What? I Haven't Written About the Kids Today?

Mali Mali Mali oh, is she cute. Mellow, sweet, smiley baby. She adores her sister and brother, is desperate for them to give her attention. (Leelo yanking her out of my arms does not count.) Iz has devised all sorts of nonsense chants to mesmerize her little sister.

That baby wants to eat solids, and will lunge for any food or drink that goes towards my mouth. Two more weeks, little girl, and all the rice cereal in the world will be yours! In the mean time she is happily taking sips of water from my cup and then looking startled as it all runs back out of her open mouth and down her chest. Not that it changes her appearance; her tops are always soaked with teething drool.

Want to have fun with a five-month-old baby? Give her a handful of cooked spaghetti and watch her trip out.

She has discovered scooting. Put her on her back on the ratty old leather couch and watch her use her feet to beetle across the cushions. Maybe I should hook up with some similar-aged babies and a bookie.

She has also realized that that awful contraption I put her when it's time to cook or fold clothes is full of things you can bite, spin, and rattle. I agree with Godfather M in that it is a hard-wired ADD stimulator, but JP plunked it on my deck and it works and Mali won't tolerate her other holding pens for more than two minutes.

Leelo is still loopy, though less so than yesterday. He had a great Iron Gate Park Day this morning, according to Therapist S and Supervisor M. But that's been his only focused stimulus for four days; Babysitter A took the weekend off, Jude took this afternoon off to write a final, and then Therapist L is taking tomorrow's two shifts off. Poor rudderless boy.

I keep trying to give him tasks, as he is such a good helpful little guy. This morning we took grocery shopping slow, so that he could help me take items off the shelf and put them in the basket under Mali's stroller. He also helped me push the stroller around the store.

Even so, he spent most of the day trying to grab lego blocks and stim with them in front of the sliding glass doors, or watching his (excellent for autistic kids) new Richard Skeery video. I hate deliberately pasturing him like that, but I don't know what else to do as Leelo is not a boy who can be engaged peripherally. If you don't force him to give you his full attention, which then of course requires your full attention, then you might as well be on the moon. When Mali is awake or Iz is home it is difficult to give him that focus. Thankfully Iz I can chat with while I'm preparing everyone's food, and even Mali is content to gurgle at me while I do laundry.

This afternoon I gave him some window crayons and he surprised me by drawing loops rather than back-and-forth scribbles. Deliberate loops. He still doesn't really know how to hold the crayon, and "ambidextrous" would be a generous way to describe his lack of handedness, but loops are a conceptual increment, they are an accepted next level, and I am excited about them.

He of course also had me draw him a house and a car. But he soon lost interest because, unlike the MegnaDoodle, he couldn't continuously erase the window drawings. Which makes me think that Seymour is right; in having us draw him car after car and house after house, he is having us do discrete trials. Fair enough as his therapists make him do them all day long.

Supervisor M has let us know that she thinks we need to start increasing Leelo's potty training hours. I still question the utility of potty training a boy who has no problem sitting on a shitty diaper, and who occasionally has BMs in his sleep. It may be time to query one of the Special Needs/Autism eGroup boards I've recently joined.

Final Leelo item: he is having a big growth spurt. He is still short for his age, but not as dramatically as he used to be. He is also expanding horizontally, so it may be time to back off on the veggie chips and whole wheat croissants he so craves. He is shorter than Iz, but I think his waist is bigger, and they are definitely able to share clothing now. With his new short summer haircut, his face is decidedly pudgy.

Iz continues to crack me up, even as I fret about her being a little shit.

She loves excuses and shortcuts even more than I did at her age. Example: The first grade curriculum at Esperanza includes weekly English sequences even though the kids won't be taught English reading until next year. This week's assignment is to write a story based on F1at Stan1ey. Or, rather, to make up the story and have parents write it out for non-English literate students. No matter that Iz could write the story up herself--if the other kids don't have to write it out, she sure as hell isn't doing it. Here is her story, as long as I'm typing it out:
Isobel and Flat Stella really like to go ice skating together. Flat Stella is a better ice skater than Isobel because she is flat and that makes her more stable. They go ice skating in Seatt1e when it is snowing.

One time Flat Stella fell through a crack in the ice. But her friends had had her laminated before they went skating so she was okay.

All her friends had bathing suits under their skating clothes. There was an ice cream truck near by so they decided that the first person who rescued Stella would get a yummy ice cream shake. Isobel swam under the ice and got to Stella first, so she rescued her and got the ice cream shake.

This is what she rattled off in less than a minute; she would not sit still to expand on it or think of a different, longer story. Yet another demonstration of her tendency to sprint/cram just like her mother. No interest in thoughtful work, none at all. Even her art projects have devolved. She now draws like she did when she was two because that's how all the other kids are drawing. I am doing a muddy job of pointing out my worries here, but in general I think she is trying to be mediocre like everyone else because it's easy and she doesn't stick out.

I finished the 9th Seriously Unfortunate book this morning so as to stay ahead of her in the series. Except she grabbed it and now is now mostly done herself. I have had some luck in distracting her with TinTin, which I am hoping is a direct conduit to Asterix.

Yesterday's sermon was a very earnest guest youth group led affair, and included a pulpit talk from a "superhero" named Professor Blather. He gathered all the children on the altar, and asked them about their favorite superheroes. I guess he was expecting declarations of "Superman!" or "Batman!," not Iz's detailed description of Akiko, which he eventually had to interrupt to resume his talk.

She will not let me fast forward through the more dreary musical sequences in Funnny Face, which I find astounding (I love musicals for their stories and soundtracks only). I will have to see what she thinks of the braying Higgins "songs" in My Fair Lady.

She is really trying hard to be a more polite, thoughtful girl, but still has little interest in listening to or accommodating non-Alpha children. I am sorely tempted to write her another pedantic book on being a good listener, but since I am the queen of the flakes these days I doubt it will happen. I will continue to talk with her about fairness and The Golden Rule, and hope that some of my natterings will eventually percolate through her skull.

Enough listing. Off to bed.

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