Hmmmm. . . Tuesday night, the last week of school, it's just like last year!
Matt was away, at practice, and the kids were eating dinner when the tornado sirens went off tonight. I could see from the televised weather report that the actual danger was still at least 20 minutes away, so I felt a little less frantic than last year when I was sure which ever child I didn't take to the basement first would perish as the house was leveled.
So Harper and her plate went down first - she ate at my old desk in the basement. Then I took Michael downstairs and placed him in the high chair we don't use, leaving him to scream in fury as I went back upstairs to retrieve: phone, epi pens, diaper bag, blanket, bottle, and Michael's dinner, but only AFTER assuring Harper that I would be fine, there wasn't any danger near our house then, we were just being extra careful.
I finally had everyone/everything down in the basement, Michael was screaming, Harper was covering her ears because Michael was screaming, and she was shouting over the noise of the screaming that she was, "Just a little bit worried!"
I fed Michael and reminded Harper that going to a safe space in a storm is a lot like wearing seat belts... we take steps to make ourselves safe, just in case, but usually everything is just fine.*
After a few minutes everyone settled down (Michael's been in the basement about three times in his life, so I think the new surroundings plus my running up and down the stairs kind of freaked him out). Then Harper wanted to know, if the tornado did come into our front yard, could she just go upstairs and take a quick peek?
In the end the tornado warning was canceled about ten or fifteen minutes after we made it to the basement, but there were more storms coming so we stayed put until things truly settled down. It ended up being fun - we got the "finished" room cleaned up a bit, and we discovered that Michael likes the Little Tikes slide we have down there. He can't go down it on his own just yet, but he loved when I held him under his arms and helped him down - I think he even said, "whee."
Our current storm "watches" are only supposed to last another half hour or so, which means I won't feel like I have to stay awake tonight, keeping vigil. Thank goodness.
*The seat belt analogy seems to work well for calming a lot of Harper's fears, allowing me to discuss potentially scary/dangerous situations (strangers, fires, etc.) and then say they probably won't happen, tra la! However, it did occur to me that it might make an overly anxiety-prone child afraid to ride in a car. So, um, feel free to use my approach with caution.