10.30.2004

Grateful

Tomorrow Iz's godmother Stacy is throwing me a baby shower. This is already altruism incarnate, but if you consider that she and her partner have been trying to get pregnant for 18 months, well, I just don't know what to say. Good thing she's a practicing Catholic with a fighting chance for canonization.

In the mean there are people in every room of my house. And I have pregnancy insomnia. This means my options this morning from 5 (when I woke up) to 8 (when everyone else woke up) were limited to:

-Folding laundry in the bathroom
-Taking a bath. Which is nice, but gets old after an hour or so.
-Sitting at Iz's tiny desk putting together the Leelo's Day books that were promised to folks LAST CHRISTMAS. This was possible because Leelo had snuck into our bed with Seymour, and Iz could sleep through an air raid. Although to get all the materials together I had to be stealthy and and raid two other rooms where people were dozing away.

Time for a nap.

10.28.2004

Glory

I have been reveling in the simplicity and delight of manning only one child this week.

Not that I don't miss Iz. But the house is blessedly quiet, and there are no 8 A.M. school drop offs or extra lessons to shuttle her to or hours-long homework sessions to shoehorn in this week.

Leelo is enough to deal with. His schedule and school/lesson shuttling needs are wearing, especially when I'm still doing my mandatory one-week vacation recovery shtick.

The additional needs of full nesting mode do not exactly help me recharge my energy reserves: "This baby cannot come into a house where the carpets are not steam-cleaned! We will proceed to rearrange every item, large and small, in the entire house!"

Leelo, however, could care less about my extreme tiredness, and decided to visit another nighttime shitstorm upon us the evening before last. This time he covered not only his bed, but the carpet, chairs, and many toys with filth. I don't think the mess was deliberate; I think he stepped in it and then proceeded to be his usual crazy dervish self. Miraculously, his diaper and pajamas were carefully laid to the side, and absolutely clean.

I tried to be chirpy and point out to Seymour that this is an indicator of increasing potty awareness--some autistic kids never learn to care about sitting on a pile of poo--but he was wrestling a very dirty Leelo to the bath at the time and didn't really want to hear it.

Supervisor M thinks that it would help if we incorporate potty training into his night time routine, and read him his bedtime stories while he's on the pot. One more thing for our schedule...

I'm sure I'll appreciate Iz when she returns tomorrow. Though it probably earns me a special place in hell (as does the nun costume I wore to Leelo's school Halloween party today), I am less than enthusiastic about her traveling entourage, which includes only her grandparents, but also baby Picard and his parents--all of whom will be staying at our house for several days. If anyone needs me, I'll be hiding in my closet.

Iz tidbit, which I keep forgetting to post:

Grandma was quizzing her about politics. She asked, "So, Iz, do you know who our Vice President is?"

Iz said, "Yes, Dick Cheney."

My mom beamed.

After another beat, Iz said, "He's insane!"

Medical Updates. Fascinating Stuff!

Even though such entries were already spotty and rare, do not expect to read another word on this site that would qualify as ruminations. Nope. No literature, politics, no analyses of my friends. Too preoccupied. Just blow-by-blow facts from here on out.

Tuesday (two days ago) was a big med visit day for both me and Leelo.

First we went to my OB. I was 35 weeks as of that day, and now need to see her every week. I'm guessing the next visit is when all the coochie-poking for dilation and effacement begins. Fark.

I also lost three pounds, probably from all that D-land walking and also from skipping my customary Thursday morning cafe omelette plate, but my doctor is not worried.

She did take time out to ask me what I thought about vaccines and autism, and to point out that Dr. Wakefields's MMR research was based on a very small study. Smile, nod.

Leelo came with me because he had an ENT appointment right afterwards and so had already had to cancel his morning ABA session. He is now so terrified of doctors that he started crying when the nurse took my blood pressure. Poor bit. When we got to his ENT's office, he became almost hysterical and wouldn't let me take him out of his stroller--instead, he kept buckling himself back in (and it's a tricky buckle--good fine motor work!).

I had thought we were at the ENT's office merely to pluck out his remaining ear tube. Turns out that it's too deeply embedded and needs to be removed surgically. Another huge long hospital visit. AIIIGH. I am hoping that we can get this scheduled in the next three weeks, otherwise I'll need to send Seymour.

10.25.2004

Poor Scabby

Why would anyone be so cruel as to name their cat Scabby, you ask?

Well, were you to be in my house during the Fall allergy attack season, and see the scab-riddled tumbleweeds of cat fur that our poor kitty is leaving everywhere, then you'd understand. It is disgusting.

We have tried everything to help alleviate her itchy skin. She is so neurotic that any kind of topical treatment (baths, creams, etc.) is seen as an attack, and results in a psychosomatic cascade of even more scratching. We even spent several years giving her allergy shots. Nothing has helped.

She just saw the vet two weeks ago, when she only had a few minor gashes. The vet was relieved; she thought that this might be the year Scabby wouldn't have to go on steroids and antibiotics in order to survive her allergies. But then we went on vacation, and send her kitty neuroses into a tailspin.

It helps greatly if she gets an excess of calm, quiet snuggling and petting, but neither Seymour nor I enjoy fondling scabs.

Poor, poor kitty. She has been like this for the entire nine years since we adopted her.

Neurology Results

Report back from the Neurologist's office:

Blood/Urine tests for metabolic and amino acid irregularities
:
Negative. No abnormalities.

MRI for tumors, "dead" spots, overgrowth of white matter, myelination problems
:
Negative. No abnormalities.

EEG for occasional 2-3 second "blanking out" episodes:
Abnormal. Weird spikes in the electrical activity in the front of the brain during sleep.

What does this mean:
The good doctor says that, were Leelo not autistic, he would want to put him on anti-seizure medications. However, since he is autistic, and since his symptoms do not interfere with his daily functioning, the agony of trying to dose the boy is not worth it. If Leelo's episodes increase from a few times a week to daily or more, though, the doctor will want to see us again.

Other than that, Leelo has no further neurology needs.

We asked the doctor if the EEG spikes were typical of autistic kids. The doctor said that he has seen this pattern before, and that it may be indicative of further electrical imbalances in the brain that we don't have the technology to detect at this point. He also said that, in a lot of his autistic patients' cases, every single one of the tests that they ran on Leelo comes back negative.

The doctor did ask us if Leelo is always as hyperactive as he was during the office visit. When we said that Leelo is on fire like that all day long, the doctor suggested that we might want to consult with our pediatrician or a psychiatrist about ADHD meds before Leelo enters kindergarten.

This is a path we've not yet explored. I would be interested to hear of anyone else's experiences with hyperactive autistic children and calming meds. I don't want to dope the boy up, but I also understand that if Leelo's general demeanor continues to be that of an absolute spaznoid, then we will have quite a difficult time trying to mainstream him into a public kindergarten--assuming that will be an option in two years.

Other findings:
Leelo is 40 inches and 41 lbs. He has grown two inches and gained three pounds since July 30 of this year. Now he is more rectangular than square. Perhaps it's time to use something less rich than cheesy puffs as reinforcers during ABA.

General Leelo stuff:
His eye contact and receptive language have been really great lately. He is following umpteen zillion directions consistently, except when he gets really, really spazzy.

After only a few tries and fusses, he is now willing and able to wear his backpack on the walk from the car to his school. He needs more practice to put it on his peg on the wall when he gets there, but all in time.

His fine-motor coordination is really improving. He can now take off any pair of socks, even tight ones that require over-the-heel fidgeting. He can and did disassemble the window lock assemblages at my parents' place over the weekend.

Back(logged)

We are back and severely backlogged, so briefly:

Today at 2:00 Seymour and I get to find out what, if any, results came from Leelo's blood, urine, EEG, and MRI tests through Stanffford's pediatric neurology department.

Many fun and fabulous things happened on our vacation, but a late standout was the discovery of an Indian Restaurant open 7 days, 10 to 10, right on the I-5 Butttonwillow stop. Adjacent to a drive-through Starbook's! (S.B. being unacceptable under normal circumstances, but tolerable when it's either that or falling asleep at the wheel--although if you know of an decent alternate drive-through coffee option in Butttonwillow then I'm all eyes.)

Butttonwillow (2 hrs north of El Lay, 4 hrs south of Deadwood) already had a squooshy place in my heart because it was the first place my dad would let us stop on all those road trips from Anasleim to British Columbia. But now I love it even more--I can either caffeinate there without unloading all the screaming kids from the car, or get a good, non-fast food meal for everyone in the family (Leelo will only eat out at Indian restaurants). Rah Butttonwillow!

Miss Iz already, though. She'll be back on Friday.

10.19.2004

Dizzying

Off to D-land tomorrow. Why oh why did I not remember that I had an Iron Gate meeting this evening, and am working in the Iron Gate scullery tomorrow morning? (Many thanks to Badger for watching Iz as I toil at Leelo's school.) Sigh. As I told MB this afternoon, I get a special one-time caffeine dispensation in order to deal with the next 24 hours.

Iz and I will leave tomorrow as soon as Therapist L arrives at 12:30. Theoretically. We will pilot our new van--the innumerable controls of which we've yet to wrap our minds around--to the home of Seymour's El Lay brother James and his family. Dinner at The Cuban Palace on Venice (Giddy and Dee, salivate away). D-land the next day, followed by dinner at The Cheapest Mexican Restaurant on Earth (Giddy and Dee, that's another salivation cue). My brother and partner will meet us there, and I will happily unload the eight huge boxes of crap my sibling has been stashing in our garage for the past three years. Then we will pick up Leelo and Seymour from the airport. Another day of carefully marketed happiness at D-land will follow. Then to my parents' the next day, where we will happily unload Iz for a week. Then back home the next. Talk to you then.

P.S. Thanks also to Jo for keeping the fish and cats alive while we're gone.

10.18.2004

Iz Rips Along

Steaming load of bragging ahead. But I can't help it; Iz is doing better than we'd ever thought possible with her Spanish.

That girl is kicking some nalgas. I remember when we were questioning whether or not it was a good idea to put her in a class where she would be the only student without at least a year of Spanish under her belt. Our friends would say something along the line of "Give me a fucking break, she'll be speaking Spanish within two months."

They were so right. I can converse with her completely in Spanish now; she understands everything I say (granted, my Spanish is limited), and answers with only occasional English lapses. She is already ripping--ripping through second/third grade level books en Espanol. This is not to say she understands every single word--but she is getting about 85%, her pronunciation is 100% and completely fluid, and her accent is fantastic. Still working on those RR's, but, c'mon. She's 5 and 1/2.

She gets it. And not just the meanings of the words. If she and I are getting tired, she will intentionally lapse into a gringo accent, como "Laah oar-mee-gaah mahss Haym-bree-eyen-taah," to get me to giggle.

The strange part is that she's decided she loves her homework. Rips through it; ASKS to do it. What a little alien.

This attitude is serving her well, as her teacher has assigned a shitload of work during the two-week break. Each day, Iz is to read at least one book, and write and illustrate one three-line diary entry. She also has her regular packets of Espanol y matematicas ("Las matematicas me gustan!" Freak!) to finish during the same time. Plus a special spider construction project/essay. Damn.

None of it is busywork--it is grade-level-appropriate, and thoughtfully assembled so as to make these kids think about what they're doing as they're doing it. But, um, I was under the impression that a break meant, you know, a break. Thankfully she doesn't mind.

P.S. The next time I hear someone talk out of their ass about how crappy the Deadwood public schools are, they are going to get a ration of crap from me, or at the very least a boot up the butt.

Stupid Fucking Insomnia

It is 3:30 A.M. I am coming off of three days of absolute exhaustion. I am going on a road trip vacation in three days. The needy ball of chatty energy that is my Isobel is at home from school until then, and I need to find some way to entertain her. I also need to be able to wrap my head around the extremely complicated pee and poo collection for Leelo's DAN! tests, which I will need to start in the morning and complete over the next two days, and FedEx off before our departure. I NEED TO SLEEP.

I tried ovaltine and warm milk. I tried sex. I tried watching TV.

What I suspect is happening: penance. The after effects of raiding Iz's school party Halloween candy cache.

I will now try to sleep anyhow. I wish Seymour wasn't such a light sleeper--otherwise I could read myself to dreamland in my own comfy bed. Or at least lay in my bed and read until dawn.

Labeled

Note to self: hide labelmaker immediately. Iz found it a couple of days ago, so now many of our household items' identities have been clarified for anyone who might have been confused: "My Room" "Fish" "TV" etc. She wanted to label the cats as well, but we talked her out of it.

The now-labeled TV is the same one on which she finally got to watch the Teevo'd Presidential Debate she's been bugging me about for days. I wouldn't watch it as I can't deal with conflict (though I can read about it indefinitely), so she had to wait for her dad. Her conclusions: George Bush thinks he is a fantastic president, but that John Kerry will be a terrible president. Kerry thinks exactly the opposite. George Bush looks like a monkey. He wants to send more people to war, and that's bad.

She also made name tags for herself and her classmate Tori, and everyone else who came to dinner last night--though once Tori arrived Iz was far too on fire to remember such trivialities.

Dinner was faboo. I am, as previously mentioned, an absolute sucker for mashed potatoes and gravy. Even though I hate cooking meat, my cravings overwhelmed that particular revulsion and I roasted a chicken for the first time in over ten years so as to have gravy drippings. The mashed potatoes were made with Plugra butter, and cream. I had three bites of chicken and two mountains of potatoes. I would cook it all again tomorrow if I had the time.

Leelo has been more of himself lately, language-wise. Especially in language-eliciting situations such as getting us to come jump on the bed with him.

He has also become quite the monkey--his agility and fearlessness are shocking. Seymour caught him scaling the interior of the kids' closet in order to get to Iz's top-shelved Tinker Toys, and I caught him climbing our TV cabinet to get one of the supposedly out-of-his-reach games on the top. He almost had both items.

As I mention a lot, one of the nicest things about our boy is his snuggliness. He really likes to cuddle with us, especially in bed. He goes to sleep in his room, but frequently wakes up in the wee hours, and comes sneaking into our quarters. He nestles right in next to me and goes back to sleep instantly--most times. I love it when he does this--but if I'm to resume my nighttime nursing pattern of rolling over, slapping my teat in the baby's mouth, and falling back to sleep, then we're going to have to start denying him entry. It won't be pretty. And it doesn't seem fair. But I really won't be able to trust him anywhere near an infant. Sigh.

10.17.2004

Busy Busy

I don't understand how our lives get so busy. For the past two days my schedules have had zero downtime. Well, maybe two ten-minute breaks. I blame it on actually cooking dinner from scratch both days. The jam-packedness resulted in my collapsing on the couch both nights as soon as darling Seymour started the kiddie bath time routine which he has, for the last few months, handled every single evening. This means he got to attack the completely trashed kitchen afterwards as well. Both times. So now he is on a much-deserved bike ride.

A lot else has been going on but I don't have the energy to blog it. Probably the biggest dealie is the acquisition of a new car that Seymour calls Il Monstro. It is the most overdesigned vehicle I've ever encountered--Seymour says that, given time, I will figure out how to operate the missile launcher. But it hauls three kiddies in car seats plus all the baby gear.

Godfather M cackled mightily when I told him about our purchase--he understands how shaming it is to me to take on such a ride, no matter how gleaming and practical.

10.14.2004

MRI Blues

Looks like there was a slipup along the way, and Leelo's MRI didn't get properly authorized beforehand. Now the insurance company is rejecting the bill.

All I know is that the clinic was supposed to get authorization as they did for all his other procedures, didn't tell me that it wasn't authorized, and that I don't happen to have an extra $5900 lying around. Off to the first of what I'm certain will be several fruitless phone calls.

10.13.2004

Three Good Leeloisms

On Saturday, he came up to me and said "I want to change my diaper." First time ever using spontaneous language on that topic.

He has been going around singing "Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit!" I am thrilled that he's picked up on a family tradition.

Today at school, he grabbed onto a crossbar and swung from it for the first time. This shows improvements in both motor control and upper body strength--both big issues for our boy. I am guessing that he is imitating the other kids. The feat is additionally impressive if you consider how heavy he is--he feels like he's been filled with buckshot. Um, not that I've been picking him up lately or anything.

Iz Among the Lionesses

Iz is still having a rough time adjusting to her school. It doesn't seem to bother her as much as it bothers me.

She is still not finishing her school work during the day, which means we have extra work on top of the homework almost every week. I am not sure whether this is due to the semi-permeable language barrier, or her characteristic unwillingness to comply. Her teacher lets me know that Iz needs to finish her work, but otherwise doesn't seem to worry about it--she's probably still giving her an adjustment period.

Iz's slackwork may stem from tiredness--Leelo keeps her up until 9:30 or 10:00 every night, and then she has to be awake by 7:15 A.M. I think we'll try letting her fall asleep in our bed, and then moving her back to her own once Leelo's finally asleep.

Her performance is a concern, but I am more worried about her social experiences. Iz came straight from a heavily teacher-monitored Montesssori environment, and so has no experience with unchecked manipulation or avarice. The other girls came from a full year with a single teacher and minimal recess and lunch supervision. They know how to work the system, they know when and where they can tell Iz that she needs to give them money or they won't be her friend anymore.

Iz was also a bit of a queen bee at her old school. Lots of the kids wanted to play with her, and looked up to her. Now she's the youngest, the one with the least Spanish experience, and still the new kid. I can tell that these three factors, when combined with the opportunistic nature of her classmates, make for one confused little girl. Although in a scientific, "these rules are alien to me" way rather than an emotionally scorching way. She seems bewildered, not upset.

I have told her that real friendship does not involve money or payment of any kind. Gifting is fine, but is done because one wants to, not because one has to. Not sure if this hit home.

I am trying to give her a concrete opportunity to stand up for herself before I talk to her teacher about the money. She has been given exact change with which to purchase an after school popsicle from the ice cream truck guy when he comes in two days. She is to keep this money in her change purse, in her school backpack. If her "friends" tell her that she needs to give it to them, she is to tell them that it's her popsicle money and that if she does as they ask, she won't be able to get a popsicle.

It's definitely a gamble. If she's more emotionally invested in purchasing friendship than she's let on, the situation could be explosive. Lose/lose. But it could work. I'm hoping it works.

On the brighter side, her Spanish is getting good and fluent, in both lingual and literate terms. Amazing how quickly these kids pick things up. And she says she doesn't mind her homework, because it's fun (?!).

And, lastly, a hoot. Seymour teased her about something last night, and then took it back, saying he didn't really mean it.

"You mean you were lying?" said Iz.

"Yeah, I guess so." said Seymour. "Sorry, I was just teasing."

"Don't be a liar like George Bush!" said Iz.

10.12.2004

Thirty-Three Weeks

That's where we are today, folks. The official "giant lump" portion of the breeding cycle.

As most of my maternity pants are hand-me-downs from people who actually possess perfectly rounded asses and hips with which to keep them aloft, they all now require too much hitching to be worn during a regular work/running after kids day. Even though it seems silly to be buying new pants for a mere six-week period, that's the only way to keep my sanity. And whoever jumps on the fertility grenade next (*cough* Dee *cough* Djinn *cough* Little Flower *cough*) will benefit.

Accordingly, Leelo and I will be off to the knocked-up ladies' store this afternoon while Seymour graciously shepherds Iz to karate and to see the incredibly numerous shorebirds at the end of Redwood Shores Parkway and Radio Road.

Yesterday I went to see my OB for a regular check up. Everything is dandy. I asked her if I had any restrictions. She said no. So I told her that that was great, because we were going to Dizzyland for two days next week during Iz's break.

She started spluttering and said "I meant that I don't want you going anywhere more than 90 minutes away."

"But I'm not flying, I'm driving"

"But what if you have the baby down there! You'll be 35 weeks!"

"They have hospitals down there. We'll be fine."

"But...but...I won't be there!"

Isn't she sweet? I just love her.

As I was leaving, she glared at me and said "You're going anyway, aren't you?"

I just smirked. We'll be fine.

Technically

And by some folks' standards, I am old as of today. Thirty-five. But, I don't feel old and I certainly don't act my age (just ask my mother). I do wonder why folks get so hung up on numbers.

10.11.2004

Biting Nails

Today we got a call from the Neurology folks at Stanffford. They want us to come in and discuss Leelo's test results (MRI, EEG, blood, urine, etc.).

I was under the impression that we most likely wouldn't need to come in. Unless something was funky. Now we'll need to wait two or three weeks to find out what that something is.

One of the great things about autism is its (currently) inexplicable nature. Something's wrong with your kid, but you don't know what it is--so you can work on the symptoms, on making things better. In Leelo's case, at least, there has been no "your child has this condition, which is irreversible."

I am probably being paranoid, but I'd rather operate in the dark.

-----

Update: The appointment is Monday, October 25.

Execrable

Or, more kindly, hypocritical. If you tell me that you're so worried about your children's health that you won't vaccinate them, if you are going to give me grief about my letting kids have the occasional blast of refined sugar, if you tell me that you only buy natural fiber clothing, then you sure as fuck should never show up anywhere where I can see you in your "12 MPG," road-busting, extra-polluting Ford Excursssion. Unless you are being treated for multiple-personality disorder, in which case I apologize.

10.08.2004

Off!

We are spending the weekend up north with Iz's fiance M (arranged marriage) and his mom Hailey. I am taking everyone to meet two of the artists whose works brighten our home--I am a selfish git and usually travel to this weekend's art fest by myself, so Seymour has no idea who these brilliant, talented people are.

I had today all set for guest prepping (moving various piles of crap around the house to create the illusion of tidiness), but then poor Pat the Cat got a ruptured abscess on his neck and had to go to the vet, and Therapist L cancelled this afternoon's session due to illness. All this means my free time went kablooey. But the guests aren't coming for another two hours, so I just may be able to pull it together. Except I'm already wrecked. Sigh. Oh well.

I had a horrible dream about Leelo last night, in which his behavior spiraled out of control so severely that Seymour and I were considering institutionalizing him. Horrible, horrible dream. The kind where you wake up with your heart pounding and ready to burst.

We had a funny exchange about colors yesterday, a rather complicated conversation for him:

Me: "Leelo, what color is this bracelet?"
Leelo: "NO!"
Me: (huh?) "Leelo, what color is this bracelet?"
Leelo: "NO!"
Me: (urp?) "Leelo, is this bracelet blue?"
Leelo: "NO! It's a BANGLE." (true enough)
Me: "Oh. What color is the bangle?"
Leelo: "The bangle is green!" (correct)

And there you go. Have a great weekend. We'll be back Sunday or Monday.

10.07.2004

Nice Dump We Live In

I realize that Saint Claire County is not where we live, and that it is not exactly Love Canal, but it is only five miles away. And it holds the crown for the most Superfund sites (23) in California, if not our country.

Yet another factor influencing the oddly elevated autoimmune/neurological issues in local kids? You are intelligent people, review the data and tell me what you think.

Of course, the Bush administration is reaming anything related to Superfund issues, and in fact is trying to make taxpayers, rather than polluters, pay for the cleanups--an abrupt about face from the Clinton administration's "clean up your own fucking mess" position.

Do. Not. Vote. For. Bush.

10.06.2004

Super Babys!



Iz has decided that I'm having two babys [sic] and that they will be magically arriving from the sky.

Click on the image to see the full groovy shot of Leelo, Iz, and Seymour sporting some fine proto-beatnik togs. I'm not sure where I am--perhaps in a cloud, casually and painlessly performing that ping-pong ball trick, except with full-term infants.

10.05.2004

Leelo Update

Leelo continues to simultaneously do well and frustrate us. He remains gloriously and happily unaware of how his behavior makes our emotional states fluctuate.

Leelo's picked yet another odd behavior with which to drive us nuts. This time it is off-the-scale oralness. In the car or in lieu of other mouthable objects, this means sucking on his shirt, or, more rarely, his hand. He'll stop for a second if you yell at him tell him to, but it's otherwise constant. We have a growing, squirrelly little stash of objects-we-thought-he-couldn't-put-in-his-mouth-except-he-can.

For some reason the shirt-sucking makes me instantly insane. More so than previous, thankfully discarded behavioral obsessions such as constantly removing his shoes, screaming whenever sunlight touches him in his car seat, smacking himself in the head, and crying whenever we eat in front of him. For now I am trying to give him acceptable chew toys as shirt substitutes, and that seems to work most of the time.

Two nights ago he had another poo attack. Seymour had checked on him two minutes before, and, though Leelo was not asleep, he was in bed and fully clothed. Moments later Seymour detected a wafting stench from the kids' room, ran in, and found carnage. Clean-up fun for the whole family! (Iz continues to find this hilarious. In fact, she vetoed having her own room--not that we have the space to give her one--because she says she needs to tell us when Leelo gets naked.)

Leelo is still of a mindset that, unless truly motivated, he need not identify objects as any color other than green. He acts as though it's just not worth his time, the little twit. Unless you remind him that he's working for some veggie booty. Or you invert the question.

What he knows vs. what he uses is astounding. This is typical for kids like him, I've heard. Last week as he, Iz, and I sat for 90 minutes at the coffee shop next to the mechanic, waiting for our car, I ran him through every noun, action, and object identification trial I could think of. I drew pictures on the magnadoodle. I asked him questions about animal sounds. His success rate was >95%.

But he only uses 5% of the words and concepts spontaneously. No one except his family and therapists would ever suspect how much information is trapped in his head.

Watching him at school depresses me. I know it shouldn't, I know he isn't like his peers. He's so much more present and involved than he used to be, but it is still difficult having the outlier kid.

There is still lots of good stuff going on. At the team meeting on Monday, he grabbed both Therapist L and Supervisor M, demanding that they "Go down the stairs!" so he could show them how his crazy nesting mommy had rearranged her bedroom (there wasn't space for a bassinet, before).

He gives lots of kisses. He's still really snuggly.

He's still responding well to more complex requests, such as "Bring me your backpack," even though it's across the room and wedged behind a chair.

His frequent wee hours waking sessions are, more often than not, turning into climb-into-bed-with-mommy-and-daddy-and-fall-right-back-to-sleep-again episodes. Totally tolerable--for me, if not for light-sleeper Seymour.

In other Leelo news, we did our final food reintroduction, of peanut butter, two nights ago. It resulted in no change that we can see. Now that all the reintroductions are done, we get to do a poo and pee collection series in two weeks, draw some more blood (gaaaah!), and then regroup with our DAN! doctor, the good Dr. P, to see where Leelo's food sensitivities are.

That's it. Unless you're a data junkie and want to review the minutes from Monday's Leelo team meeting.

"Why Can't the Teletubbies Speak Properly?"

Demanded Iz, when her brother chose that video for his selection of the day.

"Are they autistic?"

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