The Tornado, also known as Mr. R, is my 14-month-old little wild man. I accidentally created this nickname even though I’m usually horrible at it. My pets have all had the lamest names because I’m just not good at picking out that definitive character trait that fits.
But one afternoon, I had spent about half an hour following Mr. R around and dealing with the disasters he was leaving in his wake. His father came in to pick him up and as he walked in the door, Mr. R was running toward him with me chasing behind. I looked up at dad with my hair flying and I’m sure what looked like desperation in my face, and said,
“I have been chasing this ten-pound tornado around all day!!!!”
So in the life of a 10-Pound Tornado, the action never stops. He loves to be outside the most, logically, because there’s plenty of room to ROAM. But lately he’s been roaming into the street. I have a way of training all my kids not to go in the street and it does work – parents are stunned when my kids always stop right at the end of the driveway. Would you like to know my secret?
It’s called persistence. I know, that’s so annoying right? But it works. While they’re at this stage of wanting to head out into the street, I just stand at the end of the driveway and turn them around. I’ll do it a hundred times until they understand that they’re not getting past me.
When the twins were in this phase I had my 11-year-old friend Isabelle over and she was helping me. She happens to be a soccer player and she was stationed at the end of the driveway, bouncing them both back up as they careened gleefully toward her. She kept laughing about how “this is just like playing soccer!!”
Well Mr. R, the human Tornado, is in that stage. And I’ve already told him a thousand times (notice how the other kids got it at a hundred?) that he can’t go in the street. But somehow he still manages it. If I’m blocking the end of the driveway he’ll go around the lilac tree and try the sidewalk.
Stymied!! He can’t believe that I’m lying in wait for him there too, because he thinks he’s being very clever. If I just go over here she won’t see me…
I carried him to the SAFE end of the driveway to play with the girls, who were drawing with chalk. As soon as Tornado saw that I was distracted with them – boom. Right to the street. He was actually waiting for his moment to escape!
After two times in the street he had to sit in the stroller for a few minutes.
The EEC, my governing agency, would say that’s restraining and I’m not allowed to do it. But do they have a better suggestion to stop a child from walking into the street? And consequence for a child who will not! stop! moving!?
After three times in the street he had to sit in the stroller again.
He was not pleased with this turn of events. “Gaaaaaar-ghaaaa-rah!” I heard behind me, as I was walking back to the chalk drawing. Translation: “HEY!!! You think you can put me in here AGAIN!?!” Yes sir I do, and I will continue to do so until you realize that there is no way in hell that I will allow you to play in the street!!!
Are we clear?!
I love being a drill sergeant.
But the driveway wasn’t the end of our fun for the day. I have an apple tree in the back yard and the kids love to eat them. Tornado was wandering around the yard happily munching on his apple. Walking – wait, toddling – and munching do not always a good pair make. At some point he stumbled, choked on the chunk in his mouth, and vomited up all the apple he’d already swallowed.
I cleaned him up and took away the apple even though he was screaming to have it back. Dude, don’t you realize that’s what just made you hurl? Take a break!!
I grabbed the hose to rinse off the puke in the grass, but Tornado saw a puddle to splash in and headed straight for it!!! Of course he was barefoot all summer, and it was just this week that we decided to put shoes on him, so now his nice new baby Robeez were covered in apple vomit splash. (Sounds like a new fragrance?)
Today’s excitement was the sandbox, which was full of rainwater and looked tantalizingly like a beach! I kept him out of it for the first few minutes of bailing but once again, when I was distracted with another child he saw his moment – and I heard a splash from across the lawn. I couldn’t even be mad at him. When I turned around and saw him sitting up to his waist in dirty sandbox water with a big grin on his face I had to give in. Go ahead and get dirty, kid. Sometimes you just can’t stop a Tornado.
Addendum: I wrote this post at naptime, but Tornado wasn’t done for the day. During our afternoon outdoor play he grabbed a bungee cord off my buggy (long story – I actually need apparatus to hold all the backpacks we haul back and forth to school now) and fish-hooked his own cheek. It’s a VERY good thing his parents have a sense of humor. And understand their child. And still like me.