"Mom, how does the Tooth Fairy fly through the air?"
"How do YOU think?"
"I think moms do it."
"But how can a Mom be a Tooth Fairy?"
"Good moms are lots of things, Princess."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Yesterday's weather forecast was full of superlatives: "epic," "historical," "hurricane-strength winds," "20-foot waves," and tornado watches. To all of which I said, "meh."

We live near Lake Michigan, so the forecast is all about "lake-effect" this and "lake-effect" that, and none of it ever happens; it bounces right over us and hits with full fury 20 minutes east. However, a tornado spotted 30 minutes south of us is enough for a Tornado Warning in our county.

So when I heard that the children had to sit in Tornado Drill Mode for two hours yesterday, I knew two of my three school-aged children would come home wigged out. I just wasn't sure which two.

I picked up the kids at the end of the day and said, "well! I heard you had a not-so-much-fun morning." In reply, I got grunts and a couple detailed accounts of said two hours, which may or may not have been accurate (I'm particularly suspicious of the tale of sitting with books on their heads for the full two hours). And then, as if on cue, Buddy began snapping at his sisters. Enter wigged-out child number one. After a bit I said, "hey Buddy. I think maybe the tornado warning was a little scary. So watch your words, because it's not your sisters' faults." And Buddy growled that that wasn't it. In fact, he made it very. clear. that he was not afraid of the tornado. Alrighty, then. The snapping continued, so I reminded him that no matter what was on his mind, he had better guard his words so he could avoid consequences for them.

We got home, we spread out, things were quiet. Then we left for Princess's tap class, during which Peanut does her weekly homework. Except, enter wigged-out child number two. For the entire half-hour, Peanut fussed and flailed around on the floor proclaiming ignorance regarding odd and even numbers while I knitted and dropped occasional nuggets like: "please fuss in your level one voice," and, "would you rather lay down on that bench? It seems like this is just too hard right now," and, "since you say you didn't learn this at school, maybe you could write Mrs. O. instead, and suggest she teach you this again." We went home and had dinner, which Peanut decided would be appropriate to eat by sticking her finger in the middle and slurping the soup off it. I did a lovely impromptu puppet show about manners with her spoon, which she apparently did not appreciate, since she gave me full eye-contact while she stuck her finger back into her soup.

Let's just say she was asleep by 6:45.

The rest of the evening went without incident. It is telling of some of the changes beginning around here that Princess was not one of the two-thirds wigged-out children. But when I tucked Buddy into bed, he tried to make me promise that I would make sure Jorge was safe if there ever was a tornado or fire while Buddy was at school. I told Buddy I couldn't promise that, but he could be sure that I would as far as it was possible, because I love Jorge, too. We were silent for a moment, and I said, "were you worried about Jorge during the tornado warning?"

And he curled up again me and shook a little and said, "no, but I couldn't stop thinking about my sisters. I kept thinking I was hearing their voices, but I couldn't go help them."

We talked for a while about all the provisions in place to make sure our family is safe in an emergency, even when we aren't with them.

But I don't take mental health lightly anymore. Later I got down on my knees and praised God for a child who can feel his feelings and trust me with them. For a child who can give and receive love and feel responsibility for others.

My heart is full.


  1. This has been open on my computer for days as I have been meaning to say - Wow! but I never fot to it, better late than never thought, right.