Being the smallest

It must be tough being the youngest, watching your big brothers have a chance to go on rides that they don’t want to go on. It must be tough to be the smallest and know you can’t even be in line with your brothers until they freak out and beg to get out of line. It must be tough being the little guy, hanging out with your beloved Papi, doing other rides, eating secret snacks, visiting stores, instead of waiting in line with everyone else.

Tornado A was finally big enough to ride all the rides in Disneyland, except one. The Indiana Jones ride. Once he learned that, it was the only ride he wanted to go on, insisting he could grow one inch in a month. By Disneyland day, he had not grown that inch, but Wally, the beloved godmother, was determined.

While I stood with the older two, who begged not to be forced to go on the ride, Wally took Tornado A to the line operator and tried reasoning and sweet talking. But alas, Tornado A was a hair too short.

And oh, the wails of inconsolable grief! Barely drowning out the sighs of relief.

Me: I’m sorry, baby. Next year. Or I can take you off roading. It’s the same thing. It’ll be ok. Hey, Tornado A. Do you want to pick out the next ride? We’ll go on any ride you want.

Tornado A slowly lifted his tear-stained face from his hands. He sniffled.

Tornado A: The Haunted Mansion.

The begging continued from the older brothers. Just for a moment, I saw a mischievous glint in Tornado A’s eyes.

(And yes, the older boys were forced on the ride, but it loses its scariness when your mother recites every word during the whole ride.)


It’s Only the First Day.

Go ahead and emphasize a different word in that sentence. And it totally describes moments of today.

The first day of summer. Ish. I guess Friday was, but I kept the boys busy, helping me clean up the classroom, watching The Simpsons, and painting.

Today we had a lot more down time. Because kids can entertain themselves.

Or fight with their sibling.

So when one of my boys gets bored, he picks on a sibling. Kicking, punching, name-calling, laying on him, leaning on him, touching him, making annoying noises, taking his favorite toy, making him mess up on whatever he’s doing. You know, sibling stuff.

It’s already driving me crazy.

It’s only been a day.

So I’ll go back to what works. Time outs for name calling. Punching the punching bag when it’s a physical assault. Picking up toys and doing chores for boredom. Putting in a jewel in our kindness jar when I catch them doing a kind deed.

I hope I can get this taken care of before I take them on vacation in a couple of weeks. The boys and I trapped in a hotel room with nowhere to go sounds like a nightmare.



It’s hard to teach sharing and being nice to people.  I sometimes wonder if as humans, we are naturally selfish, egotistical beings and that it is against our very natures to think beyond ourselves.  I struggle to teach the boys to get along, to share their toys with each other, or, at the very least, stop f-ing antagonizing each other.  Jesus.  Is it so hard to just not make your brother scream in aggravation because you said something or took away the toy or hit him?  Leave him alone!


So imagine my surprise when ever was upset that Tornado S had an eyeball balloon and he didn’t.  While Tornado E was at school, we were at the grocery store, where they were giving away their Halloween balloons.  When a store clerk asked Tornado S if he wanted one, he asked for the eye-ball balloon with a please.  All day, Tornado S was talking to his Eye-Ball Friend.  Naturally, Tornado E had to destroy this special bond.

After the third time of Tornado E taking the balloon and the second time of him putting the ribbon in his mouth to irritate Tornado S, I sent Tornado E to time out.  After the five minutes, we had a nice little discussion over when something belongs to someone else, we leave it alone.  We play with other people’s things when we ask and they say yes.

Tornado E: But I like the eye-ball balloon!

Me: I know.  But it’s Tornado S’s.

Tornado E: But Mommmmmmyyyyyyy!

Me: It’s still Tornado S’s.  Play with the other balloon.

Tornado S: Here, brother!  You want to play with it?!  You can!

And then I realize my boy is the sweetest, kindest, most adorable boy on the planet.  And maybe I had a hand in it.

Take my children, please.

My sons are alive today at this moment because I’m a saint.  Ok, I might be exaggerating a little but not by much.

Tornado E is on the throttle taking a supervillan’s pleasure in antagonizing the hell out of Tornado S.  Tornado S retaliates by either hitting or screaming or both.  This has been going on for several days, perhaps even weeks.  Then today the screaming started before 7am.  Then while I was feeding Tornado A his mid-morning meal, the boys that would be an absolutely awesome idea to wash their hair with hand soap.  And to make matters even more fun, Tornado S poured a water bottle filled with water onto the kitchen floor.

I wanted to scream.  I wanted to beat.  I wanted to send everyone to time out for hours.

Instead, I placed a sleeping Tornado A in his bassinet.  I told Tornado E to figure out how he was going to get soap out of his hair.  I gave Tornado S a rag to dry up the water.

But I fear I’m losing control.  I have to repeat myself several times to get them to do what I ask.  Tornado E is now name calling.  Tornado S cries and screeches when things don’t go his way.  It’s like pulling teeth to get them to pick up their toys or get ready for bed.

I’m not sure if this is a phase.  But I’ve been telling everyone it is.  I don’t know if they’re just testing the lines.  I don’t know if this has something to do with having a new baby in the house.  I don’t know if this has to do with their allergies acting up.

I do think if I started cracking down, they would be in time out all the time.  Which might have to be done.  And I wonder if I spent more time with them having fun that they wouldn’t act out so much.  But I spend Tornado A’s nap time trying to get them to clean and yelling at them as they pick on each other.  I just hate the yelling all the time.

The Answer is

My mom is trying to teach Tornado E not to whine or throw a fit when he gets a “no” in response to his request.  (I, for the record, just send him in his room until he’s dealt with his issues.)  She tells him, “Tornado E, sometimes the answer is no.”

Yesterday I was dressing Tornado S, and he wanted to play with a tiny toy ninja that belonged to Tornado E.

Me: Tornado S, that’s Tornado E’s.  You’ll have to ask him.

Tornado S: Pease, Brother.  Pease may have ninja?

Tornado E: No.

Tornado S started to wail.

Tornado E: Tornado S, sometimes the answer is no.

The Green One

When I was a child, my brothers and I fought over the Green Glass.  It was a plastic tumbler from Tupperware, which came with a set of four, including red, blue, and yellow.  But we could care less about the other glasses.  We fought, argued, yelled, begged, whined, pushed, shoved to get the Green Glass.  My parents were at their wits’ end.  What was so special about the Green Glass?  We maintained that milk just taste better in it.  I’m sure it was more to do that our siblings wanted it, so it became more desirable.  That Green Glass.

Last Christmas, I felt it was time to arm the family with light sabers.  I bought two blues, a green, and a purple.  I kept it a secret from even The Husband, so that he too could fill the thrill of getting a light saber to play with the boys.  The purple one was mine, of course.

Last week, the boys fell into a Star Wars kick.  They’re watching The Husband’s copy of the Star Wars cartoon series from a few years back.  They unsuccessfully try to convince us to play the Star Wars video games for them.  They’re fighting with light sabers.  They’re taking light sabers to bed.  They’re fighting over one light saber whenever they get a chance.

The Green One.

Tornado S adores the Green Light Saber, carries it around, takes it to bed, fights with it.  Food and Tornado E are the only things that will pry it out of his hands.  Tornado E must have the Green Light Saber at all costs, conning, whittling, begging, forcing it out of his brother’s hands.  When that doesn’t work, Tornado E cries, begs, whines for it from us.    We have three other light sabers here, people!

It does seem fair and just over the long view.  But I won’t believe it’s fair and just until my brothers have children.  They just better have more than one.

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The Pirate Ship

So of course, we had to get Tornado S his own pirate ship.  Since that was all his little heart desired.  The Husband and I stayed up until midnight putting things together for the surprise.  Yet another Christmas Eve of us bickering our frustration at each other because including directions with the toys is now so not cool.

The next morning, Tornado E woke first and looked at his toys before coming and getting us.  We smiled as he exclaimed over each toy.  After 45 minutes and no Tornado S, I went in to check on him.  He was just lying in bed, thinking, contemplating, relaxing.  When he saw me he climbed out of his bed, and I ran into the family room for the perfect spot to catch a picture of the look on Tornado S’s face when he saw his pirate ship.

Tornado S came out into the family, taking in the magical scene.  I lifted the camera up, focusing it.  His eyes landed on the pirate ship.  Those dark brown eyes lit up.  A smile burst on his face.  He took a running step forward.  I started to press down on the button.  Then Tornado E jumped up and bumped his brother out of the way.

Yup, Tornado E cock-blocked his little brother from Tornado S’s own toy.  Nice.

Tornado S was determined.  They raced to the pirate ship, getting there at the same time.  Tornado S let out a yell as Tornado E grabbed the pirates and the ship.

I have spent the last several days trying to make sure everyone is sharing and not hitting, punching, kicking, scratching, biting, pushing, bludgeoning each other over a toy pirate ship.

Christmas is magical.

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My Son, The Vampire

Tornado S has learned to bite.  Which I can’t blame him, really.  Tornado E’s favorite game is “How can I annoy my baby brother the greatest.”  So in a lot of ways, Tornado E had it coming.

But rather than let Tornado S get carried away in a Chicago musical number, I some how have to discipline this grievous assault.  The kid leaves bite marks.  It’s only a matter of time before he breaks the skin.

The first time Tornado S did it, my dad was babysitting, and he was at his wit’s end on what to do.  If it had been his kid, it would have been a couple of spankings or a bite back, which worked so well on my middle brother when he went through this phase on me.  (Unlike Tornado E, I was a perfect child.)  But my dad knew how I feel about physical punishment, so he placed Tornado S into time out and cuddled Tornado E.

It happened on my watch last night.  Even though I threw Tornado S into time out for three and a half minutes, I don’t think it really had an effect, since Tornado S started laughing and talking to himself during the middle of it.  Nothing like a punishment that works.

And I wasn’t stupid enough to think this just happened out of the blue because Tornado S was so hungry from missing dinner, he mistook his brother for a hamburger.  As I comforted Tornado E, I interrogated him on what happened right before the teething incident. Tornado E was using Tornado S as a punching bag.  Nice.  Now I have to be in the same room with them at all times like a warden.  Where’s my shot gun?

So what’s a poor, enlightened mother suppose to do?

I’ve seen the whole biting the kid thing work, but I feel it’s a bit barbaric and contradictory.  Nothing like hitting to let some one know hitting is wrong.  I’m not sure that the time out thing is working, since it seems the place for Tornado S to work on his inner comedic monologue.

So any advice out there?

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The Renaming

Tornado E: I think I want to name Tornado S.

Me: What?

Tornado E: I want to name Tornado S.

Me: He already has a name.  It’s Tornado S.

Tornado E: He needs a new name.  I’m going to call him Falleif.

Me: What?  No.

Tornado E: Falleif!  Let’s play cars.

Me: We’re not naming your brother Falleif.

Tornado E: Falleif, do you want juice?

Me: Tornado S, do you want juice.

Tornado S: Please juice!

Me: See.  He’s name is Tornado S.

Tornado E: I’m still going to call him Falleif.

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Words to Live by

I’ve come up with my parenting motto.  I feel like a geek with making up a saying for being a parent, but I found the words to define the kind of parent I want to be.  They just popped in my head while I took a shower.


To love unconditionally.

To always be right there in their corner. 

To always get their back.

To separate them from the stupid things they are bound to do.


To love unconditionally.   It is a no brainer.  Loving unconditionally is what we should do as parents.  The rest of the motto defines how I plan to love unconditionally. 

To always be right there in their corner.  This means a little more than what most people assume.  While I have known people that have been upset that I didn’t “get their back” and I wasn’t “in their corner,” this phrase doesn’t mean supporting some one right or wrong, no matter what.  It’s a boxing term.  Who is in the boxer’s corner?  His trainer, his manager, his coach.  These people train and teach.  Of course, they encourage, but they also instruct, critique, even fight the boxer to keep the boxer safe by throwing in the towel.  Being in someone’s corner means not only being there for the person but willing to call that person out on the crap that s/he is doing.  That’s the job of a parent.

To always get their back.  Again this doesn’t mean defend someone right or wrong.  It is to defend a person from cheap shots, from people who fight dirty.  It means to try and protect someone where they are most vulnerable.  As parents, we are protectors.

To separate them from the stupid things they are bound to do.  We all do stupid things.  We just usually do them in our youth.  But those stupid things are not us.  They are what we did.  No matter what our kids do, we know that they are who they are, not what they did or will do.

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