1.11.2006

And Even More Melodrama! With a Leelo Update Folded In!

As I was finishing that last post (near midnight), Mali woke up wailing for her Mommy-pacifier. Seymour came to bed, too, and after Mali finally sacked back out her parents had a good long, fruitful conversation about the state of things in our life. It lasted until 1:30 in the morning, and I at least felt refreshed afterwards.

We talked a lot about Leelo, as he's been having a rough time of it lately. He does every January, really, because he's just spent over two months in the holiday/travel/birthday wringer, and that's stressful for our guy. He's been hitting and kicking a lot lately, too--mostly Seymour and sometimes me (e.g., bedtime tonight featured two straight hours of Seymour and I taking shifts getting pummeled), but also occasionally his classmates and last night Merlin. It's getting more intense, too, which makes us both really worried. This is the kind of shit that would get him bounced from school and that would exceed the skills of even Sandalia the wonder baby sitter, meaning Seymour's and my one brief weekly respite from our life is in jeopardy.

I spoke with Supervisor M and we suspect he's both seeking reactions and sensations (it makes his hands and arms feel good), and that he resents the fact that he gets shunted onto so many other people while Mali is always with me. So I talked to Babysitter A, she who does the Engaged Play with Leelo four times per week, and we've agreed that she will sometimes take Mali instead so that I can have some dedicated rather than found one-on-one time with my son. In the rare moments when I do get him alone and sit down with him, he pulls me in for big hugs, kisses, and snuggles--but they can turn into a wallop at any time so I have to be wary.

His language is not great and he's constantly stimming, chewing on strings (new stim; elbow grabbing is out) and vocalizing. And the little guy still does not get the concept of "counter"--he calls is "table" or "floor" 90% of the time. Although today when I tried to demonstrate three concepts he was having trouble with to Supervisor M, he not only told us that his big sister was Izzy and his little sister Mali when asked to specify his siblings, but nailed "counter" the first time. Little showoff.

We talked about the showstopping thrills of the two nice big BMs he put in the pot for Seymour over the weekend, one after being caught in "stinkbug" position and one--surprisingly--during a routine pit stop. That indicates that things may be settling down for him. He also has had some language progress in the area of pronoun comprehension, using "it" and "it's," as well as "your" correctly most of the time. Many autistic kids have life-long difficulties with pronouns, with applying "you" to others rather than themselves. Contractions can also be difficult.

We also talked about his supplements and diet. Thing is, ever since we went to Phoenix and he went on that brief but apparently steep slide into sugar-land, he's been eating like a horse, and had gotten really chubby again whereas he had just started fitting back into jeans rather than sweats (he is shaped like a fireplug regardless). Two months later he is just starting to slow down and not eat compulsively. Also we are being less yieldy in letting him have only the three or four foods he asks for--we have found out that he will eat an additional three or four foods if he gets hungry enough. (This experiment is carried out only on weekends, so as to not interfere with therapy sessions or school.)

We've modified supplements again. Now his daily doses are:
  • Kirkman Kids Multivitamins (instead of their NuThera blend; the new ones are broader spectrum)
  • Probiotics
  • Calcium Powder
  • Kirkman Happy Enzymes (not their real name, but they are gluten and casein aides; he was taking their Phenol Assist enzyme complex before, but his diet has become very low in phenols)
  • Cod Liver Oil. Mmmmm.
Back to our bedtime chat. Seymour and I talked about my journal (you are reading it) and how the only way I can do any writing is to cut into sleep time, which is not healthy.

We discussed how much we missed each other and our lives, how the kids have been so hard to put to bed lately, how little time we have for our individual selves and each other and how we'd better work on that as the kids aren't always going to be around (except possibly Leelo). Then we sighed and rolled over.

And then Leelo woke up. His runny nose had given him a bad cough, coupled with a sinus headache, and he could not sleep.

Seymour and I took that one in shifts. The boy stayed up until 5:30 A.M.. Whenever I would get to go back to bed, Mali would wake up and want to nurse and I'd generally be up until my next shift came on.

We got to start the day on 1.5 hours of sleep. As did Leelo.

A good thing about not getting to blog much is that after a day or so goes by, things that seemed critically bloggable don't seem all that important anymore. Everything above and below seemed MAJOR at the time, not so much 24 hours later. But I'll bore you anyhow.

Leelo had a morning home therapy session after his late night party, but I kept him home from his speech therapy sessions so he could rest. He did well in therapy. I used that time to sign Iz up for one of the five thousand tests and scrutinies required for her Big Noggin School application (this one being an IQ test, which just irritates me, the whole thought of reducing a person to a number--FOREVER) and fret over whether that school's workload would grind her mind flat instead of unleashing its potential.

Then I took Leelo to school. Where Teacher P made it clear that I should not ever drop off Leelo unless a therapist is present already (which I have done exactly once, and then only because one of the other parents took responsibility for watching him until the therapist got there), and that yes, Leelo should indeed stay home until another aide is found for him on Wednesdays. I sense she thinks I'm taking advantage of everyone's goodwill, when in fact I rather pointedly try not to do so. But whatever. (See! Next day. I'm no longer freaked.)

Rushed home to meet the architects for a site survey of our home (we're trying to cannibalize part of it for a small guest cottage). They had not great news: the county is saying that we have to widen our entire driveway to 16 feet (it is 9 currently) so emergency vehicles can get up there, even though they come up here all the time with no problem (Iz's febrile seizures are 911-caliber, and I occasionally set the kitchen on fire). I do not see how the widening can possibly be done, as the foot of our driveway is a ramp built from the flat street, connecting to our steep hill. Also they are saying that we can't live in one house while building another on the same lot. And we may need to install our own fire hydrant--there may be fire hydrants within the legal distance to our house but they're not sure and if we want to have them go out and measure that will cost $$. GAAAAH. All this means the price tag and construction times keep inching up and out. I am tempted to contact our real estate agent again.

Picked up Iz from school and asked her teacher to fill out the Big Noggin "teacher observation and rubric," which led to one of the Maestra's typical charming but meandering monologues about what's going on in the classroom and how she's enriching the curriculum (she's introducing Cervantes) and how incredible the kids all are. Eventually she wandered back around to my questions. She had no problem filling out the application so we can cover all our options, but she was equally skeptical about Big Noggin due to its reputation as a homework overprocessing facility.

By late afternoon I was totally zombiriffic and so asked ever-patient Marroqui if she could come clean on Saturday instead. Since we then didn't have to go out for dinner while she cleaned, we invited Merlin and Ep over to eat and had a grand old time. Dinner was cheese, crackers, wine, and a few containers of salads from The Hole. Mali couldn't get enough of the tabouli, and I will state firmly once more that Ramsay Cellars have never let me down. First cabernet s. I've truly enjoyed in years.

Highlight of the day, for me: Singing the call-and-response Lock and Key song with Merlin, Seymour, and Iz (Ep begged off due to self-professed curmudgeonry). You are the lock, and appoint another person to be the key. Every line is sung to the tune of the first line from "...I Think I'll Eat Some Worms." Here's how it works:

You: "I am a gold lock"
Victim: "I am a gold key"
You: "I am a brass lock"
Victim: "I am a brass key"
You: "I am a stone lock"
Victim: "I am a stone key"
You: "I am a mon lock"
Victim: "I am a monkey...wait!" (Everyone busts up)

It's lame in type but much fun in person! The first three locks are the material of your choice, then the last one is the barb (variations: tur lock, cook lock, don lock, etc.). We all had fun springing our traps on each other, with Seymour coming up with the malar lock and the anar lock, and Iz inverting it to come up with the war key (and then the spoo lock, etc.)

Alas, it is 1 A.M. now and I've still not done a fucking thing for Iz's party. Sigh. I'm sure it'll turn out somehow but don't expect much, folks. Especially since Seymour's folks are coming into town tomorrow night. I will most likely disappear from this space until Monday. Happy weekend.

By the way, here is a photo of Leelo at 19 months. Did I ever mention how much I enjoy fiction featuring unreliable narrators?

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