Hide and Go Seek Sort of

Tornado E loves playing hide-and-go-seek.  He goes to great lengths to encourage that love in Tornado S.  When we play inside at home (because we only have two saguaro cacti and an air conditioner to hide behind; lots of fun there), Tornado E finds Tornado S a place to hide before he finds his own place.  Like any good rebel, Tornado S makes his own rules and jumps out to scare me just as I finish counting.

The other day Tornado E and Tornado S were playing hide-and-go-seek at Grandma-great’s house.  (Which is an awesome place to play with trees, bushes, and an RV from when I was a kid and now there are two sheds.)  Tornado E made Tornado S it and placed him at the almond tree to count (which was the same place we used to use).

Tornado S: One!  (Tornado E started running.) Two!  Three!  I see you, brother!

Tornado E: No, Tornado S!  Count to ten!

Tornado S: Ok, brother!  One! (Tornado E started running.)  Two!  Three!  I see you, Tornado E (in toddler speak)!

Tornado E: No! Tornado S!  Count to ten!  Like this: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.

Tornado S: Ok, brother!  One! (Tornado E started running.)  Two!  Three!  I see you, Tornado E (in toddler speak)!


Good-natured fun?

After school let’s out, Tornado E and his friends run around playing in the cement courtyard until us mothers decide it’s time to go.  The kids are bursting with energy, playing tag, searching for treasure, throwing toys.  The moms enjoy talking to other people who completely understand.  (You mean your son/daughter is still in pull-ups at night?  Thank God, I thought I was the only one.  Did you hear about this great sale?  The zoo is having a great free exhibit this weekend.  My son won’t eat meatballs either.  When are you going to our hairdresser; she’s great and cheap.  No, seriously, I can watch the kids for you . . . any time.)

Lately I’ve noticed a new game among the boys.  Wrestling.  It’s good natured.  But I keep my eyes open because they’re wrestling on concrete and that no matter how good natured it starts out, some one accidentally hurts someone else.  The surprising thing is I’m the only mom who notices when a wrestling match breaks out.  Maybe it’s because I know my son’s a little more aggressive than the other boys or the fact that he just loves to be physical when playing.  Or maybe I just know boys.

Since it’s been going on, I’ve noticed Tornado E likes the boys to chase him and get him.  Nothing new.  Except now when they get him, they all start wrestling.  Two against one.  Three against one.  It’s enough to make me really pay attention.  Especially since Tornado E is a head smaller than the other boys.  Oh, they’re laughing and smiling, but I can’t hear what’s being said during these wrestling matches.  I can feel the tension in the game building.

Last week, the wrestling was three against one. Tornado E was backed into the corner.  I’m talking to another mom, watching the wrestling, waiting for some sign that it would all turn bad.  Then Tornado E threw a great hook and got the biggest boy in the head.  The boy immediately started running towards the rest of the moms, to his mom, whom I was talking to.  At ear shot, he started to whine and snivel.

Tornado E hit me!!!

Thank God, I was with a pro.

And what did you do to Tornado E?

I broke in and mentioned the wrestling match, and perhaps Tornado E had become too aggressive.

She nodded and told her son no more wrestling.  The other boys had stopped, waiting for the verdict.  They moved on to a new game.

But it was yesterday’s game that made me really sick and nervous.  Three against one.  Only one of the boys would grab Tornado E’s hood and swing him around.  Tornado E would fall onto his hands and knees from the force.  Then the other boys would wrestle him to the ground.  I watched and waited.  I wanted to jump in and break it up.  I wanted one of the other moms to notice and call off her son.  But no mothers noticed.  Tornado E didn’t cry out; he didn’t look angry; he went back into the scuffle, fighting for all his worth.

Then the boy, who kept swinging Tornado E around, swung Tornado E into a bush.  Tornado E fell into the bush onto his bottom.  He looked up at the boy and yelled, “Stop it!  You’re being mean!” Tornado E stood up and faced the boy, who was a head taller than Tornado E like the other boys.  I started easing my way towards the boys, waiting for some one to move.  Instead the mom called her son to go home, and he ran off.

I asked Tornado E when we were leaving if he enjoyed wrestling with the boys.  He told me yes, but he wanted to know why the other boy was being so mean.  I said maybe we need to make some rules to keep people from getting hurt.  I told him that if he didn’t ever want to wrestle to tell the boys no and if that didn’t work to go play with someone else or come talk to me.

Even as I write this, I feel a little sick in my stomach.  I can only see this game ending in a bad way.  Obviously I don’t want to be the one to end the game in case it’s my son initiating the fight or that it lowers Tornado E in the social circle.  I just can’t believe I’m the only mom who has noticed this game, and I wish someone else would have the same issue.  Maybe I’m overreacting because I know my brothers used to love to wrestle with their friends.  But I’ve never seen the odds so unfair.  I keep wondering if there is come under current I’m not picking up on.  Yet Tornado E handles himself well.  Ugh.  Is this just boys being boys?  Or is this something else?

The Activity Scene

When I was a child, I was fascinated by Nativity Scenes.  It was a natural call because I loved doll houses, miniatures, and the Virgin.  This combined all natural things.  Though my mother’s set was plastic, we were not allowed to touch it.  Until my brother dared, placing The Three Wise Men on the other side of the room because really they weren’t suppose to be there until January 6th.  This upset me because my brother dared to touch the one thing I wanted to touch but couldn’t break the rules and two The Wise Men didn’t even show up for two more years.  How’s that for accuracy?  Those first years of the new tradition I fought it tooth and nail, moving The Wise Men back to the stable after my brother left the room.  The blood spilt from that religious crusade was ended when my mother declared that she liked my brother’s idea.

When I set up my own house, my mother bought me a real Nativity set, one with kings and shepherds instead of just the Holy Family.  While I loved the set, I felt I could do better.  I searched high and low for the perfect set, always examining The Virgin for the perfect mother.  I found a really cool stable first.  A year later, I found the perfect set.  Mary looked down with love and joy on her baby.  Joseph looked protective and proud as he looked down at his wife and child.  The detail on all the characters was amazing.  The poor donkey was still loaded with supplies, left alone in the rush to deliver the baby.

This was the first year Tornado E noticed it.  He learned all about it at school, though he calls it an Activity Scene.  Yeah, I know I feel like a bad Catholic.  So it didn’t surprise me when he asked to see it as I have it up far above their reach.

So I handed him a Wise Man. Tornado S asked to see one.  So I handed him a Wise Man.  Then Tornado E asked to see another figure.  I took the Wise Man out of his hand and gave him another.  Tornado S asked to see another figure, and I replaced the one he was holding with another figure, explaining what each person was.  We finished the set, except for poor Mary.

In the end, Tornado S had a Wise Man, and Tornado E had Joseph. Tornado E placed Joseph next to the Wise Man.

Tornado E: Hi!  I’m Joseph!  Who are you?

Tornado S: I bad guy.

Tornado S clinked the figurines together.

Me: No.  No hitting the people together.

Tornado E: If you’re a bad guy. . . .

Tornado E hit Joseph against the Wise Man, sending the container of myrrh a foot away.

Yeah, I should have seen that coming.  I collected the figures and sent the boys away as I glued the myrrh back into the hands of the Wise Man.  So concluded our religious and Christmas discussions.

Of course, Tornado E is asking where the baby is.

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Arr! We be pirates!

Somewhere along the line, we converted to pirates.  Sure, there are sushi chef days, knight days, dinosaur days.  Evan often pretends he is a baby alien in a box.  Master Viper and Master Tiger still come over for lunch every once in a while.  But pirates is a thing we play every day now.  And I think it’s my fault.

Maybe it was when Evan started hooking on the Backyardigans pirate edpisode, and I looked for it all over YouTube, only to find hilarious homemade, stop-action shorts.  Maybe it was when I learned the lyrics of “A Pirate’s Life” and decided I needed to make new verses that were more child-friendly.  Maybe it was when I bought The Pirates that Don’t Do Anything because we had no movies of good guy pirates that were age suitable.

Evan: Daddy?  Do butt pirates have arrows?

Me: I’m sure they have bows and arrows.  (Quietly to the husband) He has no idea what that is.

The Husband: (quietly to me) Are you sure?

Or yesterday when we were about to go swimming.

Evan: I’m a BUTT PIRATE!

Me: A What?! (He doesn’t know what it means.) Evan, what’s a butt pirate?

Evan: It’s a naked pirate.

Now how do we get that phrase out of your head?

Now Evan talks about his pirate birthday party, which has sent me salivating with ideas.  Sashes, bandanas, and tattoos for all the kids.  We’ll make craft foam boats.  We’ll paint rocks gold.  We’ll have a luau and include Evan’s love of Tiki gods.  We’ll build our own mini water park in my parents’ backyard.

I learned yesterday I was getting too carried away as I stood in line with my mom at the material store, getting the last minute things for the bridal shower.  I grabbed a ruminant of black material.  My mom arched her eye brown in silent question.  “We can make pirate flags!  Each boy can make their own!”  My mom asked, “How would you do that?” “We could- We could iro- No.  We would use-Um, no that won’t work either.  I have.  Damn.  Never mind.  I’ll put this back until I can think it through.”

I can’t help but get excited because Sean has become equally excited as Evan and I.

Sean goes around singing, “Yo, ho, yo, ho” every where.  Then he got a pirate shirt with a skull and cross bones the other day.  He touched the shirt and went “Arrrr!”  Then he did it again when ever he wanted people to say pirate.  He tried to say pirate once.  “Pie-Arrrr!”

We’re going to have the best pirate day ever!

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Just another evening

They looked so sweet banging together matchbox cars and making a loud ruckus that not all the shushing in the world could keep quiet.  But I only glanced up in between words from the game on my phone.  Mat, head, sad, man, bed.  Oh, look, I got honey.  I’m pretty pathetic for a writer and a holder of a bachelor degree in English.  Then the murmur of how those loud boys should leave the room because she can’t hear anything, which might have more to do with her seventy-four year old ears than the loudness of the boys.  It seemed unfair to me because where would they go.  They want to go outside, but they can’t go alone because there’s an ungated pool out there and Evan still had a minor issue with dogs even if this one had one foot in the grave and the other on the banana peel, which meant she worried more about that than playing with some puppies, even if they played her favorite game of soccer.  Go ask your-.

What am I doing?  I’m their mother.  They’re my boys.  They will only be this age once, and one day they won’t ask me to play with them.  They won’t want me to play with them.  How will I feel then?  How will i feel when I look back and see that a stupid video game was more important?  What will they remember?  Today they want ME to play with them.  They want ME to go outside with them.  Besides don’t I need to lose a few pounds, get some fresh air, teach them to kick a ball correctly because I forgot to sign them up for sports class again.

Come on, guys.  Grab the ball.  Put on your shoes.  We have rosebuds to gather as we may.

We danced outside, chasing the ball, kicking the ball, dodging the ball.  We ran, jumped, hopped, walked.  I tackled Evan to give Sean a chance, teaching him to take turns as I tickled him without mercy.  I taught them to ring around a rosey and to find shapes in the clouds.  They figured out it was hilarious to watch Mommy try to get a ball out of a pool without a net. 

I didn’t care if I missed my game or that no one else joined us.  They were my boys, and I wouldn’t miss this for the world.

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The Green Balloon

It was a beautiful day in Arizona, a day that the news channels predicted rain, a day that there was not one cloud to blight the bright blue sky.  Since, my husband had come in the night before, missing the whole week with the family, we decided we should take the boys to the park.


Evan sprinted to the playground the minute his feet touched the ground with his father trailing him.  Sean also sprinted in his wiggle-waggle way, pumping his arms side to side instead of back and forth, so I was able to walk along behind him, allowing him to feel the wind created by his run.  Evan jumped off the concrete guard into the sand, yelling for his father the join him on the slide.  Sean noticed Evan had cleared two green balloons, slowly leaking helium.


Sean waddled over to the balloons.  “‘Loon!  ‘Loon!”  He bent down to investigate the green balloons, still round with air.  The wind started to push the balloons away, and Sean stood up to watch.  Then he bent down and snatched one balloon.


He intended to grab the second balloon, but the wind wouldn’t allow it.  The balloons were still knotted together at the end of the gold ribbons.  As Sean walked to grab the other balloon, the wind kept the ribbon taunt.  The balloon lay a mere foot away from Sean’s outstretched hand.  Sean walked; the balloon floated away.  No matter how stubborn Sean was to catch the balloon, the balloon was just as stubborn not to get caught.  Walk, float.  Walk, float.


Finally Sean gave up, leaving the balloon to its own devices.  He turned and walk towards me holding out the balloon for me to inspect.  He noticed a tug and turned around to see the other green balloon had followed him.  He took a step, and the balloon floated behind him.  Step, float.  Step, float. 


Frustrated by the whole event, Sean handed me the balloon and pointed to the ribbon that chained it to the partner balloon.  I tried to pull off the string with no luck.  I fumbled for my keys and the pocket knife linked to them, leaving the balloon in Sean’s capable hands.  As I tried to flip out the scissors, Sean yanked, pulled, tugged on the ribbon, until it flipped off the balloon.  The balloon inflated to a rubber pool, leaving Sean in disbelief.  He looked up at me with puppy dog eyes, and I braced myself for his now all-too-famous crying temper tantrum.


“SEANNY!” Evan called from the top of the slide.  Sean turned around and ran to his brother. 



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Sicky Goo-Goo

It all started innocently enough.  Evan found a new friend to lavish attention on.  His name was Sicky, and he was a Duplo piece that was meant to be the cabin of a train with windows and a yellow hinged roof to allow a child to put a person inside.  Sicky had a long “marshmallow” hat that kept slipping off as Duplos do when a child uses the hinge.  Evan played merrily with Sicky until Sicky started to cry.  Not cry, whine!  An irritating whine that travels through the ear into the back of the brain that makes you want to stick an ice pick into your temple.  If it had been my child who whined, I would have demanded words.  Failing that strategy, I would have put on my iPod ear phones and drowned out the child.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Mommy, Sicky is crying!


Me: Oh, no!  Poor Sicky!  Why don’t you give Sicky a kiss?


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: That didn’t help!


Me: Maybe Sicky needs a nap.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Mommy, Sicky is crying!  He’s sad!


Me: Sicky, what do you want?  Use your big boy words.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: He hit his head!  He needs a Mommy kiss!


Me: (kiss) There.  All better.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Sicky is crying!  He’s sad!


Me: What does Sicky want?


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: He lost his hat!  Can you get it for him?


Me: (I bent down to pick up the Duplo piece and hand it to Evan.)  Here you go, babe.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Thank you, Mommy!  (Evan clicks the Duplo back on Sicky’s head.)


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Sicky’s hungry.  He needs almonds.


Great.  We’re out of almonds. If we had almonds, Mommy would be snacking on them right now.


Me: Why don’t you look in your kitchen for some almonds?


Heck, it worked when we needed plankton for the star.


Evan: Ok.  Come on, Sicky.


Evan left me in blissful silence.  When I heard him return to the room it was preempted by the sound of Sicky.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Me: What’s wrong with Sicky?


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: It’s Sicky Goo-Goo.


Me: Ok.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Sicky Goo-Goo is sad because there are no almonds!


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Me: Did you look in your kitchen?


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Yes!  But there were no almonds!  I looked in the big closet (He must mean the pantry.),  and there were no almonds there either!


Me: Well, we’re out of almonds.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Sicky Goo-Goo would like some pecans.  That sounds good to him.


Me: We’re out of pecans too.  Mommy didn’t buy any nuts last time we were at Costco; we’ll have to wait until we go again.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: But Sicky Goo-Goo is hungry now!  He needs nuts!


Me: What else would he like?  How about some crackers or cheese or Gold Fish?


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Gold fish is what Sicky Goo-Goo wants!


Off goes Evan to get Sicky Goo-Goo Gold Fish.  But it wasn’t long until Sicky Goo-Goo needed something else.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Sicky Goo-Goo is crying, Mommy! He’s sad!


Me: What does Sicky Goo-Goo want now?


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: I don’t know!


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Me: Maybe you should ask him.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Oh no!  He lost his hat!  Mommy, can you put it back on!


I put back on the long Lego onto the top of the cabin.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Not like that, Mommy!  That’s the wrong way!


Me: (sigh) Ok.  Ok.  Here.  Fixed.


Evan: Thank you, Mommy!


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: Mommy, Sicky Goo-Goo is crying!  He’s-


Me: What does he want now?


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: He needs a kiss!


Me: Fine.  (kiss)


Evan starts to hit Sicky Goo-Goo with another Lego.  He toss them in the air; while, Sicky whines.  (Before some one runs off to call the authorities about this child play, I assure you that no matter how annoying my boys get I do not hit them with Duplos.  Because they’re too small.)


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Me: (interceding and grabbing Sicky) Evan, we don’t hit our . . . toys.  We don’t hit Sicky Goo-Goo.


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Evan: I’m sorry, Sicky Goo-Goo!  Mommy, give him back to me!


Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


Me: No. I think Sicky needs to go to bed.  He’s very whiny.


I’ve snapped.  I run into Evan’s room and place Sicky Goo-Goo into the doll bed.  I hush him and kiss him.  Evan runs in behind me, witnessing the bed routine. 


Evan: No, Mommy!  Sicky Goo-Goo isn’t tired.


Me: Sicky Goo-Goo is whiney, so he MUST be tired.


Evan: No, Mommy!  He’s not whiney!  He’s not even crying!  He’s happy!


Me: That’s great!  Then he can stay up, but if he becomes whiney again, he’ll have to go to bed.


Evan: Ok, Mommy!  Sicky Goo-Goo won’t be whiney.


Well, that’s the end of that chapter.  I walked away pleased with myself.  I picked Sean up as he asked for me to read him a book.  We settled down in a chair to read about dinosaurs, rhyming the words and pointing out different items in the pictures.  I whispered words, words, words.


 Sicky: Mmmmm!  Mmmmm!


That toy is going to find itself in a trash bin very, very soon.

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The Box Phase

Like most phases my boys have, I can trace the box phase to an uncle.  I don’t know if this is normal in most families or if trouble only runs deep where my brothers are (which it just might be the later).  Evan had a box phase, and now Sean is entering into his without any prompting by my brothers, though we are visiting them this weekend and who knows what new phase my brothers will create, like the boxing phase or placing toys in one’s mouth to spit them out again.


When Evan was just over a year old, my brother placed him in a FedEx box and scooted him around the room.  Evan loved this.  From that day on, he would sit in his box to watch TV or play content in his little box where he had only enough room to fold his legs.  He didn’t care if I was around or not.  When my brother, who was living with us for the summer, came home from work, Evan would run to his box, pleading for his uncle to push him around.  It wasn’t long before another “uncle” ( a close family friend) started pushing Evan around in the laundry basket.  Boxes are so cool.


I thought that this phase with uncle-induced, but the other day I watched Sean dump out a small crate of toys on the floor so that he could climb into it.  He snuggled in to watch TV and to play with the toys he just dumped as I left him to take a quick shower.  Sean didn’t care that Evan was jumping on the bed; he didn’t care that I wasn’t there to play with him.  He was perfectly content in his little crate.


The problem with this box is it is in the master bedroom, and it’s the box I keep all the toys that wonder into our room.  (How I wish for a non-toy room.)  Yesterday Sean was snug as a bug in his box when he realized he was a bit lonely and wanted to play with someone.  He started shouting for Evan, who was content to ignore Sean as he emptied the DVD shelves of all their DVDs.  I was trying to put things away, moving from one floor to the next, watching this little interplay and wondering what I can do to keep the boys from dumping the DVD library.


So what I have discovered on this new phase in child development is that it occurs between one and two years.  The child must be able to walk and climb well as to be able to maneuver in and out of the box with ease.  This is very important because the child will panic if he (I haven’t seen a girl do this, but my research is preliminary.) cannot get out of the box, which just ruins the fun.  The child is very content to stay in the box much longer than an adult would want to squeeze his/herself into a box with enough room to fold his/her legs.  It an interesting moment as the child has learned to play by himself, allienating the mother.  They tend to grow out of this phase when they can’t find a box to fit into anymore.  Granted, once they get to bigger boxes, they have all kinds of fun.


Stay tune as I explore the developments of childhood.  Perhaps if I discover enough new phases I can have a whole system of child behavior named after me.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?



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The Newest Monster

Evan: I’m a baby gingerbread man China monster!


Well, ok, then.



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Sushi Names

For Christmas, Evan received an incredibly awesome gift, a toy sushi set.  He has played with it every day since he got it.  Evan is also in the phase of naming things.  He has named his sushi.  (We’re guess on what the sushi is since some of the pieces only look like real sushi from far away.)


Magurio (Tuna) is named Sushi.

Tamangoyaki (egg sushi) is named Juicy.

Sake (Salmon) is called Dooky.

Hamachi (Yellowtail) is called Hooky.

Hirame (Flounder) is called Sicky.


So we have Sushi, Juicy, Dooky, Hooky, Sicky.  And they all call me “Mom.”



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