10.31.2006

When Friends Sleep Over on School Nights: A Spiral of Bad Ideas

When Friends Sleep Over on School Nights: A Spiral of Bad Ideas

Even though Iz is ecstatic to have her buddy Violet spending the night at our house these past two nights (Violet's family is out of the country), I am realizing that even the world's most amazingly compliant and helpful kid blows our house's not-so-delicate balance all to hell. Especially when we don't really have enough beds or rooms for everyone, especially when Leelo has destroyed the sofa bed we'd normally put them in, especially when Mali is trying to learn how to go to sleep on her own and needs spaaace, especially when Leelo has a nutter night and so the girls can't even try to sleep in Iz's bed because it's in the same room as Leelo's, especially when it's Halloween week and we promised we'd carve pumpkins, especially when it's a school night and they really do need to get to bed on time, and oh fuck I can't wait until this holiday is over.

And I am realizing that I haven't yet heard back from the school district regarding what they intend to do about paying for Leelo's program. It's been a month, but I hadn't noticed until Seymour's mom politely asked why she was still getting invoices from Leelo's crew. Sigh.

11/01 Addendum:

Please note that Violet was over here because it seemed like a fine idea to me one month ago, and that Armada (her mom) went through five or six iterations of "are you sure?" beforehand.

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10.30.2006

In Theory: Getting Custom Kids' Books Made

In Theory: Getting Custom Kids' Books Made

Suppose (just suppose) that you had less than two weeks to get some sturdy paperback kids' books made. The text and art are ready to go. The books are about ten pages long.

Suppose also (again, this is theoretical) that you had about three weeks to get some custom board books made (the tough toddler-style books). Again, art and text are all set.

What would you do?

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Weaning Me, Weaning You

Weaning Me, Weaning You

I already tried to wean Mali two months ago, via the same technique as this past weekend--by leaving town for two nights. At that time neither of us were really ready. She screamed herself to sleep both nights, while I kept giving my hooters a poke to see if I was still lactating. When I got home I slapped her back on the tap, to the relief of us both.

Now it is two months later. She turned 23 months old the day before I left, and really was ready. Indeedy, so was I. I've had several weeks of her not-really-nursing to sleep at night. If you consider how sensitive nipples can be, then you can imagine how irritating it was to have a child absent-mindedly fiddling with them for an hour rather than giving them a good hard suck. It was driving me bats.

I was still worried about how Seymour would get her to sleep while I was gone, but it turns out I needn't have fretted. He kept Mali up until she was good and tired, then put her in our bed. She pulled the covers up to her chin, said, "Good night, Daddy!" and went to sleep. *Poof*

Last night was my first night getting her to sleep without letting her nurse. She didn't drop off like she did for her dad, but I must say that I've had much worse transition nights with both her older siblings. She never once asked to nurse. Instead she spent about an hour declaring, "It's dark!" to which I would respond, "Yes, Mali, it is very dark. Because it's time to go to sleep." There would be a sixty-second pause, then the loop would repeat. Finally she started getting fussy, which is what she usually does before dropping off. And then she drifted away, with her cloud of curls nestled against my neck.

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10.29.2006

Mali Whispers the Alphabet Song

Mali Whispers the Alphabet Song

Got back from the most fantabulous weekend imaginable with Hayley. All nature walks, wine and food, and down time/writing time--happening whenever we felt like it. Can you imagine? I still can't.

Hayley has a dream job for which she has worked off her ass and which has given her a grab bag of truly jaw-on-the-floor appalling and amusing stories regarding Hollywood celebrities. I can't tell you any of her tales without getting her in trouble, so instead you can watch a video of Mali whispering The Alphabet Song, with a dash of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star tossed in at the end. (Yes I am influenced by the video antics of Jenijen's kids, though mine are not as tractable than hers.)





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10.28.2006

Dispatch From the

Dispatch From the Coast

On a writing retreat with my and Seymour's friend Hayley. For our birthdays. At Costanoa.

It is gorgeous here--sunny and balmy, two words which only describe this area for twenty days each year. We scored.

We are laughing (not visibly or audibly) at all the parents running around after and wiping snot off of their small children. That's not us today, Suckers!

I wish I could teleport my family in for specific activities such as the nature walks, face painting, and bat talks, but then beam them straight home afterwards.
We met a guy who survived a great white shark attack. The shark hit from below and blew him out of the water. His surfboard, with its perfect semi-circle shark teeth imprint, is enshrined in a local surf shop, and is the reason he didn't get hurt--the shark's teeth got stuck in the board.

We saw a sea otter using its chest as its dinner table. The sighting is a big deal for this area and our guide got hoppy with glee.

I will be taking Iz to see the elephant seals and the gray whale migrations this year, god damn it all.

This is an Ohlone area. Apparently they were immune to poison oak and used to make baskets from it. The people who excavated those baskets more than a hundred years later got poison oak from them. That plant is from Hell's own botanical gardens!

Also the Ohlone were employed to help clear redwoods for the lumber industry since the poison oak didn't affect them. Their immunity also gave them the power to protect sacred trees--they would tell the lumberjacks that if they wanted those trees so damn bad, then they could wade through the poison oak and get it themselves. Many giants survived this way.

I am finishing up books for Leelo and Mali to give out as birthday party goodie presents (I fucking detest goodie bags). Also finishing up the text for a book I owe to an Iron Gate parent, about international adoption. And finally putting in outline form the notes for Iz's Xmas or birthday book, so I can put some real meat on it during NaNoWriMo.

At night we can see the Milky Way though our skylight and The Pleiades watch over us, much more intensely than they can from my home.
Mali is being weaned for real this weekend. Her increasingly half-hearted bedtime latching has become like water torture to me, so it's time to cut her off. Everyone send Seymour good thoughts for this weekend, and to both of us for the coming two transition weeks.

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10.27.2006

The Sacred Heart of Bilbo Baggins

The Sacred Heart of Bilbo Baggins

I took Iz to Safeway so she could get her heart's desire, a Kyd Kwizine TV dinner-style meal. Also Tums for Seymour (he's concerned about osteoporosis) and lots and lots of pullups for Leelo.

We were passing a rack of devotional candles featuring Jesus and crew when it occurred to me that said characters do not play the same role in my kids' upbringing as in my own Catholic childhood. So I asked Iz if she knew the name of the gentleman below.


Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

"Um, I don't know..." said Iz, "He looks like somebody from The Hobbit."

Go Unitarian kid go! She can discuss basic comparative religions, but she is totally unfamiliar with any accompanying icons.

Not a one of you is ever allowed to ever tell my mother about this, ever ever ever. Her own sacred heart would implode.

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10.26.2006

Where Leelo Is (Was) Right Now

Where Leelo Is (Was) Right Now

Two things that always strike me about Leelo are 1) how much he can change in such a short period of time and 2) How many people are involved with and care deeply about our boy's education and welfare. Witness the embedded photo of Leelo in session with Therapist L, and being observed by Supervisors M and Andil. Eight other people who regularly work with Leelo are not in this picture.

Supervisors M and Andil both did evaluations of Leelo and his program at the beginning of this month. Most of what they reported is still accurate, but in fewer than three weeks some of their observations have become outdated because Leelo has moved on. Sometimes he is just cycling (hitting his head less when frustrated, that will wax and wane), but other times it is genuine progress (going to the potty willingly and without tantrums, with verbal prompts only).




Our boy is doing really well in class and in his home sessions, but he really needs help practicing his skills at home and with non-therapists. Seymour and I are doing our best, and those of you who see Leelo IRL should feel free to help out, too. Supervisor M recently sent us an update of current tasks and skill levels for Leelo in his ABA program, emphasizing real-world skill usage (generalization) and some specific, helpful tasks. She wrote:

A critical piece is [Leelo's] generalization and use of these skills in non-ABA settings (with family, at school, during play dates, with speech and OT's, etc)

For example, Leelo should be using eye contact with EVERYONE, especially for simple interactions like requests and greetings. Also, any time anyone is giving Leelo a reinforcer, eye contact should be made BEFORE it is given. Let's all try to maintain this criteria. (If necessary, initially bring the reinforcer close to your face to encourage Leelo to look at you).

Also, Leelo is now an expert at social questions. Please, everyone--be sure to ask Leelo (or prompt school mates to ask) such questions as:



  • "What's your name?"

  • "How are you?"

  • "Where do you live?"

  • "What's your favorite toy/movie?"

  • "What's your mommy's/daddy's/big sister's/little sister's name?" (Please ask these one per day, they are too similar to ask one after the other...)

  • mommy = Squid

  • daddy = Seymour

  • big sister= Iz

  • little sister = Mali

  • "When is your birthday?" (Nov 9)


This will take less than 1 minute to ask a few of these, but the benefits will be enormous...

For more detailed information on Leelo's progress and other skills he's working on, consult Supervisor M's program update from the beginning of this month. I think Leelo's in a good spot at the moment; I think that if we can remember to help him use his skills outside the classroom and therapy zones he'll be in an even better one.


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10.25.2006

Poetry for a Wonky Morning

Poetry for a Wonky Morning

I'm a bit wasted from Mali not napping during the day or sleeping at night and so having to stay up until 3 A.M. to get in the less-than-ideal Momfidence! review below and then waking at 6:30 to haul my kids plus Leelo's classmate and Signora Blog's son Moon to the Aquarium (bless our companion Therapist L) which was great fun as Moon and Iz got on well and probably explored every last gadget-based exhibit in the place even though they sometimes did so without consulting me about the direction in and distance at which such exhibits were located and Mali and Leelo were of course delighted just to be there and we ran into Badger (!) and then we drove home and I frantically tidied the house so it could actually be cleaned and then we all went to The Hole because there was no food in our house and then I went to an Iron Gate night meeting during which I nodded off continuously and then came home and you'd better believe I hit that mattress hard.

So here's some poetry from Iz instead of any musings from me:

Pansies are purple
Roses are peach
I'd love to dye your hair
But your hair's not bleached*

Also here is the most priceless photo from yesterday. After three hours at the Aquarium with the energetic little darlings, this was poetry for my soul: All four little bottoms strapped into their carseats for the ride home.




*Iz's only experience with hair dyeing is getting it bleached so it can then be dyed some sort of Crayola Brites color.

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10.24.2006

Momfidence! for the Masses

In which I review Paula Spencer's Momfidence! for this week's Mother Talk Blog Book Tour.


Paula Spencer, the author of Momfidence!, must have balls of steel. It would take no less to write and publish her free-spirited take on the mercurial subject of parenting in this judgmental age. I admire anyone who cheerfully and wittily reports that she regularly supplies her kids with Cheetos and Oreos (and that they're perfectly healthy), and who advocates judicious hollering at kids in public--for instance, when they disregard more level requests to stop jumping on a rotting whale carcass. Ms. Spencer's years in the parenthood trenches have given her war stories aplenty, and she deserves new enlistees' attention so that they won't have to learn everything the hard way, like she (and I) did.

I wish to my very marrow that I'd been given a book like Momfidence! before my husband and I spawned. In fact, I wish that Ms. Spencer had come to my house, sat at my kitchen table as I frantically tried to write thank-you notes between every-two-hours pumping and nursing and cleaning pumping equipment for our non-latching newborn, and told me to calm the fuck down. To worry about the note-writing later. To cut myself and my partner some slack, and to focus on the only two things that were critical: my own basic needs, and those of my newborn.

She would have told me to try to relax, and to have faith in myself. She would have advised me that reading too many parenting books and listening to too many parenting opinions is the fastest way to send a mom straight to Crazy Town--along with her kids. She would have advised me to winnow out non-critical family stressors, make do with whatever is left, and then have the confidence to stand by my subsequent parenting choices. Like letting my kids watch TV, with reasonable limits. Like not worrying about changing a newborn's clothes if they are spit-up spotted but still wearable. Like understanding that too much sugar is less of a concern than not enough protein. Like declaring that parenting can actually be fun.

Momfidence! is a well-written and worthy book, but it needs to be approached with a certain light-heartedness. It is not an set of instructions to be memorized, but rather an experienced mom's frank take on what has worked for her, and why. It never claims to be a book about serious parenting challenges--one look at the breezy cartoon cover should dissuade readers from consulting Momfidence! about anything other than everyday family issues. Keep this in mind when you read the book, or you may end up with some seriously twisted panties.

My own hackles raised when Ms. Spencer's opinions fell under what I call the Real Simple syndrome--mistaking convenience for simplicity and in so doing negating social responsibility. This wouldn't be a problem if freaked out new parents weren't made entirely of waffle batter and weren't desperately clawing at people like Ms. Spencer for guidance--but they are, and in certain cases I wish she had been more sensitive to her power to shape their outlooks. Ideally, instead of ridiculing people who choose organic goods as silly and spend-thrifty, Ms. Spencer could have stated that such things just aren't a priority for her family.

I also wish she hadn’t used a book about two-dad families as an example of things more worrisome than school sugar restrictions (seriously uncool), and that she hadn’t scoffed at early intervention for sensory needs. I am glad that she and her fortunate family remain unaffected by sensory issues, but it is callous of her to make light of them.

Despite my quibbles, Momfidence! is an entertaining, informative, and reassuring read for anyone about to jump--or recently pushed--into the parenting pool. I write so freely and not merely because the book's plentiful and wonderful advice is often in line with my own grizzled veteran's take. Though, unlike me, Ms. Spencer gets her points across without accosting random parents of newborns and begging them to go see movies with their baby while the little darling still takes extended naps. I should probably start slipping her book in their diaper bags at the same time.

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10.23.2006

No on Prop 85! Think Outside Your Bubble

No on Prop 85! Think Outside Your Bubble

I am strapped for time (deadline, eeeeeeeee!) and so am cutting and pasting copy from an email sent by Kathy Kneer, CEO, Planned Parenthood of CA, regarding her No on Prop 85 campaign. It is my hope that you will choose to think about the consequences of Prop 85, and then forward information about or donate towards this cause.

Prop 85 is a dangerous and misleading initiative that threatens the health and safety of California’s most vulnerable teens and a woman’s right to choose.

The vast majority of teens already do talk to their parents about issues as sensitive as pregnancy. Those that can’t often come from dangerous homes where abuse, incest or violence puts these teens’ lives in real danger.

Click the arrow below to watch the NO on 85 ad – an ad unlike any you’ll see this election season.





And please, help us convince other voters to think outside their bubble and vote NO on Prop. 85.
This ad can defeat Prop 85 - IF you and I make sure that enough people see the ad before they vote.

[Planned Parenthood needs] your help. We need to raise $150,000 in seven days to fill out our ad-buy in Northern California and then boost our frequency in Southern California. We need to do both to win.

There are only 15 days until the election - only 15 days to run this ad to reach voters. And many people are already casting their absentee ballots.

We've seen the consequences of laws like Prop 85 in other states - teens who can't talk to their parents for fear of violence delay access to any medical care and then go out of state for more complicated second trimester abortions, or resort to deadly self-induced or back-alley abortions.

If 1,000 people each raise $150 we can meet our goal. Find 15 friends to donate $10 each. It's that easy.

This election is going to come down to every last vote. Together, we can protect the health and safety of our most vulnerable teens and tell the anti-choice zealots that put this dangerous measure on the ballot that we won't let them succeed.

What can you do to DEFEAT Prop 85?

*
CONTRIBUTE. Help get this ad up in front of voters and enable us to meet our $150,000 goal. Host a (virtual) house party, use a personal fundraising page and contribute.

*
FORWARD THIS AD TO A FRIEND. Getting our ad out over the web is crucial to the success of the campaign. Forward this link to everyone you know and encourage them to do the same.

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Broken Mirrors: A Great Autism Article

Broken Mirrors: A Great Autism Article

It has been a long time since I read an autism article that wasn't partially beamed in from outer space or a reworked compilation of the facts and figures that any autism parent already knows (Did you know that 1 of 166 kids is now diagnosed with autism? I don't know anyone who doesn't). So it is with satisfaction that I direct you to a Scientific American article on autism and mirror neurons. It summarized many promising new developments in tracing the causes of autism.

More than the information, I appreciate the article's tone, and its focus on finding out why autistic individuals are wired differently and helping them cope in an environment that they do not and--if these theories are true--physiologically can not, easily comprehend. It also mentions potential therapies such as giving them drugs like Ecstasy! Okay, I'm kidding. But only partially--read the article yourself and find out the extent to which I jest.

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Baby's First Tantrum!

Baby's First Tantrum!

Mali is ready to get a jump on Two as quickly as she can. We are not necessarily looking forward to exchanging sweet toddlerdom for shrieking bansheeness, but realize that we got an excellent, front-loaded deal on this kid's temperament, and that it's time to start making payments. In sweat and tears, though hopefully not in blood.

The tantrum in question happened last night, during bed time story time. Mali wanted Seymour to read her Richard Scarry yet again, but as I was already reading to Leelo, Mali got told that she needed to wait her turn. Her usual reaction upon being denied is to plead, "Please please please?" but, as I mentioned, certain milestones are approaching and old approaches are being discarded. Upon hearing, "Not now, Mali," she immediately started wailing and flinging her arms from side to side like a hand-held prayer drum.

Now, if this had been Iz or even possibly Leelo, Seymour and I would have been crouching down to her level and trying to soothe her out of her frenzy. But since she is our third child, we all started laughing instead. It was great entertainment!

Seymour picked her up and placed her on her back so she wouldn't hurt herself and we went back to reading; she flailed for a bit but then got over it when she realized her antics weren't getting her any attention. Then she came back and joined our reading circle.

Surely that will be her last tantrum, right?

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10.20.2006

Pumpkin Leelo

Pumpkin Leelo


Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.


Sometimes a blast of beautiful eye contact from our handsome boy is all I need to make me happy. Especially when it comes in the middle of our annual pumpkin patch pilgrimage.

Today Leelo started Fukalin. A very low dose, 5 mg extended. It is a sibling medication to Rutalin, but supposedly with fewer side effects and lower dosages. It hadn't really taken effect by the time I dropped him off at school so I am hoping that when I go to retrieve him I will find him leading his classmates in a parade or asking his teachers why the fuck everyone talks about him all the time right in front of him as though he's not there.

Maybe not. Regardless, it's been a good week.

His teacher reported that when his aide went on break yesterday, he looked around and said, "Where's Rosie?"

He's really starting to get the effectiveness of prefacing requests with peoples' names, i.e., "Mommy, I want pancakes" instead of "I want pancakes, Mommy."

He hasn't had a potty accident in almost two weeks. We put him in drawers to go to school, he comes home in drawers, he does his afternoon session with Therapist L in drawers, and at the end of their session (3:30) Therapist L puts him in a pullup and then he usually runs in the corner and downloads. But no accidents, not in a long time. We are still taking him to the potty at scheduled intervals because he's still not initiating anything, but he is staying dry dry dry, sometimes for as long as two-hour stretches.

Yesterday good language included, "Cut up your [my] pancakes," and "I want to put on pants!"

Speaking of those pants, he really is getting facile at whipping his pants on and off. Elastic-waist only, but that's nothing to sniff at. Pullups/underwear and socks are less easy, and shirts are still a bit confounding to put on, but he is at a new level of self-care that I definitely appreciate.

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10.19.2006

No Doubt You Thought Your Future Would Be Different, Too

No Doubt You Thought Your Future Would Be Different, Too



I was cleaning out the office when I found this old newspaper from my high school. It features Gwen Stefani and five of our other classmates musing about their futures.

I find it amusing that the person with the best sense of humor and the least arrogant set of expectations has been the only one to ride the rocket of public success. Everyone else wanted to be famous and rich beyond their wildest dreams; Gwen only wanted to sing the jingles for Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Dee can back me up: Gwen was always as silly and sweet and unaffected as the woman you see in interviews (though she was very shy when we knew her). Now you have evidence.

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10.18.2006

Medication Maybe

Medication Maybe

One of these days I'm going to finally buy myself an official Waffle t-shirt, because I can't ever make up my mind about or take a consistent stance regarding any issue. Not really.

Take the Leelo meds about which I was crowing so very recently. All that bullet-pointed fabulousness was followed by two straight days of Leelo From Mars--even though we did not and have not yet changed meds (we are trying to switch Leelo from Adderupp to Fukalin, but the pharmacists keep telling me that the medication will be in tomorrow. I've been waiting for tomorrow for three days now).

The past two days weren't as trying as the recent Adderupp-free days, but he was still fucking wacky with the stimming and vocalizing and inability to answer questions or stay focused. Big sigh.

I have both heard and read that a lot of kids like Leelo experience Great! effects from meds, but that the effectiveness wears off after a while. I expected that. What I didn't expect was that the effects would only last Leelo a scant few weeks. Big sigh.

Another consideration is that Dark Leelo has emerged like clockwork after the past three Autumnal Equinoxes. His behavior and language are are lovely starting March 21st, and go to shit September 21st, every year. The meds might not be able to fully counter our boy's reaction to the season cycle. A friend suggested we get him one of those anti-Seasonal Affectation Disorder lamps. Maybe. I'd rather give Fukalin a shot before investing in any household appliance too big to fit in my underwear drawer.

Here's hoping those pharmacists finally got to roll their dice and move their mice in Leelo's favor, and that tomorrow the new medication will appear.

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More Milestones for Mali at 22 Months

More Milestones for Mali at 22 Months

Mali is a self-starter. She has to be, if she wants to get anything done in a timely manner. Last night she materializes at my side, wearing a witch hat that I could have sworn was on top of the globe on top of the TV cabinet:




Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

When she lobs a stench bomb, she now comes up and tells us, "I'm stinky! Diaper change, please."

After yesterday's morning round of taking her siblings to their schools, she looked at me and announced, "I want to go to school!"

If she wants something, she will come up, say, "Mali's turn!" and take it. Or maybe not even inform us of her designs beforehand--last night she stole an udon noodle with Moomin without so much as a how do you do. (Apologies, friend.)

But she does know how to be polite spontaneously. Today Leelo's friend Alyx handed her a toy she'd dropped, and Mali said as casually and naturally as can be, "Thanks, Alyx."

If she wants more sustenance during the night, she has no qualms about pouncing on me and insisting, "Mommy! Wake up!"

She now knows her colors--the primary and secondary six, anyhow. I'm not sure where she learned this--perhaps from her good friends the Teletubbies? Not from mommy or daddy unless she is truly extraordinary at picking up environmental cues.

Speaking of primary colors and creatures with televisions in their bellies--God forbid I drop Mali in front of the tube to commune with Po, Dispy, and Co. while I have a moment to myself. What was once a guaranteed five-minute reprieve is often derailed as little as sixty seconds later, when I hear the "pad pad pad pad pad" that means she is coming for me--and then she appears at the bathroom door, declaring, "I found you! Mommy's going p** p**!"

She will not allow us to ply her with books she's read too many times, for instance the books that we read with Leelo every night. She was content to sit through Goodnight Moon and Time for Bed with us for the first ten nights or so, but now she's done with all that repetition, and spends Leelo's bedtime story time paging through all our big Richard Scarry books instead. When she's bored she will page through any book, picture or not.

She still doesn't need much sleep. Today she was up at 6:30, didn't nap until 3:00, and probably won't go down until after 10:00.

She is charming and chatty and endlessly amusing. Sage says she is like a living doll, what with all the language.

Mali drives me nuts, but almost every item listed above is, to me, evidence that a certification of neurotypicality is likely indeed. For her and for that I am grateful.

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10.17.2006

Oooh, Puppy!

Oooh, Puppy!

My mom wants a dog. She wants more companionship than my non-social, non-conversationalist dad can offer, she needs a way to get out and meet people, and she needs more exercise. All three needs point puppywards. She wants a dog. A specific dog. This dog:


Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.


I suggested that everyone in my family (and a few friends, too) pool funds to get this puppy for my mom as an early Xmas gift. Most people understand that this is a gift of compassion as well as of puppitude. Except my brothers.

The brothers are all shitfitting themselves, because they're worried that if my mom has a dog she won't be able to travel as much (or help with their kids, says my inner bitchy little sister self). That might be true, but I doubt it. This is a smallish dog; it can either come with them or be boarded or stay with a friend. So I told them all to bite me and bought the dog anyhow. They don't know how to empathize with my mom, stuck by herself in a house all day yet craving company.

The kids and I (and Ep, and Babysitter A) have all gone to play with the puppy a few times. He's a Caval!er K!ng Charles span!el, and truly is the cutest fucking thing I've ever seen. Witness:



(Witness also me sounding like a babbling, fawning, eejit due to the puppy's Cuteness Ray.)

Mali keeps wandering around the house, asking for the puppy by name. My mom is going to come up here to get the little bit in early November. I think the puppy will really make her happy--companion animals seem to make a difference for retirees.

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10.16.2006

Adderupp: Medication Makes a Difference, Yes It Does

Adderupp: Medication Makes a Difference, Yes It Does

Leelo had an unintentional two-day holiday from Adderupp. Wow. Bad decision (IMHO--Seymour doesn't necessarily think that Leelo's symptoms were as unmanageable as I did).
  • Leelo's activity was off the scale. He was still fairly good with his teachers and therapists, but they all asked if we'd changed his medication because of his activity level. Running, bouncing, stimming, humming, vocalizing.
  • Unstructured at home time left him extremely anxious. He had no idea what to do with himself, and spent most of his time violently rearranging the toys and items in his "therapy corner." I had to apologize to Therapist L this afternoon, the damage was so severe.
  • He was unable to sit still for a favorite video, so much so in fact that he reverted to his pre-Adderupp habit of rushing up to and banging on the television.
  • He couldn't organize himself at all for any activities with me--book reading, doing puzzles, etc.
  • His language did not improve. In fact it seemed less natural and more subdued, due to his disorganization.
  • He absolutely could not get to sleep.
Yesterday morning he went back on Adderupp, and we got our Leelo back. An even more attentive, talkative, organized, and social boy than before the interruption, truth be known.

  • His organization and calmness (relative) came back. He is listening to and following directions again.
  • His eye contact came back, in a BIG way.
  • His language was fanstastic, especially in session with Therapist L. He was calling her name spontaneously, loudly, and so very well.
  • He is able to watch videos. For a few minutes, anyhow.
  • He would sit in my lap while I read him books again
  • He slept. Boom, to bed, and thereby fulfilling one of my dearest wishes. (Now if only night owl Mali would follow suit.)
In conclusion, my doubts about medication were backslapped to a more remote part of my consciousness. The medications don't just make it easier for us to be around Leelo (my worry--that they were more a convenience for us than a requirement for Leelo), they make him better able to organize himself and therefore reduce anxiety and aggression. But occasional short breaks don't seem like a bad idea, either (except during the break).

I will need to discuss the idea of breaks with Dr. S, and we will still be switching meds this week due to our concerns about overall language suppression, but I at least am now convinced that medication helps Leelo, and not just a little bit.

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Reminding Our Daughters What Real Girls Look Like

Reminding Our Daughters What Real Girls Look Like

Liz Ditz pointed me to the following video. It demonstrates the difference between a real life model and her made-up, photoshopped billboard self--in less than 60 seconds. Very compelling, and something our daughters should see:

http://www.boardsmag.com/screeningroom/commercials/3421/

Yours in raising smart, healthfully skeptical girls,

Squid Rosenberg

P.S. Now that I have had more than five minutes to think about it, please show this to your sons, too. Then they won't be like all the shmucks I know who look like James Gandolfini or Miguel Ferrer* but think they deserve girls who look like Thandie Newton or Grace Park or Cameron Diaz.

*Sorry, James and Miguel--no one doubts your acting chops, but you are not commercial-grade pinups.

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10.15.2006

Please Don't Tell Me You're Sorry

Please Don't Tell Me You're Sorry

Iz says, "I'm sorry!" when presented with almost any corrective or contradictory statement. I am trying to help her purge that phrase from her everyday verbal toolbox, and put it back in her emergency kit where it belongs.

My reasoning, all of which I have told her in simpler terms than what follows, is that reflexively saying, "I'm sorry" dilutes the apology. Obviously tone, emphasis, and context are important, but if you say, "I'm sorry!" upon being reminded to clear your dirty plate, and also upon accidentally knocking a friend's homework into the mud, then it's not the powerful phrase it would be if reserved only for the latter scenario.

What is even more important is the mostly unconscious reasoning behind her word choice. "I'm sorry," means that she is acknowledging that she's done something bad, and that she needs to apologize. It means she is not doing what I want, and that she needs to step back in line and re-subjugate her will to mine.

I do not want her internalizing this mindset for every last minor infraction. I want her to save it for when it really matters, for the aftermath of an emotional or physical injury--intentional or otherwise. What I would rather she said after the small stuff is, "I understand." This, to me, means that she is acknowledging the correct course of action, and that she knows what to do, because she is a smart and able girl.

It all boils down to positivity versus negativity. You might think this is overthinking and overparenting, but for a highly distractible kid like Iz who needs reminding several times a day, I do not want her feeling as though every last thing she does is wrong, and that the majority of her interactions with me are punitive and dictatorial. She is a smart girl, and she does know what to do. She just needs reminding. A lot of reminding. That's the way her mind works, and she doesn't have to apologize for it twenty times a day.

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10.14.2006

What Makes Scents to You?

What Makes Scents to You?

A friend of mine has the loveliest new blog set up. It's called Smell of the Day. The images and her writing are really worth your while--go now.

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10.13.2006

How to Take Care of a Five Year Old Autistic Boy

How to Take Care of a Five Year Old Autistic Boy

This is an expanded version of the notes I wrote up for Babysitter A, who watched Leelo for 24 hours last weekend so Mali and I could go to my brother's surprise birthday party in AZ. This list does not include any ABA or other therapies, or school work. This is all the Leelo duties that Seymour and I take care of every day. And it's nothing compared to what we used to do for Leelo, and what some of our friends still do for their kids.

In the morning we take him to the potty upon waking (he usually gets up at 6:00 or 6:30 no matter when he went to bed). Most of the time he is dry. He gets lots of praise for being dry! However, even if his pullup is wet, his bladder is usually full because the wetness will be from the night before while he was fighting going to sleep.

He should have his rice milk before breakfast, in a closed/"sippy" cup with one NuThera capsule, one Multidophilous capsule, and 1/4 tsp. of calcium powder in it.

Then he gets his Aderrupp XR (blue/yellow capsules in cupboard above cereals) mixed in with a couple of spoonfuls of yogurt. Then whatever he would like for breakfast. He eats the same stuff all the time, as you know. Rice bread with almond butter ("toast"), whole-wheat croissants, cheerios, bananas. He will eat freshly made pancakes, for egg ingestion purposes, and will of course eat all the french fries you put in front of him.

If you’re willing to risk getting sprayed with a foul fishy substance, he also gets 1/2 tsp of cod liver oil. He takes the oil from a dropper, and it is best to give it to him between bites of food so that he can get rid of the taste in his mouth quickly. Sometimes he takes it readily, other times he spits/sprays it right back out. I recommend dosing him from the side so that you don't have to wash your clothes, too (cod liver oil takes two or three washings minimum before the smell is entirely removed).

In the afternoon he gets another cup of rice milk with a NuThera vitamin capsule emptied into it.

We are trying to get him to try kettle corn every day. This is his current "food tolerance" item to encourage him to broaden his diet beyond his six favored items. He has a history of eating kettle corn with sufficient incentives, such as hunger or persistent encouragement.

Potty is every 90 minutes, and he has been doing a really good job staying dry. He is still schedule trained only--he does not ever notify us when he has to go. He is still wearing pullups during the day, though at school he wears underwear and he's only had one accident so far. We haven’t had any tantrums on the potty in the past week. Still not a lot of luck with poops in the potty--we are trying to be low-key on this topic so he doesn't develop a complex, so if he even looks like he's trying to poop, take him to the bathroom and talk about going poop in the bathroom, but don't force the toilet itself.

At night he has a bath at around 8:00. We let him play for about 10 minutes—he likes to splash and we try to keep his noise level and activity reasonable. No jumping around, etc. Right now he likes to climb up on the side of the bathtub and jump into the water--obviously this is very dangerous and we are not encouraging it.

He needs help brushing his teeth—he can do some of it but not all. However, his tolerance for and cooperation with toothbrushing has improved markedly. He will open his mouth wide when asked now, and will let us brush all of his teeth whereas before he would clamp his mouth shut after the first two brush strokes, and would never willingly expose his teeth. Now he will usually let us floss between his two top and bottom front teeth. Major progress!

Jammies are on the chair. We [still] turn them around backwards so he can’t get them off. They are far too big, but that’s okay.

I read him Goodnight Moon and then Time for Bed (in that order) every night. The books are kept on the floor between Izzy's bedframe and the wall.

Sometimes he just doesn’t want to go to bed. Oftentimes this is because he needs a BM. If he hasn’t had one since noon and it’s past 8:30, he may stay awake for an hour or more, popping out of his room every few minutes, or staying in the room but turning on the light and climbing into Iz's bed or on her bookshelf, or putting his mattress on the floor and taking off all the sheets. Usually you can hear the thump of the mattress before the sheets start coming off--if you're quick, you can prevent his denuding the mattress. If it looks like he's going to be a while going to bed, then Seymour or I usually read a book on the stairs while we're waiting.

Remember that Leelo needs downtime and so do you. When my brain runs dry of ideas I usually consult the OT binder [Occupational Therapy, lots of physical and fun tasks].

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10.12.2006

Been a Bit Busy

Been a Bit Busy

This is one of those weeks where it's important to document everything that happened so that in 30 years' time, when I find myself retired and curled up on the couch* with my Cavalier King Charles spaniel and Abyssinian cat, drinking tea, reading a book, and wondering what in gosh I'm going to do with the rest of my day, I can look back and marvel at how I used to be able to cram so much on top of our regular overscheduled week and not only get it all done but enjoy most of it. (The method, Future Self, was daily double shots of coffee.)

Here are the extras from this past week:

WEDNESDAY
Violet and Jesse came over for a playdate with Iz. OMFG, I have never in my life been subjected to such loud children! Seymour and I kept begging for sixty second silence breaks. The girls helped me make Groundnut Stew and Omo Tuo (Ghanaian pounded rice balls--mmm), and lemon bars.

Afterwards Violet's dad Craig and sister Fifi came over, and the volume turned up two more notches. I was a bit bummed because the child-herding and volume controlling sucked away most of the adults' attention spans, which meant that we didn't really get to talk with Craig all that much. He is a really lovely and interesting man and we rarely get the chance to converse. Next time.

THURSDAY
Realized that my hair was looking extraordinarily shitty (though I must say I do "dedicated mom too busy to worry about her own appearance" very well), and got that lid cut and colored. Locally, as my regular stylist had the stomach flu. Even though I specified several times that I wanted something distinctively NOT suburban mom, guess what I ended up with. Bleh. I'll need to go back to my SF stylist in a few weeks to fix it.

Had dinner at my former boss's house. It was great to see him and his family, as I hadn't seen him since Iz was Mali's age. Seymour came too. Weird to be around folk who are stil involved in the tech/web/software world. Realized that I had very little to say and that no one asked me anything about myself--guess I was wearing my SAHM Cloak of Invisibility. Doesn't mean I didn't have a good time.

FRIDAY
Seymour left around noon to mountain bike for three days up in the Sierras.

SATURDAY
Dropped Iz off to go on a Girl Scout Campout with JP (saint), Danielle, and Elise. Iz is a Juliette rather than a troop-dependent scout.

Prepped house to be not completely disorganized and filthy as Babysitter A was to watch Leelo for 24 hours. Bless her, bless her.

Babysitter A dropped me and Mali off at the airport so that we could go to my brother's surprise 40ish Birthday Party in Fucking Phoenix. My brother lives right by Sun C!ty, for chrissakes. Jeez. But it was a good party, and I got to see my parents and frolic with the moron triplets who are all three of my brothers:






Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

SUNDAY
Got up far too early so my very kind dad could get me to the airport so I could scurry back to Deadwood within 24 hour time limit. Got to chat with my brother Chet at the airport, that was pleasant. He had a lot to say about EU vs. NATO policies, and his take on the differences between British and American Muslims. All very interesting.

Retrieved Iz from JP's house. She was totally wonked out from too much fun, and had even for the first time in her life asked to be excused from playing so she could go read and regroup.

Later on JP and kids came over for dinner, thank heavens. I can't take too much of being the only adult in the house.

Seymour came home just in time to help out with bedtimes routines. Hurrah!

MONDAY
Ep's birthday dinner! Yay, Ep!

TUESDAY
We lost the car to the dealership for 24 hours, which means that Seymour had to forfeit his monthly SF Not-for-profit Tech-head gathering so that I could go to an Iron Gate night meeting (sorry, Sweets). I made a special effort to participate in the meeting so that they couldn't take offense at my riding the Iron Gate wireless all evening long.

WEDNESDAY
Fundraiser and dinner at Sage's to get supplies and toys for the Deadwood School District Special Ed classrooms. I made yummy soba noodle veggie salad, Sage made superdelicious chicken noodle soup, and altogether we parents managed to get the Special Ed teachers a goodly proportion of the supplies they'd wishlisted.

TODAY
It's my fucking birthday, people. It will be a day of absolute self-indulgence, punctuated only by a family trip to the post office to get passports.

Seymour is taking me out to dinner at Fore!gn Cinema, at my request.

----

Hmm, really, that doesn't sound like all that much, does it? Consider, then, that Mali has still been refusing to sleep before 10 PM, and sometimes midnight. I think that all the busyness didn't suck me down into the mire because Seymour has been home to help me with our usual weekly schedule. Monday 10/16 he starts his new job, at which point I'll consider myself well and truly reamed as only those who spend all day at others' beck and call can be.

Here's my regular weekly schedule. I am so grateful to be driving a relatively fuel-efficient car!

SUNDAY
  • 10:30 Seymour and I alternate going to church. Iz has UU Catecheism class
  • 1:00 Babysitter A comes to help with Leelo. Now, again, this is wonderfully helpful and overall makes us better able to function, both individually and as a family--but it also negates most spontaneous weekend jaunts.
MONDAY
  • 7:45 Drop off Iz at Marys's for carpooling, drive Leelo to school and walk him to his classroom
  • 11:25 Pick up Leelo from school
  • 12:00 Take Leelo to Jefferson School for OT (Occupational Therapy)
  • 1:00 Take Leelo home for ABA Therapy with Therapist L
  • 2:50 Pick Iz up from school, take her to Aikido
  • 3:30 Leelo home program ends, pick him up
  • 4:20 Pick up Z from Aikido (at this moment I would like to interject that Aikido is 20 minutes from our house)
TUESDAY
  • 7:45 Pick up Marys for carpooling, drive Leelo to school and walk him to his classroom
  • 8:15 Drop Iz and Marys off at Big Noggin
  • 9:00 (starting Dec. 2): Work in Mali's class at Iron Gate
  • 11:25 Pick Leelo up from School
  • 11:30 Iron Gate shift ends. Still have to figure out how to reconcile these two.
  • 12:30 Drive Leelo to Speech Therapy at Sage's
  • 1:30: Drive Leelo home for ABA Therapy with Therapist L
  • 2:50 Pick up Marys and Iz from Big Noggin
  • 4:00 Marroqui arrives to clean house that I've spent all non-driving time frantically tidying
  • 5:30 Sushi with Jo and Girls
  • 7:00 (Two nights per month) Iron Gate night meeting
WEDNESDAY
  • 7:45 Drop off Iz at Marys's for carpooling, drive Leelo to school and walk him to his classroom
  • 9:00 Babysitter K arrives to play with Mali so I can work on Leelo's program, paying our bills, managing the architects project, our other domestic affairs, and other neverending insurmountable transparent tasks.
  • 11:25 Pick Leelo up from school
  • 12:30 Leelo: ABA Therapy with Therapist L
  • 1:30 Go get Leelo's friend Alyx for facilitated playdate
  • 2:30 return Alyx to her home after facilitated playdate
  • 3:00 (alternating weeks) Supervise Iz and her Spanish class-mates after school ends and before Spanish class begins
  • 3:30 Drive home to pick up Leelo
  • 4:30 Pick up Iz from Big Noggin Spanish
  • 5:00 Babysitter A arrives to work with Leelo so I can make dinner and ever-so-gently remind Iz of her homework duties
THURSDAY
  • 7:45 Pick up Marys for carpooling, drive Leelo to school and walk him to his classroom
  • 8:15 Drop Iz and Marys off at Big Noggin
  • 9:00 (starting Dec. 2): Drop off Mali at Iron Gate
  • 9:15 Bad Moms' Coffee!
  • 11:25: Pick up Leelo and Alyx from school and drive both to our house
  • 12:00 (ideally) Alyx's mom brings Mali to our house (her other daughter Clara is in Mali's class. Not arranged yet though)
  • 12:30 Leelo: ABA Therapy with Therapist L
  • 1:45 Iz early release day. Pick her up.
  • 2:30 Drive Iz to piano lessons
  • 3:00 Pick up Iz from piano lessons, drive her home
  • 3:30 Leelo sprung from ABA Therapy
  • 6:00 Hagiography candidates Marroqui and Babysitter K come to spring me and Seymour for our weekly golden evening
FRIDAY
  • 7:45 Drop off Iz at Marys's for carpooling, drive Leelo to school and walk him to his classroom
  • 9:00 Babysitter K arrives to play with Mali. You would think that with babysitting three times per week I'd have time for just about anything, wouldn't you? Maybe I'm just completely incompetent, but the answer is no. And I don't think I blog all that much, so that's not the reason I can't dig myself out, either.
  • 11:25 Pick Leelo up from school
  • 12:30 Leelo: ABA Therapy with Therapist L
  • 3:30 Leelo sprung from ABA Therapy
  • 4:30 Pick up Iz from Big Noggin Spanish
  • 5:00 Babysitter A arrives to work with Leelo so I can make dinner and theoretically play with my girls
There you have it . A detailed record of how I am privileged in support, while equally impoverished in terms of free time.

*FYI, this is not really how I see myself. I hope I'll be spending much of my time dragging Seymour all over the world to witness, educate (ourselves), advocate, and assist.

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An Excellent Birthday Present

An Excellent Birthday Present

While I do appreciate all of Seymour's efforts to give me a (mostly) kid-free day today--Honey, I'm afraid you got trumped by the architects' calling and saying that we've been given permission to submit our housing plans to the county for design review!

Now, to many of you that last sentence probably made as much sense as Charlie Brown's teacher's voice, so the short version is that--after nine months of delays--we are back on track with our house plans. This house thing--in which we have enough room to move about freely, and in which Leelo has his own space to do his own thing without the rest of us having to hide downstairs--could really happen, after all.

I'll be in an even better mood tonight after Seymour takes me out to dinner. Actually, honey, give me a few drinks and we'll both win.

10.10.2006

You Are Scheduled to Be Lucky One Week From Friday

You Are Scheduled to Be Lucky One Week From Friday

My friend Eric up and moved from Kentucky to Japan almost a year ago. His wife Kathleen and their two cute kiddlings came, too. I really enjoy reading about their experiences, especially Eric's insights into fundamental but often transparent cultural differences. Take for instance, this week's entry on the Japanese calendar system. Understanding its dual nature and the ways in which days are categorized is not something a casual visitor might even care about, but I am guessing this knowledge is critical for long-term residents or business folk. Here's my favorite quote:

In Japan you never say "Today must be my lucky day," because your lucky day is the same as everyone else's, and it's already on the calendar.

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Newly Indoctrinated Autism Parents: Cut Yourselves a Break

Newly Indoctrinated Autism Parents: Cut Yourselves a Break

I recently met a mother whose child had been diagnosed with autism only weeks before. I recognized in her many of the feelings of shock, denial, and grief that Seymour and I also experienced when Leelo was first given his label.

But then she started talking about how she blamed herself, and wondering what it was that she had done, or how she had failed as a mother, and in so doing had caused her son's condition. Her attitude was surprising but far from uncommon, so I sent her the following email:
I was just re-reading Overcoming Autism (a great book, probably the best parent guide on the subject IMHO) and came across a passage that made me think of you, as when I met you it sounded as though you were struggling with your feelings about the possible roots of your child's autism:

"It's natural to wonder if you could have prevented your child's autism, but you need to remeber that guilt doesn't help your child. There is no evidence pointing to a parental cause, and while there may be some type of environmental factor to blame, that's not known yet. Don't waste your time torturing yourself with vague fears when you could be swinging into action."

I hope you are able to cut yourself a break. Your life is complicated enough without beating yourself up on top of everything else.

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True Love, SciFi Fan Style

True Love, SciFi Fan Style

I can tell that Seymour and I are meant for each other because neither of us has yet tried to kill the other while he's been at home this past month. (The trick: We sat down and carefully worked out equal shares of child-herding and free time, and then put it on our shared Google calendar.)

An even purer expression of our devotion came last night when we watched the Battlestar Galactica season premiere. We had TiVo'd it on 10/6, but Seymour had left that morning on a three-day mountain biking trip and I couldn't fathom watching it without him. Then I was out until late last night feting birthday girl Ep while Seymour sat on the kids. Did Seymour watch BSG without me? No, he did not. He waited until I got home, because he loves me. And the premiere fucking rocked, just like my partner.

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Have You Been Outed?

Have You Been Outed?

Do you think that people you know may be reading your blog without telling you? I didn't used to, but now I wonder.

Three times now I have found out that someone I know has been reading this site without commenting the very minute they hit my URL. It weirds me out, a little. Not because there is anything wrong with anyone--except my parents, in-laws, or brothers--reading this publicly available website, but because I am embarrassed to think that people I know and respect would voluntarily expose themselves to the never-ending doldrums of my version of life at Casa Rosenberg. Especially since I am about three years past the initial blog rush of confessional posts or incendiary complaints--there is nothing here that would ever offend anyone, these days--so why bother? If you know me, then you also already know that my life is busy to the point of tedium.

The first raised eyebrow was cocked at Supervisor M, but her occasional visits are not so surprising as I once used a page from my site to illustrate a point during a team meeting. Then a couple of Sage's friends told me--over dinner, and simultaneously--that they too had stopped by. But JP, now, that was a big shock as she never mentioned reading my (and indeed all the Bad Moms') sites until a couple of days ago.

In each instance I was mildly and only momentarily perplexed rather than perturbed. But I have to admit that I would be ever so grateful if any lurking friends or acquaintances would out themselves. Thanks.

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10.09.2006

Ways to Be Wistful

Ways to Be Wistful

Latter episodes of slight sadness:

Iz was not elected third grade representative--she came third, out of four candidates. She is able to discuss the loss very straightforwardly, and while she is obviously disappointed, seems overall comfortable with not winning. A good, though difficult, lesson to learn. I am sad for her but proud of how graciously she is handling defeat.

This weekend Mali and I went to Fucking Phoenix for my brother's surprise 41st birthday party. We didn't all go because at the time that I bought the ticket, we had no income and tickets for all of us would have been $1200. Mali got to go because she flew for free-probably for the last time. Anyhow, Leelo was in the car when we got dropped off at the airport. When I hugged him goodbye, he looked me straight in the eye and said, "I want to go on the airplane, Mommy!" This was delightful because it again demonstrated that he is in fact quite aware of his environment even if he doesn't always express it, but also heartbreaking because he was making a very big effort to tell me what he wanted--to go on the trip with us--and I couldn't take him.

I can't really call Mali a baby anymore. She's still my baby, but she's not a baby. Babies don't say things like, "The eggs is cooking!" upon observing a boiling pot of huevos. (Sure she knows eggs, but how does she know "cooking"? I don't remember the last time I boiled eggs, so how does she?)

Babies don't ride around on hobby horses, and demand that their parents saddle up and participate. The fact that Mali has all sorts of self-generated imaginative play is itself surprising and a big contrast from both of her doers-rather-than-players siblings.

Babies don't smell purloined chocolate on their Daddy's breath and then ask for some, too.

Babies don't see Superman Logo and declare, "Is Superman! Is red!" (Again, how the hell does she even know who Superman is, let alone what his logo is?)

Our last baby is slipping away, and getting replaced by a little girl. I am so grateful for every minute with her, but wish there was some Pensieve-like way to preserve her babyhood so we wouldn't have to leave it behind entirely.

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10.06.2006

Would You Like Some Music, Little Girl?

Would You Like Some Music, Little Girl?

Iz spent this past weekend at a Daddy-daughter campout with her friends Fifi and Violet. The campers played music, got absolutely filthy with trail dust and creek mud, and celebrated Fifi's birthday. The week before, her mother had written me saying that Fifi would really like more music from us. So, because I'm pretty sure Armada and her partner Craig will approve, I sent the birthday girl a selection of songs that I would let my kids listen to (below). You might notice that I've not collected much new music in the past 15 years or so. If your kids want copies (two CD's), let me know.

Brrrlak!- Zap Mama
Poisoning Pigeons In The Park (Orchestrated Version) - Tom Lehrer
Istanbul (Not Constantinople) - They Might Be Giants
Raukawa (Maori, NZ 1930) - The Tahiwis, accom. by The Rhythmic Three
Bottle Cap - The Squids
Ghost Town - Specials
Free Nelson Mandela - Special AKA
Pass The Hatchet - Roger & The Gypsies
Sheena Is a Punk Rocker - The Ramones
Apple Picker's Reel - Priscilla Herdman
My Baby Portable Player Sound - Pizzicato Five
Lumberjack Song - Monty Python
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
Hualalai - Makaha Sons Of Ni'ihau
Wings of a Dove (A Celebratory Song) - Madness
The Preamble (Schoolhouse Rock) - Lynn Ahrens
Kiko And The Lavender Moon - Los Lobos
White Coral Bells, Fruit Salad Salsa - Laurie Berkner
The Lonely Goatherd - Julie Andrews And Children
Teddy Bears' Picnic, Arkansas Traveler - Jerry Garcia and David Grisman
Mercedes Benz - Janice Joplin
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious , Harry Connick, Jr.
Zombie Jamboree , Harry Belafonte
Pro Nene Nanar , Geraldo Leite
Moses (Singin' In the Rain) - Gene Kelly & Donald O'Connor
Anything You Can Do - Ethel Merman
(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction - Devo
Should I Stay Or Should I Go? - The Clash
Hum - Chris Molla
Oh My Love - Chopper
South American Way - Carmen Miranda
Medley: Nega Maluca / Billie Jean / Eleanor Rigby - Caetano Veloso
Baby It's Cold Outside (With Bob Dorough) -Blossom Dearie
I Found A Million Dollar Baby - Bing Crosby
Hamady Boiro - Baaba Maal
Wouldn't It Be Loverly (My Fair Lady) - Audrey Hepburn
My Skateboard, Cat With 2 Heads, Magic Chicken - Aquabats
Surrey with the Fringe on Top - Alfred Drake

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Different Drugs, Please

Different Drugs, Please

Hello Dr. Cheyenne,

I hope you are doing well. Leelo is six weeks into school and his schedule seems to be settling out, so we are willing to consider adjusting his medication if you think it is warranted.

Leelo is still on Adderupp, 5mg extended release; in general, we feel that Adderupp does decrease distractibility and does make it easier for Leelo to be in a classroom (in fact I went to lunch with him last week and a stranger complimented him for being so well-behaved in a restaurant), but overall it dampens language, increases whispering, makes Leelo spacey, and increases his social remoteness. He is also increasingly dependent upon "stim" or "fidget" objects. We have noticed less spontaneous language; at home and during therapy--there are occasional spontaneous, novel, wonderful phrases, but these are generally not repeated.

We have discussed the tradeoffs before and I'm not sure that the social and language minuses are entirely worth the plusses for good behavior. His program supervisor wanted us to ask what you thought about taking Adderuppl holidays on weekends. At any rate we would be interested in your thoughts on next, new steps.


Thanks, and best wishes for a lovely weekend,

Squid Rosenberg

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One Thing Each Kid Did Yesterday

One Thing Each Kid Did Yesterday

Mali finally enunciates all the syllables in her name correctly. She is all about the labeling: I am Mali! That is Daddy! She is Violet!

Leelo, after much much much coaching from Therapist L and Supervisor M and Babysitter A and me, is starting to call for me by yelling, "Mommy!" This is a big deal, and the concept seems to have clicked because in order to encourage him I respond quickly and with gusto. "Mommy!" *poof* Mommy appears, even if she was in the middle of hand-washing all those really cute hippie baby clothes that looked so cute at the second hand store but now need to be laundered painstakingly and individually (Note to all new parents: "Hand Wash Only" is one of Hell's own clothing labels. Don't let Satan suck you in, no matter how cute the clothes are, and even if it's only to one of his minor circles).

But, anyhow, Yay Leelo! And he went poop in the potty twice, for Babysitter A. Woo. And then he soaked his carseat on the way home from school, which he has never done. Such an unpredictable boy; just when we think he's totally on top of something, he'll have an accident. Then again, many five year olds still have occasional wet underwear.

Iz corrected me, yet again. This must be what it is like for my mom: The *Duh*, Mommy! Show. Here is the exchange, which started as a discussion about Jo's mom, the impracticality of cemeteries (they could be parks, or schools, or housing), Parsi traditions, Unitarian traditions (most people probably get cremated, but of course the individual gets to choose), pauper graves, the Black Plague, and burial practices in islands like Bermuda where land is scarce so people get buried six deep...

Me: "Well, Zombie Jamboree [we were listening to Harry Belafonte] describes zombies going "back to back and belly to belly" because the bodies were buried on top of each other..."

Iz: "You mean their coffins were lowered into the grave. Or their caskets. They don't just stick the bodies in the ground."

Me: Surreptitious eye roll. "Yes, that is more accurate."

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Izzy Hellbeast

Izzy Hellbeast


Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

Hell's Own Cocker Spaniel will haunt your dreams and eat your young!



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10.04.2006

Ho Ho Ho

Ho Ho Ho

Yeah, baby, it's true. I've joined the BlogHer Ad network. Mostly because I am a lemming at heart--all my friends are doing it, and I trust them. And even though I no longer have the tiny violin of my husband's unemployment with which to solicit your clickety-clicks, my self-esteem would be ever so grateful for your support. It would be nice to include even $10 rather than the past four years' $0 to our joint income tax statement come April.

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Vote Iz 2006!

Vote Iz 2006!

Iz is reading the speech below today, as part of her campaign to become 3rd grade representative. Apparently her opposition got so nervous about reading their speeches in front of the entire school that the staff decided to limit the third grade speeches to their classrooms.

It has been a rocky road, this campaign. Iz kept blowing deadlines and pulling things off at the last minute, which to me means that perhaps she is not the best candidate for political office. She forgot all about writing her speech until the morning it was due--at which point due to carpooling schedules she did not have enough time to write it at home. Seymour and I told her that we were sorry that she was so sad, but that we couldn't help her, and privately thought that this was a good natural consequences learning opportunity. However our neighbor Alys, Marys's kind-hearted mom who was driving them to school that day, ended up helping Iz write a quick draft because she felt so sorry for our devastated girl (to Iz's credit, she didn't mention why she was so sad until Alys asked her--I was worried that Iz manipulated Alys as she sometimes does when she doesn't get results from the first adult). So Iz was back in the game.

Then the speeches and the election all ended up getting pushed back anyhow and the entire process spun off into amorphousness. Iz missed speech rehearsal yesterday because she didn't understand the directions. I though she was being flaky, but Seymour--as her campaign manager, because I refused to be involved--went to school with her this morning to find out what the real story was. I thought this smacked of over-involved parenting and so confirmed that he was there on an information-gathering rather than a lobbying mission, which he assured me was the case.

Turns out it was a good thing he went. The entire election has been very disorganized; any confusion on Iz's part was reasonable rather than due to flakyness. The principal read, approved, and loved Iz's speech (and was impressed as he is Ira Rusk!n's neighbor). He also assured Seymour that the third grade reps do nothing but show up to the meetings, and that their experience in both the election as as members of student government is for training wheels purposes only. So maybe Iz'll squeak into an elected position. I still think that she should have shown some proactiveness on any one factor, but as I am not her campaign manager I can only state my opinion.

Here is her speech. I think it is cute and very much her. Though I personally think she has more in common with Teddy Roosevelt, she prefers Eleanor because ER didn't let her era's gender constraints prevent her from kicking ass on both national and international levels.

Hello my name is Isobel. I am in 3rd grade. If I am elected, I will try to make it a good year for 3rd grade. I will work hard, and do the best I can to represent the needs of 3rd grade. One way I can help 3rd graders is to bring in books to share, on topics such as history, science, and nature, since these are my favorite subjects.

This is my first year at Big Noggin and I would like to learn what it is like to be part of an important group. I am running for 3rd grade representative because I would like to show responsibility. And I think I would learn a lot about politics.

One politician I admire is Ira Rusk!n, who is our state representative. He is the former mayor of Deadwood City. I have met him 2 times and got his autograph. He has done a lot for schools, the environment and Deadwood City.

I also admire Eleanor Roosevelt. She helped poor people by giving them food. She was a representative to the United Nations. She was first lady and traveled all over the world to visit American soldiers. She spoke up for women’s rights, and for the rights of Native Americans, and young homeless people. Once a group called the Daughters of the American Revolution wouldn’t let Marian Anderson, a great singer, perform in their hall because of her race. So, Eleanor quit the group, and arranged for her to sing in front of the Lincoln Memorial instead.

You should vote for me because I have the right qualities. I am:

Imaginative
Creative
and hard working

One of my other skills is to do big projects. Examples of big projects I will do for the 3rd grade is coming up with ways for everyone to get to know each other, for instance bring all the 3rd graders together to exchange letters and drawings. This helps the school because no one would be lonely, and we want everyone to be happy.

As your representative, you can always come to me with your ideas, and I will share them with the teachers, the principal, and the other representatives. It is your choice, but I hope you will vote for me.

Thanks!

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10.02.2006

Finally Figured out What to Do With Mali's Hair

Finally Figured out What to Do With Mali's Hair


Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

The piggytails, they work. Her hair is long in back and sparse on top. We've conditioned her not to pull out the elastics. Doesn't she look pleased?

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