7.30.2006

The Littlest Sexologist

The Littlest Sexologist*

My IRL friends know that I am uptight. I desperately wish I wasn't, and I hope my kids won't be, so I try to foster open minds and healthy inhibitions. It's not easy, especially for a recovering Catholic. But I think it might be working.

Tonight as Iz was bathing herself, she started to diddle. I reminded her that masturbating is all well and healthy, but that it should be a private affair.

Iz: "Unless your friends say it is okay?"

Me, with forcibly straight, non-panicked face: "Um, yes. Then it is okay."

Iz: "That's good, because Violet and I like to do it during sleepovers. We call masturbating 'it' and ask each other if we're doing 'it.'"

Me, not running from room due to great effort: "Well, that is fine. You are both agreeing and you both comfortable with it."

Iz: "Yeah, and sometimes Violet mispronounces 'masturbation.' I always correct her, though. Mommy, why are you laughing so hard?"

Me, trying not to fall on floor in hysterics: "Don't you think your brother is singing a funny song?"

I wonder if Saturday's panelists Susie Bright or Logan Levkoff would approve. I hope so.

Also interesting: I came home from BlogHer 06 to find this sign on Iz's door:

Don't Open!
People Putting on Diapers!

Okay...

*I have changed the title of this post as a nod to Elswhere, and also because Lisa Stone would be upset at my using such a lame original title after attending her Ten Types of Web Writing panel.

Ruminating About BlogHer 06

Ruminating About BlogHer 06

It will probably take me a bit to process BlogHer 06 properly. Even though it wasn't quite what I expected, I don't think my 85% "eh" experience is anyone's fault but mine. And I will tell you what I think about that at length. But not right now.

Also I do realize that I owe Rosemary (sp?) from Sweden a blog list from the BOF/Humor & Storytelling suckfest session. Will try to post that later as well.

7.29.2006

Less Grumpy

Less Grumpy

Thank fucking gott. The sex panel was everything I'd wanted this entire conference to be. Fucking amazing smart women with revelations and experiences I'd never even contemplated, and very few of them relating to the sex act itself. Mostly gender, identity, community, stigmatization, dialogues...damn. I was among peers and role models. Heaven.

BlogHer 06 Lowdown: Cephalopod Perspective

BlogHer 06 Lowdown: Cephalopod Perspective

Jo and I talked a lot yesterday about how knowing the same language as someone doesn't necessarily mean you're speaking the same language. We've been watching Badger and Grace gallivant and glory in their respective extroverted elements, and have been very happy for them. It's lovely to see them having so much fun.

But we're not like that. I'm not, at least. Extroversion is as incomprehensible as Mandarin to me. I am a lurker who gets nervously talkative in groups. Not the greatest personality to bring to a community-developing conference.

What I am trying to write is that so far this has mostly sucked. I am so glad to hang with friends like Mary, Gwen, Jenijen, Whump, and Cyn. It has been fantastic to meet up with coot cats like SJ, Karianna, and Pam. I even ran into an old friend from high school--which is a nice dose of irony given the high school reference in this morning's first post.

But, FUCK, people--I got to take two days off for this. I should be in a remote wifi cabin (not so remote that I can't come back to top off Mali for the night) enjoying the solitude. Jo could have come with me. We would both be writey and occasionally giggly and mostly silent, grooving on the free time to rearrange our brains and get work done.

Every last panel so far has been moderately interesting, but there has not been a single event--except possibly last night's cocktail party--that justifies my decision to attend.

Then again, I've not yet been to Susie Bright's Let's Talk About Sex panel. I am indeed looking forward to that not sucking. Or at least putting sucking in an entertaining and useful context.

BlogHer Cocktail Party!

BlogHer Cocktail Party!



Squid Rosenberg.

Today's BlogHer Shoes

Today's BlogHer Shoes



Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

Going for a pseudo-Goth look today. Since BlogHer is so very much like being back in high school, from a social perspective.

And today I will remember my power cord, so as to not have to steal juice from the ever-accomodating Grace Davis. So perhaps some posts with more meat in them today. Looking forward to Susie Bright's sex panel, and hoping to be less tired than yesterday and so not have to go take a nap in the car.

7.28.2006

Wanna Butch Be

Wanna Butch Be

There are so many cool butch women here. They are awe-inspiring. Every time one goes by I get an overwhelming urge to go get a fauxhawk, wear only tank tops and cargo shorts, and get more tattoos.

Listening

Listening

In Lisa Stone's 10 Types of Web Writing session. She says we should listen to our readers. Huh.

Okay, so what do you want to know? I'll answer anything today...I'm footloose and fancy-free!

Jo and Minnie: Spotty Dresses!

Jo and Minnie: Spotty Dresses!



Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

Intermission

Intermission

Bored? Here's Iz's version of The Lumberjack Song. She's still working on it.



Having a decent time at BlogHer. Will have a better time at the cocktail party, methinks.

Jo Is Very Good at Hangman!

Jo Is Very Good at Hangman!



Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

Arrived


Arrived

See? Me and Jo. At BlogHer. Proof!

Off to BlogHer


Off to BlogHer

If you see these shoes lurking in a dark corner, they will be attached to me.

7.27.2006

Uh, So I Went to This Dinner Last Night...

Uh, So I Went to This Dinner Last Night...

A pre-BlogHer Ass Kickers' Dinner, apparently (I was there as "friend of" several attendees). I am still panties-wettingly nervous about going to BlogHer, but at least now I have sussed out the main thread tying the attendees together: Giant Brains. Oh how I love to be around smart women, even if I get wide-eyed and mute when one of them talks to me.

After two margaritas I relaxed enough that Jenijen was able to wriggle out of my insecure clutches and be social in her own right.

Thanks to Grace for the arrangments, thanks to Mary for the ride down and Badger for the ride back. Thanks to Seymour for sitting on the kids so I could go! And what a cool fucking treat to meet Karianna.

Mali at 20 Months


Mali at 20 Months
Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.
Mali at 20 Months

Edging into the twilight of toddlerdom. Sigh. She has all of the sudden started singing along with music, all of the sudden has started using her name: "Mali up! Mali all done!" etc.

She is funny and sweet and I want to eat her up. I'll have to be content with squeezing her juicy little thighs.

This age was my very favorite time with Iz. She was such a funny, cheery, clever, delightful toddler. Excerpt from Iz's journal from the days of yore:

Her latest thing is describing things in terms of what they aren’t. So we get a lot of “Izzy’s not wearing a brown hat” and “Daddy’s not naked” (particularly charming in public). She knows all her numbers to 12 and has known the alphabet for months. She can actually count to 5, and can sing part of the alphabet song (“dubba-yoo, ekk, waiyandzeeeeee”). She is able to demand that we listen to nothing but the Muppets while driving in the car. (I do take pains to assert the occasional “Mommy’s music” episode, and have been quite staunch in my refusal to cave in during those short sessions.)

Leelo at 20 months was not all that different from Iz to casual observers like his parents. He wasn't speaking in full sentences like his big sister, but how many kids that age are? Still, this was the time when the first autism bomb was lobbed into our home, and our lives jumped onto a parallel track:

Leelo is just a crazy boy. Crazy, happy, nutso, mischievous. He's a big snuggler and imitator. This is a great age (20 months).

Sometimes we feel sorry for the poor little guy, since he doesn't get the same intensive attention that his sister got. The other day he was babbling while turning the pages of his book, and we thought "How cute!" Then we listened more closely and realized he was reciting the words to the book. He loves to sing, especially the ABC or Teletubbies song, and we’ve been trying to take lots of pix and video with our faboo new digital camera and its 128 MB memory card [Note that it was appropriate to crow over such things in 2001].

While we were vacationing with friends in Sebastopol, our co-vacationeer Dr. M the pediatrician commented that Leelo didn’t seem to respond to his name. So I calmly and internally flipped out, went on some web sites, and decided that Leelo was autistic. I took our boy to our own pediatrician who did his best not to laugh at me [ignorant bastard--we switched to wonderful Dr. G two months afterwards]. We’re going to take Leelo for a hearing test and an “evaluation” anyhow since Dr. M did spend four days observing our son and did not seem to be using his buttcheeks to talk to us.

Ah, memories. I feel so fortunate that Mali seems okay, that we get to enjoy a neurotypical toddlerhood one last time. Lucky, lucky Rosenbergs.

7.25.2006

Why Does Mommy Stay Home?

Why Does Mommy Stay Home?

Today Iz finally got around to asking "...why Daddy works and Mommy doesn't." To be fair, I think she may have meant why is Seymour the one who goes to an office instead of running herd at home.

However, to be absolutely clear, I told her that being the personal chauffeur and sherpa to her and her siblings is my job. If I worked in an office and a nanny took over all the [countless acts of routine and drudgery] I do during the day, then that would be the nanny's job, yes?

I then emphasized that I despise working in offices, though I don't mind visiting them. I told her what a wonderful thing it is to be a contractor and need only a laptop and my brain, and to be able to work wherever and whenever I choose. I did concede that I haven't taken on any contracts since Leelo was a baby, but that I will probably try to pick up new work when things get less hectic at home.

She seemed satisfied. I don't know if I am, though.

Much Mas Leelo Milestones. Plus One for Mali.

Much Mas Leelo Milestones. Plus One for Mali.

Leelo is sleeping in regular summer pajamas for the second night in a row. We haven't had shitstorms in a while and it is inhumane to make him sleep in turned-backwards footie pajamas.

He has gone up the stairs rather than insisting on taking the elevator at school, two days in a row. His choice, no tantrums involved. I wonder what he would do if I tried to get him to take the elevator? Perhaps this 5 mg Adderupp extended is the right balance after all.

Leelo's new trampoline is no more. He used it all day every day and so blew it out in less than three months. I knew its elastic rope was fraying but didn't think it would snap so soon. I have placed a desperate email to the manufacturer asking about getting several replacements.

Mali's hair--well, the back part of Mali's hair--is long enough to braid. It is still extremely thin and wispy and so the pigtail looks very silly.

Iz's friend Napa even called Mali's braid "pathetic," but then she also asserted to Iz that "Girls do not collect action figures." (Did I step in with a contradictory statement supported by several personal examples? Perhaps.) Not sure whether to ban Napa and her running commentary of similar statements from our house, or to plan a junior feminist indoctrination campaign. Iz will be going to school with her in the Fall, so we can't simply avoid her.

For The Love of RSS

For The Love of RSS

Seymour says I have to use Blogger's automatic title field, otherwise you RSS lovers only see white noise from Leeloland.

Summertime...and the Therapists Get Flakey

Except Therapist L and Supervisor M, of course. They have been steadfast and true to Leelo ever since they came on his team almost exactly three years ago.

But generally summer is when therapists say, "Oh, by the way, I'm quitting." And so it is this year. Therapist Y has taken on a new full-time SD gig. Not with the Deadwood SD--as I was hoping, so that he could be Leelo's aide--but rather at his local SD. His last day will be August 18.

I am sad, because he is such a very good buddy to Leelo, but realistically if he hadn't been Leelo's school aide, we wouldn't have been able to offer him all that many hours anyhow.

Fingers crossed that Therapist L is willing to work every afternoon in the fall.

Dee's Artoo Wearing Her Leelo Shirt

All The Cool Kids Have Leelo Shirts

Check out Dee's darling daughter Artoo in her Leelo wear!


Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

Boy, would I love to post a picture of you or your kid with Leelo gear so I could donate another $10 to The National Alliance for Autism Research, in your name...

Last 72 Hours

The local weather microstation topped out at 105°F.

Mali topped out at 104°F, compounded by a three-day bout of the Shrieking Shits. Then the power went out, so Seymour and I got to have hourly romantic candlelit diaper changes/wrestling matches, all night long.

Mali and Leelo got their eyes checked out. Both are groovy. Leelo was fairly well behaved, Mali kept calling out all the letters they were trying to get him to name for the eye test. Fortunately Dr. C is a magician with Leelo-types and was able to test his eyes to her satisfaction in her own way.

Rook invited me to my first ever role playing game. Seymour was beyond jealous. And I loved it--I can totally see why people get sucked in. How appropriate that my character's skills set included -2 for confidence. I had to leave early as both overheated Leelo and mewling Mali refused to go to sleep for their dad, but hope to play again someday.

Liz Ditz had us over to swim in her perfect woodsy comfy oak-surrounded house. I am guessing it's the kind of casual place that horsey people have and that the bling-blingy newcomers couldn't possibly understand. THANK YOU LIZ. All three of our kids plus my husband plus Babysitter A played and played until Leelo's eyes got too red (he opens his eyes underwater but still won't tolerate goggles). So we had to leave early and didn't get to spend very much time with Liz's daughter JG. Next time! Moomin and parents were there too, how great to see him recovered and doing his version of frolicking in the water.

Grumped in the painful heat and hated everyone in the world especially people with independent, tractable children; people with any kind of unqualified free time; and especially people with air conditioning. Gave children any cold or liquidy substance they requested (except Mali--she got bananas and toast). Almost threw computer out window after ignorant overprivileged mom-of-singleton on Deadwood Mom's club e-list posted her suggestion for beating the heat: "Check into a hotel room," as though everyone can afford that, as if most kids would even tolerate that. Wondered as overheated Mali's bottom got increasingly red and chapped about baby diarrhea equivalent of the Diva Cup.

Ep had us over to Satan's Pool. THANK YOU EP. Normally we sail right past the front counter but this time we got checked and actually had to pay money to take advantage of the local private Christian club. Oh, lovely lovely lovely cool water. Oh, happy happy happy children.

Iz continued to perseverate about roller coasters to anyone who came near her. She would occasionally interrupt to demand a Floyd Landis update from her dad.

Leelo spent a loooot of time in the wading pool Babysitter A got for him. And giving big spontaneous hugs to me that were genuine, not merely ploys to grab my elbow or put pressure on his sinuses.

Mali eventually stopped shitting every 90 minutes. She remained cheerful the entire time, diaper changes excepted. Can't remember if I've yet recorded that she says, "I see X!" all the time. I also made the mistake of showing her how to use my computer's keyboard ("Press Y! Press G! Press K!"). If any of you got strange comments or email from me, now you know why.

Everyone got to watch all the videos they wanted.

It's still going to be in the 90's tomorrow, but that doesn't mean we have to be here. Iz has a free and clear week so perhaps we'll head over to the coast during Leelo's afternoon session. I'm sure Therapist L won't mind.

7.24.2006

1, 2, 3, Hurrah!

1) It's not nearly as fucking hot as it was this weekend. If I wanted my body and kids to be this miserable then I'd be in fucking Phoenix, where we'd at least have the bonus of my two darling nephews. Casualties: several potted plants (hydrangeas, dahlias) that are physically incapable of sucking up enough water to offset this kind of heat-accelerated transpiration.

2) Seymour picked up my camera and its new non-cracked LCD screen from the shop today. BlogHer documentation! I can prove I went. Although you won't be able to recognize me from my Leelo shirt, because it looks funny on me--as in dual fisheye lens effect. Anyone who wants the shirt can have it. I'll bring it along. And I'll have the sticker on my laptop.

3) Sweet Leelo got a splinter in his foot and trusted us enough--i.e., understood that we were trying to help him get the painful thing out of his foot--that he kept putting his foot forward to be chiseled at, even though he couldn't tolerate it for more than a millisecond. But he understood, and he kept trying. We got half the splinter out. Every time he would put his foot forward, I would tear up. Such a sweet, brave boy.

7.19.2006

My Big Toe Has Ink All Over It

Admittedly, I know nuffin about comics. But Iz loves them, and I'm starting to figure out what she likes:

Akiko (Vols 1 - 7)
Bone (the doorstopper complete collection)
Babymouse
Queen Bee (psychokinetic middle school popularity wars)
Asterix
Tin Tin
Clan Apis
Classic Superman, Fantastic Four, Batman, Spiderman

She can't tolerate too many of the superhero stories, though, as the women are always story props or decorations: "Why does Lois Lane always have to get saved by Superman? That is just STUPID!!!"

I told Badger about Iz's moaning, and she recommended Go Girl (very positive, lots of potential), P.S. 238 (cool), and SnapDragons (also cool). She also lent us Amelia Rules!, cited as a favorite of SJ's Franny.

Yesterday I had a spare hour (!) and so bailed on a dreaded Home Despot run in favor of raiding the local comix shop to get Iz some Seattle trip treats. The good folks at Oni Press did not disappoint. I found three great collections:

Jetcat (snarky and full of clever asides)
Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things
Banana Sunday
(As soon as she is old enough I will hand her a copy of Rumble Girls, too.)

I then told one of the clerks that I was looking for strong non-sexist stories for girls Iz's age. He remarked that he didn't know how helpful he could be as he'd never been a seven-year-old girl, but then recommended:

Avengers Power Pack

Which was great, and a new series:

Princess Natasha

Which I thought sucked though Iz might be more tolerant. I also thought that we could wait for the Power Pack collections, so as to skirt all the fucking ads. (My kids might spend too much time staring at the TV screen, but they never get to see any commercials. Not. Ever.)

For myself, I got a chewy Wonder Woman comic (Hiketeia) I'd been wanting for a while. It is worth having for the cover alone. I do like WW's interweaving of classical Greek material, and when I find some Iz-friendly WW issues (e.g., no allusions to porn), I will get them, too. Already got the first new WW issue, although as usual I found it hard to justify all the ornamental bodaciousness, despite the strength of the story. Old news, still irritating news.

(It was gratifying to meet up with Badger today and find that she found Hiketeia groovy, too. As I can never anticipate when she's going to tell me, kindly but firmly, that something I like is the stupidest fucking thing ever shat out of a lazy writer's bottom.)

The best part of the excursion was definitely the two counter guys looking at my WW cover and then debating who would actually win a fight between Wonder Woman and Batman. I kept glancing behind me to see if I was on camera, but no...it was real. And it was very fun. When I said that I would love to stay and continue the discussion, I meant it. But Mali was waking up and I could tell by the way she was snorfling on my shoulder that a non-comix friendly howl was on its way.

Almost every comic mentioned above stands out because of great storytelling. Girl or boy doesn't matter at all--they are gender-transcendently character-driven. Stock up now.

It is annoyingly hot here today so I gave Iz and Violet all the comics early, plus the last two Worst Witch books sent by Iz's literary godmother. They love everything (esp. Jetcat and Banana Sunday) and will require no minding from me for the rest of the evening.

7.18.2006

BlogHer-ing for Autism Awareness

There was a bit of a mixup with Seymour's maxed vacation time and my own fear of conferences, but fuck it--I'm going to BlogHer after all. It's not as though the place won't be athrong with other blinky introverts hugging their laptops to their chests and glancing about skittishly.

You'll know me--if I put my laptop down--because I'll be wearing this Leelo shirt. I'll also have Leelo stickers to hand out. And I will gladly donate $25 to the National Alliance for Autism Research if I see anyone else wearing Leelo Gear at BlogHer.

Hell, send me pictures of you with or wearing your Leelo gear, and I'll donate ten dollars each time. I'll even post the pix, if you want. It would be great if more than six people helped us raise money for autism causes (though I am indebted to each of you who already made the leap).

Just in case you're wondering what I'm asking you to paste on your chest, the Leelo gear reads:


I'm a Friend of Leelo's
Support Autism Research
Befriend Autism Families


I am absolutely no good at promotion, self- or otherwise, so I would be extra-grateful if you folks would help spread the autism awareness word.

Rigidity and Tantrums

I can't get over the most dramatic change Adderupp has effected in Leelo: his relatively easygoing tendencies have been replaced by a stereotypical autistic demand for routine. Sandals must be placed on his feet by first opening both straps! Mali must not take off her shoes in his presence! We cannot approach his classroom without going up the elevator, or there will be a room- and hallway-clearing tantrum!

Last night Mali had her own epic 90 minute tantrum during the wee hours. She woke up as we were just falling asleep, requesting, "Nurse? Please, Mommy?" and sounding like a three-year-old. So cute! No problem. But she wasn't satisfied with one session, or two, or six. Finally I couldn't stand the sensation of having my body pinched, squeezed, or twisted for another moment, and so rolled over. I figured she'd howl for a couple of minutes and then go to sleep. Nooooo. No amount of soothing talk or belly/back rubbing would do. Seymour finally leapt up and took her upstairs for some yogurt. When she came back down, I let her nurse again even though I'm sure she could sense how little I wanted to, and we all went to sleep.

In both Leelo's and Mali's cases, I am torn. I do not think it is helpful for any child to learn that if they scream long and hard enough, they will eventually get what they want. That is why I didn't give in to Mali until after her yogurt, and even so felt compromised. But is she old enough to be aware of the power struggle? And does this even apply to autistic kids? I need to talk with Supervisor M. Thankfully we have a team meeting this week.

7.17.2006

Another Late Leelo Night; Good Leelo Language

10:46 PM. Leelo is still singing in his bed. I just got here; Seymour took the crappy 90 minute bedtime boomerang shift while I nursed down an exhausted Mali in front of the latest TiVo offering.

Last night I said there wasn't anything different yesterday to explain Leelo's late night except the change in dosage and switch to extended/short acting combo. Well, I am stupid and in addition what I wrote was not true. Leelo also had a smoothie yesterday, and I forgot to give him his morning multivitamin/probiotic/calcium powder/rice milk cocktail. So, perhaps. His feel-good B vitamins were AWOL and sugar is devil dust for our boy.

Today Leelo refused to eat the toast that contained his morning short-acting dose and so only had the extended release dose (5 mg) of Adderupp. And his day went pretty well. Still a touch of that creepy remoteness in the morning, but otherwise he seemed fairly engaged.

He was also using a lot of really good language, telling Therapist L, "Don't do that!" when she sat on the seesaw in a manner contrary to his ideal (i.e., side saddle). He was also very vocal in letting me know how much he wanted a glass of lemonade, and when I refused to give him a fourth (1 cm deep) cup, tried to help himself to the jug. We'll be finding sticky spots in the kitchen for many days.

Also cool: He not only sat and "read" two of his perennial favorite books to himself, he also acted them out. "Teletubbies love to jump!" and then he jumped. "Teletubbies love to roll!" and then he rolled. Not Shakespeare or Ibsen, but it was all spontaneous and unprecedented.

I think we might keep him on this accidental dose for a bit and see what happens.

-------

Mali is making me wince, she is so damn cute. She must be on to our prostrating ourselves and then granting her every wish upon her saying, "Peeeeease, Mommy," or "Peeeeeease, Daddy" because she is saying both a lot. When I get my camera back I will try to record it. If I'm not looking at my daughters I sometimes get confused as to whether it's her or Iz speaking, but then I remember that Iz would never use the word "please" without a five minute preface as to why she both deserved and needed the requested item or service.

Also Mali surprised me again today with another quick-study BAM! moment. It occurred to me that sometimes people give babies things other than tupperware or discarded pen caps to play with, so I got out one of Leelo's old puzzles and let her chew on it. Then she clued into its intended possibilities--but after getting irritated with the pieces not fitting in sideways, she asked me to help her. I showed her--once--my trusty match-bottom-and-let-flop technique, and she immediately put all the pieces in correctly. Maybe toys aren't so bad.

The Clothing Store of My High School Dreams

Since I left this huge comment at Badger's I figured I might as well plop it here too:

I hate the mall and do not go if I can help it. But you know that.

Fortunately we have a standalone Auld Navy across the street from The Hole. I had a complete blowout there two days ago in which I purchased five pairs of pants/shortie things because I had somehow ended up having no summer pants or shorts with decent pockets. I truly think Thursday's pocket-free ensemble is responsible for my losing that credit card--if I'd had a place to put it I would have paid more attention to its location.

Anyow, Auld Navy is currently all adrip with the sort of clothes that Dee and I used to spend many a high school night altering to fit us after we'd found them in thrift stores. Men's dress pants with weird patterns, which actually fit women! Pegged sturdy shorts in colors besides khaki! Plus all the hippie Indian-style embroidered crap that I so love is apparently last month's news and so even though it never goes out of style for me, it is all ten dollars there right now. I am probably going to go back.

As for the "professional" clothes I got myself a decent casual dress shirt. Stretchy, good collar, passes for day wear too. Some pansyish gathers at the cuff, but I will overlook them as the shirt is so comfy.

I sort of look like myself again. Odd that I owe my debt of sartorial gratitude to one of our largest and most faceless cheap clothing companies. But, again, people won't be wearing this shit in two years whereas I'm going to be happy with my new goods for aeons.

7.16.2006

Just in Case You Thought Those Flickr Photos Were of Our New House

We spent July 4th at a private pool party at LiFoFi. We've been lucky enough to go annually through the friendly courtesy of Seymour's cycling buddy the LiFoFi Garden Manager.


Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

It was a most beautiful day, truly. Iz spent all non-swimming time in the sunken garden trying to catch mosquito fish with Lamas, our host's son. Mali had a good time, mostly she slept.

And Leelo had a fucking amazing time swimming:



I still can't get over how amazingly well he swims, given that he taught himself. And how happy and calm it makes him. Usually.

Our private tour of the Lifofi grounds included the cutting gardens and the employees/working volunteers-only berry cages. The latter was full of the most delicious golden raspberries we have ever eaten. I am going to camp in front of our own g. raspberry bush for the next three weeks until its berries are ripe.

Iz and I talked later on that night about how handsome men often get by on their looks, and how we smart women put up with them because they're fun to have around--but that occasionally you find ones like Daddy/Seymour or Lamas, who are stunning but also kind and smart and like to talk about entomology.

Speaking of that branch of science and annual events, the first of Iz and Seymour's anise swallowtail caterpillars became a butterfly today. We didn't get to watch it crawl out, or expand and dry its wings like last year's candidate, but that's okay because we've got a spare one this year.

More Adderupp Hmmmmm

It is 11:30 PM and Leelo is still not asleep. He didn't wake up until a shockingly slothful 8:00 AM this morning, but if he was merely shifting his schedule then he should have been down by 10:30.

Even though he has had similar past late-night episodes, we can usually easily trace the cause. But today there was no major schedule change, plus he got to spend most of the afternoon swimming at our local lake--sunny water play is usually a guaranteed soporific.

Today was our first day on the combination extended release/short acting release Adderupp. It would be easy enough to blame the drug--especially as I'm so skeptical of it--but Leelo otherwise had a fairly good day. Not ideal, but only a middling noontime tantrum. We'll need to ride this out for a few more days to see if the pattern is consistent.

As for the Lake, we will probably get summer memberships next year. All three of our kids turned into goofy little fish the moment they hopped in the water. In the mean time we can go when we like with our neighbors who are members (and who invited us this time). It will be a nice way to circumvent the Satan's Pool conundrum--though I will still gladly accept any invitations to take Leelo swimming there, too.

7.15.2006

Adderupp Trials and Reactions

We did exactly seven days on 10 mg of Adderupp. 7/1 was Leelo's first increased dosage day. He had huge emotional storms around lunch time every single day except 7/2 when we were at the beach. Therapist/Babysitter A read our When You Have to Drug Your Child book* and noted that if the meltdowns happen 1-2 hours after the dose then it is because of the drug peaking; but 4-6 hours afterwards is due to withdrawal.

On Dr. S's advice we tried a 7.5 mg dose, but the storms were almost the same--in fact they happened a little bit earlier. We went back to 5 mg short-acting Adderupp in the mornings and Leelo was okay, if a bit loopy. Now Dr. S wants us to try a simultaneous combination of the short acting and extended release variations, with the hope that if the storms are due to withdrawal, this will allow the drug to taper off gradually in his bloodstream. The initial dose combo dose will be between 5 and 7.5 mg.

While he was on 10 mg he was fairly calm and together--except for his mid-day implosions. He did a lot of singing--entire songs--and went to bed without a fuss.

One Sunday, 7/2, day two, he sang all day long like a man possessed. Entire songs. Twenty stanzas of Row Row Row Your Boat (which I recorded on my phone, and will try to upload). He sat in my lap for most of our time at the beach with Badger, Iz, Sophie, and Moomin, which he normally never does for more than two minutes. It was unprecedented and wonderful. Possibly he snuggled with me because it was so cold and windy, but I'll take it.

On 10 mg he attempted to play on our rope ladder for the first time ever. He also let me read him chapters from James and the Giant Peach every night--also unprecedented. He was answering "What did we do today" questions better as long as I kept them simple.

Potty training: He is now sometimes going into our bathroom when he has a poop in his pants. Also Therapist Y said Leelo asked--and more importantly, needed--to go to the potty on 7/3. Leelo has also been more aware of his BMs, to the point where he often withholds them because he does not want to try to poop in the toilet.

My mom was around during both the 10 mg week and our reverting to 5 mg, and said she's noticed a very big change since the last time she was here in terms of his hyperactivity being greatly reduced. Nice to hear.

I have to admit that even with its benefits, I have a bad feeling about the Adderupp. For one thing, he will not let go of his fucking straw/aquarium tubing. He loved but was not wedded to his stim objects before the Adderupp. Also even now on only 5 mg he seems more remote than he has ever been. Possibly this is the autistic little boy who was lurking under the ADHD little boy, but I do not like how his language and reaction times have been affected. He is speaking very little now unless really motivated (such as this afternoon when he spied some M&Ms in a store) and he does not reply to social questions reflexively as he used to before these drug trials began. In fact he is incorrectly answering many questions that he used to have down cold, such as "Where is the ceiling?"

We will try the combo dose tomorrow morning. But I suspect we will end up moving to another medication. I don't like what Adderupp is doing to our boy.

*Isn't it convenient how Amazon includes a one-button baby registry link to the Drugging Your Child book?

Ideal Summer Weekend

I love a full yet unstructured yet casually social summer weekend. This is how life with children is supposed to be, in my mind.

Last night we ended up with Eliz, Sophie, and Violet over for a campout (all the girls spontaneously invited rather than imposed). Eliz and I set up our five-person tent and then Iz and her three friends spent the night outside. I so hope Iz enjoyed the experience as some of my fondest childhood memories are of "adult-free" backyard or living room sleepovers.

From my and Seymour's perspectives, it was a blast. Iz's friends are the easiest kids in the world to hang out with. Eliz and Violet were very helpful with Mali, and Iz and Sophie were attentive enough to the big girls' doings to feign occasional interest in the baby. And I could kiss all of the girls for being so kind and accommodating to tent-loving Leelo.

The girls giggled until midnight, and woke up with the sun. When I went out at 11:00 PM to remind them to use their whisper voices, I found Eliz reading The Wolf Girls (gift from Leelo's Supervisor M to Iz) to a rapt trio.

Eliz was very much the ringleader or den mother, in a good way. She was also incredibly helpful to me, asking to help set up the tent, laying out the sleeping bags without being asked, helping gather supplies (water, kettle corn, flashlight) for the night, announcing that she would be explaining the Buddy System to her fellow campers in case of any post-lights-out toileting needs, etc.

Our pre-campout dinner was requested by Sophie and Eliz: Rotini with red sauce and meatballs. While we were at The Hole gathering dinner ingredients, Sophie asked me to get ground buffalo instead of ground beef. She exclaimed, "We're going to eat buffalo balls!" at intervals throughout the day. She is a sly one, so I am not certain if she knows why I kept giggling.

My friend Tallie and her husband and baby walked over during dinner to return our sleeping bags as I'd forgotten to check that all supplies were on hand before inviting the girls to camp. I love having friends who can walk over spontaneously, and who will accept a proffered beer.

In the morning, and after everyone in the house (all eight of us) were finally dressed and partially cleaned, we dragged the lot to the cafe for breakfast. More mellow chaotic fun, especially as the girls' dads joined us. Jazz, kids milling about, excellent conversations. Manny talked a lot about the acts at the fire arts festival he'd been to the previous night. I think my favorite part would have been Dance Dance Immolation.

Then Manny took Iz! Not just for a bit but for the day and a sleepover.

I did my cat and plants duties at Ep's, and then Seymour and I went home and spun our wheels. No goals, just formless puttering and playing with the kids. I declared ourselves unobligated to get anything done, and it was blissful.

Later on we met Manny and the girls for dinner at Seasonelle Sushi. The kids were all well-behaved despite their exhaustion. Eliz and I talked about how tired and grumpy they all were. I said that I was worried about them hitting the wall and exploding all over each other. Eliz said it was possible, that while Iz and Sophie tend to get gradually out of sorts, her black moods come upon her suddenly and she was trying to be more self-aware. She said that she loses it in two situations: when she can't take her sister anymore, and when she doesn't like her food options (a big issue, she admits that she has a limited diet). She is a remarkable child.

We all made our way next door for ice cream and then sat outside on the sidewalk tables, chatting. Mali squawked at the trains, Leelo ran around the planters, people and their dogs strolled by, and the the light made everthing look like a lame but gorgeous bank commercial. The girls ran around a lot, as the downtown Deadwood sidewalks are wider than the streets.

We then made our way over to Ep's to inject her cat for the last time, only to find Ep and Clyde already home. A brief chat with the jet-lagged duo explaining why so many things in the house were wet (I am not talented at watering house plants as I don't own any), and then off to home. Mali fell asleep in the car on the way back, Leelo fell asleep directly after his bath.

Even though Seymour and are exhausted, I am content. We've more aimlessness planned for tomorrow.

Melatonin and Sleep Deprivation

After seeing the sleep-deprivation hell my friend TP is going through because of her son Thomas's not sleeping through the night or more than five hours per night, I forwarded the following post from my local Autism Biomed yahoo group to her. I also got the author's permission to post it here.

I cannot believe that a scientist and researcher of TP's caliber had never even heard of melatonin, and that her son's pediatrician had never mentioned either it or a sleep study. Frequent travelers take melatonin to avoid jet lag, for the love of Peet.

I am hoping that CW's post below will inspire at least one family affected by sleep deprivation to research additional options.

A very kind neurologist who has autism in his family suggested melatonin to
me but I was afraid to do it. When my son had a Stafnord sleep study
confirming that he woke up 20 times PER HOUR (vs. 1 time per 2 hours which
is normal) I asked the sleep doctors to look it up. They went on medline or
something and found out that melatonin may be produced less by autistic
children and agreed I should try it--or at least didn't disagree. Therefore,
I finally started using it (I had been reluctant even though we were going
nuts with our son sleeping 5 hours per night for over a year (some days 2
hour naps--while I was driving so that I couldn't sleep with him!) Anyhow,
that saved our life probably literally given ...
I was taking him miles to therapy each day, and my husband was commuting
from [the coast to the East Bay]! I then had the energy to put him on GFCF which
also showed immediate gains, and Brainchild as well. Until he was sleeping,
all we were doing ws coping. Talk about "shift parenting" my husband and I
were co-zombies and barely saw each other either. How people with more than
one child survive one who doesn't sleep and jumps on high objects (he did
not stop this until GFCF) I don't know. More than once I just simply conked
out from pure exhuastion. Here was this darling baby who was very hyper and
just couldn't sleep. (This started about 18 months and continued til 3-1/2.
Until then, he slept fine. This is why I refused to "ferberize" him or any
of that stuff--I sensed it was physical and the sleep study confirmed it).

One thing people don't realize about sleep deprivation. We've all had sleep
deprivation in college or whatever, followed by a long weekend where you
could catch up on the sleep. So on some level we don't think it's THAT awful
if we've never lived this. Well--when your child doesn't sleep for night
after night, you never get to catch up in that one luxurious sleep in. Ever.

The punchline is that it turns out melatonin is a powerful antioxidant and
is in some of the detox cycles. Therefore if you assume our son needed it
and wasn't making it, why NOT give it to him? Our son had an enormous
turnarond quickly. So all that suffering and being too cautious and too
"good" to give him " a drug" during the 4 months from when the doctor
suggested it til we had the sleep study not only did nothing good for the
universe, and literally risked all 3 of our lives, (not to mention the other
people on the road--it's a miracle we never fell asleep at the wheel) it
delayed progress for our son. As a good friend has told me "Don't let the
perfect be the enemy of the good".

We give him 1 to 3 mg most nights depending on how tired he already is.

7.14.2006

Ready, Set, Deconstruct: When Well Meaning Morons Make Bumper Stickers

I have no problem with incendiary bumper stickers. I would wear them on my own bumpers but they don't stick well to my shirt or pants.

I do have a problem with incendiary yet totally illogical bumper stickers, even if I agree with their agendas. Was wondering if any of you language experts out there wanted to take a crack at listing the various flaws (grammar, composition, logic) of these two jewels:

Guns Don't Kill People, Drivers With Cel Phones Kill People!

and

If Evolution Is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Evolve

Have fun. Be merciless. (But not to me--I already know that you editor types get tics when reading my shit. "Oh, fuck--can you believe what she hyphenated today?!")

Why I Am Writing This From the Hotel Across From The Hole

Another epiphany today: Four hours in a cheap hotel room is less expensive than a fancy dinner and drinks, and certainly as relaxing plus a better deal than a massage. And I can be home in five minutes! Glorious, glorious silence and isolation.

I needed it. I am wiped. So wiped that I keep forgetting important things. Like making sure Mali has shoes on before we leave for a day's worth of errands. Busyness, even happy busyness, eventually makes me very grumpy. But all I need is a few hours alone and all is well.

This morning's Bad Moms' Coffee was sparsely attended. Ep is in the UK, Jo is in CO, Badger is attending to the freshly de-appendixed and recovering Moomin, JP was working at Iz's camp (her kids Danielle and Elise get to go for free; JP is clever like that), and Liz is in Santa Barbara attending to things equestrian. So it was me, Godmother Stacy, and Mary T, the latter two of whom were very gracious in listening to me grump about stultifying domestic minutiae.

It was one of the better discussions I've participated in lately, possibly because with fewer brains and fewer explosive thoughts, there were fewer interruptions. Plus Mary and Stacy are both really fucking funny and smart. I felt like topics got properly plumbed. Not that I don't appreciate and enjoy the usual speed chess-style chatting. But it was a nice contrast.

The subject most appropriate to this space is that of public disclosure and cataloguing. I like my friends, therefore I like helping them. I don't expect reciprocation, but I do sometimes get too tired to volunteer as much as I'd like. Also I don't usually write about helping out other people because according to my upbringing, that means I want back-patting for actions of affection and community spirit. But I am conflicted, because not recording such adventures makes much of how I spend my time invisible. I am therefore considered--by some--a lesser being than those whose work provides income. I also find that people make assumptions about my time and availability because "I don't work."

(And oh my ears and whiskers, I am not writing about anyone who read this blog.)

(Please also note that my partner never, ever takes me for granted and that his only fault lies in his questionable mind-reading ability.)

Accordingly and in the interests of validation--even if I'm only rubber-stamping my own forehead--here is how my today went:

6:30 Alarm goes off. Hit it twice because I am still bleary from previous day of events approximating this day's upcoming events (Non-stop action that included a surprise visit from my baby brother plus taking Eliz and Sophie to a concert in the park).

6:45 Get up for real. Take Leelo to potty, then dress him and send him upstairs to Seymour and to breakfast--which includes a new adjusted Adderupp dosage.

6:50 My favorite part of the day: Sneak in ten minutes of bathtub reading (currently Sherlock Homes, so soothing). Pick out something to wear from critically low clean laundry holdings.

7:30 Go upstairs and help Iz and Leelo finish getting ready for their day while Seymour takes his shower. Check and restock backpack supplies for me and the kids.

8:00 Send Seymour off to take Iz to and pick up Violet for camp. Remind and thank Seymour about dropping off my camera to get its LCD screen repaired.

8:05 Hurriedly water all potted plants on front porch so they don't fall over from heat exhaustion.

8:10 Pluck sleeping Mali from our bed, haul her and Leelo out to the car and take off for Leelo's school in Deadwood Shores.

8:30 Arrive at school, drop off Leelo, who seems just fine. Run into acquaintance I haven't seen for three years in the parking lot, and whose adorable son I'd never even met. Attempt to reconnect but get honked back into my car by Escalade driver who cannot conceptualize driving her lumbering beast in anything other than a straight line.

8:45 Arrive at Ep's house to feed and inject cats and water plants. Freak out because the diabetic cat is nowhere to be seen. Search house for ten minutes assuming cat is in diabetic coma and will need to be taken to emergency vet. Then (duh) shake food tin and watch diabetic cat materialize instantly. Wipe sweat off brow, use it to water house plants. Extract Mali from under Merlin's bed and leave.

9:10 Go to the Hole to buy food staples that can safely sit in car all day as I won't be returning home until 5:00ish. Purchase goods, get into car, check receipt, hit self upon head for not observing that my favorite apples are currently $4.99 per pound.

9:30 Drive to Bad Moms' Coffee. Realize enroute that I did not return my credit card to my wallet while shopping at The Hole.

9:40 After a thorough search of the car, return to The Hole to inquire about leaving card with cashier (negatory) and to retrace steps. No credit card.

9:50 Sit in cafe parking lot and use cel phone to cancel credit card. Notice that new cel phone is running on very low batteries and that I still haven't acquired a car charger.

10:00 Bad Moms' Coffee! Discussed:

⁃ Attitudes towards Thank You Notes. My opinion: They are mandatory in theory, but realistically I can't always fit them in. I try to make sure there is always at least a verbal or email acknowledgement. General opinion: They are mandatory for people who have gone to a lot of trouble, or who live far away and do not have email or any other way to confirm the receipt of gifts.

⁃ How to help overwhelmed friends find babysitting help when community resources and stamina are running low. Straightforward, "I know a couple of good babysitters and here are their numbers" seems like a good approach.

⁃ The difficulty of finding acceptable get-well gifts for Moomin. Wagers were placed on Calvin & Hobbes and X-Men.

⁃ How to convince a JC-favoring teen relative that a four-year college is not only a realistic but a desirable and achievable option.

⁃ The ideal childcare and sleeping arrangements for visiting relatives. Hotels vs. sleeper bed, unrealistic expectations in general for hosting on top of tending small children plus the extra housekeeping and cooking that guests require.

Oh, and a lot, lot more.

11:10 Run out, late, to go get Leelo from ALSO preschool. Get waylaid by acquaintance concerned that I was talking about her behind her back when I don't actually know anyone else who knows her besides the Bad Moms crew. She was sad that a local Mommies club is not being emotionally supportive of her and her special needs child. I told her that many self-identified Mommies have very little empathy for unfortunate circumstances that they themselves have not experienced, and that she needs to hang out with people whose child-rearing concerns are more complex than whether to vacation in Hawaii or Mexico, or when the next Hanna Andersson sale will be.

11:16 Drive like Hell-escaping bat to pick up Leelo.

11:25 Arrive barely on time to find Leelo and Therapist Y sitting outside the lobby with Leelo still in tears from meltdown of thirty minutes earlier. While melting he made constant but incoherent demands and absolutely could not be soothed. Thank Therapist Y, give Leelo lots of hugs and kisses (and, okay, croissant bites) and take off for OT.

11:45 OT across town at Franklin school. Assume Leelo is doing okay and so take Mali into bathroom to change her out of her jammies and into her Star Trek: TNG outfit. Mali attempts to throw my keys into the toilet with a preemptive "Ooops!"

11:50 Go outside and read her a book, thrilled to have some down time with my baby.

11:53 Get called into OT room as Leelo is having another meltdown. Help therapist soothe him while trying to keep Mali off very attractive and engaging gym equipment.

12:15 Try to take Leelo to bathroom before getting to car, but Leelo takes off and runs at a top clip away from me and across the blacktop towards the parking lot. Thankfully it is a very large playground and, even with Mali on my hip, I catch him right before he reaches the curb. Get slightly tearful over thoughts of Leelo running out into traffic, then compose myself because for fuck's sake, it didn't happen. Plop his and Mali's little butts into the car for trip to Bezerkeley.

12:30: Call Dr. S regarding Leelo's new Adderupp dosage not working. She suggests another dosage approach (combo short-acting and extended-release) and asks if I can come by her office in Burlygame this afternoon. Fortunately her office hours coincide with my return from across the bay.

12:40 Call to confirm 2:00 appointment with Bezerkoid OT therapist.

1:15 Arrive in Bzkly early. Go to architects' office to drop off their scale left at my house on Tuesday. Find one of principal architects onsite, get directions for driving by local buildings using finishes that we have been discussing. Discuss Future of Solar Energy conference he had just returned from, Susie Bright's review of the Al Gore movie, how to talk my inlaws into using more renewable and ecologically sound energy options (suggestion: have Iz talk to them about it).

1:30. Lovely tour of Bzkly on a favored route: Solano --> Henry (tunnel!) --> Shattuck. The building in question is on the southwest corner of Shattuck and Hearst, and has siding with exposed fasteners and joints. I thought it was great for industrial but questionable for residential use.

1:50 Manny called during my Bzkly drive and cancelled on having me pick up and mind Eliz and Sophie for the evening. Which was okay; Iz was disappointed as we were supposed to go peruse the gag gifts at House of Humor, but we can go tomorrow night when they come for a sleepover.

2:00 Arrive at OT (occupational therapy) office. OT is not there, and in fact her name is not on the office listings. Freak about being in wrong place or at wrong time in an area with very difficult parking. Make Leelo and Mali sit down on curb with more croissant bribes, and call OT. She is walking towards me on sidewalk. Whew.

2:05 Fantastic OT session follows. OT mentions that she thinks Leelo is hella smart, but that there is some kind of sensory/stimulation barrier that is running interference between his brain and the outside world. There is a lot in his head, but processing it--getting his sensory needs settled enough to access it and then share it with the outside world--is very hard for him. He knows letters, phonics, colors, numbers, but can't tell how many fingers a person is holding up or the difference between a happy face :) and a sad face :(. She says he needs lots of cross-midline and hanging-by-hands activities. She was in tune with me in terms of not talking about Leelo in front of Leelo. She is going to come observe Leelo at home before writing up a report and recommendations.

She was also entranced by Mali even though our baby destroyed the gym, as Mali imitated almost everything Leelo did, answered many questions for him, correctly identified most objects in the room, and said "Bye, (Name!)" when we left even though she'd only been told the therapist's name once.

3:30 Head for Dr. S's office in Burlygame to pick up Rx and samples.

4:20 Arrive at Dr. S's, pick up goods, brief chat about how if this doesn't work we'll need to try another medication.

4:30 Leelo exclaims, "I need to use the potty, Mommy!" as we pull away from the curb. I panic and decide that the easiest place to go will be Druggers, five blocks away.

4:35 Park right in front of Druggers (!) and take two children upstairs to potty. Leelo is very excited about getting to ride the big escalator.

4:40 Try to go downstairs. Leelo has a fit because there is no down escalator. He bolts into the Most Expensive Housewares in the World department, and flops on the floor right under the sign reading Do Not Leave Your Children Unattended. I coax him downstairs by promising him a madeleine. Mali gets one, too. Mommy gets a raspberry linzer heart and a cup of very strong coffee.

5:00 Call Armada to find out where Iz is. Armada shits herself in realizing that she was the one who was supposed to pick up the girls at 4:30.

5:15 Armada delivers girls to house after getting her bottom chewed off by the Grand High Girl Scout. She fretted about the effects of overscheduling on her memory and I told her not to worry, that I totally understood (100% true).

5:20 Change Leelo and Mali's stench bomb diapers. Snacks for Iz and Violet. Prep house for babysitters (get jammies and beds ready, clothes out for tomorrow, put dishes away, yawn).

6:00 Babysitters Marroqui and K arrive! Hurrah!

6:10 Give Mali and Leelo kisses, put Iz and Violet in car just as Seymour pulls up, get sweet single kiss from partner. Ask him to be one to relieve Babysitters at 10:00. He is wonderful so he agrees.

6:30 Arrive with girls at downtown Deadwood Education fundraiser attended by almost every person I've ever seen at a Deadwood school. Eat dinner with girls and listen to endless variety of camp songs. Most of which have not changed since I went to camp in the '80s.

6:50 Armada and partner arrive to have dinner. Pass girls to Armada as planned.

7:15 Arrive at motel. Brief friendly chat with owner about why in the world I would want a hotel room for only a few hours.

I will be passing by Ep's on the way home to inject the cat once again.

Now...I am not complaining. I am recording. I consider myself to have a relatively charmed life. But at the moment it is an over-full life and I need to consider how to make it less so.

7.12.2006

Two Forehead-Slappers

Iced coffee is just about the easiest thing there is to make. Silly me, I had imagined that there had to be something more difficult than stirring sugar into hot coffee and then pouring it over ice to get the super-caffeinated equivalent of my favorite Southern treat, sweet tea. It helps greatly if you use high-quality coffee brewed in a French press (my only option, so that works out well).

Going Biodiesel is totally fucking straightforward. All you need is a diesel car and a local fuel supplier. Two small limitations from my friend who owns a biodiesel bug: "If the car is pre-1993, it likely has rubber hoses that the biodiesel will corrode - these need to be changed out. If the car has been running for a while on petro-diesel, the fuel filter will need to be changed after a month or so, because the biodiesel acts as a solvent and cleans all the petro-gunk out of the system, clogging up the filter."

Leelo's New Haircut

Buzz Buzz Buzz Buzz

Leelo usually has a mop on his head. He is not fond of haircuts, so we tend to put them off as long as possible. Then yesterday I had the epiphany that we can visit the barber even more infrequently if we cut his hair as short as possible. Bonus: He looks totally cute!


Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

Click through to see new house model images, Iz in her tomboy outfit, and all sorts of Krazy Krap. I am too tired to bother with permission privileges today, as my parents just left this morning and it will take me a few days to recover from a good time that unfortunately exluded critical alone time to recharge.

7.11.2006

Crickets and Albino Alligators

Where is everyone? Perhaps I need to post a photocopy of my naked butt.

Still beyond crazily busy. Kids are in various camps/preschools all over town (except Mali, who remains my personal barnacle). Leelo has at least three appointments every day.

Today I had a meeting with the architects at home and then down at the county offices. This afternoon I meet with a tree surgeon; after that the school district behavioralists are coming to evaluate Leelo for services. Somehow I must get the house ready for Marroqui to try to clean it by 4:00 (I don't know how all the other spoiled brats who have weekly housecleaning help go about it, but I put everything away so she can work on surfaces only).

Thankfully my folks picked Leelo up from school and took him to Sage's for his speech appointment. Don't quite know how I would have managed that one without them, as the meeting at the county ran late.

I think we will all go to the park after Leelo's last appointment, and then possible to La Fie5ta for the very best chile relleno and agua fresca in town (my parents leave tomorrow for BC, and my mother favors both those food items). And I will have a beer.

Iz is obsessed with the W0rst Witch series, sent to her by a generous soul from across the waters. She also loves the Hunters (Predators) encyclopedia Seymour nabbed at a science museum book sale:

Iz: "Did you know that a true albino alligator has white skin and pink eyes?"

Me: "Yes. That is because there is no pigment in their irises. Do they mention leucistic alligators? That is a very cool variation on albinism."

Iz: "White alligators with blue eyes cannot said to be true albinos, as their irises have pigment in them."

Me: "Wow, that sounds verbatim."

Iz: "What does 'verbatim' mean?"

Me: "It means you are using the exact wording from your book or other source."

Iz: "Of course it's the exact wording from the book!" (Implication: Duh, Mommy!)

7.10.2006

Sol vs. Betelgeuse: No Contest

I have rarely seen anything on the Internet as cool as this interstellar and interplanetary sizes demonstration.

All thanks to Chasmyn.

I hope Badger has some way to show this to her Moomin, who is in the hospital recovering from an appendectomy. Contemplating the vastness of Antares might amuse him.

7.09.2006

Food Allergies and Co-op Preschools

Iron Gate Co-op Nursery School lurks on the horizon yet again. I don't have to work in the classroom until Mali turns two in November, but I still get to go to all the night classes, etc. starting in September. And Seymour is already working on the website as part of our maintenance hours (I dropped the newsletter reporter gig in favor of having Seymour do all that work this year. Perhaps I should have asked him first).

But that is all boring and irrelevant to anyone else's life.

Friends from Oportoland visited on Saturday (they were our afternoon guests; KV, PV, and kids visited earlier that day). Our Oportoland friends have a two-year old son who has anaphylactic food allergies to peanuts and dairy, plus a host of other food allergies that "only induce hives."

By the time they came over, the whole house was prepped. Leelo and Mali hadn't been given any allergenic foods for hours, Iz had been thoroughly briefed on what Thomas could and could not eat and what toys he could and could not play with, and everything within reason had been wiped down with disinfectant.

We had lots of snacks out--blueberries, homemade guacamole and chips, sweet potato chips, and carrots. All served in and prepared by kitchen ware that had been washed again beforehand.

We had a yummy dinner--veggie sushi that the kids got to make themselves, and kebabs of vidalia onions, sweet peppers, crookneck squash, and chicken tossed in fresh ground salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric.

My friend TP was grateful. She still couldn't entirely relax, but Thomas did not have a single reaction during their 4+ hour visit. This is a child who starts breaking out into hives and wheezing if he puts on an apron worn by someone who had eaten peanuts or milk earlier in the day. She said that it was so great to be with people who understood food allergies, as we did because of our experience with Leelo.

Thing is--and I wrote her about this later--Leelo's past dietary restrictions didn't make me better about food allergies. They made me a versatile limited diets cook. What made me understand the graveness of childhood food allergies was working in a co-op preschool with a child like Thomas and his mom, and going to meetings during which she described her child's condition and passed out all sorts of information on what we could do to help him stay healthy.

So, chalk up a bonus point for the co-op environment. I realize that not everyone has the time or temperament to join such schools, but I do think they are godsends for atypical kids and their families.

Study Links SF Bay Air Pollution to Autism

Read about it here.

Perhaps we would do better by our children to move them out to the wilds surrounding Sebastop0l.

I will do whatever I can to make life easier for Leelo, and to push society towards recognition and acceptance of him for who he is, not who he could have been. I do not love him any less because he is a neurologic outlier. But I will not apologize for wishing that he wasn't autistic, or for wanting to know if avoidable environmental pollutants are what helped autism take over his brain.

I Love a Good Surfeit

We're having too much fun being social over here at Casa Rosenberg. Had two different rafts of out-of-town friends pass through today, in addition to my easygoing, helpful folks. It's still a party every day on top of our wacky-fun kids' summer schedule. There are at least five half-finished posts lurking in the blog draft bin. Brief kids' tidbits:

Iz is roller coaster crazy right now. I think it would not be entirely out of line to say that she's perseverating a bit. She walks up to people--pleasantries be damned-- already talking about her rollercoaster theories and what is the biggest longest fastest or scariest coaster according to the Guiness Book of World Records or her SuperCoasters documentary or the several hundred coasters she rode at the Del Mar Fair because damn it she just hit 48" and she is going to squeeze as much juice out of her new milestone as she can.

She has also declared herself an official tomboy. She will recite her totally arbitrary rules for being a tomboy if you ask her nicely. Lots of emphasis on No Pink, and Not Too Much Grooming. I got her my personal favorite tomboy outfit (white ribbed tank top, olive army-style pants rolled to the knee) and she was delighted.

I was amused to hear her explain to our very patient friend Paddy (who accepted Iz's invitations to not just one but four draw-offs for the most thrilling theme park ride design) that her latest design would make its riders "Fly out of their seats. I mean that literally. Most rollercoasters make people feel like they're flying out of their seats, but my design actually does make them fly out of their seats."

Leelo got up this morning and declared, "I want to go poop, Mommy." A huge surprise, even if he tried for thirty minutes and produced naught. He sang lots of songs all the way through during his efforts. Since this was all before breakfast, and breakfast is when he gets his meds, he hadn't had medications in his bloodstream for about 18 hours.

Mali is once again fortunate to be so cute. Five thirty AM is not the best time to wake up one's mother, even if one is using one's cutest voice to plead, "Mommy? Nurse? More? Please? Hi Mama! Good morning!"

Wonked out. Will get to those other posts eventually so you can see and read about this past week's good times. But now must sleep to prep for tomorrow's event: lunch at my favorite place, for my mom's first dim sum experience.

7.06.2006

Working (!?)

Vaguely surprised by myself: I have managed to get not one but two projects out of my brain and into motion. I am publicly recording my resolve here and have even told a few people about my endeavors, in order to goad myself into finishing. Not that this has always been successful in the past. However I do occasionally complete tasks, and will try like hell to carry through on these. It is critical to my mental health to have tangible proof of roles separate from "Mommy."

The primary project, a book collaboration, requires me to interview a woman from my church this afternoon. Yeeks. I came away with all the material I should need, and an appreciation for this woman and her very difficult history. I hope she can forgive Mali for deciding to launch the premiere of Throwing Poo During Diaper Changes in her perfectly, artfully appointed living room.

Meanwhile I am worried about my dad. He used to have the best memory in the world (with the exception of attaching the right names to people or pets). Today I came home from the interview and found he'd gone to pick up Iz from camp without the bag containing her post-camp aikido clothes and check. I'm sure they'll let her practice in her bathing suit if she needs to, but normally he would never forget a thing of any importance. My mom wants to get him tested for Alzheimer's. His father had an intense case of it.

Also worried about Leelo. He is hitting himself a lot lately, and more forcefully than ever before. I also feel like he connects with me less. I will ask his team what they think of his social and emotional attachment/detachment during our next meeting. But I feel as though the Adderupp is flattening out his bubbly, cheerful, affectionate personality. Not sure if sitting still during class is an acceptable tradeoff.

7.05.2006

Want. Sleep.

My parents are here. They are being very helpful. I am exhausted. We have made dinner for them or taken them to a party or hosted a dinner with relatives or afternoon with friends every single of the past five days. Fun, but no time for me or Seymour to recharge because they are here all day and our two youngest are not sleeping at night.

My dad took a year's worth of styrofoam and cardboard to the recycling station. He loves being given a mission, as he gets very restless when away from his home and routine. You've no idea what a kind, wonderful man he is.

My mom has taken on the past year's mending! Some things have already been outgrown, but tomorrow Leelo will be wearing a great tie-dye shirt that he only sported once before some silly person pinned a name tag on its front. The name tag was soon gone, and replaced with a big hole. It is now covered up. All this and constant dish washing and floor sweeping and bed making even though she herself is very tired from the never-ending visitors stream that pours through her house near the beach in San Diego.

As mentioned, Mali and Leelo have been refusing to sleep. Mali has stayed up until 12:30 AM for the past two evenings. Last night Seymour suggested that I drink a shot of hooch to help mellow her out, so I made myself a midnight mai tai. Which, after the the subsequent unsuccessful nursing-to-sleep session (the evening's sixth), resulted in a very happy insomniac baby.

Today Mali is a nutty baby. Totally crazy with the language and imitation and reactions, standing at the top of the stairs and chattering at us like a crazy monkey, as though we understand what she is saying with her big grins and whoops and gesticulations. Tonight she was singing the words and doing the moves for some "shake your booty" song that Iz learned at camp ("Ah, there's money well spent").

Leelo was a sweetie today. He had his protest moments, but I think they were due to his being absolutely exhausted from swimming with Seymour all yesterday afternoon, but then not getting enough sleep last night. Other than that he kept asking for my parents, going up to them and giving them hugs, telling them who they were (in case they'd forgotten--they are getting on), and telling my dad that his arm belongs to him. "It's Grandpa's arm!"

My toe, which I cracked backwards on a brick walkway yesterday, is absolutely turgid and purple. It is as fascinating as it is painful. My mom (ER nurse) and I agree that it is not broken. I remain grateful that it is summer and I can wear flip flops all day long, as closed-toe shoes would be excruciating.

Seymour and Iz's annual batch of wild-caught anise swallowtail caterpillars have transformed into pupae. We watched the whole process. Iz has the first one's final shed caterpillar skin in a tiny clear-lidded container. She now talks of being an entomologist.

Good night. It is 11 PM and I am going to make an attempt to put Mali down for the night.

7.02.2006

Meta Meaty Baby

Mali likes to eat. I suspect that one of the reasons she's been getting up in the middle of the night is that we've not been stuffing her sufficiently before bedtime.

Our girl likes to eat meat. And then watch herself liking to eat meat. Such a polite baby.





Other funnies:

She refers to herself as "me me."

Lots of saying "I see..." as in "I see cookie!" Also "Look..." e.g., "Look! A tree!"

If you ask her if she wants something, and she does, she exclaims, "Okay!"

She toodles around the house muttering, "Ummmmm, ummmm." After a while we realized that she is imitating our conversational pauses.

She noticed that there are now anise swallowtail caterpillars living in the plastic container that usually signifies cookies. She yelled, "No! Not cookies!" Seymour had informed her the following evening that the container no longer holds cookies, but she is apparently still perturbed.

She doesn't realize that she is a toddler; she thinks she is a big kid like most of her friends, and has no problem running right in and mixing it up, for instance walking into and attempting to join an unfamiliar kids' impromptu soccer match.

My parents are here and are having a great time with her. Because she is great. And as of the 26th she is now 19 months old. This is one of my very favorite ages.

Her hair is still completely nuts. It's as though she has solar flares coming out of her scalp:



Oh, and she has discovered her nethers. Iz and Leelo were similarly driven to grab their bottoms, at the same age. Makes diaper changes quite challenging.

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