A Discussion with a Four Year Old

Tornado S: Where is the Emperor?

Me: What?

Tornado S: Where is the Emperor?

Me: I don’t know, sweetheart.

Tornado S: YOU do know!

Me: No.  I do not.  It’s not my toy.  Where did you have it last?

Tornado S: I don’t know.  YOU do!

Me: No.  I don’t.

Tornado S: It’s in the car!  Get it!

Me: No.  Hold on.  (pause) No.  It’s not in the car.  You took your lightsaber and blanky with you.  Not your Star Wars figures.

Tornado S: No!  I had the Emperor!

Me: No.  You had your lightsaber.  Remember?

Tornado S: Where is the Emperor?!  Get it!

Me: I don’t know where it is.

Tornado S: Yes, YOU do!

Me: (sigh. pause.  think.) You had it on your dresser while you dressed.  Did you move it?

Tornado S: You’re right!!!  It’s on my dresser.

Me: Well, then.  Now you know where it is.

Tornado S: Go get it!

I’m going to find some chocolate.

Things I learned at Pre-Kindergarten

1. If an animal is kind, sweet, and considerate, it *must* be a girl.  It doesn’t matter if she has a boy’s name.  Just ask any four-year-old girl.

2. We are not allowed to draw guns because they are “inappropriate at school.” (and yes, the four-year-old who used that word)

3. You have ten minutes at a project before they cannot contain the energy bottling up in their little bodies.

4. “Simon Says” is a great game to keep four-year-olds occupied.

5. Never let a four-year-old lead “Simon Says” if you want them to stay in one place, be somewhat quiet, or have the command take less than two minutes.

6. If they run, they race.

7. Some of those shoes those girls have, I want in adult sizes.

8. Nothing is cuter than Tornado S beaming and waving from his spot at circle time when I walk into the room.

That doesn’t make any sense

Tornado S has a new tactic in use of logic and reason to argue his way out of anything he doesn’t want to do.

Me: Tornado S, eat breakfast.  You don’t want to be late.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: If you don’t eat, then you don’t get dressed, then you don’t get to school on time.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.


Me: Tornado S!  Get dressed!

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: Yes, it does.  Do you want to go to school naked?

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.


Me: Tornado S!  Hurry!  We have to get you to school.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: You have to go to school.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.


Me: Tornado S, it’s time to practice writing your name.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: If you want to play anything, you have to do your name.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.


Me: Tornado S, it’s time to shut off the Wii and TV.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: It does because we have to go get Tornado E.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.


Me: Stop playing and go wash up for dinner.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: Yes, it does.  It’s dinner time.  You need to wash your hands.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.


Me: It’s time to pick up the toys.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: If you want to keep them from being broken, if you want to find them in the morning, if you don’t want to trip, it makes perfect sense.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.


Me: Hurry up!  It’s time to get out of the bath.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: (sigh)


Me: Ok.  It’s time for bed.

Tornado S: That doesn’t make any sense.

Me: ….


Tornado S: No.  You have to take the light saber out of him or he’ll die.  The light saber is in his chest.  We have to pull it out, and then he’ll live.

Me: That doesn’t make any sense.

It’s just a little surgery


Pro ced ure.

Not surgery.

Surgery means they have to cut you open.

Surgery means there is recovery time.

Surgery is expensive.  And November has been expensive enough, thank you very much.

I got home from my most wonderful trip late at night.  I was debriefed.  And then unlike any smart person, I stayed up later than I should.  (But I had a good reason!  I swear!)  I got everything prepared for a whirlwind of a morning.  We had to be at the hospital at 8am.  Tornado S couldn’t eat.  Tornado E had to be at school at 9am.  We couldn’t bring Tornado A.  Luckily our support system rocked.

After dressing kids and dropping them off, we arrived at the hospital on time.  We were ushered into the registration office to fill out necessary paperwork and to leave our pound of flesh.  (I f-ing hate of health insurance system!)  Then we waited.  I read a Star Wars book to Tornado S.  Finally we were called back to the prepping station.

The nurses were amazing.  They engaged Tornado S.  They told him what was going on in child terms.  “I’m reading the numbers in your head.”  “I’m looking at your heart beat on the TV.”  “This cuff is going to hug your arm tight.”  “You get to wear this really neat outfit.”  “Who are you holding?”  “Yoda is my favorite.”

Um, Parent Fail: I forgot the blankie.  BUT.  I did find Star Wars figures in the car.

In no time, Tornado S was prepped and ready to go.  And we waited some more.  I began reading the Star Wars book again.  Then another little boy and his parents entered the prepping station.  He was about three, and where ever his thing was stuck hurt him.  He was crying, screaming, throwing all manners of fits.  He was uncooperative.  The parents were stressed and distressed.  Any one could see the poor boy was scared and in pain and all was forgiven.  Anyone that didn’t understand was clearly a jerk and needed a black eye.

Tornado S was worried.  He stared at the boy and looked up at me.

Me: (whispering) You can tell him its ok.

Tornado S: (leaning around me, trying to make eye contact) It’s OK! (pause.  No response from the boy.)  Hey!  You’ll be fine!  (Pause)  IT WON’T HURT!

The boy stopped fighting the nurses and crying and looked at Tornado S.  Tornado S smiled.

Tornado S:  It won’t hurt!

The fight went out of the boy.  He submitted to the prepping.

Not too long after that, the anesthesiologist came.  He began with a lecture of laughing gas, aimed for a child much older than Tornado S.

Dr: And everyone wanted to try it.  They would pay to do it.  Do you want to try it?

Tornado S blinked at him.

I sighed.

Me: Tornado S.  They’re going to put a mask on you.  Like Darth Vader.  And then you have to breathe into it.  Like Darth Vader.  Can you show me how you breathe like Darth Vader?  (Tornado S mimics the breathing.)  Great!  Now the nurses and doctors are going to want to hear that too?  Can you do it for them.

Tornado S nodded.  The doctor smiled.

Dr:  I have a little boy who is ten.  And he loves Star Wars.  We should talk.

As a Star Wars conversation started, the ENT checked in on us and reassured us.  The anesthesiologist picked up Tornado S and carried him away.

My baby was having a procedure.

I tried to read as I waited.

Ten minutes later the ENT entered the waiting room.  He handed me a plastic container, holding the pearl bead with a little ear wax on it.

ENT: Done.  They’re bringing him up from being under, and they will call you in soon.

I looked at the bead.  The very expensive plastic bead that Tornado E had put with the pirate treasure.

Stupid bead.

What do I do with you now?

I still think it should go in the baby book.

The damn bead

It’s just a little bead

I called my mom, asking her how I would remove a bead out of an ear.  “Do you want me to come over and take a look?”  Yes, yes, I would.  She confirmed what I feared.  It was best to go to the ER.  Crap.  Crap.

A call to their father: “Tornado S put a bead in his ear.  I need to take him to the ER.  My mom is here.  Can you come over and watch the boys?”  “Ok.  I’ll let her know you’ll be here in twenty.”  “Yeah, I know.  This sucks.  Talk to you later.”

A text to a friend: “My boys decided they needed to push my buttons to make sure I didn’t miss them too much.  Then Tornado S told me he put a ball in his ear when the sun was shining.  Guess where I’m going.”

I stuffed all the Star Wars book in a bag.  I tossed in some Star Wars figures.  I grabbed Tornado S’s blankie. My mom helped Tornado S into his jacket.  I threw mine on, and we ran out of the house.  At least, I was fully prepared for the very long wait ahead of us.

When we arrived, I turned around to tell Tornado S.  To find him completely asleep.  No problem.  I picked him up.  I grabbed the bag and my purse and marched into the ER.  To march back to the kiddie waiting room.  Yea.

We waited for three and half hours. We were in triage once, and Tornado S slept through it. He was dead asleep in my arms.  I was not prepared for that.  I would have lost my grip on sanity in small doses from boredom and watching tween Disney programs, (Who are those writers?  Better yet, who hires them?  Because I can write better stuff half asleep.  Pay me.) if I didn’t have some one to text back and forth to.  I also had “Pocket Frogs” as well.  But it was the texting because honestly how long can you be entertained by bouncing frogs from one lily pad to another?

Finally we were called to the back.  Tornado S woke up.  The nurse looked in his ear.  “Let me think and come back and let you know what I come up with me.”

I felt so reassured.

The first technique she tried to pull it out with some sort of plastic hook.


The second technique a doctor recommended some other nurses suck it out with a vacuum.  One nurse with the hose.  The other nurse and I held Tornado S.


Those nurses suggested a third technique.  The paper clip technique.  Three nurses and I held down Tornado S as he thrashed as they tried to pop out the bead with a paper clip.  He screamed out “Mommy!  Help me!!!”  My heart broke.  I held on.  Praying.


They gave me a reference for an ENT, and I held Tornado S tight, blinking back tears.

Oh, and did I mention after a four-hour ordeal, I still was leaving tomor- I mean, I was leaving that day.

I stayed up way too late trying to get things done.


Friday morning, I was a tornado.  It’s sick how well I do under pressure.  Sick.  I got boys up and ready.  I allowed Tornado S to sleep in, but when he woke, he insisted on going to school because it was crazy sock day.  I got things done.  I called the ENT before we left for school and left a message.

I explained things to Tornado S’s teacher.  Dropped off Tornado E.  Dropped off food from Tornado E’s fundraiser.  Started getting the support network online.  Called the ENT again.  Left a message again.  Tried to straighten up the house.  About to jump in the show- Phone call.  Tornado S’s teacher wanted to know if I could pick up Tornado S because they were worried he would do something to lodge the bead in further on their watch.  Run to get Tornado S.  Jump in the shower.  Hear the phone ring.  Jump out of the shower.  The ENT.

I explained the situation.

The scheduler: Will Monday afternoon work for you, ma’am?

Me: No.  Did you miss what I said?  My son has a bead in his ear.  The ER couldn’t remove it last night.  If for some chance, it moves and starts to hurt him, they can’t get it out.  So Monday will not work for us.  I understand if you can’t help us, but if you can’t then give me the number of someone who can.

The scheduler: I can try to fit him in at 3:30, but there will be a wait.  I don’t know how long.

Me: We’ll be there.

I organized my mom to watch Tornado A and Tornado E while their father took Tornado S to the doctor.

I was told I could postpone my flight or my trip.  Wally told me to get on the damn plane.

I had to trust.  It’ll be fine.  He is their father.  He can do this.  I had to trust.  I had to trust.


“We’re at the doctor’s”

“How’s the wait?”

“Um, we’re actually waiting in the room.”

“How’s Tornado S?”

“Fine.  Oh, there’s the doctor.  Got to go.”

“Ok.  Good luck.  Tell Tornado S I love him and to be brave!”

Breathe.  Breathe.  Breathe.  Trust.  Trust.  Trust.  Everything will be fine.

The Imperial March


“The doctor couldn’t even get near the ear.  Tornado S freaked.  They’re going to have to put him under.  I’ve talked to the woman who is setting this all up.  It may be Monday or Tuesday.”

Tuesday.  Tuesday.  Tuesday.

“Ok. How’s Tornado S doing?”

“Hold on.  Here.”

“Hi, Mama!”

“Hi, Baby!  How are you?”

*enter five-minute monologue about Sith Lords and Jedis and toys and Mario with a toddler accent*

“Daddy says I’ve got to go.  I love you, Mama.  Bye-bye.”

“I love you too, Tornado S.  Be good.  I’ll talk to you later.”

Please let it be Tuesday.

Christmas ornaments for kids, preschoolers, and toddlers to make

Christmas is coming.  The goose is getting fat.  I love prepping for Christmas. Tornado E and I are brain storming for this year’s ornaments and crafts.  I’m not sure what to do for the families.  Here are some ornaments we made last year.  We had a blast making them.  Depending on the age and the ability of the child will depend on how much work you do.

Mini Christmas Trees

(I remember doing something similar when I was a Brownie in Girl Scouts. It’s an easy, fun, and messy project.  Tornado E (5) and Tornado S (3) really enjoyed making them.)

What you need:

Pine cones

Green spray paint



Paper plates


Spray paint pine cones green.  Once the pine cones are dry, pour glue in one paper plate and glitter in another.  Have the child roll the pine cone in the glue and then in the glitter.  Let the pine cone dry.  Glue ribbon to the pine cone to make a loop.  Allow to dry.

Glitter Shells

(I saw this in a Martha Stewart magazine.  The hard part is putting a whole in the shell; you’ll need a drill, preferably a dremel drill.  It was easy to adopt for children.  I’m thinking I want to try other shells this year.  The boys loved making these.  I loved playing with my dad’s dremel drill.  If only I had a real reason to get one.)

Things you need:

Shells (We used clam shells)

Dremel Drill



Paper plates

Tooth pick

Ribbon or string

Drill a hole in the top of the shell.  Have the child dip the shell into the glue.  Have the child cover the shell in glitter.  (We did most shells in one color as well as mixing two colors together to get a neat effect.)  Clear the hole of glue and glitter.  Allow to dry.  Thread the whole with ribbon or string.  Tie the ribbon to make a loop.

Clay Ornaments

(These are so easy, simple, and fun.  Toddlers can even do it.  Now that I think about it, I might have the boys make more this year and work on decorating them in different ways.  The boys had lots of fun.  Keep on eye on these.  They can burn quickly.  Tornado E prefered the burnt ones.  I was less than thrilled.)

What you need:

Polymer Clay

Something to cut clay in a circle (I used a plastic Easter egg.)

Rubber stamps


Cookie sheet

Tooth pick



Have the child knead the clay for at least two minutes.  (For younger children, you may have to work with it too.)  Roll the clay flat to about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick.  Cut out circles.  Use the straw to cut out a hole in the top.  Have the child press a rubber stamp in to the clay.  On the back of the clay, write the child’s name or initials with the year.  Cover a cookie sheet with foil, and place the ornaments on it.  Bake in an oven or toaster oven as it says on the directions. (275°F for 15 mins.  I think mine baked in 10 mins.)  Let the ornaments cool.  String ornaments with ribbon.

More craft and ornament ideas

Christmas crafts for kids, preschoolers and toddlers part 2

Winter and Christmas Crafts for Toddlers and Children

More Christmas Crafts for Children, Toddlers, and Babies

Christmas Crafts for Kids, Toddlers, and Babies

Tornado S’s pearls of wisdom

Swinging a stick his height and an inch thick- I will not hit Tornado A with this stick!

On grabbing a handful of bills that Tornado A tossed out of their father’s wallet- I had no money!  Now I have a lot of money!  I will buy the Monkey Castle!

On the date- Today is tomorrow!

On putting his shoes away- But I will wear them later!

Meals are meant to be eaten standing up, pacing, and dancing around the dinner table.

On pushing Tornado A- He was getting my toys!  And I said, “No, Tornado A, no!”  And he didn’t listen!

On time out- But I said I was sorry!

On being told he had to rest two more minutes- How about three?

Word and name recognition craft

A craft!  A craft!  I finally had a moment to type up a craft for the blog.  Tornado S and I have done dozens of these.  They are fun, easy, and help a child learn to recognize his/her name and start learning to write it.

Things you need:

  • Paper
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Glue
  • Various materials such as glitter, fabric paint, shells . . . .

Type the letter or name in a word processor.  In Microsoft word, I suggest Century Gothic because it is similar to block writing.  Make sure the to use bold type and to make the word or letter large enough that it fills the page.  You can either leave it solid or make it an outline. (I always use outline.)  Print out the word or letter.  Have the child hold the glue and trace the letters.  On younger children that are learning to write, help the child trace the letters.  Have the child decorate the letters.  We have used glitter, beans, rice, pebbles, shells, buttons, noodles, sand, salt, rock salt, beads.  The sky’s the limit.  Instead of glue, you can also use fabric paint.  Tornado S especially loved the glow-in-the-dark fabric paint.


Last week, it was determined the boys could not wait a moment longer for shoes.  Not a moment longer.  And hell, if that’s what we wanted to do for the evening instead of something fun, like tear apart the house, who was I to get in the way.

But I have a condition.  Good shoes.  No crappy shoes.  Tornado E wore through two pairs of Target shoes before he could out grow them.  We didn’t save a dime buying crappy shoes.  Tornado A is learning to walk.  Our first pediatrician was insistent that we get good shoes for a toddling Tornado E.  “He only has one set of feet.”

My plan was to go up to the outlet mall an hour and half a way and make a day of it.  But since we needed to get shoes today.  Off we ran.

Only to find out the buy one get the one half off sale starts “tomorrow.”

Twenty minutes of driving for nothing.

But my boys had found the Star Wars shoes.  Tornado S had fallen in love with the Darth Vadar shoes.  Designed like the helmet that lit up at the eyes and corner of the “mouthpiece.”  They were on clearance.  In certain sizes.

Oh, Lord, please don’t let me have to break his heart.

But he fit in them.  And danced in them.  And stomped in them.  All the world was a happy place.

And the next day, Tornado E stomped, danced, kicked, jumped in his Captain Rex clone shoes.

And Tornado A.

Watching Tornado A was like watching someone rollerskate for the first time.

He never cried when he fell.  He just picked himself up and toddled again as best he could in shoes.

Sorry, buddy.  We should’ve bought you shoes a long time ago.


They were Bowsers today.  Tornado E was a sliding Bowser.  Tornado S was a hop-hop Bowser.  Obviously Tornado A was a climb-out-of-the-cart-and-land-head-first Bowser.  At least he was trying to be.  As the hero, I foiled his plans one after another by sitting him back into a sitting position with a firm “no.”  This is the reason why I don’t slide three feet to a stop, I don’t ride the shopping cart, I don’t spin the cantaloupe on my fingers or toss things over my shoulder in the basket; I don’t want to give the boys any ideas.  Parenting is such a joykill.

As Tornado E slid and twirled around people and Tornado S hop-hop-hopping, having people hop out of his way, I hummed No Doubt’s “Underneath it all,” reminding me that they are lovely and I’m really lucky.  At least it was drowning out . . . oh God it’s Britney Spears.  How many things left on the list?


I stood in the cereal aisle, trying to do math, debating if the four for ten and free milk was really cheaper than the generic brand and paying for milk.  All the while, I kept an eye on the boys telling them to move out of the way and we are not getting that cereal or that one and no, Tornado A, sit down.

Older gentleman: Three boys?

Me: (smiling.  Please don’t scold me; I’m doing the best I can) Yes.

Older gentleman: (smiling) They are quite a handful.  You’re very lucky.

Me: Yes, they are. (a chuckle) And yes, I am.

Older gentleman: We had five boys.  All of them a year apart.  Except the baby.  He was two years apart.

Me: Wow.

Older gentleman: Once there were so many of them in diapers.  (chuckle)  I had a wonderful wife, and she stayed home, and I worked.  She was amazing. There were years when the refrigerator light was never off.

Me: It must have been a busy, full household.

Older gentleman: It was.  Enjoy them.  They are blessings.  And you are lucky.

We looked over to watch my boys dancing to music they could only here.

Yes, I am.  All they’ve got is me and somehow I’m full of forgiveness and I guess this really was meant to be.

Me: Thank you.