, give a vote or an idea.