6.30.2006

Ramping Up

Tomorrow morning we are going to double Leelo's Adderupp dosage, from his original Rx of 5 to Dr. S's recommended 10 mg. Should be interesting.

Iz is returning tomorrow. I miss her, but oh my goddess is it easier to parent two children. Both Leelo and Mali have been getting so much more attention, books, talking, playing than usual, and it is lovely.

Leelo is in a phase where he's not all that excited about me reading him bedtime books. So instead I talked about his day with him. I described his day, and tried to let him fill in the blanks, e.g., "This morning we got in the car and went to...?"

The only thing he would comment on was going to the pool, and even that was only in a general sense of "What did you do today?" He either was not able to or refused to answer/fill in leading questions. I don't think he was being contrary; I think he just didn't understand what I was asking. And I wonder if he ever will.

Seymour and I are surprised that Leelo's cognitive age really hasn't changed much over the past three years, given how well he did when his home program began. Our boy has progressed in many areas, but conceptual language is not one of them. I keep hoping that he's going to make that leap to abstract thinking, that he'll undertstand what "I'm thirsty" means, and that he'll be able to have real conversations-- however stilted or limited. But it may be that we are going to be living with a very big, very strong boy who thinks like a toddler, for the forseeable future. Adderupp's methamphetamines might calm him and help him focus, but they're not going to rewire his brain.

I Heart Satan's Pool

I invited myself, Leelo, Mali, and Therapist Y to go to Satan's Pool with Ep and Merlin this afternoon. The kids had the Best Time Ever. Mali took to the toddler pool like a lemming to a cliff. Wheee! Leelo demonstrated to everyone in the vicinity that he remembers how to swim, oh yes he does, and joyously so, thank you very much. (Or thank Ep very much as she snuck us in.)

Even better: Both kids went to sleep with a minimum of fuss. There was no two-to-four hour tag team battle. Seymour and I got a couple of hours to ourselves tonight! Which we used to clean the house, but I digress.

And I am once again wondering why we don't have a membership to Satan's Pool and Community Center (SPCC). Oh, right the SPCC is church-owned, and wouldn't let Anya and Carys join because Jesus doesn't love lesbians. Also the SPCC people sneakily tried to convert Iz--telling her that Jesus doesn't believe in dinosaurs, and other blobs of hooey--during tennis camp last year.

But neither Jesus nor the tennis coaches come anywhere near the pool. And the pool makes a big difference in both Leelo's and our sleepytime lives. *Sigh* There really aren't any other family-friendly pools in the neighborhood.

What would you do?

Angry Buzzing

Perhaps we don't need an observation hive in our theoretical new house.

Anyhow. I have been all hopped up about the spurious brouhaha still taking place in my neighborhood. The CC cited below is the EHi11s Community Coa1ition. They are using the same strategy as Bush & Co. in terms of cloaking evil institutions with friendly labels, accusing opponents of techniques that they themselves are wielding, and using fear mongering to intimidate locals into signing petitions of support. I am sick of this shit on the national and state levels and can't believe the same techniques are now being used to help promote business interests at a local level. You can read about the fracas here:

SF Examiner Article

Mostly I am pissed off about the CC's abuse of democracy, and the CC proponents turning this neighborhood upside down and inside out--pissing everyone off at each other--in the name of "concerned community members," when in reality the CC people are all property developers and real estate agents.

Witness this Supporter's Letter.

I wrote this letter in response:
  • I am disappointed by the CC's developer- and real estate agent-backed campaign of misinformation against the proposed zoning and design codes for EHills. The CC has repeatedly claimed that the proposals' majority vote was not representative because of low voter turnout. When has low voter turnout ever been an excuse, or a surprise? CC's supporters should have rallied their neighbors to vote "no;" instead they are trying to derail a fair and democratic decision because their interests didn't win.
  • Even more dismaying is NM's lead role in the CC campaign. NM is the Saint Matthew County Design Review Committee's community representative for EHills, a position which gives her the opportunity to squelch the remodeling or building projects of any local who vocally opposed the CC. This is a direct conflict of interest, and a disservice to every resident of EHills whose interests she is supposed to be protecting.
However I can't actually submit this letter because two of the CC's leaders have the power to stall our house building project. So I am being a coward and have found a friend to send the letter in, instead.

I also sent the following letter to all my neighborhood friends:
I received a letter and petition from MM and the EHi11s Community Coalition (CC) today, and I suspect you did, too.

I do not support the CC in their campaign against the proposed zoning and design code changes for EHills, and ask for a moment of your attention as I detail why:

* The CC folks, like all property owners in EHills, were invited to develop and then vote on the proposed code changes. Why did CC not muster its forces then? They are framing a straightforward democratic process as a special interest group's stealth campaign.

* I have attended all the relevant meetings, and have been reading the ongoing arguments, of both the CC and the HA (EHi11s Homeowners' Association, the proponents of the new codes). I believe that the CC is using scare and intimidation tactics, including using incorrect data and citations, and misleading language, rather than sticking to the facts as the HA has been doing.

* While the CC presents itself as a group of interested EHills residents, in reality the members are mostly local real estate agents and property developers. It is their right to protect their own interests and livelihoods, but they are not being forthcoming about their roles.

* NM, MM's wife, is the Saint Matthew County Design Review Committee's community representative for EHills. Her involvement in the CC campaign is in direct conflict of interest with her sworn duty to her neighbors.

While I personally voted in favor of the proposed code changes, I realize that not everyone did so. I also realize that EHills has a variety of micro-neighborhoods and home styles. If the majority truly does not want the proposed code changes put into effect, I respect that. But I do not respect the hijacking of the democratic process.

Please do not sign the CC petition.

Thank you,

Squid
I am sure all this is both confusing for and boring to anyone who is not directly involved. And I wish I had more time to devote to this cause, and could do so publicly. I would if it didn't affect my family. Arrrgh. SO FUCKING FRUSTRATED.

And of course this all boils down to a tempest in a very fancy teapot, because really, who cares about rich peoples' building codes? How cool would it be if everyone instead devoted all this intensity to local charity causes, or getting out the vote? But, again, at the most basic level this is about the derailing of democracy, and about a powerful special interest group trying to negate a majority vote. I wish everyone would sit down together and watch the Battlestar Galactica season 2.5 finale. In the meantime I am doing what I can.

6.29.2006

Change in Programming

As you can see from the post below, Leelo had a fantastic time in San Diego! While he was at the beach.

The rest of the time he was either distant, violently noncompliant, or both. His verbal abilities shrunk to two or three handy phrases (e.g., "I want XXX, Mommy."), and he inverted negative statements the entire visit (e.g., "No toast" to mean he wanted toast). We had two incidents of howling screaming flailing public tantrums, the kind that drew tut-tuts and stares. Before this trip we'd chalked up exactly one such incident.

And he refused to sleep. Absolutely, vehemently. He kept Seymour up past midnight each night; when he finally went down it was because he passed out, not because he gave in. I could not help out because Mali was holding her own sleep-free vigils, I suppose out of sibling solidarity. Iz snoozed through it all down in her grandparents' room (though they did not get much sleep as she is a slumbering jumping bean).

I was very bummed about all of this, as was Seymour. Travel makes our boy extremely stressed and unhappy, which then makes him regress. Sigh. Though he seemed okay with Hawaii, so perhaps we need to try that again (or Mexico, the more affordable version of tropical happies).

What this means in the near future is a shorter Seattle trip in August. I was going to try to fly up with all three kids by myself for a few days, as Seymour didn't have enough vacation hours to cover two weeks of PNW fun. Now I say fuck that, I am not going until Seymour is going. I probably won't get to see SJ or Elswhere, but I'm not sure I'd get to see them anyway if Leelo started acting out the way he did in San Diego.

I was especially saddened by Leelo's San Diego misery because I had been so hoping that my parents would notice a great big wonderful change in Leelo due to the Adderrup. Didn't happen. But maybe they'll see it when they bring Iz back up here in two days.

Leelo does seem to be happy to be home. He is back in summer school at ALSO, back in home sessions, and the Deadwood school district is giving him speech twice a week and OT once per week, in addition to weekly Sage speech sessions. I think we'll have our boy back by Saturday.

He also showed real delight in seeing Pat the Cat again, giving him pets, hugs, and smiles. He even let Mali borrow a coveted Cookie Monster toy when she asked for it, and then insisted on giving her its Elmo twin (the Leelo universe is still one in which pairs reign supreme).

He was enough of himself today that I took him out on the town in underwear rather than pullups, for the first time. Granted, I did so because we had run out of pullups--but he has been doing such a great job staying dry that I felt confident in his ability to remain so during an errand run. He did not disappoint.

Free Wireless!

Just had dinner with Seymour, during which time I fretted about the lack of late-night wireless here in Deadwood. Then I had an epiphany: Rook! He does not mind if I hide in the corner, and in his unique kind way feels absolutely no obligation to be social. Heaven!

The kids have been keeping Seymour and me both up late late late at night, and even with babysitting in the house and with a closed office door I cannot work at home right now. The kids sense my presence.

I did not want to go spend $12 on dessert and $5 on coffee to enjoy the only available node downtown, nor did I want to drive to Menlo. Thank you, Rook.

6.28.2006

Something I Can Do

AutismLink has set up a mentoring program to pair veteran autism parents with parents of newly diagnosed children. You can sign up right here:


http://www.autismlink.com/mentor/


As I just did.

Why? Here is part of what the AutismLink folks have to say:

We need more more mentors, however. There are several requests for
mentors that we cannot fill because we simply don't have anyone in
that particular state (particularly Hawaii and Arizona!).


Thanks!

The Happiest Boy in the Whole World



Here's Leelo at the beach in La Jolla Shores with Therapist Y. The water was the coldest I've ever experienced in SoCal during the summer, but our boy could care less. He stayed in for an hour until he started shivering, and then only came onshore because we hauled his yowling little butt out of the water.

The next day we went back for a repeat. I think we'll be spending a lot of time in Santa Cruz and HMB this summer.

6.23.2006

Playground Race Cards

Every month of so, a member of the Deadwood Moms' Club will shoot off a detailed email regarding observing but not actually doing anything about an evil Hispanic "nanny" mistreating her charge on a playground. I have had enough of this offhandedly racist nattering, so when the latest one came, I shot off the following response in a huff:
If you truly thought the baby was in danger, then you should have said something along the lines of, "Do you think she's old enough for this swing? She seems scared."

I would recommend talking directly to other adults on the playground if safety is a concern. Better to irritate a stranger than passively endanger a child.

Also, I am curious what the appearances of the baby and nanny have to do with this scenario. Or that the woman might not have been the baby's mother. You are writing about safety only, correct?
Another person wrote back:
I understood the detailed descriptions as ***** trying to help someone identify the nanny and the child, not any type of racial statement.
My pissy response:
That is possible. Racism is a slippery subject, and is often not something we want to admit to ourselves.

However there are many biracial or adoptive families in this area with children who are very different in appearance from their parents. This is why it's best to ask directly before making assumptions.
***more email about how she was just trying to help (which is true), and why are we bashing her.***

Me, irritated again:
My hope is that we all continue to look out for each others' children (as ****** was trying to do, and her intentions were good) while also being mindful of our assumptions. Unintentional racism is still racism.
I am disappointed in the parents who were blind to the original email's racist overtones, but I am more disappointed in myself for those acerbic responses. I should know by now that people don't listen to me after I've accused them of being assholes. I wish Ep had written in instead; she uses diplomacy to disguise polemics better than anyone.

Ask before accusing. Simple to state yet incredibly difficult to absorb. This is a mantra I am trying to drill into my own head as well as that of my impulsive older daughter.

Anyhow. I am off to reserve a special place in passive-aggressive hell for the playground mommy who, after one of DoubleTrouble's autistic sons splashed water near her precious toddler, said loudly enough for all of us to hear, "That wasn't very nice of him, was it?" Stupid cow. ASK!

(All these scenarios are good example of why I avoid playgrounds, and try to socialize only with people I already know, or who have been introduced to me by a trusted source.)

------

Addendum: Ep took them on after all! After a bunch of emails saying for shame, the original mom was trying to be helpful and that is ALL that matters, Ep courteously and thoughtfully told them that they were all dickheads:

And yet...

If the intent of the original email was to ask advice about how to handle a
situation where a child was being mistreated by an adult in public, the
details of everyone's appearance would be irrelevant.

If the intent was to let a parent know that a nanny was harming her child,
then the details would be important, so the parent would know they were the
target audience.

It was hard to figure out exactly what the original posting was about, in
this regard.

For a long time the media would use race as a means to identify suspects in
news reports. Members of many minorities complained about why this
information was included. To some people a story about a bad Hispanic woman
and an innocent white child is rife with hidden pitfalls of possible
offense, and those people would suggest being overly sensitive when telling
it. We don't have a lot of Hispanic members of this club, but someday we may
have more, and then we will need to be even more careful about these issues.

My two cents, anyways.

-----

And then Badger posted her own thoughtful points on the importance of discussion in a community. I'll post it here if she gives permission. She cited this link as well, which I probably should have read before this whole fracas:

http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2005/12/02/how-not-to-be-insane-when-accused-of-racism/


6/28: Badger's full message, which I hope everyone absorbed:

Weighing in with a couple of points I think are important:

- This is not actually a flame war! It's a healthy discussion, that I am
grateful we get to have, and it shows what a strong and caring community
we are.

- Bringing up race and power dynamics is not a bad thing. For a cool short
essay on talking about race and racism:

http://www.amptoons.com/blog/archives/2005/12/02/how-not-to-be-insane-when-accused-of-racism/

- Consider: if the person pushing the swing had been someone the original
poster felt more comfortable talking with, what would have happened? How
much of that is the "nanny" part, how much race, how much "person I don't
know"? We don't have to see that discussion as a personal attack -
instead, let's take what's productive and interesting from it, and apply
it in our lives.

There is a fuzzy line between "parenting drive-bys" and trying to reach
out. I remember reading a reallyl great post on someone's mommyblog about
how she reacted very strongly to seeing a young mom with toddler in a
grocery store, and the situation was clearly that the mom was about to
lose her temper - and she did and she smacked the child - not hard, but
in anger.... The woman
writing the essay said something neutral and sympathetic, something like
"It's so hard, when they're tired, and we're tired..." and the angry mom
just about melted.. and they had a chatty conversation and the mom's anger
was defused. So, a moment of genuine empathy, and friendliness, and
conversation, probably had a very positive effect.

So, if I saw someone, nanny or mom or dad or whoever, pushing their kid
too high in the swing, and thought they were not paying enough
attention... I might try to talk to them, directly. We've all had those
moments. I've had my own less-than-ideal parenting moments! Sometimes
knowing that other people were judging me negatively...

Anyway, that's longer than I meant to go on, and I think that the original
poster clearly had good intentions... that we all recognize... and yet
there were some things said in response that were also well intentioned
and important to say! And, again, we are stronger as a community for all
taking the time and energy to bother having those conversations, and for
caring.

Best,

Badger

6.22.2006

Movement in Fits and Starts

Poor Mali went to the doctor yesterday to have her week's worth of chesty coughing and green slimy nose evaluated. She has an ear infection, so we're putting her on the antibiotic Amox. It is mellow stuff, she is never on meds, and we're going on a road trip Saturday that involved driving over very tall mountains. I'm not going to wait this one out, even though she remains cheerful.

Her illness has in no way affected her ability to climb bookshelves and onto tables in under five seconds. Nor has it made her want to go to sleep before 10 or 11 PM. She and Leelo are still having contests to see who can stay up the latest (Leelo's record this week is 11:30 PM).

Leelo is overall in a fairly good mood. He still has the occasional daddy-needing tantrum, but Seymour and I have set up videoconferencing at our respective workstations and that seems to make our boy happy.

Iz is wonky from a week of all-day soccer camp in the blistering heat. She and Merlin like to decompress afterwards by watching the skateboarders and cyclists doing stunts in the adjacent skate park. Though after a while she starts grumping about the lack of girl skateboarders.

My sinuses have declared war on the rest of my head so I am signing off. I can do that because it's babysitting night!

6.21.2006

Happy Solstice to You

Summer is here! I am so happy. I was just writing to Badger that this has been a very strange Spring for our Bad Mamas crew, and that I'm hoping for us to have a more mellow and playful time this season.

Iz wants to celebrate the solstice by staying up until the sun goes down. Anyone want to join her?

6.20.2006

Ride 'Em!

Before Adderupp, Leelo never got the concept of steering. He would sit on wagons, scooters, tricycles, toddler cars, etc., and never figured out that he could do anything other than roll backwards and forwards.

That was then. This is now:



He looks particularly spacey during this clip because he's looking around at all the birds, etc. And the chewy tube doesn't help. But watch what he does. Unprecedented stuff for our boy.

----

Unrelated: Friends, do not leave sliced baguette rounds anywhere near our boy. He will systematically remove and consume a dime-sized sweet spot from the center of each slice before you even realize what he's doing.



Here's the little mercenary with his booty. I had asked him to smile for the camera.

Mali, Cheerful and Awake at 12:30 AM

Ten rounds of nursing did nothing. She then said she was hungry, but food and then more nursing did nothing to help her drift off. I have turned her over to Maissy Mouse. She has redeemed herself somewhat by demanding bubbles, and then getting really excited and exclaiming, "I see bubbles!" Plus I now have a few minutes to blog away.

Having a wakeful baby at this hour is not entirely a surprise. Mali has been sick with awful chesty coughing for three days, which makes sleep difficult and easily interrupted. Also it's Summer! and that fucks up everyone's sleeping schedules if we're not careful (note to selves yet again: If Leelo sleeps in until 7:30 AM, then Leelo stays up until 10:00 PM. Waking him at 6:30 is mandatory. Either that or a long sunny afternoon pool session. Perhaps I will give pool owners Anya and Carys a distress call).

I don't think Leelo's current sleep cycle has anything to do with his meds. He has always gone through cycles of not wanting to go to bed, and has never needed as much sleep as his sister Iz, the decoy child who suckered us into having another child because why not, they sleep so much! I applaud Badger's choice to cut off all communication with those whiny yet persuasive ovaries.

Seymour and I have both been wondering about Adderupp's other effects on Leelo, because we seem to be seeing a lot of the best effects (calmness, focus, snuggliness, language) later on in the afternoon rather than what I think is the drug's active time. Because I do not actually know how long the drug is active in Leelo's system I have emailed a query to Dr. S.

The language we have been seeing has been funny, though not as remarkable as the first two weeks of the Adderupp trial:

Listening to song about various trucks, one of which makes a siren sound:
"Going to the hospital!" (How would he even know this? Observation? Richard Sc@rry?)

Viewing my bedhead in the morning:
"Clean up your hair, Mommy!"

Also it is now difficult to get him to wash his hands, as he gets distracted with goofy face making in the mirror or faucet.

He is more tolerant of people eating in front of him and has been keeping his shoes on most of the time. Both of these are upswings of familiar behavior cycles and cannot be attributed to medication. What was surprising was his calm if somewhat spaced-out sitting through an entire late fathers day dinner with our family plus Jo's SpangleFamily (Let it be recorded here that Manny can hang out with my kids any time. He is unbelievably sweet to Leelo and Mali, and even spent a good long time feeding our baby the soup she so craves).

Manny also doesn't put up with Iz's crap. Izzy was a pain in the arse through that dinner; I am hoping she shaped up enough to be a pleasant guest for the sleepover Jo generously offered.

The fathers day dinner actually took place on Saturday night, so Iz wasn't around for Seymour's traditional breakfast in bed. This was another bonk on my part; I was so excited that someone offered to take our resident grump away that I forgot about fathers day obligations for the second time. The first was my scheduling a trip with me, Iz, Violet, and Violet's sister Fifi to the mind-blowing SF Ethnic Dance Festival smack dab in the middle of Sunday.

The festival was a fantastic reminder of how great and glorious life can be when it is expressed through dance, percussion, and song; even though I would have preferred to have Seymour and Godmother Stacy with me, and even though I had to rearrange our seats four times so as to not kill the children whose lives had been placed in my hands.

I felt less guilty about Seymour's absence since he had a wonderful time mountain biking with a buddy for most of Saturday. I still blew it times two, though. He deserves better.

The rate at which I have been clocking such fuckups has made me wonder about adult ADD. I have always felt like a rudderless moron, and reading about ADD and taking quizzes (I scored very, very high) supports my suspicions. However a lot of the traits cited are manageable for me. I would like to be more focused and get more done, but I truly think that it is unrealistic for me to compare myself with ass-kickers like Armada and my oldest brother Chet. And Badger who lives life with enough intensity for three bodies. Nothing is wrong with me; rather I have unrealistic expectations because I don't hang out with anyone who isn't amazing. To achieve my goals I need not medication but a personality transplant.

I got knocked into this line of contemplation after a person close to me confided that she was taking Adderupp for ADD and that it has transformed her life, and then Chet related his recent sleep apnea diagnosis--he has been sleep deprived for about 25 years. He now has a machine to keep him breathing all night long, and is also the new owner of a transformed life. He told my mom that if he hadn't missed all that sleep, he'd be president by now. Instead he'll have to content himself with his shadowy role in Rummy's club, and achieving his third masters' degree while working full time as well as in the Reservz, and being a remarkable parent.

----Mali finally flipped out and then went to sleep. Finishing the next afternoon.-----

I worry about Iz, too. I wasn't even thinking about her until I noticed that every single one of the DSM IV criteria for inattentiveness hits her square on the head. I don't think that she needs medication or even professional intervention, but Seymour and I do need to help her figure out how to organize and keep track of her life. She has the potential to be one of the ass-kickers; I don't want her to end up warming the bench like her mom just because ADD has infiltrated our family tree (my officially diagnosed pilot brother, Dad, and several cousins are classic).

Not to write that Iz doesn't kick ass anyhow. She had a 60-second addendum to almost every comment made during The Tek's projection globe tour of the solar system (they can show any compatible data animation in spherical form, and as a former producer of 3D Atlas software I assert that it is one of the most beautiful experiences I've had in years).

Example:
Guide: Jupiter is made of gas, so you couldn't actually step on its surface like you can on The Earth or Mars.

Iz: You also couldn't step on it because Jupiter is so huge that its gravity would have already killed you!
Even though I was slightly embarrassed by Iz's commandeering of the presentation, her display of confident intelligence defused my still-lingering doubts about the appropriateness of Big Noggin for her younger-than-peers self.

Leelo liked The Tek, too. Mostly he grooved all the big rocks and bouncy things, but he also got a real kick out of the rollercoaster and bobsled simulators. He rode the rollercoaster ride that Iz created twelve times in a row, by demand. More cooperative play!

Mali was not quite in The Tek's zone, but she had fun running around anyhow. Especially when Iz and Quintana were chasing after a light display that intentionally skitters all over the gallery floor. Mali figured out the game in about two seconds, and joined right in the chase. Amazing to watch. Leelo stood on a rock nearby, oblivious even when I pointed out the light and the game.

But that's okay, that kind of game doesn't speak to him. He likes predictability and routine, like going to his weekly speech therapy session at Sage's house. Today he had one of the best speech sessions he's ever had. Sage said he was an entirely different boy. He needed neither food reinforcers (bribes) nor his beloved aquarium tubing chewie the entire time. He went potty without a fuss, and stayed completely dry. He said, "I want a break, Sage" spontaneously and with neither verbal nor visual (token board) cues. There was minimal fussing and no hitting; instead lots of snuggling and hugs. This session took place about 4.5 hours after Leelo took his daily Adderupp dose, hmm yet again. Sage mentioned that this may mean his dose is too high.

I feel the same way about Sage as I do about JerseyGirl/CalPal (JG used to live across the street; she is also the veteran behavioral therapist who and gave Leelo gratis sessions until we got our own program running; she hooked us up with Supervisor Andil who then hooked us up with Supervisor M). How amazing to have remarkable people in Leelo's life, both socially and professionally.

Sage's generosity is quite limitless, from what I can tell. Not only does she provide amazing speech therapy for Leelo with only the most infrequent of bills, but she has invited Leelo (and us, by extension) into her social circle of families whose kids are all more special than your little neurotypicals. She has even invited mb and me to three of their "Hot Mamas" nights, all of which were rollicking good fun. I am feeling very honored just now.

And now I don't need to blog for a week. Which is good because on Saturday we're going to San Dieggy to visit my folks. We're also going to attempt a day trip to Mexico so that Iz can experience Spanish trumping English. If anyone has any day trip suggestions, please comment or write me.

Sage

6.19.2006

It Bears Repeating

This is the story I re-read from time to time to remind myself how lucky I am, and what a real writer reads like.

6.16.2006

Yay Sleep

Slept from 11:30 to 7:30 with Mali awaking to nurse only once and then going back to sleep. All is well with the world. It is safe to approach me.

We're all going to go to the fabulous Tek Museum in San Jose. Supervisor M and her daughter Quintana are coming, too. Seymour works nearby, so we're going to have lunch with him if he's available at a northern-style Indian buffet that totally kicks Sewerage's ass. In fact I believe I will skip breakfast this morning, so as to properly prep my gullet for the upcoming gluttony.

6.15.2006

Beyond Grumpy

Four nights with almost no sleep, and last night was the worst. Mali got a less-than-24-hour bug that gave her a raging fever all afternoon and night, and all she could do unless hooked onto the tap was cry miserably. Poor sweet baby.

This morning she was fine ("Need some help?" "Want to see Mommy?") but I was not. And still am not. I am so irritable that I had to stop myself from writing at least five incendiary emails that would have gotten me kicked off each related list or group. Coffee itself did not help, Bad Moms' Coffee did not help, either. Possibly because the main person I talked to has some very serious shit going on in her life, really needs help, probably doesn't want help, and I don't know how to help.

Like her, almost everyone I know is worse off than me (though they are dealing with their lives more cheerfully, so I am complaining to you, oh blog--and ever-patient Ep. Thank you thank you).

I called up my mom thinking that maybe she could at least give me a sympathetic ear, but instead she told me that the sleep deprivation is probably worse for Seymour because men don't tolerate it as well, and that I'm probably so much better off than I would be if Mali was in a crib and I had to keep getting up to soothe her. Both of these things may be true, but neither are helpful to a person nearing the end of a sleep-deprivation tether.

(And I very much know that I am a cream puff compared to people who live in the real world, so don't bother telling me that I have it easy. My mom already did.)

My mom also told me that she won't be available to help me watch Leelo and Mali for the six days that Seymour and Iz go boating in the San Juans, because she doesn't want to worry about her house plants. Thankfully she then listed some more practical concerns before I hung up on her (though I actually did hang up on her twice during the conversation, citing "dead spots" each time). I'll be fine without her help, but I would have appreciated the company.

At least my dad is doing really well. His white blood count seems to have stabilized. Sometimes I almost forget that he has leukemia, since his doctors have managed his symptoms so well and he never ever complains about anything. I am very grateful that he is doing so well.

But I am still otherwise snarly. And my grumpitude isn't helping a bad case of not wanting to belong to any club that would have me as a member. I am on the fence about BlogHer, even though I already bought tickets. I have met so many lovely people through this blog already that I don't really feel the need to meet any more. And conventions make me nervous.

Anyhow, I'm really fucking twitchy. So if you've ever even wondered if you might be a narcissist, stay the fuck away from me until further notice. I might accidentally eviscerate you, and I won't feel one bit guilty until I finally got some sleep.

The babysitters (bless them both) are here and I am going to go to the movies and watch big explosions while I eat a smuggled-in Burrito. Yeah. Ideally I would go straight to bed, but my house is too small for me to be sealed off from the kids and their hullaballoo. Instead I'll just put my brain to bed.

El día pasado

Today is Iz's last day at Esperanza. She is very emotional about it, which has taken her by surprise. Seymour has asked that I go easy on her because of this.

I am sad about leaving the wonderful warm Esperanza community, but I'll be very glad to get to Big Noggin. This year I was the world's crappiest Class Mom because no one else would do it, next year I'll stand on the sidelines and watch the other parents kneecap each other for class participation slots.

Off to get Iz a Guiness Book of World Records as a last-day-of-school-and-leaving-Esperanza gift. (She's been asking for one.) Then Bad Moms' Coffee. Which has been very well-attended lately.

More pictures up on Flickr. But you can't see the good ones unless you log in as a friend, nyah nyah.

6.13.2006

Grump!

Mali was up every hour on the hour all night long. Howling and wailing, either because of teeth coming in or because I was up late despite promises not to do so and Mali's all-night protests were my punishment.

The result: I was grumpy today. I didn't like anyone, and I yelled at my kids a lot. This will be How Things Are until I somehow get more sleep.

Leelo had an emotional day today. Lots of crying and sobbing for no reason that any of us (me, Therapist Y, Supervisor M) could pinpoint other than dislike of transitions, having too many people around, and things not being as he expected them to be (e.g., sneaking into the back of Badger's truck to play and finding his way blocked by a headboard she was hauling--her graciously moving it out helped a lot).

I haven't seen him like this in a while, though if I'm sure if I go back in my notes on this site I'll find similar episodes. The really odd thing about his behavior today is that he was crying without talking, without telling us what was wrong. Normally he tells us what's going on.


Mali's 18 Month Checkup

Today was crazy hair day for Mali, too. Why not. I waited until after she had her milestone checkup with her regular pediatrician, Dr. M, though. Here's what the good doctor and I discussed:

Mali is short and chubby, though less chubby than three months ago because she is more active. She is growing into her big heed.

Our baby walks like Frankenstein because she is 18 months old, has big squishy thighs, and wears a diaper. Our slightly younger neighbor Trinian is more sprightly because 1) he is not her and she is not him and 2) he is a whippet.

Mali refuses to hold sippy cups and sippy bottles upright on her own because she is a princess and knows that if she fusses some sucker will do it for her eventually. Any concern we might have is kibboshed by her using the same required cross-midline movement to eat with a fork or spoon independently.

Dr. M encourages potty-training at this age if Mali shows signs of wanting to imitate her siblings. Riiight. That's going to happen.

She asked me if we were going to do any vaccinations at this visit. I told her no, that we'd rather wait until age two. Dr. M completely validated my choosing her to be our kids' pediatrician by saying that as long as we'd already held out this long, that she'd prefer to wait until age two anyhow to completely rule out any chances of contributing to regressive autism. She has had two patients who were totally fine at 18 months lose all language and become classically autistic by age two.

We discussed alternative vaccination schedules (which she has at the ready) and why she thinks we should at least do the DTaP (Pertussis is around, and we don't want to fuck with tetanus any more than we already have), Hib and Prevnar (serious, common, preventable nastiness).

She was more on the fence about varicella (chicken pox). She didn't vaccinate her older child. Then, when she was in her medical residency she took care of a one-year-old with Varicella that turned into encephalitis. The child didn't die, but she also never recovered. Dr. M vaccinated her second child. When I mentioned that we did vaccinate Leelo but that when we did his titers at age five he showed no immunity to varicella, and she said that it is true that it doesn't "take" for everyone.

She didn't recommend the MMR or Polio. I asked her about the rumored virulence of wild mutated measles strains, and she said that the disease isn't stronger; it's just that physicians and patients are no longer familiar with its effects. Which can be harsh. As can those of mumps--Ep later told me of a woman she knew who became deaf after getting mumps at age five.

---

I love that Mali knocks on doors. She does it loudly enough that I frequently think one of her siblings is responsible.

She goes down the big slide sitting down like the big girl she is. Before she went down on her tummy, feet first.

Her new favorite word is "look!" ("Loooook! Aiyrplane!")

Whenever we go by Rey de las Hamburguesas, she yells out, "French Fries?"

If we pull up to Merlin's house, she declares, "Hi, Merlin!" before we even turn off the engine.

She now says please and thank you spontaneously and appropriately, if not all that clearly. ("Pweeeeeease" and "Tank oo.")

She runs around the house looking for me, yelling, "Mama! Mama? Mama!"

If no one is around to turn on TiV0 for her, she will pick up the remote, point it at the TV, and push buttons expectantly. Since it won't work (the receiver must be turned on, too) she will wail like the addict she is.

Her favorite food is still soup. I keep thinking, "Oh, she'll never eat this one" and she keeps surprising me. (Tom Kah Gai with visible chili flakes floating in it? No problem.)

She is charming and crazy-sociable on her terms. She is the Queen of The Hole groceries, where everyone knows her and she greets all shoppers and employees loudly and with vigor. If you try to get her to perform, however, she shuts down and glares.

If she wants to read a book and you are sitting down, she will plop herself and the book into your lap without asking first.

She puts her dirty clothes in the hamper without being asked. Perhaps Iz will soon follow her model.

She is the cutest, funniest-looking little bug ever.

6.12.2006

Unprecedented Cooperative Sibling Play

Gods bless the spinny teeter-totter that fell from the sky (well, the warehouse at Seymour's work) into our back yard. [ed. Seymour wants everyone to know that he did not pinch the seesaw; it was a gift from a co-worker.] Even though I had to run outside every twenty indoor minutes to pluck Leelo off of it.

The kids can play on it together, with no adult interference assistance!

Leelo and Iz have never, ever played with each other like this before. Merlin was over today and he, Iz, and Leelo all played on the miracle seesaw cooperatively, even taking turns when asked. Ep and I almost fell over.

Crazy Hair Day!

Iz's request: A bright pink "faux-hawk." Since this was taken by my flashless computer you can't tell that the 'hawk is truly neon-pink.

Happy Crazy Hair Day to you, too.

6.10.2006

What I Think of Leelo's Meds So Far

Leelo has been on the Adderrup two weeks as of yesterday.

I am still contemplating the benefits and effects, but things seemed to be weighted more towards the positive end of the scale. Especially since Leelo seems to be settling into the med and some of the more upsetting earlier reactions (emotional storms, the return of night shits) seem to be tapering off.

His appetite has decreased moderately. He still likes to eat, and still eats healthy amounts, but he is no longer doing the all-day compulsive eating like before. He seems to view stopping as a function of being full.

Therapist Y particularly thinks Leelo has better listening and better patience both at home and in school. Although I worked in his classroom last week and thought that Leelo was much less verbal and compliant than he is either in home sessions or with me...but then again there were a lot of parents in the room so he might have been overstimulated.

His potty-training is different. Some days his ability to hold his bladder is astounding--two and three hour stints with dry pullups. Other days he just doesn't feel like keeping dry. And he is waking up almost every morning now with a big poo in his drawers. He hadn't had a night shit in months.

However, Last night Leelo went down to sleep without a problem; this morning woke up not too terribly early (6:00 AM) and was both clean and dry! He also had not torn apart his room looking for his Straw as he had been doing every morning since the Adderall trial began.

He does seem more aware of the fact that he can control his BMs. And he is not pleased. He will sit on the pot trying to produce, yelling and screaming, for up to thirty minutes. Supervisor M thinks that his new awareness of his processes hasn't yet allowed him to distinguish between (ick, go to next paragraph if squeamish) having a log in the chute, and the chute gate being ready to open.

On June 4 his sense of humor seemed to be missing. That day he did not laugh or giggle or react in his usual pleased way when I blew raspberries on his belly or made my usual big show of coming to tickle him. But this week he is more his giggly happy self.

Even so, he is reciprocating facial expressions and emotions, in a natural manner he hasn't used before. He is also seeking out and giving more spontaneous hugs and cuddles. He even let Mali kiss and hug him, and then he...hugged her back. And then a rainbow touched down in our yard and the birds started singing and a unicorn appeared and we all went for a ride. But really, he did hug her back.

He also sent his entire team into peals of delighted laughter by spontaneously making goofy faces at us from his trampoline during our team meeting. None of us could believe what we were seeing.

When he is calm, he is allowing us to cuddle with him for extended periods of time. Yesterday I got to sit on our front porch with him sitting on my lap rubbing his shoulders for a good fifteen minutes. I've never been able to do anything like that with him before.

Body Awareness: He no longer slams through other children as though they aren't there. He goes around them, thoughtfully and carefully (if not always successfully). Therapist L noted that he is now able to maneuver his tricycle through an obstacle course, whereas as recently as two months ago he only rode it straight forward or straight back with little awareness of objects around him (so why bother steering).

He is also using more naturalistic, thoughtful language rather than standard prop-language such as, "I want xxx." Here are examples of him actually thinking about what he's saying:

Me: "What are you singing, Leelo?" (Not expecting an answer.)
Leelo: "I'm singing The Nutcracker, Mommy." (Mommy falls over in shock.)

Me: "Leelo, it's time to go to the potty"
Leelo: "No. It's time to watch a movie."

Seymour: "Go to bed, Leelo" (After the 20th time Leelo pops out of bed.)
Leelo: "I'm not tired!" (Seymour falls over in shock.)

He is singing so many more, and different, and lengthy, songs. He even taught Therapist L a song that she didn't know--he sang each line for her, and she sang it back for him. This would have been totally unimaginable two weeks ago.

He has been extremely emotional since he started the meds, and very aware of whether or not his parents and siblings are around. While he's not all that interested in Mali, he will scream, cry, and repeatedly ask for other non-present family members. He never in his life asked for Izzy before; now he wants her around all the time. Unfortunately, this means he sometimes invades at bed and night and bonks/scratches her as a side effect of his enthusiasm.

I wonder if some of the ADHD has cleared out and that we're now seeing more of the autism. The things that make me wonder are an increased need for consistency in his routine and environment, and his re-emerging irritation at people eating in front of him.

His need for stim objects has also increased, though his oral needs have lessened. He needs to have a "fidget"--usually a straw or tube--with him at all times. But whereas he used to mouth it the entire time, now he tends to hand-fidget with it. Though he does still put it in his mouth, he'll take it out immediately if asked. If we take it away then he goes into full-body stim mode, so I think that he wants a small object in his hand to help himself stay calm(er) and help keep his larger-scale repetitive body movements under control.

We (his team, including both therapists and parents) noticed he is using shorter phrases, and having some outright non-reactions to questions he would previously have answered straightaway. Supervisor M thinks we're now seeing his real processing speed: how long it takes him to think and then react as opposed to his previous pure reaction approach. She wants us to give him a 2 - 4 second window to respond before we step in.

He definitely is showing a greater preference towards routine and rigidity than before. He wants to use the school elevator, get french fries after school, and keep the car stereo playing kiddie CDs, every day ("I want to listen, Mommy!"). He is showing a classic dislike of furniture rearrangement, and will return chairs, etc. to their previous places at the first opportunity.

His reaction to sugar and cheese/yogurt products is still marked. He had a return of what Seymour calls the "neh-nehs," involuntary and constant verbalizations, within an hour of me letting him have a treat of Pirate Booty last week.

Overall I think we're doing the right thing. We are seeing lots of plusses and few minuses. Though I want to talk over his reactions with Dr. S before increasing his dosage, Adderrup has so far been a good thing for our boy.

Now I just need to find out how long Dr. S expects him to be on it.

6.09.2006

IEP Fuck Up

There is no way to properly communicate just how much we rely on Supervisor M. She is the Goddess of Behavioralists. Which makes it even more embarrassing when I blow it right in front of her.

She emailed me a draft of IEP goals almost a month ago. I thought I'd look them over "later," but they got buried in my inbox, and I forgot about them.

Then this morning Supervisor came over to see Leelo and Therapist L. I told her how swimmingly the IEP went and how pleased we are at all the coverage we'll be getting, and how I even had a copy just for her! She was happy for us, but also wanted to know if we'd received any written goals.

"Erm, no...I kind of forgot about that part." Even though I had specifically asked PS last week if the written goals would be included--but I guess PS and I both forgot.

I then went and read Supervisor M's draft goals. They are so spot-on and I am such a fuck-up. Sigh. She graciously offered to send them to PS herself, which is probably a good thing.

She told me not to worry, that I have a very busy life and that this was our first IEP and it's the SD who is supposed to be "clean" about such things, not us. That was kind of her, but it does not excuse me.

I am looking forward to a less overwhelmed time in my life, when I can end my days by counting my accomplishments rather than trying to downplay my fuck ups.

A Must-Read for Anyone Connected With Autism

A few days ago the New York Times ran an Op Ed piece by Cammie McGovern, mother of a ten-year-old boy with autism. She thinks that total recovery books like Let Me Hear Your Voice and Seroussi's Unravelling the Mystery of Autism have given families affected by autism unrealistic expectations, and may be a factor in the three recent, independent, murders of autistic children by their caretakers.

She says that while recovery is not something she's ever encountered, improvement and acceptance happen every day. I encourage you to read her article, and also to pass it on.

Thanks to Ep for the original article.

IEP Afterwords

The IEP was short and sweet--less than an hour long. I should have taken Leelo to his preschool graduation but was fricking exhausted from doing so much driving in the last 24 hours that I'd drained 2/3 of a $75 tank (and my car is supposed to be fuel-efficient). I bailed for Bad Moms' Coffee instead. Besides, Leelo doesn't normally go to school on Thursdays, they gave him his certificate yesterday, I doubt he'll notice or care, he'll be back in the same classroom with the same kids in two weeks for summer school, and Seymour gave me his blessing to skip out. Bad Moms' Coffee, indeed.

Here's what we hammered out at the IEP:

We've got OT coverage for the summer. The OT herself will call to set up Summer sessions. Leelo's previous school district OT, the wonderful Jules, is going to East/Central Africa to donate 6 months of her skills to kids in need. Wow.

We were told to call her before she leaves to see if she had any ideas about OT tricks to help Leelo with his increase need for stim objects.

They (the district psychologist T, and PS the preschool placement person) were very excited to hear about the good effects we've seen with Leelo and meds so far. PS mentioned that autism and ADHD/ADD have very high rates of co-morbidity, and that she thinks that more autistic kids used to have dual diagnoses that included mental retardation because their ADD needs were so intense that the therapists had no way to reach them. Adderrup and similar drugs have really changed that, and she is very grateful.

Leelo's speech will increase to 60 minutes per week, effective immediately.

We agreed to a behavioral assessment from an ABA provifer with 15 hrs diagnostic/week, beginning with permission to do an assessment in July. They will then start working August 1. The intention is that they will start services--diagnostically at home, and then as aide in classroom--and that they will train a classroom aide as they fade out.

Having ABA provider start in classroom and then fading to district aide is commonplace. She stressed that Leelo cannot have a newbie aide.

I asked about how we can include Supervisor M and maintain Leelo's current program, and she said that the ABA provider can contract with Supervisor M and then the district. Somehow. I will need to ask Supervisor M about this.

She said that we should tell people who might be interested (e.g., new college psych grads having a hard time finding a job) about applying as classroom aides with the Deadwood school district, as though the pay is initially not great (I think it's about $12/hour) it is a full time job with benefits. Could work into lead position with district. If one of Leelo's therapists applies, PS can guarantee placement with Leelo and then advancement because of their experience.

By the by, it is Badger's birthday (or, whoops, it was ten minutes ago), so go say hello and show her your underwear!

Kitchen Design

Had a consult with my just-been-through-housebuilding-hell friend Anya on Monday re: kitchen design choices. Not exactly on-topic for an autism and parenting-type blog, but if you're interested in family- and eco-friendly choices in such matters, then read away.

6.08.2006

A Place for Everything. Including Leelo.

A Place for Everything. Including Leelo.



Tomorrow is Leelo's IEP for Summer and Fall placement (Lea, forgive the incorrect terminology, but "IEP" is vernacular for the meeting itself in these parts). We will find out the location of this Fall's Behavioral Class, will schedule his school district behavioral evaluation (for a home ABA program even if we might not need them to run it), will confirm that they school district is paying for Leelo's ALSO summer school (that's $2500 of yay!), and will schedule summer speech and occupational therapies.


I am hoping that the meeting takes less than an hour, as Leelo's preschool is having a graduation ceremony sixty minutes after the meeting starts and we'd like to try to attend.


Of course, the IEP falls smack on top of Bad Moms' Coffee. Frak.


Still working on that meds writeup. In the meantime read what nice things Badger had to say about Leelo's behavior. She noticed some of the lovely bits we've noticed, too, since we started drugging him.


Less lovely is his absolute fixation on certain stim items. He has been in love with one particular piece of clear aquarium tubing for the past nine days, and insists on having it with him at all times, even though it got successively shorter over the course of the week. It got lost several times, too, but my self-preservation instincts enabled me to find it each time. Then tonight he lost it for real. (It is most likely under our porch, but as Pat the Cat uses that very place as a litterbox I am not searching there.) We do not have any more tubing as the original was a gift from Sage. No other tubes or straws will do.


He cried and moaned for his tube from 9:00 until 11:00 PM tonight. He will probably wake up at 3:00 and 5:00 as well. I suspect we'll be paying a visit to the aquarium store after the IEP.

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A Place for Everything. Including Leelo.

Tomorrow is Leelo's IEP for Summer and Fall placement (Lea, forgive the incorrect terminology, but "IEP" is vernacular for the meeting itself in these parts). We will find out the location of this Fall's Behavioral Class, will schedule his school district behavioral evaluation (for a home ABA program even if we might not need them to run it), will confirm that they school district is paying for Leelo's ALSO summer school (that's $2500 of yay!), and will schedule summer speech and occupational therapies.

I am hoping that the meeting takes less than an hour, as Leelo's preschool is having a graduation ceremony sixty minutes after the meeting starts and we'd like to try to attend.

Of course, the IEP falls smack on top of Bad Moms' Coffee. Frak.

Still working on that meds writeup. In the meantime read what nice things Badger had to say about Leelo's behavior. She noticed some of the lovely bits we've noticed, too, since we started drugging him.

Less lovely is his absolute fixation on certain stim items. He has been in love with one particular piece of clear aquarium tubing for the past nine days, and insists on having it with him at all times, even though it got successively shorter over the course of the week. It got lost several times, too, but my self-preservation instincts enabled me to find it each time. Then tonight he lost it for real. (It is most likely under our porch, but as Pat the Cat uses that very place as a litterbox I am not searching there.) We do not have any more tubing as the original was a gift from Sage. No other tubes or straws will do.

He cried and moaned for his tube from 9:00 until 11:00 PM tonight. He will probably wake up at 3:00 and 5:00 as well. I suspect we'll be paying a visit to the aquarium store after the IEP.

6.06.2006

Off to Vote

The pooling station is at Dilford school, where last week's explosive Community Meeting took place. Do you think as many people will show up to protect their current and future rights as citizens as showed up to ensure their right to choose house paint color? Somehow I think not.

Iz has told me that since today is 6/6/06, the "Day of the Beast," we might as well do a really bad thing and have McDoug's for dinner. In fact, she'd like to make it an annual event.

Another Reason to Laud Hybrid Vigor

We loaned Iz to a friend for a weekend at the coast. She came back beautifully filthy and exhausted--and sporting a back beet red with sunburn.

I freaked, because for a very pale person like me a sunburn that fierce means purple blisters, fever, and chills the next day. And Iz is my daughter and seems to share my skin tone, and I thought she would be fated to fry at similar temperatures.

Seymour couldn't understand why I was so worried, and the next morning I found out why--Iz woke up with most of the sunburn already faded to tan, as has generally been my partner's experience. So, in this case I can't complain about the Rosenberg genes being so bossy. Yay Portuguese blood!

Why You Can't Put Them in a Box With Holes and Ship Them Off to Points Unknown

Mali was up all night long, wanting to "Nurse?" She had a fever so I gave in the first ten times, but at around 5:00 AM the well was empty and I had to cut her off. She wailed and screamed and cried and would not be placated by water, and said that she wanted to eat and listed ten different kinds of food that would make her happy. Seymour and I have been trading off on the early mornings, and it was my turn, so I hauled that grouchy fucking baby up the stairs and tossed her into her high chair.

Where she immediately became the perkiest and happiest toddler this kitchen has ever seen. She turned on all her silliest behaviors and playful language throughout her very large meal. If I wasn't comatose, I would have been charmed.

6.04.2006

I Feel Pretty

I Feel Pretty




This is a picture Iz drew of me. It's an illustration for a homework assignment to write a sentence using the word "mama." She wrote, "Mi mama es muy bonita." I feel very especial.

Our scanner is broken, so I took a picture instead. But with my computer's embedded camera rather than my hand-held one, as Leelo somehow smashed my camera's viewscreen and I'm not really taking pictures with it. Which is silly if you consider that it still works just fine and that not seeing pictures until you develop them (or in this case until I download them onto my computer) was still standard as recently as eight years ago.

6.03.2006

Not a Bowl of Cherries

Thanks to my friend mb for the link.

http://www.autismspeaks.org/sponsoredevents/autism_every_day.php

The link above leads to a short documentary about the challenges of parenting autistic children. It is not entirely representative of our experience, as Leelo brings a lot of joy to our lives and this film doesn't explore similar angles. Also, we have a fantastic therapy program for Leelo, great schools, and tons of support from friends and family. Not all families are as fortunate as ours.

Still, I very much identify with the parents in the film, and think that is is important for other people to get a glimpse of what our lives are like. Please pass this on as you see fit.

I understand that many people are really angry about this film and its negativity, specifically at the parent who said that she felt like driving herself and her daughter off of a bridge. I say autism is fucking hard, it rends and aligns each family differently, and I cannot condemn anyone who feels driven to desperation as long as he or she does not act on it.

Working Through the Competitive Urge

Why do people constantly feel the need to pile shit on other people's heads in order for theirs not to seem so smelly? Why do I? I am sick of other people and myself. I am done with passive aggressive competitiveness. Directness and helpfulness only from this point on.

Example: Yesterday Iz's classmate's parent started telling me about her son's science interests and the camp he's doing this summer and wouldn't Iz like to go to a camp like that? I gave her the benefit of the doubt as I don't know her very well, and she might have been being truly friendly and helpful rather than fishing for points of parenting/child superiority like so many other local parents.

I told her that she was right, that Iz probably would enjoy the camp she mentioned. I did not tell her that Iz already took the camp last summer and that I thought it was kit-based crap. What would be the point? I did not mention that Iz has already signed up for an exploration-based science camp. I did not give in to my urge to brandish Iz's recent science exploits in electroplating with Ep and Merlin at their house, and then in breaking open geodes and researching fossils at our house.

Instead I told the parent about The Tek Museum in San Jose, how a friend of ours works there, and the reasons why her son would probably enjoy it. She seemed excited, and thanked me for the recommendation.

That will be my new M.O. Answer questions directly without pulling up points of comparison or rationalization, listen to what people are saying about their own children rather than thinking about how mine measures up, and try to end with a nice or helpful rather than barbed comment.

Just in case you suspect that that is how I would always hold a conversation with an acquaintance based on how I present myself on this site, rest assured that I am actually quite a bitch deep down, but that I am working on it.

Our cherry tree is covered with yummy fruit and I remembered to net the tree this year, so the birds and squirrels won't be the only ones to partake of its bounty! If I can make real progress towards being a kinder person then perhaps I will better enjoy my bowl of cherries.

6.02.2006

Sheeeit

Within 30 minutes of each other, a good friend and Seymour both told me that their jobs/positions had been totally reorganized, and not in the ways they'd at all expected. I am uncorking a bottle of wine for them right now, by request.

6.01.2006

Bejesus

I finally finished reading The Beejum Book. It took a while to polish off not because of the wacky high-speed circus that is my life but because it is my Car Book and therefore only gets read at particularly long stoplights or during a serendipitous convergence of Leelo being at school/Iz being at school/Mali napping in the car/Me having a few spare moments.

Full disclosure: I bought it at the Wald0rffy store in Sebastop0l, and I was initially lured in because the book uses similar jacket design to and the same artist as the Snicketry Series of Unfortunate Stuff.

I am still processing my opinion of the book. I can't fault it for being unimaginative, though the twee character names can be grating. I am curious about what sort of child the author thinks would enjoy it--its overabundance of overexplainy passages suggest Even C0wgirls Get the Blues written for a Chronicles of Narn!a audience. As though the author spent her entire life (and the book was published when she was 80) storing up all the wisdom she ever wished she could impart to children and wished she'd realized when she was a child, and then interjected all that 'splaining into an otherwise sweet and fanciful tale of a little girl's imaginary world.

There may be kids out there who want The Meaning of Life shoved down their throats, but I suspect most children want their morals and meanings cloaked in examples and allegories instead. Most kids get pissed off if they realize a story is piggybacking on pedantry.

Adults would probably think a child would need to read The Beejum Book more than a child would want to read it. Which is too bad, because its story and heroine would have been just as interesting if all the epiphanies and self-realizations were toned down. Especially since the heroine is a little girl who gets to travel all over Europe and comment on all the different customs and people she sees, from a very believable and engaging perspective.

The Hills Are on Fire

I took notes during last night's community meeting regarding the proposed design code changes for my hillside neighborhood, just in case my friends who are residents but who weren't able to attend wanted to get a sense of how incendiary the proposal has become. If you are interested in community fireworks, then strap yourself in.

The meeting was attended by over 300 people--more than the Dilford School MUB could hold. It seemed to me that many people were lured in and riled up under false pretenses, by accusations that the local Hills Homeowners' Association wanted to take away everyone's rights and turn our neighborhood into a hillside version of Forster City. My impression had always been that the association (EHHA) truly wants to represent the interests of all residents--but that because people hadn't previously taken the proposed code changes seriously, they didn't participate in the meetings or polls that created them.

At the meeting's conclusion, Lisa Gr0te, the director of planning for SM County, said that it may be that the county needs to send out its own poll regarding the proposed code changes. This got a big round of applause from everyone except the EHHA board members who have spent the last 18 months working on the project.

Anyhow. If you are interested, here are the meeting notes. They suck because I have never taken notes at a meeting like this before, but I figured it was time to start wielding the power of the laptop, and to use it for Good.

I Am Tired

Way tired. So tired that this morning I started to tell Therapist L about some of my experiences working in Leelo's classroom yesterday morning, and she interrupted me with, "Squid, I was there." Oh yeah.

While there is much to report, I'll stick with the biggies. Namely that the one main thing that the meds seem to have given Leelo is a sense of when it's time to take a dump. And he is not pleased, oh no. We have had four screaming sessions in the last two days during which he sat on the potty and refused to leave but also had no idea how to "produce." He has almost always done his business by hiding in a corner while lying on his stomach. Perhaps it is time to step up the cod liver oil to daily doses.

Here also is a more accurate video of Mali asking for boob:



She has also surprised me by being able to sing songs that we'd been listening to in the car but had not ever sung together. Observant baby.

I am hoping to get some rest tonight. I am hoping that Seymour gets some rest, too. In the meantime, check out the awesome trilobite necklace he got me in Utah. It's a real frickin' fossil! He also got Iz unopened geodes that she got to smash open herself. The best dad and the best partner, ever.

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