11.04.2005

Squid Smoothie Recipe P. 2

Haven't been writing because I've hardly had time to wipe my kids' arses. Also Miss Mali has been playing barnacle to my gray whale, and hasn't let me or my boobs out of her graspy bedtime grasp until this very evening.

Atlanta, great food (Barbecue! Okra Fritto!), wonderful friends and kids. So excited to finally meet Dee's Artoo, age 3, owner of the world's cutest diction. The parents' nerves might have had it easier had we put Iz and Giddy's E in a soundproof room, locked the door and walked away. Ep calls this age 5-6 dynamic "The Bickersons." They are darling girls when apart.

Fun to watch Mali and Giddy's Kerali, who is one week younger. Kerali's remarkable presence and interactivity reminded me of when Iz was that age and much like the more staid Mali. Iz's co-babies, like Kerali, were more physically present and engaged, and I secretly wondered if Iz might be a bit on the slow side (the irony being that I wasn't so worried about sunny Mr. Leelo's social persona until late toddlerhood). Then again, Mali was still feeling so off that she nursed almost exclusively the entire time, to the extent that her radioactive swamp gas stomach virus diapers turned into bonafide breast-fed baby sweet curd sacks.

Realized several times that my verging-on-paranoid assertions about vaccines and their schedules, flu shots, etc. might not sound entirely sane to two medical writers, one of whom works for a big pharma co., and Dee's partner Dee2 the CDC employee. But they all voted against Bush, and that's all that really matters.

Rest of week:

Flight home from Atlanta. Pleasant enough. Iz inhaled "The Witche5" and now doesn't want to take baths, as that way the witches won't be able to smell her own Iz scent beneath the grime. I ordered a glass of wine from the O'Haire airport bar while hip-loading Mali. This got me some funny looks, and also eye locks of pure sisterhood.

Arrived home at midnight. Leelo stayed up most of the night crying and fussing. Seymour and I took turns. Rah!

Met with another builder Monday morning, then ran home to meet with our architects for more site surveying. The architects told me that the storm drain running under our house isn't on any county records, and that I should ask our neighbors about both that and the access easement that runs across our yard and which they own. Guess we'd have to inform the somewhat odd, contentious backside neighbors about our building plans at some point, but I was hoping not to do so until we'd already finished construction.

Remembered that Iz was still on break and yet I had to work at Iron Gate in the afternoon, called Ep in panic and she agreed to host Iz for my shift. Bless her.

Flailed at yet another Iron Gate shift.

Teacher P let me know that, during last week's Halloween parade and costume show-off--at which Leelo was a cowboy--he not only partipated in the parade but he got up during circle time when "cowboys and cowgirls" were called, and walked around the circle with the other cowfolk--with no prompting or guidance! She was almost in tears as she described the scene.

During clean up, one of the other moms, who has three kids four and under, came and offered to do my clean up as her daughter was home for the day and she knew I wanted to go to circle time with Leelo. They are good people, despite my snarkery about methodology and practice.

Leelo started getting feverish and increasingly irritable after we got home, so Iz/Hermi0ne went trick or treating with Seymour and her friends in Ep's neighborhood, and I stayed with the two tinies. Mali missed her first Halloween, but I doubt she minded. She got to be a cute leopard at a Halloween carnival in Atlanta, plus she'd also shown off her costume during Art Trai1s the weekend before (where people commented on her pungent cuteness so frequently that Jo and I started to tell them that we dressed her so as a disctraction while we picked peoples' pockets. Nervous laughs aplenty).

Tuesday Violet came and got Iz for the day. Rah! As Tuesdays are always so much fun. This one was notable for Leelo demonstrating his increased geographic awareness by asking for Knob and Mauna when we neared downtown (where their cafe is), and his awareness of routine by asking to go get Sage's daughter and his classmate Kiki after leaving Sage's speech therapy session, as picking her up is our next stop. Observation skills are not strong points for many autistic children.

Then we had a really wild Sushi dinner with Violet and family, and Jo too. Had parts of real conversations amidst the racket with Violet's mom, who needs a pseudonym.

Then off to an Iron Gate night class about managing TV and the media (mostly old hat to me--we watch videos and TiV0 but the kids are allowed absolutely no commercial-larded or live TV). Mali came too and spent the entire meeting playing performing puppy for an adoring crowd: crawling around, flirting, mugging, and posing. She was feeling much better than her Atlanta self. Sage and I agreed that this is not a socially impaired child. We will take her to the MYND 12 month evaluation at the end of this month anyhow.

Wednesday Mali and I went to her music class for the first time in weeks (no illness or emergencies to tend to). We left, and just as I was pushing Mali around The Hole, marveling at the 90 minutes I might have free once we arrived home, I got a call from Iz's principal. Iz was being sent home for the day, and I needed to come meet with the principal and then collect my child.

Apparently (and the story keeps evolving), a trio of boys had been teasing Iz about being a "midget" and other factors, and wouldn't leave her alone. So, Iz waited until the smallest boy of the three was alone, and then enlisted the biggest girl in her class to come along and help kick the boy's ass. They beat him hard enough to make him cry, hard enough to leave red marks all over his back.

While this displays a fine sense of battle strategy, it is simply unacceptable. Iz knew this, and was somewhat penitent. The principal and I talked Iz through various scenarios for dealing with the boys, most of which centered on the disengaging and walking away that Iz simply cannot do. Her school now wants her to attend social skills workshops onsite.

She did write the boy she beat (who has always seemed like a very sweet little boy to me) a very funny letter of apology, a huge long gushing splutter, telling him how sorry she was but that he still wasn't going to be invited to her birthday party and if he ever hurt his leg she would be happy to show his friends how to make him a "wrist chair" so they could carry him to safety. Both the principal and I busted up reading it. The principal also mentioned that Iz was "one of the smartest little girls she'd ever met" and that was a reason that Iz should have been able to figure out a better solution.

I think a combination of not having same-interest friends, being put in a classroom away from all of her existing friends, and Violet telling her that she can't play with anyone else anyhow is starting to frustrate our girl.

On our drive home Therapist S called to cancel her afternoon Leelo session at Iron Gate on account of her having come down with the dreaded barfing bug that's been making the rounds. Other things may have happened for the rest of the day but I don't remember what they were. Ah yes--Iz went to her piano lesson.

Thursday: Cancelled Leelo's overnight sleep clinic study scheduled for that evening as it was $4.5K and our insurance still hadn't agreed to pay for it. Therapist L stayed home from the morning session to be with her ill father. So off Mali, Leelo, and I went to coffee. Where Godmother Stacy showed up! Goddamn! So good to see her, so amazing that she had the balls to break out of the house, away from her twins and come do a social sanity check. We all saluted her.

On the way home I heard from MB, who told me that her Sophie--who is near Leelo's age and shares his label--actually figured out trick-or-treating logistics in only a couple of tries, and was then able to ask to go home when she'd had all the (over) stimulation she could take. Such progress. This is tearworthy stuff.

Then home for a Leelo team meeting. We are going to start fading verbal and visual prompting for potty training because Leelo tends to overly rely on it and sometimes can fixate on incorrect cues. We are going to silently and physically and from behind prompt/guide him, and gradually fade his cues. Should be interesting, but I am game. Supervisor M also mentioned that we can use Leelo's "potty" cue card to get him to go to the toilet even when he's not in session (he protests when we try to take him), as it removed all subjectivity from the process.

Went downstairs mid-meeting to find that Scabby had shat and pissed on our bed again, for no reason I could see--the door was open and her litter box was clean. Felt a few blood vessels burst inside my head and thought dark thoughts about putting her in a box on the dry cleaner's doorstep.

Took Leelo to Iron Gate, late. Drove around the neighborhood and looked at all the houses for sale and thought, what the hell--maybe it would be easier to just move! Talked to Seymour, who agreed about the possiblity of that line of thought. Called real estate agent, who arranged tours.

Videotaped Supervisor M's very sweet talk at Iron Gate about differences and Leelo's behavior. The kids seemed to get it, somewhat.

Took Leelo and Iz home (the latter from patient Ep's) and deposited everyone in front of the TV, but not until Iz had told me how she spent recess on the bench for getting in yet another playground spat (though this one did not turn violent). SIGH.

Leelo followed me downstairs, and made my cry by singing a song along with me for the first time ever ("Shoo Fly"). He was watching my mouth intently the whole time to make sure we were in synchronization. That boy needs a music class.

Ran screaming to the Indian restaurant the moment Babysitter Celia and her daughter arrived. Read book. Ate food. Emptied brain of all thoughts.

Today (Fri.):

Went to Iz's school to do reading. The class was missing; I found them in the library. All the children except Iz were sitting at tables doing word search puzzles; my daughter was sitting in bean bag in the corner, reading. I wasn't able to gather if she was being punished (because if so they could have made it even harsher by giving her a candy bar or soda) or they were allowing her to get out of a boring activity.

Went and looked at houses. Now I am totally confused and will have to write more on the matter when my brain is intact. Ep came along, which was ever so helpful.

Ran off to our estate lawyer to finally add Mali to our will. And set up a special needs trust for Leelo. Looked over the will and realized that our lawyer's wife, who disappeared a couple of years ago, was the witness when we drew up our will and signed every page. Eerie.

Quick impromptu coffee with Jo at our spankin' new Preets Coffee. Chat about my house/build worries and her plot twistings. Oh my am I jealous of the world inside her brain and her ability to tease it into the open for the rest of us to enjoy. So altruistic, though the process is not an easy one, it seems.

Picked up Sophie and Iz and hauled them to the toy store to get Leelo's birthday presents. This year I am being smart and bought him something he'll go ballistic over: the three Th0mas trains he's lost. Got the girls a puzzle.

Went home and the girls played so nicely, with role playing and cooperative puzzling. So pleasant. Then Jo brought us dinner! I snarfed mine and then ran off to the Hole to get party and dinner fixings for tomorrow's Leelo birthday party and dinner with the V's afterwards.

Mali went down without using me as a permanent snuggly/pacifier for the first time in over a week, so Seymour and I had some chat time while I made tomorrow's dinner. And then I got to come down her and spew. If you made it this far, give yourself a cookie!

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