What did you want?


May 16, 2011

Tornado E asked for a gun.

What the hell?


We were driving home from my parents’ house, and Tornado E was investigating Tornado S’s new squirt gun from The Friendly Giant, aka the favorite uncle, for Tornado S’s birthday.

Tornado E: Mommy, I think you can give me a gun.

Me: Um, ok.

Tornado E: I want a gun.  A real one.  Because they’re easy to use.  You just put in the bullets and pull the trigger.  Can you get me one for my birthday?

What are they teaching you in that school?  First you want a cell phone, and now you want a gun.

 Um, hell no.


Weapons of minor destruction

I bought flails for the boys yesterday.  Do you know what a flail is? It’s a weapon that has a ball with spikes attached to a handle by a chain.  It is sometimes mistakenly called a mace or a morning star.  Obviously our flails are soft like Nerf.  The question that begs to be asked is: Why would I buy my children more weapons?

Because we already own:

5 nerf-like swords

4 hard plastic swords

2 staffs that switch to spears

1 battle-ax

1 wooden sword

1 wooden dagger

4 adult-size plastic daggers

4 shields

3 inflatable swords

4 extendable light sabers

1 light-up light saber

3 soft throwing stars

Obviously I’m teaching my sons to defend a small castle.  Now it’s off to dig a moat and buy a few crossbows.

5 reasons Tornado E loves me

(I reworked the creative spelling into something more boring and understandable.  But these were the reasons on his card.)

1. Because she plays Lego Star Wars with me.

(Tornado E has mentioned this several times to his teachers, and it’s to the point where I try to assure them that we play once a week.  Once a week.  I’m not sure the teachers believe me.)

2. Because she’s patient.

(I’m not sure how he figured that one out, but I’m grateful.  I’m trying hard on this patient thing.)

3. Because she plays Legos with me.

(I totally rock the Lego sets.  Better than his father.  Even though when we’re free-styling, I’m often told I’m  “doing it wrong.”)

4. Because she’s a good cook.

(How do you know?  You don’t eat!  Eat!  I promise you, I’m a good cook.  I learned from the best.)

5. Because she’s funny.

(At this point, my dad and I would race to shout “looking” and then laugh ourselves silly over such an old and stupid joke.  Humor is what my family does, and it’s totally cool that Tornado E finds me funny.  Tornado E is learning humor fast.  He’s already asking clarification over the finer points of sarcasm {Directed at other drivers, not him}.  The force is strong in this one.)

(I was disappointed that I was the only one of my friends who had her child’s list memorized.  I wanted to hear how all these smart, cute kids saw their mothers.  Bummer.  Any one care to share their mother’s day stories?)

For the blog

Tornado E: . . . And grandma is older than you because she’s taller than you.  And grandma is older than grandma-great because grandma is taller than grandma-great.

Ok, first off, I am taller than grandma.  It was my only goal in puberty, get taller than my mother.  That and go to college.  And by the time a kid is twelve, s/he is taller than grandma-great, so that is not saying much.

Tornado E: Isn’t that funny, Mommy?  I think you should put it in your blog.

I’m not sure if I should feel proud that he knows of the blog and wants his stories in it or worried because he knows of the blog and knows I put stories in it.  Maybe both.

Standing back and letting go

I’ve mentioned before that we stay after school for a while to let the kids run off some steam before us moms have to drag away our children and be locked away, alone, with our kids.  The other day one of the little girls ate an apple and set down the core next to her lunchbox because there are no garbage cans.  It wasn’t long before Tornado A crawled off his blanket to investigate it.  He rolled it, banged it, scratched it, and crawled away with it.

I assessed the danger.  Gross, yes.  But I highly doubt the child had some horrible disease that Tornado A would pick up.  Besides he had his binky in his mouth.

After crawling around with the apple core, getting it covered in dirt and tiny leaves, Tornado A sat and investigated the core some more.  Then he smelled it.  He spat out the binky.  He took a bite.

The mothers next to me shuddered.

I assessed the danger.  A little dirt, a little plant particles, and a little random saliva.  What’s the harm?

Yup, that’s how laid back I am.  I let my baby boy eat someone else’s apple core that he’d been dragging around the dirt.  And you know what.  He survived.

I’ve learned to pick my battles and go with the flow.  Sure, I can become a wall that the boys crash into when they go to far, but most times, I just let them be.  Some times they make choices I never would.  Like wearing a turtle neck, shorts, and cowboy boots in the pre-summer.  Like deciding to poke a cactus with shorter and shorter sticks.  Like drawing all over your own face with colored markers.  But they are learning and being their own person.

When one of the mothers came to school late, with a thunder-cloud hanging over her, I asked her what happened after she delivered her daughter to class.

Mother: I just wanted to brush her hair.  That’s all.  And she throws a huge fit.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  She does it every time I do her hair.  But she had a huge rat’s nest in it.  I noticed it yesterday, and I thought I need to do her hair.  And she fought and cried and yelled and wiggled.  I don’t know what I’m going to do.  Now we’re late.  It’s just . . . .

Me: Hard.  Parenting is hard.  And you’re a good mom.

She took a deep breath.

Me: Maybe you let her go without her hair being brushed.  Or you give her the choice to brush herself or let you.  Or maybe you cut it so it doesn’t become a problem.

Mother: I know.  It’s just . . . .

Me: Hard.  Let it go, love.  You’ll be happier.  She’ll be happier.

So we talked for a while longer until I convinced her she needed to let it go and she was able to get out her frustrations.  We parted ways.  And you know what.  She went back to the class and asked to see her daughter.  She pulled her daughter outside and gave her a hug.

I can learn a lot from other moms.

The center of attention

As I stood bouncing Tornado A on my hip, talking to the other moms, Tornado E was let out of the class.  One of the last because he didn’t hear his name called.  Twice.  He pulled out of his backpack a plastic tube and held it aloft, like Excalibur.


Immediately 16 five-year-olds and two three-year-olds are swarming around Tornado E, yelling, “ME, ME, ME!”

Then off Tornado E raced with the pack behind him.  Off went my merry wanderer of the day to lead them all on a merry chase over hill, over dale, thorough brush, thorough brier, over park, over pale, thorough flood, thorough fire.

Well, at least, they’re getting all that energy out.

Santa, Baby.

We took Tornado E when he was five months old.  There was no line.  My mom insisted.  That’s why we went.

The next year we were given tickets to a Christmas train ride with a Santa visit that was only for OC Girl Scouts.  A neighbor gave them to us because her troop organized it.  How could we disappoint her daughter who loved Tornado E?

The year after we nearly got away without one Santa visit.  But as we walked through one of the neighborhoods where every house is strewed with lights and people walk around looking at the huge electric bills, we spotted a “real” Santa sitting in one of the yards with some young, cute (I’m married with two kids, not dead) Marines collecting Toys for Tots.

The year after that I was too busy with Christmas and the debating over moving to worry about Santa.  My uncle dressed up as Santa for the Christmas Eve party.  My dear, brave, social Tornado E ran for cover, too scared to come out.  Maybe not going to see Santa was a good thing.

Last year we just never got around to it.  I’m such an awesome parent.  My uncle dressed up as Santa again.  This time he bribed my boys over with presents.  Once they noticed he had bells on his buckle, they liked him well enough.  Tornado E showed his own Santa costume.

A couple of weeks ago, one of the kindergartners told Tornado E about the mall Santa.  And I was doomed.  Luckily one of the mothers came to my aid and asked if I wanted to go together.  After many dropped plans due to sickness, we went today.  While I was on time (HOLY CRAP!), she ran late, which was fine.  The kids danced around with each other, glad to be together, trying to get a glimpse of Santa.  After making their Christmas wishes, releasing snow into the air, and testing the naughty-or-nice machine (they came out nice which just means Santa is as forgiving as God), they saw Santa.  My boys just stood there.  As a helped lifted Tornado S onto Santa’s lap, I whispered, “Tell Santa what you want.”  My shy Tornado S launched into a monologue of toddler-accented list of toys.  Then it was Tornado E’s turn, who asked for a Pillow Pet and Blizzard maker.  Tornado A didn’t know what to think as he stared at Santa.  The picture came out nice, and then we added the other two kids.  It took 45 minutes.  And I was thankful that Tornado A was a happy baby without a morning nap.  Oh, and that there was no incidents to mark this as the last year we could visit Santa at the mall.

Then again, maybe that would have been a good thing.


I wonder how much effort I should put into the blog this week.  Many of my favorite writers have closed up shop for the holidays.  Not because they are out partying it hard, but because they have a billion things to do and children underfoot causing those poor mothers to add more time and more things on the list of a billion.

Like my household.  Where the boys are “suppose” to be eating.  But Tornado E is mocking Tornado S.  Tornado S is trying to tell his own story.  Tornado E is interrupting and correcting Tornado S.  Tornado S is crying.  Tornado E has a naked doll and fork.  They’ve come in the office three times to tattle.  Oh, and the baby is sleeping an unusually long morning nap or else we would be out of the house doing grocery shopping.  Because I squandered the morning adventure on a Target run to get a few items we are in danger of running out of as well as a few gifts for daddy, which, horror of horrors, no one could agree on because the thing they want is sold out in their daddy’s sized.

Oh, vacation.  Oh, holidays.

So is any one out there?  Not that it matters.  I do need a place to vent.

All in a morning’s work

I might have once or twice hinted at the HUGE weapon stockade at my house.  Rarely do we see a gun of any sort, but we have a enough swords to arm our own 15th century squadron.  We have a few shields and daggers, as well as one bow and one battle axe.  Thank God, we don’t own any maces or morning stars, but I fear one day we will.

My sons often arm themselves before they go into public.  What is a pirate without a sword?  What is a knight without his sword?  What is a Jedi without a lightsaber?  And if one boy must have one, the both must have one.  I keep an eye on where they take them because I won’t let the boys go armed in stores, restaurants, and sometimes parks.  At school, the weapon must be relinquished before Tornado E goes into the class room.  But that boy is sneaky.

The other day as Tornado E rushed passed me to rush passed his teacher.

Me: (Using The Voice) Tornado E!  Give me the axe!  Bring me the axe!

Tornado E spun on his heel and stalked back to me with his head bowed.  His teacher pondered the scene.  His other teacher popped out her head out the doorway.

Teacher #2: Did she just say “axe?”

Tornado E handed me the battle axe, and I gave him a hug, shifting Tornado A’s weight around.

Teacher #1: She did.  We don’t hear “axe” very often.  Sword or gun, yes.  Axe, no.

Me: (Tornado A on my left hip, axe in my right hand) That’s funny.  I say it everyday.

Recap 12/10

1. Searching for nice clothes for a three-year-old is like looking for sunken treasure.  You know it’s out there, but it takes a bloody long time to find it with lots of hit and misses.

2. I need a better green nail polish.  One that does not need four coats to hide the white of my nails.

3. Why are kid shoes so damn expensive?

4. I think I finally have a clean house.  Frightening.  Except for the office, but I don’t count that.

5. Someone asked if I was ready for Christmas and done with my baking.  I laughed until I cried.

6. When all was said and done, I paid three times the original price of a toy that is no longer being made, but it will be worth the price when I see Tornado S’s face on Christmas.

7. Fisher-Price, WTF?  Pirates made for 3 to 5 year olds should not being loosing their arms within a year of purchase.

8. Tornado E looked at the light blue shirt and khaki pants I bought him for Christmas and declared them, “too boring.”  I should have known; last week he went to school with pirate pajama pants, red-and-white striped polo shirt, and a scarf with the Broncos and 49ers icons knitted on it as a souvenir from the London game.

9. Tornado A has gotten a sixth tooth AND started crawling.  It’s been a record week.

10. Every morning I get up and tell myself, “It’s going to be a good day, and I choose to be happy” (among other things).  I’m stubborn enough to make sure it happens.