Where’s Ho Ho?

Christmas Eve is when my dad’s family get together.  Five out of the six siblings with their significant others were there.  All but one of their children was accounted.  Three great-grandchildren.  Plus both sets of the parents/grandparents/great-grandparents where there.  At least it was held in my parents’ house, not my grandma’s double-wide.

One of my uncles dressed as Santa again.  Both my boys were hesitant to approach the stranger, but another uncle threw some presents to Santa to entice the boys, which worked.  The boys took their gifts, thanked him, and gave him a hug before getting the hell out of dodge.

About twenty minutes after my uncle got back to the party, Tornado S wandered the house.

Tornado S: Where Ho Ho?  Where Ho Ho?

Me: Santa had to go, Tornado S.  He has lots of other houses to stop at to give gifts to little boys and girls.

Tornado S: Where Ho Ho?  Where’s my pirate ship?

Did I mention all Tornado S wanted for Christmas was a pirate ship?

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Ready for some fun?

My baby brother is a big guy.  He’s 6 foot 5.  A sturdy 6 foot 5.  He’s a walking giant.  And kids love him, especially my kids.

Recently my brother taught them everything is more fun with their hands up.  This includes the new nightly ritual when we leave.  The boys are buckled up.  Tornado E shouts, “Uncle M!  We’re ready for some fun!”  Tornado E and Tornado S throw their hands in the air.  My brother grabs a hold of the luggage rack and rocks the hell out of my SUV.

And now Tornado E insists that we wait for Mommy to be in the car, so that I too can enjoy the fun.  I just hope the shocks will last.

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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Tornado E Mad Libs

A week or so, I called The Husband a sucker in front of the boys.  Tornado E had just conned his daddy to leave work early to go swimming.  The Husband had been complaining all day about how much work he had to do, but all it took was a few “come on”s, and the husband was ready to go.  I laughed and wiggled my pinky at him.

Me: He’s such a sucker.

Tornado E: What’s a sucker?

Me: Someone who is easily sucked in.  You can sell them anything.

Tornado E: So Daddy’s a sucker?

Me: It’s a grown-up word for grown-ups to use.

Damn.  This is going to bite me in the ass.

A few days ago, while at my grandma’s house for dinner, we were exploring the back yard with the boys.  Uncle M and Tornado E found a dead bug.

Tornado E: That bug sucks.

Uncle M: What?!

Tornado E: That bug is a sucker because he’s dead.   He sucks.

Uncle M looked around for me, for my mom, for any adult to get him out of the situation.

Uncle M: Fae!  Do you know what your son said?

My mom and I listened carefully.

Crap.  He got that from me.  He figured it out.  Crap.

My mom: Tornado E.  We don’t use the word suck.  We use the words like dirty, yucky, icky.  So that bug is icky.

Tornado E: That bug is dirty.

My mom: That’s right.  The bug is dirty.

Tornado E: Did you know Mommy called Daddy dirty?

The Husband: You did?

Me: (whispering) No, I called you a sucker.

Tornado E: Mommy said Daddy was dirty.

And give you Tornado E Mad Libs.  That kid is too smart for his own good.

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A Comedian is Born

Humor runs in the family.  Nothing makes my family happier then sharing a joke, making a joke, being in on a joke or becoming the butt of a joke.  Ok, maybe the last one is a stretch, but if it’s a good joke, even the butt can find it amusing or at least tolerable.  In my experience, if my dad is telling a story where I have to come out looking dumb for the joke, I just sit back and take it, knowing the more I protest the story the dumber I look.  I think the daughter does protest too much.

We weren’t surprised when Tornado E started to aspire into the family hobby.  I was more surprised at where he started.  He skipped over basic fart and burping jokes and went straight to knock-knock jokes.

Tornado E: Knock-knock.

Me: Who’s there?

Tornado E: Wormy!

Me: Wormy who?

Tornado E: Wormy has a hat! (Insert Tornado E’s manic laughter.)

If you get it, let me know.

But the uncles worked on him.

Me: Knock-knock.

Tornado E: Who’s there?

Me: Boo.

Tornado E: No, Mommy.  You have to use a word!

Uncle M: Trust us, Tornado E.

Uncle T: It’ll be funnier near the end.

Uncle M: Knock-knock.

Tornado E: Who’s there?

Uncle M: Boo!

Tornado E: NO!  Uncle M!  Use words!

Uncle T: Let’s try it again, Tornado E.  Knock-Knock . . .

After many hours of training, Tornado E made it.

Tornado E: Knock.  Knock.

Me: Who’s there?

Tornado E: Boo!

Me: Boo who?

Tornado E: (in a high pitched voice) Whyyoucrying?!  (insert Tornado E’s manic laughter.)

But the banana-orange knock-knock joke is far beyond Tornado E, but I won’t repeat the laborious hours of teaching that joke.  (WHY DO YOU KEEP SAYING BANANA?!)  I have spent all afternoons saying “whose there” and “boo who.”  We haven’t gone to anything more complicated, waiting for him to get older, smarter, more sophisticated (because that’s what you need to get a good fart joke, according to the uncles.)

Then the other day Tornado E was eating breakfast with Tornado S while I unloaded the dishwasher.

Tornado E: Mommy, what do you call a man with a coconut on his head?

Me: I don’t know.  What do you call a man with a coconut on his head?

Tornado E: PAPI!!!! (insert Tornado E’s manic laughter)

My son made is first insult joke, alluding to my dad’s bald head.  My first thought was “Wait, until I tell Papi; you’re now open game.”  My second thought was, “Welcome to the family, kid.”

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Everything else is blue . . .

We’ve learned to strip Tornado S of his swimsuit immediately after he swims.  Or else he walks over to the grass and pees in his swim trunks.   Tornado S stood on the pool decking, naked, shivering in the wind, waiting for Uncle M to climb out of the pool after he fetched all the diving toys the boys let drop in the deep end.  My brother looked at Tornado S and then at me.

Uncle M: Hey, Fae! I can tell when Tornado S’s cold.

Me: From his shivering?

Uncle M: No.

Me: From the bright blue color of the scar on his lip.

Uncle M: Nope.  His penis is totally blue.

Me: What?!

Who doesn’t rush over to see a blue penis?

Papi: Well, we now know he’s pick up line in college.  Girls, have you ever seen a blue penis?

Me: (groan)

Papi: Or.  Some guys get blue balls, but I get a blue penis.

Me: (roll of eyes and groan) You know this is going to go in the blog.

Papi: Or. Gu-

Uncle M: Tornado E! No!  We don’t touch people’s penises.

Tornado E: But I want to see it!

Me: Tornado E, we don’t touch some one else’s penis.  Even if we want to look at it.  Here, Tornado S.  (I wrapped Tornado S in a towel and carried him in the house.)

Papi: Ok, how about this one? –

I slammed the back door shut.

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Learning Bathroom Etiquette

Last week as I set out a breakfast of pancakes for the boys, I called for Tornado E and Tornado S to come get breakfast.

Tornado E: (from the master bedroom) In a minute, Mommy!  I need to watch Daddy pee first!

Lucky Daddy.

Then the other day we were hanging out with my baby brother.  Like the great uncle he is, my baby brother played with the boys, wrestling, sword fighting, tickling, playing cars.  Finally my brother had to excuse himself to use the restroom.  Knowing Tornado E and being modest, my brother locked the bathroom door.  Tornado E walked right in to the door, and then he started knocking to get in.  My brother only knocked back.  Tornado E gave up.

Tornado E: Mommy, why did Uncle M lock the door?

Me: Because he’s going potty and he doesn’t want you in there.

Tornado E: Uncle M doesn’t want me to see his penis.

Me: (thinking for a second) Yes.

Tornado E: Daddy doesn’t mind me seeing his penis.

Me: That’s because Daddy is teaching you to pee.

Tornado E: Why is he doing that?

Me: Because one day you’re going to pee standing up.

Tornado E: Why?

Me: Because that’s what big boys and men do.

Tornado E: Why?

Me: Because it’s easier.

Tornado E: Why? – Oh, Uncle M!  Let’s play ball!

Saved by my baby brother.

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Cactus and Horses

One day you should ask Evan to tell you about horses or cactus.  But since you probably will never have the privilege I’ll tell you what he’ll say.



Evan: First we go to the store and buy carrots for the horses!  Then we give the carrots to the horses!  They’re big!  There’s cactus!  We don’t touch cactus!  It’s owie!  Then Papi put glue on my hand!



You might not understand that.  So I’ll translate.



First we go to the store and buy carrots!  Well, my little brother wanted to take Evan to a friend’s house who owns horses.  Being my little brother and a natural mooch, my brother naturally assumed my mom would have carrots.  She didn’t, so my brother took Evan to the store to buy carrots. 


Then we give the carrots to the horses! Pretty self explanatory really.


They’re big! Stand next to a horse.  Now imagine you’re three feet tall.  Yeah.  Horses are HUGE.  They look like they could step on you and not care.


There’s cactus!  We don’t touch cactus!  It’s owie!  Every kid growing up in the desert has a healthy respect for cactus due to the certain of scientific investigations.  As an adult, you try to stop these investigations.  My brother was not paying attention, and Evan actually got his hands on a teddy bear cactus.  They look soft, but those buggers are tiny spines that hurt like a bitch.  They are also tiny needles and hard to remove, especially from a two year old’s hand.


Then Papi put glue on my hand!  My brother did the best he could to pull out the spines and casually mentioned the incident when they got back from their adventure.  I looked at my baby’s hand when he started to cry because he couldn’t touch his sandwich.  His hand was covered with red dots where the tiny needles were STILL imbedded.  My dad and I looked at each other, and my dad pulled out the glue and poured it on Evan’s hands, who FREAKED out.  I put glue on my hands to show Evan that everything was ok.  As he sniffled and the glue dried, we watched cartoons until the glue was dry enough to pull off with the needles.



Amazingly this happened nine months ago, and Evan STILL talks about it when ever any one mentions horses or cactus or we’re at the store and he sees carrots.  He even once woke from a dream to give me his hoses and cactus speech.  We can all agree my brother left an impression.


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The Walking Playground

We had just finished washing up and destroying the bathroom, when the garage door rumbled and in came my baby brother, the beloved uncle, the walking playground, the giant teddy bear.  Daddy was ignored.  Mommy was ignored.  Toys were forgotten.  Screeches filled the air.


My baby brother is in town for a few days as my husband invited him to the San Diego Chargers playoff game and my brother happened to have a few days off from work.  He flew in today, and my husband picked him up at the airport.  But none of that mattered when my brother walked in the door; it was time to play!


For twenty minutes, my six-foot-five baby brother became UNCLE.  He wrestled with the boys.  He chased them.  He tossed them in the air.  He swung Sean around and around until Sean couldn’t walk straight.  My brother tickled Evan until Evan couldn’t breathe.  Every time my brother would stop, the boys would say “please!”  My brother looked over at me, sweating, and I smiled they-love-you smile.


Evan and Sean looked so small next to their Uncle.  Sean looks like a baby.  It’s nice to watch them play as I sat on the stairs, ignored by all, smiling.  My baby brother is a walking playground.  My other brother is a daddy tiger playing with cubs.  It’s nice to have such good brothers.  It’s nice to be their friend.  I hope one day when my boys are older that they will be friends too.



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A doughnut morning

It was a beautiful day in Arizona, as I snuggled down in the bed realizing that six, six-thirty, and seven o’ clock in the morning had slipped away and my boys still slept.  Of course, all good things come to an end, but it was nice to stay in bed until 7:30, even if I would have liked another hour.  Besides my brother was already awake, waiting, like a good uncle, to play with the boys.


With a cooing and a laugh, I went into the room to find the boys awake, and on hearing my voice, my brother came in to steal all my morning hugs from the boys.  My brother grabbed Evan and hugged him.  Evan jumped back, yelling “Don’t hug me!  I’m dangerous!”  He went on to try and prove his point by attempting to hit my brother, who lazily slipped away from the attempts to hug Sean.  Sean quickly learned he could get a laugh if he fell on his bottom, bouncing on the bed.  It didn’t take long for Evan to climb up and try to steal the attention.


Then my dad entered the room, delighting the boys, and I became nothing more than a shadow in the room. 


Papi: Do you want doughnuts?


Evan: (with pacifier in his mouth.  I know I’m a bad mom.)  Yes!


Papi: (mumbling like he has something in his mouth) Do you want doughnuts?


Evan: (still with pacifier in his mouth) Papi, I can’t hear you!  (pause)  Oh, yes, I can hear you now.


Papi: Take the pacifier out of your mouth.  Do you want doughnuts?


Evan: (takes it out) Yes! (Puts it back in.  I yank the pacifier out of Evan’s mouth.)


Papi: Do you want doughnuts or pumpkin bread?


Evan: We have pumpkin bread at our house!  Do you want to go and get it?!


Papi:  We have pumpkin bread here.


Evan: (looks out the window) I can’t see my house!  It’s too far away!


Papi: Do you want doughnuts?


Evan: Yes!


Papi: Do you want sprinkles?


Evan: Yes!


Papi: Really?


Evan: Yes!


Papi: I’m going to go get them.


Evan: Boys are hungry.  Dogs are hungry.  We need to eat.  We need to eat doughnuts.


So begins the whirlwind day at Grandma and Papi’s house.  With non-stop playing, games, and treats, it is the best place to bed.  When my mom mentioned making caramel apples and popcorn balls, my brother and I looked at each, remembering that it had been years since my mom had made these things.  Even if we aren’t the reasons, it’s nice to get the spill over.  She has to make more than two, right?