Just celebrated the twins 2nd birthday. We tried to go big since we were homeless for their first. The morning started pretty normal diaper changes, demands for oatmeal, and bippys(sippy cups). After satisfying the demands of my tiny bosses, I decided to attempt to use the bathroom alone, which is now strange its been eight years since I was allowed to potty unsupervised. All of a sudden I heard a loud crashing sound! Going through all of the scenarios in my head, tv and stand, maybe they climbed up and knocked everything off the counter or a cabinet. I was sure the boys had created a big surprise for me. I hurried out of the bathroom to find the kitchen ceiling on the floor and countertop. So many mixed emotions, mostly grateful that everyone had just left the room and no one was hurt. Ironically we bought this house on their first birthday, as is. In our situation, we purchased the most livable abandoned house we could afford. It has been a series of nightmares and a confirmation that I should not adult under pressure or without a more adulty adult to adult with me. Unfortunately, I am the adultiest adult available, leading my heard by mostly bad choices. So, here I am standing in the middle of my poor judgment. No birthday cake, invites for 39 people with no RSVPs, and half the kitchen ceiling was hanging and on the floor. Party will be outside, the grocery store has cake, let’s rock this. Pool, trampoline, swing set, and a new sandbox all ready to be invaded by lots of kids. No one showed. Apparently, birthday parties aren’t a thing anymore. Lucky for us we are a large family and our own party. My father came, and a couple of kids from down the street came to swim and have cake, I’ll call it a success. One twin loves the pool, and one twin doesn’t for him; it was all about the sandbox. Now the battle is keeping them from escaping without supervision to the yard. Thing 2 is going through a streaking stage. That’s right “don’t look Ethel” boogitty boogitty he’s running wild every chance he gets, no matter where he is. Thing 1 is the reporter of what his siblings do, its a lot like Lassie, and I get a direction and a name with some babbling and a keyword like butt butt. Of course, the streak has discovered his weewee, so he now pees on everything he wants to aim at. Lord help me. With that comes the pooping on the floor. Why is potty training boys like housebreaking a dog? I didn’t have these issues with my daughter. My oldest boy went through a dog phase also. Of course, when naked baby appears naked baby is put on the potty, angry screaming and not interested proceeds to get down remove freshly applied pull up and poop on my rug. We may have had a breakthrough today as both peed in the potty. Fingers crossed they have learned poop goes in the potty and not in the toy box and vise versa. I love all my children, but they drive me to a need for wine I didn’t know existed.
Nothing short of being the ring leader of an actual circus could have prepared me for raising boys. When my oldest son was just over a year old, I had to have my tonsils removed, ended up being delayed three months because of my EKG. I’m pretty confident the abnormalities were due to the fact my son could climb walls. In addition to his suction cup hands and toes that could grip the slightest crack or lip on any large object, he was fearless — diving from the railing or the landing, riding pillows down the stairs. Little did I know twin boys would join him in just a years time. Now, I may not have a lion but I have a German shepherd husky mix, I’m a top hat away from having a official circus of dysfunction. From sun up to sun down its like having wild animals in the house. Before the coffee is done brewing my trash pandas are busy in action which ever direction I am not. We have replaced 2 toilets in 6 months because of unknown lodged objects within the toilet. I suspect the last toilet was victim to rubber ducky destruction. The oldest boy managed to get a wooden hairbrush totally flushed where it ended up lodged and then swelled up.
With my boys, I have learned to not get to serious about everything. They love so big it makes up for the mass destruction. I recall having the flu and being home alone with the wild boys, twins had just started walking. I remember being relieved they were letting me use the bathroom in peace. Then it hit me, they are quiet and not bothering me. The flu isn’t something you can rush or put a hold on. Upon emerging into the kitchen I see the trash can has been knocked over. I follow the trial of nastiness past the open cabinets where the contents had been removed and scattered. Baby gate knocked down. Trash extending to the living room, canned food, crackers, dishes and trash everywhere. I wanted to cry but still no site of the boys. In their room they sat drawing on each other with markers and eating crackers in a mountain of mess. Very proud of themselves and exited they began “mommy, mama, mommy, mama” ugh my sweet little Tasmanian devils. I dream of a house that has shelves around the top of every room. Childproof locks are a joke, more like parent proof. I hate waiting for my toddler to come open the cabinet for me. Every wall has become a mural at this point. I wouldn’t trade them for the world, I know all too soon this chaos will end and my home will be clean and quiet.
In life, many things will haunt you. We have a way of haunting ourselves with the should have could have would have. These are not that kind of haunting. I have always attracted spirits and ghosts. There are many energies among us. After my grandfather died, I moved back to Barstow, California to help my grandmother. Grandma took a trip with my mother and brother to Illinios, and I stayed home to watch after things. The first night I started noticing things. Stuff you usually dismiss with other people in the house. My grandmother was a very neat and orderly homemaker. Grandmas house was not where you went to make a mess; she was worse than Monica Geller. The house had the kind of carpet that you could see footprints on, hours of my childhood spent rubbing the carpet back and forth to see the patterns. I worked 3rd shift at the time, great when your 20 with no kids. As usual, I arrive home as the sun is rising. First thing I notice when I walk in in the house, and it smells like fresh coffee, no one was there, there was no coffee. It could have easily been a neighbor. I notice grandpa’s chair was pulled away from the table, still thinking maybe I bumped it on my way out the door. I head to my room, from the doorway I see at the beginning of the hall there are footprints that start at the hall and go all the way down. I felt a rush of panic; I grabbed the broom and slowly began down the hall. Looking at each footprint as I slowly crept down the hall peaking in rooms one by one. The footprints go into my grandmother’s room, straight to grandpa’s side of the bed and on his side was a dent on the pillow as though someone had laid on it. The panic rushed away as quickly as it set in. My fear turned to understanding and sadness. Grandpa was still with us; he wasn’t going just to let go of his love for my grandmother. Every tear she shed he was right by her side. Shortly after that grandma sold the house and moved to Lucerne Valley with my mom and I moved to Palm Springs to be young and dumb. Boy was I too, that’s stories for another time. Even there, I could walk into anything everything from the shelves in a straight line on the floor from one end of the apartment to another. Nothing as severe as what came when Yancy died and then my mom. Yancy had very distinct big heavy footsteps. He loved coffee, and it would fill the air with its distinct scent just before you’d hear his footsteps going down the hall upstairs and then the squeak of his door opening and closing. Sometimes you’d hear it a couple times back to back. Nothing can compete with my mothers energy. Immediately following her death things became very poltergeisty. The shutters in the living room would open and close. Sometimes alternating as to say don’t try to rationalize this I’m trying to get your attention. The lights would begin turning on and off in multiple rooms. Tv and radios would turn up full blast and then all the way down then off and on. When it first started I had gotten a babysitter for my then 1-year-old daughter. After 30 minutes the sitter called me crying frantic begging me to come home strange things were happening with the shutters and lights. I finally broke down crying and started shouting “Mom if this is you I don’t understand what your trying to tell me, your scaring me” and it stopped. She leads me differently now. Over the last 7 years I have learned that she only gets to haunting when I don’t follow my intuition. The more I ignore the stronger it becomes until the entire house has gone haywire with lights and sounds, alarms and things being knocked off shelves. My other half made a promise to my mother when she was dying. Everytime he fails, she tells on him. He knows it and so do I. She said she’d always be with me and she is. Now, this one, I don’t think is my mother. This one plays with babies in the kitchen drawers and cabinets, this one opens doors. This spirit used to follow me to work and pull things down off shelves on people it didn’t like. Maybe this is my mom, acting out differently. One thing for sure I am never alone.
My go-to playdough recipe! It lasts for months in a ziplock, feels fantastic too. Best of all its cheap to make and all the ingredients can be purchased with EBT.
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups water
1 1/4 salt
1/3 oil (cooking or baby oil)
1 1/2 tablespoon cream of tartar
Food coloring (you can use kool-aid too)
In a big pot begin to heat your water to a boil. Then turn on low add everything but your color and stir, stir, stir. It should be smooth and pulling away from the pot into a big ball. Turn off heat and flip onto a cookie sheet or wax paper. When touchable separate into balls and place in zip locks with food coloring. Zip the top removing the air and get the little ones busy squishing it through. When all the color is mixed through its play time!
I usually double my batch for 2 -3 kids. Happy playing!
I mentioned before that I grew up in a small desert town in California. As a child growing up in Hinkley sickness was pretty average. The city had its k-8 school, and it was pretty good and just about a mile from the house. Across from the school was the railroad tracks, then the market, post office, and the local bar. Many times Yancy and I would ride our bikes to get bread or stamps. Every home on our side of the tracks set on a 2-acre lot with a well. Our home was a three bedroom one bath, little stucco house in the desert.
I remember the beautiful smell of the desert rain. Now that I am away from it I realize its beauty I once neglected to notice. Coyotes would sing me to sleep every night outside my window. I now long for sunsets and full moons of the desert. Lucerne Valley had the beauty of the foothills and the mountains, amazing views, oh the things I traded for some trees.
If you believe in aliens, the desert is where you want to be. Everything is normal until you realize it’s not. Military bases surrounded my childhood home. One was some secret tech place. A place you pretend doesn’t exist and don’t talk about. I remember being very young and one of their experiments almost crashed into our house, and it hit the antenna. My mom loaded my brother and me in the car with Z, and we headed out to the place that doesn’t exist. Out on a dirt road passing no trespassing signs seeing the armed guards in the distance. My mother was often a fearless woman; I can’t imagine what she was thinking. The guards in the desert stop us and make my mother exit the car. I remember my little mom screaming at these big armed soldiers and getting back in the car. She said they wouldn’t be flying over again, and we can never come back here. She went on a rant about them having a life size remote control airplanes. It was essential to save lives during wars, but they can’t terrorize the citizens and endanger them. It paid off I’m pretty sure we call them drones. I remember the flying wing too. Some of the kids on the playground had played some demon summoning game and thought it was coming for them.
It was a different time, a different life. Once we moved “down the hill” to the metropolis in southern California, life was about adjusting socially. I was 13. My poor mom. I’ll eventually get on to those stories.
In the desert, I learned so much. I learned how to survive anything. We hunted we camped and every year we went to the desert resource center. They taught us how to stay hydrated what plants we could eat, how to identify snakes and properly kill them, how to build and start a safe fire. It was no big deal for my brother and me to go hiking off in the desert. My mom could see us just about anywhere.
One year Yancy and I became slightly obsessed with the Olympics. We created a range of competitions for our cabbage patch kids to compete in. We were catapulting them, tying them to our bikes to see who would fall off last. These poor cabbage patch kids went through it. Someone was continually spending the night in the tree or up on the roof. We had them stuck so much we knew better than to ask for help getting them down. We had to figure it out ourselves. That’s how we accidentally cut off Iona Elizabeth’s leg using a branch cutter to get her down. She won the Olympics, and we moved on to our next adventure.
We used to look up places in the encyclopedia and pretend we were taking our cabbage patch there on a trip. We would get out an atlas and plan all the cities on the route and what we would do there. Yeah, we were a little geeky I guess, makes for some great memories though.
It was just your average Wednesday afternoon in a small desert town and my mother was leaving work and heading to the supermarket. My mother was a smaller woman, 5’1, curvy but not chunky. She had big curly brushed out put up almost beehive like hair. She loved colors and was always very vibrant. Beautiful striking green eyes, and where I get the ‘this shit only happens to me’ from. Thanks mom.
Back then mom had a 84 Crown Victoria wagon, it was awesome for it’s time, nothing greater than sitting in the pop up third row looking at the driver behind you while they try to avoid eye contact. Not to mention that glorious moment Michael Jackson comes on the radio and Mom would pull the Bass knob and turn up the radio.
Now back to that Wendesday. She gets in her car like any other day. All buckled and ready to go she starts down the dirt road approach a left hand turn she applied the break and her seat slowly crept forward. Upon the next turn her seat moved back into place. Now slightly concerned but trying to remain calm as her seat begins moving back and forth and up and down as she heads uphill under a over pass. At the top of the hill was a stop sign and a sheriff facing my mother. Trying her best to remain calm she begins crying, the more her seat moves the more she moves it’s a vicious cycle. Left turn signal on, she’s got this. Up, back, down, forward… apply gas, turn wheel and…. yes ladies and gentleman at that moment her seat fully reclined. The sheriff now seeing the strange woman suspiciously moving around totally disappear from sight makes a U turn and lights on. My mother has now sat up clenching the steering wheel crying as her seat moves back and forth, up and down, recline and incline. She pulls over and puts the car in park. This did not stop the seat.
As she sits there trying to act like nothing is wrong the officer approached the car. He said “ma’am what exactly are you doing?” Now bursting into tears my mother responded “My car is possessed, I cant make it stop.” The officer was not amused and said “I’m going to need you to step out of the vehicle.” I imagine my mom was totally about to loose it at this point. He opened the door and laughed, “Nevermind Ma’am, they wont believe this one.” My mother watches as the officers hand reaches down and unwraps her seat belt from her electric seat controls. “Now you be safe.” Needless to say her fear turned into embarrassment and she came straight home to tell the story.
My 4 year old waited until after he was 3 to really start talking. Since then he’s only quite if he’s asleep. It makes me insane half the time, the rest of the time I cant wait to hear what he has to tell me about.
One day my oldest comes to me to tell me there is a big spider by her bed and it has to be poisonous. “Daddy said he’d kill it and he didn’t” before I could respond the 4 year old says “Oh! That’s just Mr.Skinny legs he’s my pet spider, you can’t kill him”. Upon which my daughter said she wouldn’t sleep in her room as long as Mr. Skinny legs was there.
I continued to do dishes and get dinner together when my 4 year old appears both concerned and excited. “Mommy, Mr Skinny legs tried to eat a toy, he was being a bad spider so I had to smoosh him he’s flat and dead.” I told him to tell his sister as she would be happy, and she was.
Later on that day I was folding laundry while they boys ran wild carrying toys and such room to room. I mean what’s more fun than keeping mom busy, right? The 4 year old stops mid stride and said “It’s a miracle! Mr skinny legs is back and he’s invincible.” This required some investigation on my part so I followed the line of running wild boys to find the 4 year old in the pirate ship bed holding a big plastic spider proudly. “Mr Skinny legs is going to be a pirate he’s magic”.
Now we are a family of 6 with a dog and a magic plastic spider named Mr Skinny Legs.