Ten Second Rule

Tornado E: Mommy!  Did you wash the floors today?

Well, no.  I haven’t mopped in a few days.  I haven’t vacuumed since . . . what day is it?

Me: Why?

Tornado E: I just dropped a fishy, and I don’t know if I can eat it.  It might be dirty and full of germs.

Seriously?  Really?  Come on.  If it’s good food, it’s at least a ten second rule.  Fried okra on the other hand is dirty the second it’s in the air.  Chocolate is at least a day, depending where it’s dropped.

Me: Yes.

Tornado E: Ok.

This has been repeated every day with all sorts of food in the kitchen, in the family room, on carpet, on tile.  This is the side effect of preschool.  My son is becoming a germ-aphobe.  Awesome.  Now if only that would translate to using a fork.

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Volunteering with my feet Firmly on the ground

Yesterday I volunteered to help Tornado E’s class on their field trip to the fire station that was across the street from the school.  I was looking forward to volunteering as I was curious to see how my son acted in class, the son who the teacher told me couldn’t keep his hands to himself.

As I signed Tornado E into his class, the teacher told me about how they asked for two volunteers to go into the ladder on the ladder truck.  As the teacher bubbled on, I felt a pit grow in my stomach, knowing that yes, the rumors where true that my uncle worked at the fire station and I was going to have to go on that stupidly high, 100 foot tall ladder.  My uncle, being one of my father’s little brother, being from my father’s clan, would get a kick out of forcing his niece up a ladder she was terrified of.  Yup, that’s how the clan rolls.  My dad would totally do the same.

An hour later I walked with the other moms and children to the edge of the street.  Across the street, down the drive way, out of the door, a man walked out, and I KNEW that stance.  I KNEW that walked.  I started to sweat profusely and damning the pro-estrogen that would make me sick but wasn’t strong enough to compete with the testosterone running riot in my blood stream.  Crap.

As we walked across the street, as my uncle stood in the middle of the street to protect us from the stopping traffic, I smiled and began to pray.  When I walked by him, after he had done his introduction, as he held out the door, I hugged him and paid my respects, still praying.

And I learned a few things that day:

  1. Tornado E doesn’t shout out in class.
  2. Tornado E does like to touch and gently shove other kids.
  3. Tornado E has found another little boy who will hug him back while trying to throw each other to the ground.
  4. Tornado E is one of the handfuls in the class.
  5. God answers prayers because two other moms jumped at the chance to ride the ladder with my uncle.

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So Afternoons are better

I was so upset that Tornado E wasn’t in the morning class.  So upset.  Disappointed.  Worried.  Frustrated.  Anxious.  The kid needs naps, and I would inevitably kill him when he threw one too many fits over something silly like being made to eat something for dinner or stopped from hitting his brother.  That’s why I got a replacement kid on the way.

But I think Someone was looking out for me.  Because we’re taking mornings slow.  I’m nursing my tea, watching the news; while they are destroying the house with toys.  They’re watching way too many cartoons as I shower and resettle my stomach, praying that breakfast will stay down.  Unlike previous pregnancies, breakfast is staying down.  Most days.

Note: Rice Krispies not as good the second time.  Not so good at all.

But if we had to race to school to get there at 8 in the morning, which seemed like a breeze just two months ago, I would be retching in the public trash can outside Tornado E’s class room, wearing Depends as my stomach has to eject every last crumb from my body.

So I owe You a Thank you.  And (as usual) an Apology.  (As usual) You gave me what I needed, not what I wanted.  Though this does not make up for “That thing,” I’m still pissed off about that.

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Little Brotherly Love

Yesterday Tornado S and I dropped Tornado E off at school.  Tornado E’s school is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons.  We wanted to ease Tornado E into school, rather than drop him into the deep end as some of the schools we looked at would do.

I packed the boys into the car after lunch.  Each had his backpack strapped on to his back.  I reminded Tornado E to raise his hand during the class and to listen as I know these are his biggest weakness.  I had observed this last summer during his swim classes and then again at the open house where the teacher went through circle time with the kids.  Really, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.

We arrived in good time.  The boys and I braved the sweltering heat as we marched to the classroom.  A few other moms stood around with their kids, talking.  I herded mine to keep them from running around in the landscaping.  No one else’s kid was doing that, so I figured I shouldn’t allow mine either.  Of course, it is desert-scaping; nothing can hurt it.

The teacher opened the door, and the children marched one by one. Tornado S followed his brother.

I grabbed Tornado S.

Me: No, Tornado S.  That’s your brother’s class.  That’s Tornado E’s class.  Not for Tornado S.

Tornado S: Brothr!

He tried to wiggle out of my grasp.  He started to cry, wail, scream.

Me: Tornado S, it’s ok.  You’re going home with Mommy, and we’re going to have fun.  Do you want to have fun with Mommy?

Tornado S: BROTHR!!!

I picked him up, looking straight into his big brown eyes.

Me: I know.  You want to play with Tornado E and his friends.  But you’re not old enough yet.  We can go home and play.  We’ll have some special time.

Tornado S: With Dadda?

Me: Yes, Daddy is home.  We can play with him, too.  Do you think that is a good plan?

Tornado S nodded.  We walked away.

Me: How about a binky?

Tornado S: BINK!

Of course, Tornado S slept through the whole afternoon, missing any Mommy and just Me time.  Poor kid.

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Pre-Kindergarten Outing: Or Did you say you had a plan?

It had been decided for a month or two that since their daughter would stand on their living room couch and cry to watch the neighborhood children go to the school across the street that she would attend a pre-kindergarten the next fall.  So the mother dressed herself in a cute maternity outfit and dressed the daughter in a pink dress and headed to nearest pre-kindergarten to sit in on a class.  The daughter watched in awe, gripping her mother’s hand, as the school children listened to a story and went to their seats for seat work.  The mother introduced herself and her daughter to the teacher.  The teacher smiled and asked the little girl when she would turn four and thus be old enough for the school.  Without hesitation, the daughter looked up and said, “On my next birthday.”



I rushed around the house trying to find the perfect shirt, the perfect shoes, the perfect necklace, wondering when was the last time I even cared what I wore.  My husband said Evan was dressed and ready to go.  I yelled downstairs that Evan needed to brush his teeth and hair and that his face still had traces of syrup.  Of all the days for the boys to actually allow us to sleep in!  I raced down with a warm washcloth, a wet brush, and toothpasted toothbrush.


Me: Evan, what’s your last name?


Evan: L-


Me: Good job.  How old are you?


Evan: Three.


Me: Good.  When will you turn four?


Evan: (puzzled look)


Me: Evan, when is your birthday?


Evan: I’m going to have a Mickey Mouse-Kung Fu Panda birthday party, and Grandma is going to make my cake.  She makes the best cakes for me.  But it’s not my birthday.


Me: You’re birthday is July 5th.  Can you say July 5th?


Evan: July 5th.


Me: Good.  Here.  Brush your teeth.  Up and down.  Up and down.  Back and forth.  Back and forth.


We rush to the school, making it just in time as I had forgotten how bad traffic was at eight in the morning.  We headed for the office.  Excited my husband and I sit down with Evan in my lap as we waited for the vice principal. 


We had discussed this for months.  Evan needs to go to school next year.  He’s too bright.  He needs social interaction.  He needs friends.  He needs to learn to write his name and coloring within the lines.  He needs some sort of structure.  He needs some time away from his mother.


We get up and meet the vice principal.  Who asks if Evan will be  . . . five next September.  Excuse me?  Oh, pre-kindergarten is actually for slightly less mature five year olds, but it’s the same thing as kindergarten, falling under the California state curriculum for kindergarten.  Oh, we would love to still see the class.  We are here anyways.  Thank you for the suggestions of pre-schools.  Of course, we understand.  It is a lovely school, and the teacher is a lovely woman who seems thoroughly disappointed that they can’t take four year olds but makes several more suggestions of pre-schools around the county.  But my, he is a bright boy.


The class was small just five boys and five girls, counting the days, saying the day of the week, counting by ten to hundred, discussing patterns, talking about the weather, saying the ABC sounds all the way to L, and listening to the gingerbread man story.  It was just as I had imagined.  A small class snuggled in a class room filled with educational toys and activities. 


As we left the school, I explained to my husband what the difference between pre-kindergarten and pre-school was in Arizona.  See pre-kindergarten was like a prep-high school; it existed to gear the child up towards kindergarten in the same way a prep-high school gear its students for college.  In the pre-kindergarten, there were more academics then in a pre-school setting.  Sure, there were still lots of fun and games, but the children left the class being able to write the ABCs and read a few words.  I had never heard of a pre-kindergarten that was actually a kindergarten.  But then California’s cut off date is the beginning of December; while Arizona’s is the beginning of September.  It had to make for some immaturity in the early grades.


So with a heavy heart I realized that I had only just begun my research for some sort of school for Evan, though I was glad to hear that no one recommended a five day, full day class schedule for four year olds as was the case at my old Catholic school.  Damn, I thought I had everything planned.  Guess it’s back to the old drawing board.


Me: So, Evan, did you like the school?


Evan: No.


Me: (surprised because he was so excited to go) Why?


Evan: I don’t like the gingerbread man story.  It’s scary.  No school for me.




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