• http://wackymummy.blogspot.com WackyMummy

    Okay, now I’m understanding why you’ve had constipation issues… praying for meteors not to fall on your house WHILE YOU’RE ON THE TOILET. LOL. Gotta love that.
    Leta has character, that’s for sure. How cute are all you! I could just give you all a cuddle. (You’re thankful I’m just on the internet, aren’t you?!) =)

  • Amy

    I grew up within a few miles of a nuclear power plant. Now, those drills? They’re something to be afraid of!

  • Emily E.

    I still vividly remember during the annual tornado drill training the principal at my elementary school in middle-of-nowhere-podunk-Tennessee saying “Now brace your arms over your head, because if the wall falls on you, we can replace your arms but we can’t replace your heads.”

    Or, and being a Memphian you can appreciate this, on year while at the fine educational establishment, the University of Memphis, the tornado sirens went off so they sent everyone to the basement of the dorm. Where it started to flood. Eventually they basically said “just screw it- you’re on your own. don’t get hit by the tornado.” Not that we would have, since, as you know, the bluffs protect Memphis from any tornados actually happening.

    /end of Tennessee tornado story time.

    (this is my first time to comment here, but my BIL went to BHS with you. I’m pretty sure he graduated the year before you.)

  • http://taylorbugsmom.blogspot.com/ Susan

    So funny. My 7 year old daughter has built a tornado shelter in her bedroom because we live in tornado central in West Tennessee. We have been fortunate this year to only see one. How ridiculous does that sound. I actually got pictures of a rain wrapped tornado. You couldn’t see the tornado but the damage was just the same. Good times!

  • ZenScout

    I can relate to Leta’s fear! When I was about 3, someone made an offhand comment on a blustery winter day about making sure that I didn’t blow away and that stuck with me. I spent much of the rest of the next year holding onto the hands of anyone bigger than me (because they had enough ballast to not be whisked into the sky, I suppose) whenever there was more than a slight breeze. I have no idea how I got over that fear, but one day I just did.

    Then the fear of house fires set in and for years I slept with all sorts of treasures in my bed – so I could grab them at a moments’ notice and save them if a fire broke out in my house. It came to a head when my mom discovered that I was tying stuff to my wrists and feared that I’d strangle myself in my sleep and forbade me to take anything to bed other than books and stuffed animals. I do still have a house fire contingency plan though – know exactly what I’d grab on my way out, it’s just that now those things have shifted from toys and clothes to my baby, my husband and our cats.

  • robyn

    Poor Leta! A fear is a fear whether it makes sense or not.

    But I had to laugh about the receipt…..

  • Claire

    Maybe Leta is expressing some anxiety over all of the big changes that have happened in her life recently? A new sibling can be both joyous and overwhelming. And it seems a possibility, and a natural extension (to me, anyway) that she would be reacting to things flying around-forces beyond one’s control, coming out of nowhere, stuff getting all rearranged and moved about…loss of control, and all that.
    I bet it will pass after a while.
    good luck.

  • http://www.millatimes.com Milla

    wait, you mean tornadoes ARE real? where else would go besides a doorway? so confused.

  • Krista

    dooce, my tornado drills were just like you said, and i grew up in the Chicago suburbs. everyone filed out of the classrooms into the hallway, crouched down on the floor facing the lockers on the wall (making sure you didn’t crouch down on the floor in front of a door with a window), with our heads bent down and our hands and arms covering the backs of our necks…you know, because my tiny 3rd grade hands would TOTALLY stop debris flying around at 100 mph from hurting my neck. ahhhhhh childhood…..

  • http://ripetoday.blogspot.com Jennifer

    HAHA, tornados, earthquakes, it’s all the same!
    so, my daughter is gripped with the same “blowing away” fear right now.
    maybe there is something to it!

  • Regina

    I think all kids have fobias of some kind. I’m wondering what my 22-month old son’s will be? Mine was a fear of things going down the drain – so hiding in the tub would be out of the question. Tub, sink, toilet, pool – for years I didn’t flush!

  • http://www.whoahgirl.com Anne

    haha, this story had me smiling so bad. I can blame all my adult neurosis on my brothers since they, like all older siblings, liked to play all sorts of amazing tricks on me to make me react to, like Leta, receipts falling out of bags and OMG IT IS THE END OF THE WORLD.

    And I have to agree with Jon about the tornado warnings. Sure, I’m used to earthquakes living up in the northwest, but tornados? Let alone the hurricanes and tornados I had to deal with when I lived in Florida last hurricane season? The sheer thought of the hurricane blowing in and what if a tornado lands? THE WORLD WILL END AS WE KNOW IT. So, while I don’t take it calm, I can see how Jon is like “they teach you to stand in doorways?” At my elementary in Seattle we learned to play dead under desks.

    Ahh childhood. :)

  • Cheryl

    I lived in GA for 7 years as a kid. I was TERRIFIED of the civil defense siren. TERRIFIED. I suspect that if I heard one now (at 38) I’d still want to cower in a corner and cry. Poor Leta.

  • http://shmaytalk.blogspot.com Taylee

    I don’t get it? Jon should sorta know about this. Didn’t he do earthquake drills growing up? I distinctly remember being in elementary school and having the ‘earthquake’ alarm going off and we all had to stop what we were doing and quickly find a desk or open door frame to get under. I do remember several kids forgetting that it was in fact a ‘drill’ and screaming as if at any moment the earth was going to open and swallow them whole.

    Pray that Leta never has to do an earthquake drill, I’m sure you can imagine.

  • Candy

    Hey, my daughter was afraid of balloons and kittens. BALLOONS AND KITTENS. At least tornadoes are an actual threat. Leta, don’t let them tell you you’re crazy. Not yet anyway.

  • http://www.goodcrafternoon.com Leslie

    I must admit that last paragraph did get me chuckling. Just thinking about 30 kiddies arranged in a doorway. Made me think of those ladies in fancy bikinis all piled on top of one guy jet-skis behind a boat.

  • http://www.flickr.com/castaspella Alli

    My daughter Mackenzie had the same exact issue as Leta. She’d see a can rolling slowly in the breeze away from us at a picnic or wherever and have an absolute nervous breakdown. My (ex)mother-in-law was convinced I’d fed her ideas about how when things go away from you, they never come back and then they die. Then I was like “Um no, that was you…when your son left the nest. Thanks for that.”

  • http://www.ifeelyaophelia.com Jenna Jean

    Growing up in Colorado, tornado warnings come every single year and the teachers would all make you crouch beneath your desks for twenty minutes. It was awesome.

  • http://www.crystalitarossalita.blogspot.com/ Crystal

    Leta sounds adorable. I’m a new dooce reader…and I am loving it.

  • http://bethmann15.blogspot.com Beth

    I STILL freak out over tornado warnings, even though I’ve lived in GA for 3 years now. Before that, I lived in FL where hurricanes can blow half your state down, and I’m STILL convinced that tornadoes are WAY MORE SCARY. At least with hurricanes you KNOW there’s impending doom coming, and you can board up the windows and pretend nothing’s happening; tornadoes just pop up out of nowhere.

    My son was scared of being sucked down the toilet when he was potty training…so there’s that. :)

  • Candy

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot. (How is this possible?) I am old enough to have endured bomb drills from the cold war… get under your desk and put your hands over the back of your neck. Because that’s going to totally protect you from radiation.

    And for those of you who need clarification: fire drill – close the windows and go outside…tornado drill – open the windows and stay inside, but away from said windows…now my kids have “safe school” drills – lock the door and stand against the wall. It’s a wonder we are able to walk around in public at all.

  • http://cometofindout.wordpress.com John

    I grew up in the northeast, so I don’t know what is entailed in a tornado drill, either. What are you supposed to do?

  • Kelly B

    Huh, when I was her age I was afraid of sharks coming out of the drain and eating me.

    Or me getting sucked down through the drain.

    I blame the same cartoon for both fears.

    I blame my uncles for the land shark in my sandbox phobia though.

  • http://mamacaguama.blogspot.com/ Nancy

    Lucky you – our youngest adopted son is sure that he will be swallowed by the toilet E-VER-Y TIME he goes. Now there’s some PTSD therapy to work on…

  • http://www.vakadesign.com Vakadesign

    “So I guess Leta has developed a phobia of things blowing away”

    I keep a list, 40+ pages long now, of things that you’d never think should, or would need to come out of your mouth. Or your children’s mouths. Things that, taken out of context, sound absolutly absurd. If there was an Armstrong list? This should be on it.

  • Wichita

    Fact: in Wichita, Kansas, several years ago, the county government decided that monthly siren tests were not enough, and now we test our tornado sirens EVERY MONDAY AT NOON. I teach high school, and I swear EVERY MONDAY AT NOON I have some teenage girl in my class who freaks for a millisecond until half a dozen people mutter, “it’s noon, Monday.” It would be annoying if we couldn’t remember the suburb that blew away a few years ago that one time the siren didn’t work. P.S. I go outside to look if there’s a real one. Every time. I can’t help myself.

  • http://edibletulip.typepad.com Daphne

    Leta seems to have a superior sensitivity that makes her concerned about grave consequences to everything that most kids would shrug at or not even notice. It’s a beautiful gift but it makes living in the real world hard, as you know, since by the insight you reveal in your writing, you have that gift too. As a kid, I had all sorts of weird phobias too, and weird manic obsessive compulsive behaviours – one being that I’d blow the germs off my hand (or off the seat of my pants if I’d been sitting) when I touched something, like a door knob, in public, so it was touch something, blow hand from palm to fingertips, over and over, every day, for years. My mom almost had a breakdown. My rationale was that I was blowing off the fate of someone whose life I didn’t want to get tangled up with mine and my family’s. It was a strange protective thing. If I touched a doorknob after a woman whose mother had died of cancer than that would happen to my mother, etc etc. It took a long time before I was able to stop blowing germs and not freak out but then I just moved on to other phobias :)

  • http://www.millatimes.com Milla

    in cali, our biggest worry is being naked during an earthquake that hits in the middle of the night. happened to me once. not fun.

  • AmyS

    Who came up with the idea that a bunch of kids sitting in a hallway covering their heads would save them from a tornado?

    I live in Ontario and we just had fire drills. When 911 first started my Dad worked for the advertising part of the program and it was instilled in my sister and I that in an emergency you called 911. There was a fire drill at my 4 year old sister’s school and she told her teacher (who she couldn’t stand) she needed to call 911 and the teacher wouldn’t. So my sister quit school, because she “wasn’t going to learn anything at such a stupid school.”

    I totally agree with the Emily Haines resemblance. And Jon looks like a non tattooed version of Dallas Green. You guys could totally go as Canadian indie stars for Halloween.

  • Jon Pugh

    Cute story. I love the sunset pic you posted. I think it will be my new desktop until we go to Yosemite this weekend.

  • Tinkersdamn

    Maybe someone said (she looks like she’s of thin build) that she looks like she’d blow away in a strong wind. My sister and I never had that problem… we’re not fat, but of good solid German American farmer build, prompting our g/ma to once say “Well, you 2 won’t blow away! You’re built like brick shithouses!”
    I’d rather have been told I’d blow away, I think.

  • Maria

    When my husband and I met, I was Jon. Growing up in Philadelphia, there was no such thing as a tornado or warning drills. However, he grew up in Fond du Lac (I know, where in the eff is that? Wisconsin…enough said) and apparently that was a regular thing. The first time we went to visit family in WI and the Saturday test siren went off, I was scared shitless. And of course they all laughed at the city girl because it was a test. Jerks.

  • http://singsthemagpie.blogspot.com Meghan

    Because I live in West Virginia, we see about two tornado warnings per year and they are usually bogus. However, we have flood drills and warnings. Those are taken very seriously because from about April to September it rains at some point EVERY SINGLE DAY. This year Huntington has flooded 6 times. That’s taking into account that floods to us mean over three inches of standing water in your basement. Children around here fear moving water.

  • http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/iSkariz Amanda

    Hmm. I pray in unusual places also.

    I recently found this website that is for everyone but a lot of stay at home mothers seem to use it to get a lot of goodies for themselves.


    I will try this out myself, everyone should test this one out with me !

  • http://littlebit-mt.blogspot.com Anonymous

    TORNADO DRILLS! HA, I totally forgot about those!

  • http://www.talesofmikkimoto.com Becky

    Ha! I grew up and still live in Wisconsin. Where we are idiots who STAND OUTSIDE and watch the clouds make weird formations. “Ooh I think that sucker is gonna touch down. Dude!”

    Tornado sirens are like a lullaby to me.

  • dooce

    #9 John – everyone files out into the hallway, crouches down face first into the wall in a tight ball, and covers their head with their arms. The lower the better.

  • sheryls

    haah! I’m from NW Ohio – we have tornado warnings and watches constantly in the summer/fall. A tornado could be 3 trailer parks away and we’d still run out to Meijer.

    One day at my job in Boston, people started FREAKING OUT and packing up. I asked what was going on and they said TORNADO WATCH!!!!!!!! IN EASTERN NEW YORK!!!

    ..in eastern. new. york.

    it’s a 2 hour drive from the border to Boston. really folks? we’re packing up because there’s a WATCH two hours away?

    So I laughed and thought – hey free half day! And packed up too – they were all chattering about GOING TO THE BASEMENT!!!!11ONE!!!!!11!~~ and I remarked that I lived on the 3rd floor of an apartment building that HAD NO BASEMENT.

    DEAR GOD. one of them said, and …I’m serious, GRABBED MY SHOULDERS and frantically asked, DO YOU HAVE A DOORWAY TO STAND IN???

    a) who has an apartment and doesn’t have a doorway?
    b) …that’s earthquakes!!!


  • http://www.koofie.com/ Kelsi

    I feel for Leta! I remember being little and being scared of things that now seem strange, like a plane dropping a screw that would hit my head and kill me.

  • Kristine

    I loved tornado drills in elementary school! A nice way to break up math class.

    I remember camping out in the bathtub, too. A tornado was 4 blocks away and my mom was getting her hair permed in the kitchen. All the windows were open and I was afraid my parents were gonna blow away.

    I love tornados, now.

  • http://matsutake.etsy.com katie

    Yeah, I’m from Texas. Tornado drills. You duck and cover under your desk. Hands behind your neck. Also works for nuclear attacks.

  • Stephanie G

    I haven’t read through all the comments, so someone may have already posted this. Buuuuuuut, here in the Great State of Oklahoma (OKC and metro areas) we have a tornado siren that goes off every Saturday at noon. Every Saturday. Rain, shine, hot, or iced over it goes off. It sounds like what you’d expect a war siren to sound like. It’s so loud. Dogs hate it. People from out of town are like “WTF” was that?!?! Our schools have tornado drills all the time. The weathermen/women cut in to good TV programming to warn about thunderstorms, circulation, hook echos, and a lot of other fancy sounding words for the shit-just-might-hit-the-fan weather. Yeah, Leta would probably hate it here on Saturdays and about 6 months out of the year.

  • Tasha

    I used to be scared of the wind blowing the curtains at my Grandpa’s house so someone thought it would be a great idea to show me why they moved. My aunt or someone went behind the curtains to blow on them but then I thought the curtain wind monster was going to get HER TOO! I think I had to just grow out of it.

  • http://asclepias.wordpress.com Livia

    A tornado hit my town in 2008 and for days my my three-year-old daughter kept talking about the “naughty tomato” that blew away the houses. Still makes me laugh. (Not the tornado, nooooo, that WAS NOT funny.)

  • http://www.the-brown-dog-riots.blogspot.com Edwin Allen

    I was living in Memphis a few years back when they had that straight line storm, which is 100 mph wind that doesn’t swirl but goes, well, straight, and my roommate and I stood on the front stoop of our house and watched a 100 year old Oak tree get uprooted and topple over and across the road while drinking quarts of Miller Lite.
    Maybe not the wisest move, but cool nonetheless. And then didn’t have power for two weeks. Chickasaw gardens was so messed up with trees all through the middle of people’s million dollar homes that we renamed it Chainsaw Gardens. You could see stars at night in the city. Crazy days.

  • http://your-life-is-now.blogspot.com Sarah

    Start the Zoloft and Xanax now. Never too young, right? :)

  • Lauren

    I’m from Alabama.

    Every time the sirens went off during my childhood, my mother would load all four of the children into the back of the station wagon and order we each pick a window and start scanning the skies. I can imagine how we looked with our little faces pressed against the window in HOLY MOTHER TERROR SURELY WE WILL DIE…. while she was driving 100 mph down a back road to my grandmother’s house.

    I guess that explains my need as an adult to grab the vodka and run for the cellar as soon as the watch gets issued.

  • http://daddyscratches.com Daddy Scratches

    My then-fiancee (now wife) was driving across country to join me in Arizona. She called me from a hotel somewhere in the Midwest. During the call, someone came to her door and advised her that everyone needed to congregate downstairs, as there was a report of a large tornado nearby.

    The 45 minutes that passed before she called me back to say it missed the hotel seemed rather lengthy.

  • http://shriekhouse.wordpress.com shriek house

    Try living in earthquake country with a paranoid 6 year old. EVERY time a truck goes by & rattles the windows, we’re like, Wha? Where’s the kid? and then find her quivering under the table with all adrenal glands firing. I guess it will serve her well when the Big One finally hits, so I don’t give her *too* hard a time about it.

    I love that Leta’s fear is so… metaphoric. You are going to have seriously Good Times with your wee existentialist.

  • http://ferociousalyce.blogspot.com/ Alyce

    My friend’s daughter was TERRIFIED of public toilets. Whenever I would take her anywhere, it would take much coaxing to get her to use one. I’d have to stand in front of her, holding both of her hands while she went, and then she would have to leave the rest room while I flushed. If she heard a toilet flush in a public restroom, she would SCREAM BLOODY MURDER.