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!


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.

He’s Two

Back when Evan was two and Sean was just a babe in arms, I met another woman with children the same ages.  She was a friend of a friend, who came over with her children for an impromptu play date.  They all stayed through naptime.  I went and put Evan to bed for his nap.   At that time, Sean actually nursed around the same time as Evan’s naptime and usually fell asleep for his afternoon nap.  It was beautiful.

I offered the mother the guest bed for her daughter.  The mother declined.  Because her daughter didn’t take naps any more.  As I watched the toddler stumble around the room in exhaustion, I asked why.

“Because she cried so much I just gave up.”

I pitied the child.  Not the mother.  I had been there with Evan.  In fact, I would sit just outside his room, placing him in his bed over and over for two hours before the kid finally gave in and fell asleep.  Two hours.  Yup, that was a fight worth fighting.

So when Sean started crying about being put to bed last week for his afternoon nap, I was shocked.  Here was the boy who loved his bed because he could just go to bed when he was tired.  What was wrong with this kid?

Then today as he cried for an hour and half, it dawned on me.  Sean was two.  He wanted to give up his nap.  Sorry, dude, your mommy is willing to take this to the mat.  Bring it on, little man.  Bring it on.

Vote for my post on Mom Blog Network

A quick, oh so quick, note

A quick morning post to say that I have no idea if I’ll actually write a real post later.  It’s going to be 102 today.  One hundred and two degrees, people!  And my baby brother has invited us to take shelter at my parents’ pool.  (He can do this because my parents are still out of town until this afternoon.)  So I’ll be over there.  But first it’s time to do a little birthday shopping for the pickiest person I know.  Is it wrong to give your spouse a gift certificate when you know he’ll never remember to use it?  What?  We’re out of bread already!  But I just bought some . . . . Oh, it has been a while.  I might as well get the pound cake for the petit fours for the bridal shower on Sunday while I’m at it.  Oh a text from the BFF.  What’s she doing us so early?  Right, that pesky job thing.  Apparently she’s ordering me to the doctor’s today with the threat she’ll catch the next plane here to drag me to one if I don’t go on my own.  She’s right.  Nine days with a sore throat is too long, but honestly, I thought it was due to allergies at first.  It also goes to prove that I haven’t gotten The Look down yet.  Does any one have pointers?  Ok, I’ve got to vacuum before the boys destroy the main room, which by the sounds of it, they are nicely on their way.  How cute is this?  Evan woke me up with the doctor kit, trying to make me feel better.  Boy, I love stream of conscious writing.