My Worst Nightmare

My worst nightmare has come true.  Tornado E vomited and shat at the same time.  Ok, my worst nightmare is that I would do it, which was never a possibility until my mom shared her labor experiences with me about enemas and such during that precious birds and the bees talk.  Mom knew how to keep her daughter locked tighter than a charity belt.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if Tornado E had underwear on, but since he woke me up at a God-awful-early-hour to read to him as he took his morning dump.  Then I debated walking into the next room to get him underwear or walk into the next room and try to catch another 15 minutes of sleep.  I chose poorly.

Clean up wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t already fighting to keep the contents of breakfast in my stomach where they belonged.  Like I needed to clean a bigger mess.  Obviously the lack of sleep and the fumes of cleaning products was getting to me because I wistfully thought how if my husband was here he would clean it up.  Commence rolling eyes now.  Like he ever picked up vomit or shit.  Remember when the grossest thing he ever saw was Tornado E’s poop in the potty.  Yeah.  Of course, I did mourn the fact that my parents AND my grandma AND the favorite uncle are all out-of-town, and I really need to get us to the grocery store.  But let’s all remember I pulled this stuff off all the time ALONE in California.

Man, I’m spoiled.

Now that things are cleaned up.  Maybe things will go my way, and I can get the boys to clean up the toys.  And maybe things will really go my way, and we can go grocery shopping.  And I can’t help but remember a time when things went my way because I got to sleep in or got a bonus check or got to go to my favorite restaurant or bought a new book.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

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The trip home


All right.


I’m sorry.

I’m sorry.  I don’t usually lose my cool.  You know that.  I know that.  It takes a lot to rattle my cage.  Actually it usually takes your dad, but he’s not here.  So there wasn’t really an excuse.

Except you should know that your mom gets wound up trying to make good time.  I can get a bit obsessive.  It used to be a game for fun.  No one of the family has yet to beat my record.  But now it’s all about getting Tornado S out of the car as soon as possible before he dissolves into whines and tears, sending me towards insanity.

You shouldn’t worry about that.

I’m sorry.  But I can’t help but feel that part of this is your fault.  Not all of it.  Just some of it.  You should have known what was happening.  You could have warned me.  It is your body after all.

Sure, you told me you need to potty NOW.  You began to moan as I searched for a gas station or fast food restaurant in the middle of the industrial part of the city.  When I pulled over in some random parking lot, you should have told me you needed to poop.

I would have driven another mile to find you a real potty.  One that flushes.  One that isn’t in our car.

No, you had to tell me when I went to get you off the pot after you peed.  Then it was too late.

There was no daddy to help.  Just you, your brother, and me.  And a bucket of poop.

And an hour and a half until home.

At least there is a rest stop up the road.

Let’s just not speak until I dump out the potty.  With two little boys in tow.

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Sometimes there is no point

We have a plastic doll named Bobby.  My mom got it for Evan before Sean came around, so I could teach Evan how we take care of babies.  You know, like being gentle.  The boys play with him off and on, but Bobby is still naked from when we taught him to potty in the potty.  Sean found him amongst the stuff animals and brought Bobby to me.

Sean: (holding Bobby feet up, pointing at the bottom) Poop!  Poop!

Me: You’re right, Sean.  That is where poop comes from.  (I turned the baby right side up.)  Can you say “baby?”

Sean: (flipped over the doll, pointing at the bottom) Poop!  Poop!

Me: Yes, that’s where Bobby poops.  (I took the doll and handed it right side up to Sean.) He’s a baby.  He’s name is Bobby.  Baby.  Can you say “baby?”

Sean: (flipped over the doll, pointing at the bottom)  Poop!  Poop!

Ok.  Right.  Moving on.

Me: Yup, that’s where the baby poops.

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Potty Conversation

Evan: Look, Mommy, I pooped!

Sure, enough, there it was sitting in the potty, but I was over that.  I picked up the plastic tub to dump it.

Evan: Mommy, wait!  What shape do you think it is?

Me: Um.  What do you think it is?

Evan: Hmmmm.  It looks like a crescent moon!

Me: I think you’re right.

Add that to the list of things I never thought I would talk about.

Evan and Sean gathered around the toilet to watch the flushing.  Evan lay down to stare at the toilet from the ground. 

Me: Evan, what are you doing?

Evan: I want to see it go down to the ground.

Me: You can’t see it because the toilet isn’t see-through.

Evan: But the poop is going into the ground?

Me: Yes, the poop and the water go into the ground to the sewer where it is taken away.

Evan: It’s dark underground.

Me: Yes. It is.

Evan: Alligators live there.

Me: No, alligators live in swamps.

Evan: No, they live underground where the poop goes.

I think there’s an uncle involved somewhere in this mess.

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Nothing Wrong with a Little Friendly Competition

Sean had decided to boycott fruits and vegetables.  I believed this behavior was due to the new molars moving their way up through his gums and the fact that he never let on about it and therefore never received in pain killers.  Sean refused the vegetables and the fruit, but he kept eating the breads, the cheeses, the meats.  Anyone, who remembers the cheeseburger and fries days of their misbegotten youth, would know this was a very bad bathroom situation.  Especially for someone who is wearing diapers.

The first scream of pain caught my dad’s attention, and since he had seen it before, he comforted my husband.  The second scream brought my mom and me running.  As she had seen this before, she scooped up Sean and ran to the bathroom, placing him on the potty.  Since it worked before, it seemed that sitting on the pot is a lot easier to deal with constipation.  I gathered some books, toys, and a juice glass because, for some reason, juice helps Evan with his bowel movements.  My mom started reading a book to Sean as I rubbed his back, whispering words of encouragement.

Then Evan came in.

Evan: Seanny’s a baby!  He’s not a big boy!  He poops in his diapers!  He doesn’t poop in the potty!  I’m a big boy!  I poop in the potty! (Pause)  I need to poop in the potty!

My mom looked at me, worried, wondering what we should do.  But I noticed the pause.  I looked Evan in the eye.

Me: Seanny is just trying it right now.  Do you need to poop right now?  Or can you wait?

Evan: I can wait until we get home.  That sounds like a great idea!

Just after Evan ran off to wreck some mischievous havoc, we heard the unmistakable plop.  My mom and I celebrated.  Sean looked down at the poop, shrugs, and ran off enjoying the wind on his naked bottom.

I chased him down and gave the news to the men.  Evan perked up.

Evan: Ohmygosh!  I need to go poop right now! (running into the bathroom)  You leave Grandma!  I can do this all by myself!

And so he did.  Then an hour later, Sean pooped again, in his diaper this time.  Evan ran to poop again. 

I think we have a new competition.


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Haircuts, any one?

Before Ester was upon us with all those cameras and pictures, I figured I better get the boys groomed as my husband asked why we were bringing the ‘70’s shag look back.  The boys had needed haircuts back before we moved, so they were in pretty bad shape, especially Sean as he’s still young enough to have those thin baby locks.  But my parental backup was safely ensconced in California; while, I debated if I could take the boys myself as Sean was in that screaming phase of fear that someone was going to cut his ears off.  Never mind that nothing bad has ever happened to either boy in the barber chair, they both had a healthy fear of haircuts, sort of like the healthy fear of dentists

In my debate and wisdom, I asked Evan what he thought about going to get his haircut.  He was against it, though he admitted that he wouldn’t mind going if Papi went too.  Ah-ha!  That cinched it.  Dad, you’ve been drafted.  And he wonders why he and my mom are getting custody of my boys if something should happen to my husband and I.

With the sun shining, my boys securely buckled in their seats, my dad and I drove to the haircut place, not breathing a word of our little adventure.  It was only once we parked in the strip mall that my dad mentioned something about it as he walked though the parking lot, holding Evan’s hand.  Evan demanded a toy for his potential pain and suffering, and Papi agreed that some sort of compensation was warranted and pointed to the drug store at the corner, mentioning that they carried toys.

In the cheap hair-cutting place, I signed the boys up, getting an estimated time for their appointment.  Ten minutes wasn’t bad when you brought a small toy chest, a small library, and enough snacks for the hour.  As we settled the boys down with toys, Evan jumped up, yelling “OHMYGOSH!  I’ve got to go poop!”

My dad and I looked at each other.  I found it slightly odd that Evan had to go poop since he had done his once-a-day bowel movement an hour before, but one does not argue with the waste system of a three year old.

“Dad, I forgot to bring the potty,” I whispered.

“I’m sure they have a restroom or over at another store,” he said.

“I don’t think I can get Evan to trust a big potty yet.”  I thought of the large gapping hole of a public toilet.  “I’ll take him and run home.  We should be back in time, but could you watch Sean, please?”

As I lived only two blocks away, I knew with any luck we would be back before Sean was finished.  I grabbed Evan’s hand and escorted him out of the barber.

When we got two yards away, Evan started skipping.  When we got three yards away, Evan exclaimed, “Let’s go look at the toys now!”


I stopped and bent down to look Evan square in the air.  “Do you have to go poop?”


“Did you just want to leave and look at toys?”


“We don’t tell stories about when we need to go potty.  We don’t tell stories so that we can leave a place we don’t want to be.  We always tell the truth.  Do you understand?”

“Yes, Mommy.”

“Now we have to get your haircut.  You have to go first because you’re the big brother.  Seanny is scared, so you have to show him how easy it is.  THEN we can go look at toys.”

“Ok, Mommy!”

Evan was a pro.  And so was Sean.  As I paid for the haircuts, the cute little stylist handed the boys a Frisbee each. 

“No, thank you,” declined Evan.  “I want a sucker instead!”

“Take it.  I’ll get you a sucker after we leave,” I said without using a “damn” in the sentence.

As we left, passing a coffee shop.  I heard the nickname that is prominent amoung my family.  As it has to do with our last name, usually given by a male comrade or team member, I stopped to listen to the voice, the deep powerful male voice.  With a glance, I confirmed it was for my father as the gentleman in question had “cop” written all over him.

Because my dad stopped to talk and Evan kept going, I chased Evan, yelling, “red light.”  When Sean and I caught up with Evan, I told him, “Papi is talking with a friend.  We have to wait here.”

Evan looked at me with a cocked head.  “A friend like a Frisbee?”

“No, a friend like a police officer.”

Without further extraordinary incidences, my dad and I were able to herd the boys into the drug store and out with a box of blue bunny Peeps.

“They’re going to get all sticky, you know,” my dad said as he looked back to watch the boys suck off the sugar as I drove him home.

“Little boys wash.  Besides I thought my mom would like a big hug and kiss from her boys.”

With a laugh my dad said, “You’re too much like me for your own good.”



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Paying Respects

Not too long ago, I thought I would never get Tornado E potty-trained.  But now he goes, pulls up his pants, washes his hands, and returns to whatever he was doing without telling me.  Sometimes I’ll walk in to the bathroom and notice the urine, wondering how long that was sitting in the potty, while the plastic soaked up the scent.  Recently he has been caught trying to dump the urine on his own without any help what so ever.  That’s not a good thing.

Since pooping is so new to us, Tornado E runs to tell me he’s done it as soon as his done.  We do our little victory dance.  We run back to the bathroom so that I can inspect and dumb the poop.  As Tornado E washes his hands, I plop the poop into the toilet. 

Tornado E insists he has to flush the toilet.  He puts his left hand on the lever.  He waves goodbye to his poop with his right.  He says, “Goodbye, poop!  Go be with your family!”  Then he flushes.

If all the poop comes from the same place, then they must be family.  If all the poop goes to the same place, it must be a family reunion.  Right?

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An Anatomy Lesson by a Three-year-old

To minimize the risks of accidents I make Tornado E try when I need to go, so I was a little indisposed when this little gem dropped out of his mouth.  Tornado E played with his Spidermen from McDonald’s as he sat on the potty, pretending to do his business.


Tornado E: Look, Mommy!  My Spidermen don’t have penises!  They have butts, though!  They can’t pee!  They can only poop!  But I have a bottom AND a penis!  So I can poop and pee!  Mommy!  You can poop and pee, too!


Is it too early to start making room for that medical diploma?

Motherhood Is Not for Faint of Heart

The truck smelled of (let’s not mince words here) shit.  As I had two boys playing in the car, I knew it was one of them, and I laid the odds on Sean.  I don’t want to unfairly blame Sean, even though his shit REEKS, but Evan never poops in his pants.  While Evan refuses to poop in the toilet, he dutifully asks for a diaper every time, even at stores or the playground or someone else’s house.  So I said the same thing I always say.


Me: Who’s stinky?


And I expect Evan to yell “It’s Sean!”


Only Evan yelled: It’s me!




I reached into the car and grabbed Evan, turning him around to check his pants.  The kid did not lie.  I did not cuss, even though I really, really wanted to.  I turned Evan around and hauled him out of the truck, out of the garage, and into the house with a growl to stay put.  I wrangled Sean out of the car and brought him into the house.  Only to find Evan was not where I left him.


I called, and I could hear faint giggling sounds.  Then I realized the front door was left open.  I peered out to see Evan dancing around with a plastic candy cane and a plastic ornament.  Hell hath no fury.  I grabbed him, swatting his thigh, admonishing him for going outside with out me.  So help me, God, I will put you into a coma if you leave this house alone.  Thoughts of drive-by kidnappers danced in my head.


I dragged an apologizing Evan into the bathroom and began stripping him.  Then I gently removed the poop-filled underwear, hoping that it didn’t slide down the leg.  I bent Evan over my knee and wiped his butt with wipes as he begged me to let him put on underwear.  Not yet, kid.  Let’s get the poop off first.


Then I heard my mother and grandma explain how they used to deal with messy training pants before the invention of pull-ups.  Turn the underwear inside out and let the poop drop.  Flush the toilet, allowing the clean water to rinse off the poop.  Don’t forget to shake it and beat it against the bowl.  Then wash.  The wisdom of the ages.


Evan: Look, at my poop, Mommy!  It looks like bread!  That’s a big poop!


Me: Can we try to use the potty next time?


Oh, the smell of shit as you hand wash it down the drain.  The strong scent of urine from yesterday’s accident pants and training pants that hang over the shower door.


This all reminded me of a trip to Arizona two years ago as we moved slowly through traffic that was causing us to add two more hours on our trip.  It was raining (and it rained all the way from our house to my parents, and we drove a truck at that time), and it was the Friday before Christmas.  But it was also 12 o’clock in the afternoon.  I was worried about the presents, neatly packed in a TV box, being rained on, and my husband was worried about the clothes in the overnight bags.  (Hey, clothes wash and dry; presents have to be re-bought.)  Of course, we stopped for lunch and to get into an argument about Heaven knows what, but I am sure you can guess.  As we were trying to get back on the freeway, Evan vomited EVERYWHERE!   My husband and I stopped in mid-argument and started consoling our crying son.  We turned into a gas station.  I plucked Evan out of his seat and started to undress him, shielding him from the cold and rain.  My husband ran into the gas station to buy trash bags, paper towels, and more wipes, spending an arm and a leg for the pleasure.  The smell of vomited popcorn, pretzels, and apple juice is not pleasant usually, and I was in my first trimester.  When my husband got back, I left him with a laughing, diaper-only Evan, pretending to drive, as I retched my lunch into the bushes in the rain.  I pulled out some clothes for Evan out of his bag, handed them to my husband, and pulled out the mouth wash.  We cleaned everything up as best we could, and I sprayed some Oust in the air.  We resumed the journey, forgetting the argument.


My husband turned to me and said, “You’re a pro, you know that?”


Yeah, I know.


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Dinosaur Treat

Evan made a red candy treat from play dough and ran off with it.  I don’t like when he does that because Sean tends to nibble on play dough.  But I was keeping Sean occuppied with a game of ball and didn’t wory about it.

Evan: Mommy!  Mommy!  Come here!  (I walked into the family room.)  Mommy, the aligator got candy!

Me: He got candy?  What candy?

Evan: (lifting the head of the dinasour toy, which your suppose to put balls into and they slide out it’s mouth) See? It’s play dough candy!  I made it!

Me: Wow!  Why did the aligator get candy?

Evan: He got candy for going poop!  He went poop on the floor, and he got candy!  (turning to the dinosaur) Good job, alligator!

OK.  Works for me.