5.27.2006

Hurrah! I'm 18 Months Old Today!

Meds and Milestones

We started Leelo on the Addderrup yesterday. Babysitter A swears that his sentences are more complex. I have noticed that he is singing much longer and more complicated songs--not necessarily articulating all of the words, but definitely getting the entire melody down and singing tunes like "Tingolayo" all the way through. Very cool. In the afternoons he seems to get quite mellow (we dose him during breakfast).

HowEVER. Leelo is much more intensely emotional. He spent a good day of yesterday sobbing for his daddy in a completely undistractable fashion. I think this is because last Friday Seymour left the house and then did not return for four days. Leelo now thinks that every time Seymour leaves, it may be days before he returns. Poor bit.

Today Leelo's emotionality was even more pronounced. I am glad that TLF is visiting and is willing to tend to Mali while I deal with Leelo, because I have never spent a non-travel, non-hospital procedure day with Leelo that stressed me out so thoroughly or that so required my undivided attention. I even created and quaffed a new drink, the Daddy's Home (dark rum, tangerine juice, pear soda), the moment Seymour returned home from his and Floyd's mountain biking session and was able to take the boy. Leelo did calm down once Seymour was home.

Leelo was violently inconsolable the entire time Seymour was was mountain biking--almost six hours. Babysitter A, TLF, and I managed to distract Leelo slightly with a hike to the Heritage Grove in Ha Londa, but once we returned home and Babysitter A had to leave, Leelo completely lost his head. He beat the shit out of me, and when he wasn't hitting or pinching, he was demanding that I give him every last iota of my attention, e.g., letting him sit on my lap while on the swing. If I didn't accommodate, he exploded even further.

I was very careful to explain to Seymour that the hickey-looking bruises on my chest are from Leelo pinching me, rather than from anything pleasant.

So, the meds do not seem to be helping Leelo's emotional state, but perhaps that evens out over the inital settling-in period. The Adderrup also seem to make Leelo more attached to his stim objects, which right now are either plastic straws or chewy tubes. Which is fine--he is not endangering anyone by fiddling with or chewing on a straw all day long.

In conclusion, I am not yet impressed by the meds, and in fact I am extremely worried about Leelo huring someone--his sisters or a classmate, specifically--during one of his prolonged emotional storms. I will talk with Dr. S on Tuesday and get her take.

---

In cheerier news,



Mali hit 18 months yesterday. We're still surprised and elated that she's here. I was less elated during this past week's grumpy shits episodes, which had her waking and nursing several times each night, and shooting jets of liquid sulfur out of her bottom several times each day.

A few notables: She now says "Fish" instead of "Pish." She greets most strangers with a big "Heyyo!" She has an uncanny memory for faces, and will greet people by name or identify them in photos after being introduced to them only once. She wakes up in the morning by fussing, and then sits bolt upright and demands, "Eat?" She is a certified goofus, as you can see by clicking through the photo series above. She still has that weird wispy cloud of curls on her head. She watches too many videos, but there are worse ways for a parent in my situation to manage the herd.

---

As for me, I have been busier than busy these past few days, making my Crappy Correspondent card extra-valid. I have completely cleaned up my garden, weeded it, removed all plants designated sickly no matter what or who they symbolize, fertilized everything, cut everything back. TLF and Floyd are here, and I'm more interested in hanging with them than turning on my computer.* I am giddy just thinking about tomorrow when Floyd and Seymour sit on the kids all day long, and TLF and I hit the Sevatop0l farmer's market and otherwise plunge into the area's creative tide.

This morning we had a great brunch at our house in which Godmother Stacy, her belly, and her partner Arnold plus their two cute babies Victoria and Elizabeth; Gouda and partner Heinz plus their cute three-month-old munchkin Sandy; and Floyd and TLF (and her belly) made us extra-happy to have Mali around, because at least one of our kids will be in the same relative age group, and will want to play with, all of theirs.

*Though Iz and Floyd are obviously more than happy to hook up my MacBook Pro:

5.25.2006

Charmed

Just as I was thinking how lucky I am to have met so many cool people as a result of this blog, Liz Ditz shows up to Bad Moms' Coffee! And Godmother Stacy came too. Glee!

So sad that Badger and Jo weren't there to dive into the conversation(s), which started spinning so fast that the sound barrier was breached. I think I stepped on at least five of Mary's sentences, so excited was I about the intelligent energy field enveloping our table.

Mostly we talked about schools, people being freaks about schools, parenting perfectionism, giving your kids time to dick around instead of scheduling their every last moment of free time, the Muffia, the Denise Clark Pope talk I went to last week and about which I will write soon (really), homeschooling, people willing to make snap judgements about the unsuitability of neighborhood schools they have never visited and to whose families they have never even spoken (fucktards), Big Noggin sucking up enrichment resources for the Deadwood school district, etc.

Even though I wanted to hear Liz talk because of her commitment to and knowledge about education, I kept nattering on because that's what I do when I get overexcited. But please come back, Liz!

Leelo stepped on my camera and broke its viewscreen, so you'll have to make do with a backlit MacBook image of today's Bad Moms' Coffee Collective:

Mary, Ep, Godmother Stacy, JP, Liz

5.23.2006

Because I Am Totally Punchy

As long as I'm polluting the blogosphere with the raw sewage contained in all these posts, how about a nice grab bag entry:

Today was the BigNoggin new student orientation. It was very mellow. I wondered if I would see anyone from our past, specifically obnoxious parents of precocious children from playgroups past, but my pessimism was thwarted when to my great delight I ran into a buddy I hadn't seen in seven years, and whose son will be in Iz's class. Very exciting.

I am listening to Fishbone's first EP. A happy rocket back to high school.

Have you seen Dirty Pretty Things? You should. Not only is it better than I can praise it for being, but Benedict Wong has the most amazing voice. I wish he'd had a bigger part. Also you should see Swimming Pool if only to voice an opinion on what it might possibly have been about. However, if like me you crave well-made juvenile comedies, then I suggest Harold & Kumar, European Vacation, or Shaun of the Dead.

I haven't been writing about my personal life much, kids only. This is because everyone I know--well, almost everyone I know--is in a state of misery or beyond stressed, and I'm dealing with it all offline.

You should, however, know that Ep, Mary Tsao, Badger, and I met Aye1et Waldman on Saturday. She was delightful, chatty, and approchable. After a brief conversation regarding Bezerkely as a roosting place (plusses: co-op bookstores, yoga studios, and salvage yards; minuses: the Liberal Mafia never sleeps), she expressed surprise that we cool kids could hail from Deadwood; I assured her that we are legion.

Also I had a real-world conversation with one of my favorite, previously virtual, friends this afternoon, Lea. You all so wish you were me, don't you? Minus the nursing complexion and the three screaming kids?

And those kids:

Leelo likes to sing, even though he's not very good about remembering lyrics. But just today he figured out how to ask for us to sing with him: he came up to me and said, "I like to sing, Mommy!" That thud was me fainting with joy.

I fainted again yesterday in overhearing part of a conversation between Merlin and Iz. I didn't hear what Merlin said, but Iz responded with a very measured, "No, I don't want my brother out of my life. I like having him around." Or something like that. Perhaps Ep heard specifics.

Someone has taught Mali how to count. It wasn't me. But if you say "one," she says "two!" and so on up to twelve. I've no idea where she got this from.

School Districting

We are still negotiating Leelo's entry into the Deadwood school district's special ed services division. Here's the status on a number of points based on my conversation with my contact Pim:

The IEP papers are not yet ready. They will be ready, and I will sign them, this week. They will include speech therapy and occupational therapy goals.

Pim offered to pay for Leelo's summer school at ALSO, though they will not be able to supply him with an aide.

With regards to Leelo's school aide in the Fall, they do not have anyone assigned yet. In fact there is a district shortage. She suggested that I have Therapist Y apply; she said that there would be a 90% chance of having him assigned to Leelo. I will ask Therapist Y but suspect that once you get private rates you don't go back to district ones.

The Behavioral (autism) school district class is definitely happening in the Fall, and Leelo is in. What they do not yet know is at which school. She said that the board would be meeting this week to determine its location.

Pim mentioned that FECES was available to do a behavioral assessment on Leelo, but that they did not have any openings in their ongoing programs. She thinks it is therefore silly to have them do an assessment at all. I will ask her about the alternative that Supervisor M suggested, having them reimburse us for our existing program rather than contracting with Supervisor M directly, at least until we find out about her NPA status.

I forgot to ask her about reimbursement for Sage. Durr.

Bad Squid! Bad!

Supervisor M gave me the gentlest, kindest, and most logical bitchslap possible for alphadogging Leelo. She says that even though he acted like he didn't like it, it is still the kind of intense attention he craves, especially if I turned away from him when it was over. I assured her that, once he acknowledged that yanking my hair out of my skull was unacceptable, I gave him lots of positive, vocal, snuggly attention on the couch. She acknowledged that it probably felt like the right thing to do, but that given Leelo being who he is, what feels right and what actually helps him understand are two very different scenarios.

She also said that, however difficult it may be, I need to try to remember to use positive rather than negative statements with the boy. She likened it to the Far Side cartoon in which the dog listening to a human's voice hears only, "murmurmurmurmurmur GINGER murmurmurmurmurmur GINGER;" she thinks that what Leelo picks up from me saying "NO HAIR PULLING" is "...HAIR PULLING." Fair enough. I'll work on it.

Pulling My Hair Out

Leelo has been in a most interesting space lately. Some good language, like being able to generalize and identify grocery stores, and telling me, "Not okay! It's not okay!" when I attempt to end a walk on our street before we get to one of his stim stops. New language is good.

What is not good are the new behaviors he's added to his aggression arsenal: he now pinches skin and/or pulls hair when he gets mad. His therapists are trying to ignore him, but I cannot downplay the hair pulling and will pull an alpha dog on him as needed. While this hold is not harmful, he finds it very aversive--and it is definitely not the kind of attention he is using his outbursts to seek.

I'll talk about his aggression some more this afternoon with Supervisor M; we will also talk about how Leelo is starting to hit friends of Iz's such as Merlin and Violet. It would break my heart if Leelo's behavior escalates to the point where Iz's friends don't want to come over.

I am hoping that Leelo's behavior will improve now that Seymour is back from his glorious trip to Utah. I hope I improve, too. It is not impossible to be on my own with the brood for four days, but it is trying--especially when therapists get sick, kids get sick, kids decide to do tag-team sleeping, kids have guests spend the night, and I get no rest. Then my brain starts to deteriorate and I forget really important things. Like calling my mom back after she returns from a month abroad. Or calling TLF to plan out our upcoming weekend together (yay!). Or the fact that Leelo had a speech therapy session with Sage at noon. Whoops.

Smash it UP!

That's what we'll be doing with Leelo's pill. I spoke to Dr. S yesterday, and she said that Adderrup is not bad-flavored and it is safe to mix with food as long as Leelo eats all the food. We agreed that it would be fine to put it in his morning rice milk cocktail, which currently also contains his multivitamin, calcium powder, and probiotics.

What I didn't realize until Seymour read my blog this morning for the first time in five days and then called me is that he and Dr. S had already had a long conversation about administrating the pill, and that she had suggested putting it in the almond butter in his morning sandwich. As Leelo tends to finish more of his sandwich than his cocktail, this solution is even better!

Leelo finished his antibiotics today. We'll give him a couple of days to recover, and then...

5.21.2006

By Popular Request

Sad little Mali asks for boob.

5.20.2006

Mali Is All Done

It is rather difficult to try to feed all three kids plus myself dinner simultaneously. Even though the girls and I eat the same things and only Leelo gets special food, Mali is a very messy and impatient eater and requires a lot of attention.

She also needs minding because she sees no reason why she shouldn't stand up in her high chair after every bite. Nor has she yet heard a compelling argument as to why she shouldn't climb out of her high chair and attempt to lower herself to the floor when she's finished eating.

Today, she added a new item to her drive-Mommy-crazy-during-mealtimes agenda: while I was turned away from her so as to force Leelo to drink his antibiotic yet again, she climbed out of her chair and on to her tray, reached over the wide gap between tray and counter, placed the lid on the tabbouleh container from which I'd been feeding her, and announced to the room, "All done wif tabbouleh!" I then screamed and plucked her from the tray.

Her exact phrasing is one of Leelo's more complex spontaneous utterance types. Another combined cheer and sigh.

Dude

I am sitting in my car in the Llave Market parking lot. Who'd have thunk this would be a wireless hot spot?

Hornet Nest Cells

What's Growing On (With) Our House?



This is a hornet nest that Seymour knocked off the eaves above our front door. (Usually Ep's Clyde does this for us--without being asked--but he's been very busy and hasn't been over in a while.) Amazing stuff. If you look in the cells you can see amber droplets that are most likely larvae. And if you click on the image you'll get to see a slew of new photos, including Mali poking her bloomer-covered bottom at the camera.

Two days ago we met with the architects to discuss outside treatments, materials, colors, lighting, etc. Once again I am so grateful for their talents--our response to almost every item they suggested was, "That looks great. Let's go with it." I have absolutely no talent when it comes to color design, or composition in general, and get queasy thinking about how the house would look were we more reliant upon my design sense.

Here's how the house will appear as you come up the driveway:



We also talked about landscaping. Seymour and I need to chat about this before we give them final feedback, because he is excited about an all-natives yard, whereas I pop a more generalized boner for drought-tolerant plants.

I told the architects I'd send them a list of the plants that currently do well in our yard and that deer tend not to eat. It's a longer list than I'd thought; I don't think of our yard as having such great variety but I am apparently quite high. The list also does not include all the potted plants getting extra-special attention on the deer-free porch.

Sun Lovers
Ceanothus
Pride of Madeira
Coyote Bush
New Zealand Tea Tree
Westringia
Leonotus

Bush Daisies
Santa Barbara Daisy

Lavenders (Spanish, English, French, Provence)
Rosemary
Most salvias (Cleveland, natives)

Artemisia
Coyote Flower
Foothills Penstemon
Monkey Flower

Wooly Thyme

Part Shade Okay
Buddleia
Penstemon
Flowering Currant

Vines/Climbers
Bougainvillea (with good southern exposure only)
Wisteria
Blackberry

Grasses
Mexican Feather Grass
Fountain Grasses
Blue-eyed Grass

Annuals (that reseed well)
California Poppy
Nigella
Bulbs
Sparaxis
Ixia
Daffodils
Freesia
Society Garlic
Callas
Bronze Fennel

Deer Nibblers That Usually Survive
Olive Trees
Lantana

5.19.2006

Mali at the MYND Institute

Mali had a much more pleasant stay at the MYND Institute than did her blood-spurting brother. She got to play play play and play for almost two hours straight, with both my and the researcher's undivided attention. This is a big deal for a baby who spends most of her day in a car seat.

They declared her not only fine but more than fine. She even put together puzzles at a 24-month-old level, which she's never done for me. Good news.

The researchers are supposed to be "blind" as to whether or not their subjects have siblings with autism. But since the volunteer babysitters didn't have a very good bead on Leelo and kept bringing him to me for help, the researcher couldn't help but notice our boy's tendencies. This meant that every single item she tested Mali on eventually went thusly: "I just tested her on X. And she's fine, she's totally fine."

Yay.

Just Say Yes

Note: I started this three days ago. Three very busy days ago.

We're going to put Leelo on Adderrup.

Seymour had a sufficiently reassuring talk with Dr. S yesterday. We both feel as informed as possible about the drug's potential effects, both negative (it could make him more aggressive, anxious, etc.) and positive (the effects are immediate and can be astounding).

The idea is to start it on a regular ol' day. Only problem is, we won't be having one of those for a while. I don't want to try it on a school day (M, T, W), because I no longer work in Leelo's classrooms (yeah!) so I won't be around to see what happens. Thursdays or Fridays or weekends are ideal, but this Thursday Seymour and I have a morning meeting across the bay with the architects (which also means I'll miss Bad Moms' Coffee for the second week in a row). Friday though Monday Seymour will be mountain biking in Utah--with my blessings. So perhaps next Friday or Thursday.

Actually, now that I think about it, we wouldn't be able to start Adderrup until then anyhow. Leelo has traded in his tasty plantar war for a strange, pulsing, infected blister on his toe. It's nasty enough that his pediatrician put him on antibiotics immediately. I don't really feel like subjecting our usually drug-free boy to two different medications simultaneously, even if they don't contraindicate each other. The antibiotics will be over and done with by the 23rd.

If I last that long, that is. As Leelo gets older, bigger, and stronger, his disinclination for any part of his body to be examined, to undergo any routine medical procedures, or to take any medications has grown, too. Last week at the MYND Institute, it took four adults to hold him down for a blood draw--even so, he wriggled free just as the needle came out of his arm, and spurted blood all over us and the floor. What parent needs caffeine when several harsh jolts of adrenaline are available?

Leelo's non-compliance makes dosing him with liquid antibiotics really interesting, especially when the doses are too large to fit in a dropper and need to be administered by a a dosage spoon. (WTF, I don't know what those fucking things are called.) Initially I had to dose him by sitting on his chest and pinning his arms to his side with my knees, but now he will--over the course of fifteen minutes and 50 or so tiny spitty sips--drink the antibiotic voluntarily, with only about 5% spilling onto his shirt.

I picked up the Adderrup yesterday. It comes in pill form. I have no how to dose him with a pill; he has taken only liquids or powders mixed in beverages, for years. Any ideas?

Bouncing and Behaving

We got Leelo a new trampoline because he couldn't lie down on the old one any more. Lying down is important because then he can say, "Come on the trampoline, Mommy!" and when I do, he can then say, "We're sleeping on the trampoline!" Descriptive interactions like this, with appropriate language and spontaneous pretending, are rare. Therefore a new trampoline was a priority.

Here are all three taking advantage of the new equipment. These videos were taken two weeks ago, since that time Leelo's technique has become much more like Iz's. Our boy will bounce on his new bouncer for a good 30 minutes straight.








P.S. I don't know why the videos are so grainy compared to SJ's, nor do I know why I sound like such a treacle-sucking idiot.

Aggressively

Leelo has taken to attacking his sisters any time he can, particularly Mali. This means that I can't put the baby down. At all. Sometimes holding her up doesn't even help--he still launches a surprise attack, yelling and pulling her leg. Not surprisingly, her reaction to spotting her brother is now, "No no no!"

I know he is doing it for attention, and so does Iz. And I am very proud of Iz for holding it together most of the time, but I don't blame her for yelling back when he grabs two fistfuls of her hair and then pulls, hard. Nor can I keep it together very well when he starts doing it to kids outside our family, for instance Merlin who is already not always excited to see Leelo since our boy tends to wreck all his trains and cars.

We are trying to give Leelo as much positive attention as we can. Or I am, at least. Seymour just left to cash in his Christmas present from me: four days of mountain biking in Utah. With his lover Floyd. I hope they remembered their astr0glide.

Therapist L just called, though I didn't get to the phone on time. If she cancels for today (she has both Leelo sessions), I just might take all the kids for a day-long drive so that they can't actually touch each other. It's that or a hip flask.

5.17.2006

In This Corner, We Have...

Mali, our neurotypical child. In the other, we have Leelo, our neuro-outlier. The neurologic differences between 5.5-year-old Leelo and almost 1.5-year-old Mali were amply illustrated last evening by the following episode.

I arrived home with all three kids in my car to find Seymour's car already in the driveway.

Mali saw the car and said, "Daddy!"
Leelo saw the car and said nothing.
(Iz was reading Will0w &Tara in the back seat and so also said nothing.)

I said, "Leelo, look! Daddy is home! What color is Daddy's car?"

...nothing...

"Leelo, Daddy's car is...?"

...nothing...

"Leelo, Daddy's car is blue. Daddy's car is...?"

Mali: "Blue!"
Leelo: silence

I repeated it twice more with the same results. Though I must write that Leelo normally would have answered the question as well, if not nearly so quickly as his baby sister. He is not in a great mood right now, for reasons I hope to detail later today.

As much as the three-way exchange highlighted just how delayed Leelo is, it also underscored how little we need to worry about Mali. Even if she regresses later, she is already well beyond Leelo's plateauing sort of autism. Regression is always a suppressed concern, but as even the MYND Institute people don't seem worried about it, I will keep that little fret bomb submerged as much as I can.

5.13.2006

What's a Mother to Do?

How are you going to spend Mothers Day? I intend to spend several gloriously uninterrupted hours making out with my to-do list (below). Seymour is skeptical, but I have assured him that getting shit done is really what will make me the happiest. That, and the truly faboo brunch we'll be attending mid-day at the coastal restaurant with the talented bartenders.

Embarrassingly, many of March's to-do items are still hanging around, looking sheepish. And the list is far from complete, but I'm not even bothering with the minutiae involved in organizing the entire house and purging 50% of its contents so as to transform the office into Leelo's new bedroom/therapy room.

Here 'tis:

Taxes/Finances/Will

  • Send out June tax installments, record
  • Contact estate attorney re: final changes to will
  • Fill out specific requests portion of will (so we get cremated and tossed instead of buried and rotted)
  • Tell mom, baby bro where to find will particulars

Stocks

  • Consolidate kids’ college accounts
  • Transfer girls’ college accounts to 529 plans
  • Set up new accounts for stock transfers
  • Transfer reameroo acounts to more reasonable firm

House

  • Call Public Works/Planning re: whether or not we can resume designing
  • Start researching kitchen and bathroom appliances (dent/scratch/floor models) in process
  • List of design changes to Architects
    • Kiddie pen between house and studio
    • Shaded area outside kitchen/dining room for pleasant outdoornessness
    • place to put keys just inside door
    • adjacent washer/dryer rather than stacked (we've way too much laundry for stacked)
    • 48" gas range rather than electric wall ovens
    • warming drawer
    • A1to Shaam goes in pantry, it is UGLY
  • Write Building dept head asking for permission to live/build simultaneously
  • Follow up with Deadwood water district re: will serve letter
  • File all related documents/create folder in process
  • Find landscape architect
  • Make list of all xeriscaperiffic plants that do well in yard despite deer, and at which times of year in process

Iron Gate Leftovers

  • Return handbook
  • Mend and return nursery playmat handles as promised. In June.

Mending

  • Mend or bribe someone to mend stack of mending items in office.

Leelo

  • Blitz campaign for new Leelo store
  • Follow up with District re: behavioral assessment and summer/fall placement
  • Send in Handicapped placard application?
  • Get Seymour to have conversation with Dr. S re: Addera11
  • Finish Overcoming Autism book chapter on stims
  • Finish writing captions in Leelo’s Day book from two years ago
  • More shorts for our tubby Leelo

Travel

  • Get tickets for August Seattle trip (in which Iz will attend the PNB Ballet camp with cousin Leigh to appease their grandmother and Auntie Bree, and I will try not to vomit each morning she skips out the door looking like a wittle faiwy pwincess) in process
  • Find out if Therapist L can come to Seattle, if not ask Therapist Y
  • Ask mom about San Diego trip: Late June or Mid-August
  • Get kids passports in case Mexico via San Diego is an option

Car

  • Replace bald back tire
  • Schedule recall appointment with dealer
  • Retrieve extra keys from roof

Computer

  • Transfer Out1ook mail folders in process
  • Transfer to do and other lists from Pa1m
  • Finish converting Win music files to iTune5, transfer to Mac

Writing

  • List of top secret unbloggable projects

Blog

  • UCSF Eval (really)
  • Thursday's MYND Institute visit with Mali and Leelo

Scheduling

  • Reschedule Iz’s eye appointment
  • Schedule Leelo’s annual eye appointment
  • Schedule Mali’s first eye appointment
  • Reschedule Iz’s dental appointment
  • Iz: 7 year checkup
  • Reschedule my own dental appointment

Correspondence/Gifting/Mail

  • Consolidate infant items for TLF, mail off
  • Mail Iz’s already-written birthday thx notes (I am going to hell for this)

Bills, etc.

  • Pay stack of ignored bills

Book Ordering

  • Go through kid’s stack of shredded books, evaluate repairability
  • Order/Replace non-repairable books
  • Repair fixable books in process
  • Order books for Esperanza’s in class reading program
  • Order Outside Lies Magic/Stilgoe book for Ambah
Etc.
  • Put netting on cherry tree so we rather than squirrels get to eat this year's crop
  • Fix garage door

FYI

I automatically burn any mail addressed to Mrs. Seymour Rosenberg.

Hurray for Tall Grass!

Hurray for Tall Grass!



Oh, lovely May afternoons. Click on the photo to see more lazy fun on the most beautiful afternoon in the best backyard. But surely you know that you have to be a Flickr Friend to see all of our photos.

5.12.2006

Weaning



Still a pipe dream. I really should record Mali's voice asking to "noiys?" because then you might understand how hard it is to cut her off. Though we're down to usually not during the day.

5.11.2006

Local Peacenik Mothers Alert

Late notice as always, but...

This evening I'll be taking Iz and a picnic dinner to Mitche11 Park in Pa1o Alto, where we'll be part of local photographer Barbara B0issevain's effort to send a message of peace honoring mothers around the world who are suffering as a result of war.

Barbara (who is a friend of Iz's teacher) will be taking a panoramic photo of all the mothers (plus their children and friends) assembled at this event. There will also be live Brazilian music.

The following statement will be printed, along with the photo, in the local papers:

"In honor of this Mother's Day (May 14, 2006), the mothers gathered here today would like to honor mothers in Iraq, Darfur, and elsewhere in the world who are the victims of war and have lost children and loved ones due to the atrocities of war. You are not alone and we offer you our best wishes and prayers for peace."

The event is tonight at 6:30 at Mitche11 Park, 600 E. Meadow Drive. Don't forget to bring your picnic dinner, and to pass this on to anyone who might be interested. Hope to see you there.

5.10.2006

You Guess! Again!

I am finding myself wishing rather mightily for a magic wand with which to fix everything. Not for myself, but for my friends and family. Here are the situations I am powerless to help resolve:

-Friend whose parents both died within a month of each other. And who had to put down his beloved dog that same month.

-Friend whose heart was yanked out of his chest and diced into bits by a partner who swore that he was fully committed, but then "changed his mind" after my friend surrendered his highly-guarded soul. My friend is still experiencing physiological reactions whenever he sees his ex.

-Friend in the hospital. Her partner, her children, her dying mother. So many unresolvables.

-Friend whose child was recently forcibly handed a ticket to Aspergers Land. As if the diagnosis itself wasn't difficult enough; his former teachers and administrators opted to handle things punitively rather than therapeutically. I hope they all rot in hell.

-Friend who is buckling in to help accompany her mother on the journey into Alzheimer's.

-Brother whose live-in love's mother died of cancer last week. His ex-wife's mother also died of cancer, right before their wedding.

-Brother whose father-in-law's cancer was supposed to have been cured but is in fact now metastatic and pervasive.

(My other brother watched his previous girlfriend's mother die of brain cancer. His new wife is very, very nervous. I am hoping that my family's cancer curse is limited to partners of male siblings.)

A big magic wand. That's what I want. The enchanted kind, not the one already sitting in my undewear drawer.

Are We There Yet?

As we were driving to school this morning, Leelo casually asked me, "Where are we going, Mommy?" I almost rear-ended the Cayenne* in front of me.

He has never before asked any sort of abstract, wh- based question. In fact he's never asked a complete question at all--he tends to use statements with interrogative intonations ("Go up the stairs?"). And he has certainly never used the pronoun "we."

Possibly he's imitating his older sister's constant use of the phrase in question. And it's likely that he'll never use it again. But he certainly blew the lid off of my morning, in a good way.

In answer to his question, I told him that we were going to his school to see Teacher W. His response: "Bye-bye, Teacher W!"

*Car-loving Therapist Y, who is from central Michigan and has lived here less than a year, is still slightly slack-jawed about this area's overabundance of luxury vehicles.

5.09.2006

Bring on the Meds

Dr. Sheyenne said that she considered our boy an ideal candidate for meds, based on the extensive Leelo history she took from me yesterday. She will confirm this tomorrow after she actually meets him, observes him, and gives him a physical. If he passes muster, he'll get a prescription tomorrow afternoon.

The drug she's recommending is Adderup, a stimulant in the same class as Rita1in. Adderup has more dosing options than its more famous cousin, which Dr. S likes because she can "titrate to the milligram" when determining her patients' ideal doses.

I like Dr. S. She is clever, quick, and compassionate. I feel lucky to have found her.

I do not feel lucky about considering medicating our son. Now that it's a reality I feel even less lucky, and am definitely anxious. Seymour and I will talk about it more tonight.

5.07.2006

Leelo Status

Friday Supervisor M and I went to ALSO Preschool for Leelo's parent/teacher conference. They are having a good time with Leelo but think that A) He should stay in the lower class of the two preschools for now owing to his sensory and attention-span issues, and B) That he will need to continue having an aide in the class during the summer for the same reasons. (Thankfully Therapist Y has agreed to take those morning shifts.)

I could view their pronouncements two ways: 1) There is not a whole lot of progress or change going on with our boy, or 2) He's in exactly the right place.

Tomorrow is our intake with Dr. Sheyenne, a local pediatric neurol0gist who has helped several families like ours determine whether or not meds are the way to go. Cross fingers for us, please! We are still looking for the magic elixir that will help Leelo focus long enough to think about who he is and what he wants to do.

Ow

Here's another piece of kindling for you paranoid parents: Don't ever go to a playground by yourself! What if you accidentally run into a metal play structure bar while trying to retrieve your toddler from a frighteningly lofty play deck, and knock yourself out? What will happen to your unattended children, especially if they are not really old enough to play on such tall play equipment, and the playground--though completely fenced--has a gate that opens near a busy urban intersection? And your autistic five-year-old was already running for that gate when you whacked yourself?

It has now been several days since I did not pass out but still head-butted that bar hard enough to see cartoon stars whirling about my head. At the time, and after both children were safely retrieved, I burst into tears (stupid fucking stress!). Thankfully, those tears were quickly replaced by manic cackles when I realized that both Leelo and Mali had stench bombs in their drawers and that I only had one clean diaper between them. Leelo wore the (Mali) diaper while Mali went commando, sitting on a carseat throne several napkins deep. They made it all the way back from The City with no accidents. Iz, whom we retrieved from Doula/Stylist A's salon on our way from the playground to the car (she now sports an "India Opal" bob) never even realized that her mom lost several critical marbles that afternoon.

5.06.2006

A Major Minor Victory

Leelo will not only let us floss his teeth, but then he will grab the flosser and start doing it himself!

We are limited to front incisors and can only dream of molar action for now, but neverthelesss this is a huge concession from our boy. And while I would normally be uncomfortable with the thought of several landfills' worth of disposable plastic flossers, in Leelo's case the devices are sent straight from heaven. He has not ever and would never submit to traditional two-fisted flossing.

Excellent.

5.03.2006

Leelo Watching "Nemo"

Aquariumming

Even though I'm tired and still grumpy--a result of sleep derivation due to Mali's unwillingness to sleep without literally being attached to me and then Pat the Cat's uncanny ability to wake the baby up right as we're finally going to sleep--my own little navelsphere has been mostly good lately.

I even had a fantastic afternoon six days ago with Leelo, Mali, Iz, Violet, and Eliz at the Montterrey Bay Aquarium. The big girls were in ecstasy the entire time, especially in the remodeled littoral area, where they turned themselves into wave-summoning priestesses of Poseidon. The two biggest girls brawled over who got to help with Mali the most, which then made Iz want to jump in the fray, too. I got to focus on Leelo.

Our boy couldn't have had a better time. Non-Summer weekday afternoons are mellow, so Leelo didn't get overwhelmed by crowds and noise. He got to spend plenty of time blissing out in front of the various aquatic holding tanks (with only the occasional passerby-felling, ear-splitting shriek of joy), found many circuits in which to easily busy himself (e.g., up stairs, down slide, back to stairs, repeat indefinitely), and then the clouds split open and Nemo himself appeared in the form of a tiny little tank with two clownfish. Who were obviously the real characters from the film, in Leelo's mind. He sat quietly in front of that tank for more than fifteen minutes, watching the fish toodle about. Perhaps we need a pair of clownfish.


click to view more aquarium shenanigans!

Mali thought everything was super great: "Pish! Eeeeyul!" She also could care less whether or not anyone was joining her in her enthusiasm:



The aquarium adventure made me overconfident. The following day I figured that, since I could handle five kids in a very large public space, surely I could manage my own three at a tiny neighborhood park.

Oh, no. No indeed. Though the adventure had a highlight in a chance encounter with Sage's wonderful friend DoubleTrouble and her son A, Leelo's newfound love of squirting water out of his mouth--be it tub water or nasty kiddie-crud-laden playground sand pit water--made our visit a brief, incredibly stressful one. I made Ep, Jo, and kids come over to my house instead.

I wish the Aquarium was next door. I've yet to find a place around here that engages Leelo independently and for such extended periods, without an adult guiding him and prodding and poking him the entire time.

The Intenet Lives!

It was a modem issue of idiopathic origin. We now have both a new modem and a renewed lease on our online lives. As well as two weeks of email backlog.

Still irritated by many Mac things. Can't figure out how to import my .dba (Palm) calendar into iCal. My calendar is not merely a file or an application; it is actually an external portion of my brain and therefore critical. But I am not fucking about to individually convert four years' worth of calendar items into separate vCal files when a .dba file is sitting on the desktop, ready to service me. Help? *mewl*

5.02.2006

Why Didn't I Get a Laptop Two Years Ago?

I am sitting in the street (yes, literally) in front of Sage's house while she tries her gentle best to get Leelo to comply with speech therapy, and while Mali snoozes in the car. (The signal inside the car is too weak, and I don't want to move the car lest fitful sleeper Mali awakes.)

This is my first ever surreptitious wireless network leeching effort, and I am hooked. I just fixed the two Flickr posts below (Flickr and my blog template are skeptical of each other) and emailed Armada about how I'm not certain Iz needs two afternoons of Spanish a week on top of the stress of acclimating to Big Noggin intensity. Still with my butt touching asphalt and bird songs whirling about my head.

Lately I have decided that I am irritated by everyone, that I have no idea how to talk to or listen to anyone, specifically how to discuss any topic or talk about anyone without saying or writing something really negative, bitchy, or underhanded--if I ever get to that point because generally my M.O. is to turn the conversation around to me and my life. I would not blame my partner in any way if he feels stranded in an emotional desert, nor would I deny that I am short-tempered and generally negative and impatient with my children.

I have written many times about how Leelo's lack of social skills can most likely be traced to my dad. But between the two is a direct connection, and that is me. Nerdy and socially clueless.

Which brings me back around to a comment of Ep's. After I wrote the post below about inviting over families with special needs kids, she reminded me that in the past I blogged about not wanting to go over to other peoples' homes with Leelo. And that was true--before we had Babysitter A in our lives and realized that, with enough child handlers, social events can be pleasant and even fun. Also, I don't necessarily always want to go to events, but I do like to be invited.

Leelo's session is almost over. Time to go grump back in my own, internet-free home.

5.01.2006

Jo's Art. Based on Seymour's Boxers?

Jo's Art. Based on Seymour's Boxers?



He said he really liked this piece, so she gave it to him. Coincidence?

My Bedside Stand

My Bedside Stand



I took this picture because Mary T. mentioned that she'd promised a friend she would most assuredly read a book because it was "on her nightstand!"

This is my nightstand. Some books have been there for over a year. I have five additional bookshelves of "to-read" volumes.

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