Hand Preference

We were at the school having lunch with Tornado S because he was Student of the Week.  Tornado S got to draw a poster about himself, be lineleader all week, be the teacher’s helper, do show and tell, and also get to have his parents have lunch with him.  To make it extra special, we always bring a kid’s meal of some sort.

Their Father: Look.  He’s eating with his right hand.

Me: Yes.  He’s been using his right more, but he is still switching.

Teacher: Oh, he’s still switching.

She looked over at the other two teachers.  They all nodded agreement.

Teacher: But.  Tornado S’s working very hard with strengthening those hand muscles.  Cutting with scissors.  Holding a tissue as he writes.  (Pause.)  Um.  What?  Um.  What hand does he use when he. . . um . . . when he um . . . . What does he use when he’s in the bathroom?

Being surrounded by talkative, smart, attentive kindergarteners didn’t help, but I had a feeling that even without the kids, this teacher would have a hard time articulating.  She didn’t raise boys.  At least, not boys like mine.

Me: (A smile.  A raised eye brow.) He doesn’t.

The teacher looked startled.  Her facial expression spoke for her.  He doesn’t?

Me: Nope.  He just stands there and (I raised my hands to head level.) lets it fly.

Teacher: Oh Go-.  Oh my.

Me: Yup.

Teacher: Well, you know.  They have hand preference with that too.  With holding it for the bathroom.  And.  Um.  And.  You know.  (Breathe)  When he gets a little holder, he’ll prefer a hand to um . . . to . . . that thing that starts with an “M.”

If I didn’t like this woman so much, I would have acted like I didn’t know.  It would have been an entertaining five minutes.  Or if I were more evil.

Me:  We saw Gattaca. We know.

Though that reminds me.

New penis rule:



How many penis rules do we need?

jc: I’m totally surprised they aren’t coloring their penises. I KNOW you have a rule against that somewhere around here, and I’m sure you would have mentioned it.

Have you met jc?  She’s the world’s best commenter.  She’s smart, hilarious, and gives out stickers.  For some reason, I amuse her, which I think is an honor.

Then she wrote that on Friday’s blog.

Apparently jc is clairvoyant as well as smart and hilarious.

First off, I knew there was trouble because Tornado E walked out of the bathroom grinning.  Grinning.  Second, I knew there was trouble because he was holding a marker, coming from the bathroom.   Just reread that last sentence again.  Did you get the chills?  Third, I knew there was trouble because he had already drawn all over himself.

Tornado E: LOOK!  (He pulled down his underwear to expose himself.)  I painted on my penis!

His testes were orange.

So many thoughts entered my head.


Why?  Why, for the love of God, would you color your penis?

You’ll make some frat very proud one day.

I wonder what kind of girl will be amused by this.

Oh, God, he’s going to tattoo his penis.

By the time they learn to  be modest around me, I’ll have written a hundred page manual of The Penis Rules.

It’s all about the underwear

Yesterday a friend called to catch up.  She proceeded to tell me how her daughter (who is just a few months younger than Tornado E) had an accident in her underwear last weekend.  Since my friend was too busy to clean her daughter up, it fell to her husband.  We laughed as my friend imitated her husband’s grumbling.  (I thought we were done with this.  Why did she do this?  What happened?  Are we suppose to be over this crap?  Isn’t she too old for this?  Being done with this crap is why we didn’t have more children.  I thought we were done with this.)  Then when the husband decided to throw away the underwear instead of clean it (because who enjoys cleaning disgusting soiled underwear), the daughter threw a fit, begging her father not to throw away her precious princess underwear.  (Please, Daddy, not my princess underwear!)  What could a good father do?  So the husband started scrubbing sh*t from the princess underwear, starting his whole grumbling monologue all over again.  And how my friend and I laughed.

And how I laughed.

Then today as I spooned a large helping of pureed squash and corn in the mouth of a demanding Tornado A, Tornado S came up, bringing a package of unopened graham crackers.  I smelled something.

Me: Tornado S, did you poop your pants?

I don’t know why I expected a different answer.  There is only one possible answer to that question.  I knew the answer.  I didn’t want to hear it.  I was praying against it.

Tornado S: Yes!

Goddamnit. F- me.  Aren’t we done with this sh*t?  Isn’t he too old for this sh*t?  He potty trained so goddamn well, and then this.  F.  He was even on the pot earlier, trying to go.  What the hell happened?!  I’m suppose to be done with this crap for another two years.

Me: Tornado S.  Go to the bathroom and take off your pants and underwear and wait until I get there.

Tornado S: I don’t wan-

Me: (The Voice) GO!

He scrambled away, and I finished feeding Tornado A, keeping one eye on Tornado S struggling to take off his pants and underwear.  I’ll spare you the gory details.  But Tornado S did try to wipe himself.  Lord, help me.

After placing Tornado A in the midst of his toys (so that he can crawl right after me when I walk away), I went to the bathroom and cleaned up Tornado S.  With Tornado A hanging onto my leg, I looked down at the clothes.  I made a decision.  That underwear was going in the trash.

The good news is I learned a valuable lesson.  The bad news is I think it has something to do with karma is a bitch.

Another crappy first

I had a first the other day.  And not a happy first like baby’s first tooth or the first time you saw a really great movie or a first kiss.  No, an unhappy one.  Like the first time you got a zit.  Or the first time you were pulled over.  Or the first time I washed my hands with bleach.  Like I did the other day.  Why?  A funny story, that.

In the midst of making dinner, in the midst of Tornado A’s witching hour when he NEEDS to be held NOW, in the midst of sending Tornado E to time out for wailing on Tornado S (though surprisingly Tornado S was fine), Tornado E went to the bathroom.  As he pulled off the toilet paper, the roll fell of the spindle and into the toilet.  The toilet with crap in it.

So I heard this:



I came running to find Tornado E standing there with his pants and underwear around his ankles.


And then I looked in the toilet.


For a moment, I reflected on the fact that I had lost my keys down a toilet a year and half ago, and if those keys could be flushed down a toilet, then surely this plastic tube could be too.  But the toilet that swallowed my tasty keys was a public restroom with a powerful, face-sucking flush.  This was a rental.


I grabbed the ever so small sliver sticking out of the water.  I let it drip.  I wrapped it in a tissue and ran for my bathroom, where I dropped in the sink.  I proceeded to scrub my hands.  Once.  Twice.  Thrice.  Four time.  Five.  Six.  Seven.  And where’s the bleach?

And then I washed my hands with bleach.  And then two more times with soap and water.  I let the spindle soak in bleach and water.  Ewwww.

And dinner – Crap.

Bathroom time!

Bathroom time is an unusual event in my household.  (When it occurs)  It usually has to involve a bowl movement.  A group bowl movement.  Because Tornado E NEEDS company.  Apparently I haven’t done my job in teaching him that bathroom time means privacy.  I try to lead by example, guarding my bathroom time as my only alone time throughout the day.  (Ok, not quite; I still have an hour of nap time or so, but still).  Now if only I could shut and lock the door without fear that someone would end up bloody or something valuable be broken.  Not that we have anything of value anymore except the TV, the Wii, and the computer.  Even my jewelry box is not sacred.

So Tornado E NEEDS company as he’s sitting on the john.  And I can’t take the smell any more.  I did my years of potty training, waiting with grace as I read one book after another, coming up with stimulating stories, wiping his @ss too many times.  I just Can. Not. Take that smell.  Anymore.

Since I get to plead out to do things like diaper changes, feeding, dishes, cooking, sweeping, wrestling with an alligator, and picking my nose, Tornado E has learned to con his little brother to sit with him.  Tornado S will bring Tornado E any toy or book that Tornado E fancies at that moment.  Then they will proceed to play and tell stories for a half hour.

Often Tornado S gets the urge to relieve himself, and then the bathroom is doubly stinky.  Tornado E sits on the toilet, and Tornado S sits on the training potty (because they need to go to the bathroom at the same time more often that not).  They face each other.  They tell stories, read books, play with their Jedis or pirates.

Maybe it’s my fault.  I do take longer in the restroom than needed if I can.  Mommy needs her peace.  And during the summer, it’s too hot to hide in the garage for too long.  In the winter, it’s too cold.  Besides I can always lock the bathroom door, if I don’t mind boys banging on it, demanding that I let them in or that I come get them something to eat/play with/drink.  So maybe I’ve set a bad example there.

But nothing could prepare me for the feces smear across the toilet because Tornado E had gone, not wiped, and moved to the edge of the seat to finish his game with Tornado S.  Ewwwwww.

Boys are so gross.

Anxieties and Accidents

I knew the separation was going to hit the boys hard.  Their daddy wasn’t going to be there in the middle of the night.  The Husband didn’t think it would be that bad.  Maybe an outburst or two.  He figured that they would be used to him going away for two weeks and being back for two weeks that this would be cake.

But it wasn’t.  They’ve been sniffing the air, testing it, knowing something isn’t quite right with their family.  Tornado E asked one day months ago, “Daddy, why do you make Mommy cry?”  Here we thought we were having our tough conversations with them tucked in bed asleep.  Or the day after The Husband decided we needed a separation.  Tornado E said, “Mommy, is Daddy going away to live in California forever?”  “No, Baby; he’d never leave you.”  Or later that day when Tornado S said this, “Daddy, you don’t go away.  We need you.  We ALL need you.”  This was months before we even decided on the official separation and before we even told them.  So yeah, I knew it would hit them hard.

It will be two weeks from tomorrow when we told them.  Tornado E has peed his pants once a day, if not twice, since then.  Tornado S is having accidents almost every day too.  I don’t know how I can reassure them any more.  We hug them and love them.  We whisper our love into their ears.  We’ve kept the Saturday Fun Day with the family going.  My mom gushes over them, holding them.  But the accidents keep happening.

Any suggestions?

At least he’s polite

My boys LOVE sitting on the pot.  They would sit there for hours if you let them.  I believe this is my fault because I feign constipation from time to time to get a little quality time to myself.  Not that it works much, but at least, it’s something.  When I have a schedule to keep, this little meditation on the toilet can be irksome, especially when I can smell the poop already in the potty.

After checking Tornado S three times and tapping my foot, I got the all clear.

Tornado S: Mommy!  Can you wipe my bottom?!

I walked into the bathroom and was shocked by the giant turd sitting in the plastic bowl.  A man-sized turd!

Me: No wonder you took so long.  That’s a huge poop!

Tornado S: Why, thank you.

A new rule?

Tornado S was pretending to pour juice and drink it.

Tornado S:  Mommy!  Do you want some juice?!

Me: Sure!

Tornado S grabbed his penis with his left hand.  He pretended to hold a cup with his right hand, placing it at the end of his penis.  He then proceeded to make a water-running noise.

Me: Uh, Tornado S?  What are you doing?

Tornado S:  I’m making you juice!

Me:  Out of your penis?

Tornado S:  Yes!  I make juice come out of my penis!

Me: Um, juice doesn’t come out of penises.

Tornado S:  It comes out of my penis!  Want some?!

Me:  No, thank you!

A new penis rule?  We don’t pretend drinkable fluid comes out of our penises.

A Morning of Potty

I was awoken by Tornado S telling me, “Mommy!  I need to go potty!”

I rolled over and undid his diaper.

Only Tornado S meant to say, “MOMMY!  I’m peeing!”

With my hand thoroughly drenched, I was wide awake and shouting, “GO TO THE BATHROOM!  RUN!  RUN!  RUN!”

Maybe that wasn’t the best phrase to use.  Or tone.  But he ran and finished in the potty.

He received a candy.

For the next three hours, he tried peeing in the potty.  Tinkling a few drops and demanding candy.  Sorry, little dude, you have to actually empty your bladder to get a treat.

As I rehunted the Internet for my mom’s frosting recipe (because I lost it after she gave it to me and then I found it last night on the Internet, printed it out, and promptly lost it again because that’s how I roll), I heard the sound of running water.  Running water hitting the carpet.  I spun around to see Tornado S emptying his bladder on the carpet.  ACK!


Again.  Not the best response.  So I flipped the bird at the computer because it just wouldn’t yield the recipe in a timely manner and went to find paper towels and Simple Green.  Sonofabitch.

An hour later, I was stirring frantically as I made little stepping stones from a package.  Apparently they gave me QuickSet instead of Plaster of Paris because the stone was setting before I was even done stirring.  I wanted to make handprints on the stone, but we’re settling for painting them.  As I was stirring, Tornado S came up to me.

“Mommy!  I went green poop!  I went green poop in the potty!”


Ok, my responses really do suck.

I jumped up.

“Tornado E!  Stir the QuickSet!  Tornado S!  Where’s your poop? ! Do you need to poop more?!”

There was a tiny log on the floor.  Tornado S ran before me into the bathroom.  I remembered Tornado E didn’t replace the seat after his own bowel movement on the regular toilet earlier in the morning.  Crap.  As I ran into the bathroom, ready to do damage control.  I noticed two things.  The seat was on the training potty.  And there was a big log in the potty.

My son rocks!

So we celebrated for ten seconds before I realized I left a four-year-old stirring QuickSet.  Damn.  I ran back, finished making the stepping stone, ran to get the celebratory candy, cleaned up the poop, called my parents for a celebration call, called Tornado S to flush his own poop, and thanked God for not making me crazy enough to take a picture of the poop before it was flushed down.

So two steps back, one step forward.  It’s a dance.

It changes

We’re still in the midst of potty training Tornado S.

Naked = good progress

Training pants = no progress

So obviously we let the kid walk around naked as much as possible.  Since he’s naked, he HAS to hold on to his penis as though it just may disappear if he doesn’t have a good grip on it.  He is in violation of Penis Rule #1.  You may play with your penis alone and in your room.  But he’s back to playing with it before I can even finish the damn sentence.

Then yesterday he ran into the room with tears in his eyes.

Tornado S: Mommy!  It’s big!

Me: What’s big?

Tornado S: My penis!  My penis is big!

Tornado S, congratulations.  You have your first erection.  It won’t be so scary when you get older.

And if you’re wondering, as soon as it went down, he was pleased again.