4.28.2007

Not Enough Margaritas

Not Enough Margaritas

Doesn't matter how many margaritas you drink. He's gone. He's not at the bottom of the fourth, or the sixth.

4.27.2007

Tick Tick Tick

Tick Tick Tick

Sample bonus from having a newly Internet-literate child:



Thank you, Izzy. I would not have happened upon this on my own.

Off to the funeral weekend in the morning. Should be a lot of fun, actually. I'm sorry my dad's going to miss his own party. I'm driving down two cases of beer and the makings of bottomless margaritas. I'll also be handing out CDs with a selection of his favorite tunes:

You Make Me Feel So Young --Frank Sinatra
Wouldn't It Be Lovely --Audrey Hepburn
That's Amore --Dean Martin
That Old Black Magic --Louis Prima & Keely Smith
Swinging On A Star --Bing Crosby
The Surrey With The Fringe On Top --Gordon McRae, Shirley Jones and Charlotte Greenwood
Something's Coming --Vic Damone
Singin' in the Rain --Gene Kelly
Release Me (And Let Me Love Again) --Engelbert Humperdinck
People Will Say We're In Love --Alfred Drake & Joan Roberts
On The Street Where You Live --Audrey Hepburn
Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin' --Alfred Drake
Night and Day --Frank Sinatra
Make 'Em Laugh --Donald O'Connor
I Got Rhythm --Gene Kelly & Children
I Get a Kick Out of You --Frank Sinatra
Happy Talk --Juanita Hall
Good Morning --Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, Donald O'Connor
Gone Fishin' --Louis Armstrong
Fly Me to the Moon --Frank Sinatra
Delilah --Tom Jones
Danke Schoen --Wayne Newton
Almost Like Being In Love --Nat King Cole

People have been sending in wonderful stories, and adding them to our wiki. Take a look, add your own: http://carydartagnan.pbwiki.com.

I'm not making Iz go to the viewing. I don't know why the fuck people have viewings. I wouldn't go if I didn't have to, and I'm not getting anywhere near the casket. I already saw what he looked like without his soul.

Anyhow. I hope no one is too somber, as that would disappoint my dad, fiercely. Leelo will be at the funeral so it's going to be lively one way or another.

Mali on a Friday

Mali on a Friday

Mali: "I'm firsty. I'm firsty for water."

Squid: "Okay, baby girl. We'll go home and have some water" *kiss kiss kiss those cheeks*

Mali: "No, Mom! Don't kiss me"

Squid: (to self) "I will kiss you all I want, and I'm MOMMY, damn you!"

Mali: "Mom! Don't say that!"

She's nosy and she never shuts up so I am relishing her two-year-old speech mannerisms: "Mom! Let's go to the PWAYGWOUND!"

4.25.2007

Media That Keeps Me Sane

Media That Keeps Me Sane

I'm going to post some fragments that I never really fleshed out, for the time being. My thanks to everyone who wrote in with condolences and kindness.

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So, a couple of months ago, another favorite site imploded. Fuck. Once again it takes a blog wedgie to remind me that online = ephemeral. And once again I am grateful for my stockpile of tangible, solid media.

I finished plowing through the pleasure that is The Collected Works of Sherlock Holmes a few months ago. People have often accussed Sherlock of having Asperger's, but I'm not convinced. Asocial brilliance does not necessarily equal diagnosis. His brother Mycroft, however, is clearly a high-functioning autistic savant. Creating a private club so he does not have to interrupt his routine or converse with anyone except on his terms? The British government's using his brain as their foreign relations database? He is a role model for Leelo and his spectrum friends.

Post-Sherlock, one of my current greatest pleasures is Seymour's subscription to Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine. The longer efforts, such as Matthew Hughes's Noosphere adventures, are engrossing, but I also adore the compact cheek of Tim McDaniel's extra-short and filthy "Why the Aliens Did What They Did to That Suburb of Madison, Wisconsin" in the June 2006 volume, and Heather Lindsley's short story "Just Do It" in the July 2006 issue.

The latter story contains the line, "I unholster my parenting gun and shift the round in the chamber from Go to Bed to Wake Up." What parent doesn't occasionally long for such a device? Two other nuggets are Peter S. Beagle's "El Regalo" (though, damn it, he wrote about magic and witchdom in ways I've been contemplating myself), and Donald Mead's "A Thing Forbidden," which conflates transubstantiation and The Donner Party.

Castle Waiting. OMG. So beautiful, so optimistic, so clever. I don't remember the last time I read a book that I hoped would never end.

Princess of Roumania -- reading it felt like being drunk; took a while to get into its rhythms and realize that the author was giving me credit for being able to go with a straight take on intertwined worlds and the magic that unites them. Not a bad approach, as I've been re-reading HP & the Prisoner of Azkaban (my mind wants candy), and its scene in which Black appears -- and does not try to kill Scabbers/Peter Pettigrew for about twenty pages due to the need to explicate -- had me snarling at the pages in frustration.

Inkspell - Also took about 200 pages to get into it so I can't blame Liz Ditz for tossing it. Also I can't help but think that some of its magic was lost during translation, as it always felt slightly flat.

I am thinking that I will read Anything Oni -- Sidekicks, Banana Sunday, Polly & the Pirates, Rumble Girls, Blue Monday, Courtney Crumrin, JetCat (P.S. if you have our JetCat please return it; if you'd like a copy of Banana Sunday let me know as we now have two).

Series of Unfortunate Events is my literary Smallvillle in terms of the amount of wasted talent and opportunities, and not putting the effort that the franchise involves because it's pre-sold. Remember Enterprise? Geez. I stomped on The End when I was done with it. Even Iz was frustrated. Mr. Snicket, this may have been an exercise in cleverness and compound paychecks for you, but you seem to have forgotten that you are writing primarily for children. Even the smartest children I know like closure, and despise ambiguity. They will, however, tolerate an unhappy ending if it makes sense.

Firefly totally ripped off Cowboy BeBop! Pshaw. Even the music. Why had I not heard about this before?

Neotopia -- blech. Really bad names (a pet peeve) and not a single non-derivative idea except perhaps the Chiropterans and even then anyone who knows basic taxonomy would not be impressed. I might let Iz read it in about five years after she's more familiar with basic Fantasy themes. Maybe I'll get her The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.

That's it for today. More about TV and music later, maybe.

4.23.2007

Just the Way He Wanted

Just the Way He Wanted

My dad passed away this morning. No pain, no suffering, no extended hospital stay that would have driven him completely fucking nuts. All my brothers and I were with my mom when it happened. We are already cracking the bad jokes he's no longer able to make. Those of you who knew him know that the world will be a poorer place without him, as he was a rare, truly kind, generous, pure soul.

4.20.2007

What I Haven't Been Writing About

What I Haven't Been Writing About

The last three days, today inclusive, have been beyond fucking nuts. Truly. IEP's (yesterday, mostly successful though Leelo's teacher only updated Leelo's goals and "forgot" to bring her list of new goals) and general crazy life scheduled in fifteen minute increments through no one's fault and despite efforts to pare down on extraneous activities. One nice break mid-morning yesterday for bad moms' coffee. I think this is just how life with a trio of monkeys will be. Overbooked and devoid of clean laundry.

But I will admit to a bit of sleepwalking beyond the overload, mostly because two nights ago my mom called to let me know that my dad isn't doing very well at all. He went into the hospital that morning for his third of five IV chemo doses, and ended up being admitted. It wasn't the leukemia, per se, nor was it the aortic stenosis or slight big of congestive heart failure, or complications from his back going out after continuing to pick up his grandkids even though we all told him not to do it. This time it appears he was having chest pains for three weeks but just didn't want to tell anyone about it.

*Pause to narrow eyes and clench hands into fists.*

In other words, he was having a heart attack, which is usually treated by blood-pressure-lowering medication. Except that his blood pressure is already extremely low due to his leukemia medications. The doctors are scrambling, trying to figure out what to do to treat him. In the mean time Mali and I are flying down tonight* as she is my dad's special pet and her antics could probably have cheered up Hitler in his bunker. My younger brother is already on site, having in typical fashion surprised my parents at the hospital yesterday morning (he was supposed to be at a conference in Las Vegas).

It is very difficult not to be angry with my dad for being so clueless about his health, for ignoring what most people would think were obvious warning signs, and for continuing to eat and behave in ways that exacerbate his symptoms. It is doubly difficult for my mom, who has lived with him for almost 45 years. But I really don't think he understands what is going on. *cough* Asperger's *cough*

Seymour and I were similarly flummoxed by Seymour's cousin, who *to us* clearly had Asperger's, and who allowed treatable diabetes symptoms to spiral out of control because he couldn't follow instructions such as "you can only drink X amount of water in any two hour period." He drank when he was thirsty, and eventually blew out his kidneys. I guess we can be grateful that he had his mom to take care of him, and that my dad has my mom.

Anyone who wants to come play with Leelo or Iz this weekend, please give Seymour a call. Iz has RE class at church on Sunday morning, and Leelo is with Babysitter A Sat 11-2 and Sunday 1-5, but otherwise they have no plans. I know Seymour would be grateful for the company or the break, as Leelo can be really difficult when I am away.

*Many thanks to JP for the ride and for watching Leelo afterwards so that Seymour and Iz can still go to their daddy-daughter dance.

4.18.2007

Maybe I'll Bring a Hip Flask

Maybe I'll Bring a Hip Flask

Leelo's teacher did eventually ask (via communication log) for a parent/teacher conference. This Friday. I don't know how I'm going to sit in the room with her without either killing her or barfing. I have trouble making eye contact with her just now. Yeep.

Off to a meeting with BG and Jules the minister, to talk about non-judgmental community outreach.

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4.16.2007

When Spring Break's End Is Not Necessarily a Good Thing

When Spring Break's End Is Not Necessarily a Good Thing

Leelo had a wonderful last few days of Spring Break. His language, behavior, patience, attention span, engagement, and almost everything else (except potty training and even that I think is a result of him being aware of the difference between underwear and pullups and hating to use the toilet) were just great.

Of course all his excellent behavior and language of this past week will probably go in the crapper now that he's back in the classroom. I made two more phone calls to different teachers this morning.

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4.15.2007

Major Major Major Major Disappointment

Major Major Major Major Disappointment

Me: "It's too bad that Don Quixote's new space isn't going to include a full bar. I doubt that other people would hang out long enough to be nuisances, except me, and I wouldn't be dangerous; I'd only be drinking because I have children. Except I couldn't actually sit there all day and drink because I have children... "

Seymour: "Ah, the Catch-22 of parenting..."

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4.12.2007

Leelo vs. the Morgana Center

Leelo vs. the Morgana Center

We are now touring possible schools and classrooms for Leelo. The first tour is tomorrow: The Morgana Center in San José (thanks to Melissa for the tip). Here are notes from my conversation with one of the school's educational directors:

The Morgana Center is a school for "moderate to severe" autistic children. They serve students from ages 3 to 22. They have a lot of children whose greatest needs are behavioral, and they have a lot of experience in helping these children manage and modify these behaviors. Their approach is that most of these behaviors are attempts to communicate, and that once they figure out what the children are trying to tell them, they can modify the child's environment accordingly. They have had a lot of success using this approach.

They have a 1:1 student/staff ratio, with 8 kids max in a classroom. Most classrooms have at least one credentialed teacher and an intern; the rest of the staff are instructional aides.

The Morgana Center's model is to have all instruction broken into 15 minute increments. They acknowledge that this can be a very long time for some of their students.

The children have a different staff member for each fifteen minute interval; no one is "assigned" to any particular student. This serves several functions: The kids get used to different staff members and change, but within a predictable structure. This also means that no staff has to deal with a truly difficult child for more than fifteen minutes, which they feel is reasonable. The woman I spoke to says that this both helps the program from getting upended should a particularly talented teacher leave, and prevents the staff from getting burned out -- thereby keeping their staff attrition quite low.

The curriculum is modified for each child, they work on IEP goals every day. Kids who need PECs or TEACCH (sp?) use those systems. All speech and OT is push-in. Staff stay with the kids throughout all recesses and breaks. Mornings tend to be "academic" whereas afternoons focus more on art, music, community excursions, and independent living skills.

Sounds like it could be a good match for Leelo. Though I know some of my friends' kids have had real problems with the rotating staff model, as it is used in some of the county classrooms. If I have time I'll record how the visit went.

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Leelo's Last Month

Leelo's Last Month

Jo and I took our kids to the Trampoline Arena today. Probably it would have been better to go earlier in the day before all the big kids took over the place, but Leelo and Mali (oh, and Iz) had a fantastic time. I think Leelo would benefit from his very own big trampoline.

Anyhow. Below is a bunch of Leelo incidentals, both good and bad, from the last four or five weeks.

Leelo has transitioned to a big boy bed, in his very own room (our office/guest room now coexist with the living room). He loves his new setup. It took about two weeks of him starting out in the new bed and then deciding that no, he preferred sleeping in the toddler bed he no longer really fit into before he consented to spend the night in the new room. The toddler bed (Mali's eventual nesting spot) went into the garage the morning after his first successful night in the new bed, and he's never asked for it back.

When there are few kids at Ford Madox Ford park, Leelo is capable of enjoying himself immensely and even playing in a self-directed manner even if he does create rather stimmy circuits. But they're his spontaneous stimmy circuits! He has been having me help him do the monkey bars a lot. This will not continue if we can't get his eating under control; neither he nor I will be able to hold him up.

Supervisor M prodded me to investigate whether or not Leelo has seasonal allergies seeing as his behavior reliably goes in the shitter every winter, and stays there until late Spring. I ask Leelo's pediatrician whether or not she thought seasonal allergies could be a factor. She gave him an exam and said that he had a lot of the symptoms. She also said that a lot of ADHD kids find that their symptoms are reduced or eliminated by seasonal allergy diagnosis and treatment, and that we should try a course of Claritin and see if that helps Leelo.

He's been on Claritin for a month. It seems to really be improving his language; his language usage exploded right around the two week mark at which Claritin is supposed to fully take effect (e.g., saying "Straws in the trash" "Stop the swing," etc., instead of just crying or hitting). Ideally if this works we won't even have to start Stratifera, but if we do Dr. M says that as both are CNS suppressants the primary potential side effect would be drowsiness (which, Ep pointed out, in Leelo's case will mean a more typical energy level).

Other good language examples in the past couple of weeks, post-Claritin: he asked to go to "Burger King" when I asked him what he wanted to do for lunch. Lots of good following instructions (cleaning straws up off floor, etc.). Also when asked what Pat our cat was, replied, "Pat is an animal." Later on when asked again, he said "Pat is a kitty." (Aside: Mali now introduces Pat by declaring, "This is my best friend Pat-Pat.") He has been asking in rather stimmy fashion: "Do you like carrots? I like carrots. Do you like grapes? I like grapes." Also when asked if wanted to read book A or book B, declared, "I want to read The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" instead. And he's starting to describe what we're doing again! He'll say "going up the hill" when we drive up a slope such as our driveway. All very good.

He was such a good boy for Dr. M, during the seasonal allergies exam; he let her look in his eyes and mouth and nose and throat and take his axial temperature. It was not all that long ago that any exam required an announcement of "battle stations." Also he is now taking cod liver oil by mouth from a measuring spoon (our dropper got garbage disposaled) which has been amazing and unexpected. He even saw me coming at him with it, and declared, "Mommy's got oil!" I haven't had to wash any stinky cod liver oil-smeared or -sprayed clothes for at least a month!

I enjoy watching him make logical decisions, seeing him thing things through. For instance, if I give him an empty french fry container while we're in the car, and then hand him a single french fry, he'll ignore the container and pop that salty morsel directly into his mouth. If I give him a handful of fries, he'll put them in the container and then remove them one by one. This is basic, but is not a coping skill I'd seen him demonstrate previously.

He was very good at the Monterey Bay Aquarium a few weeks ago. It turned out that he did not have any problem being around other people and kids even though the place was slightly crowded; he did not make any warning noises or behaviors when other kids crowded around him on play structures. Not one incident of aggression excepting towards himself or Seymour when denied letting him run away or lie on the floor.

He can now spontaneously seat himself on a swing, is sort of starting to pump himself, and most important of all is enjoying swinging as an interactive, social activity. He especially enjoys it when we push him really high from behind and then run under his feet, emerging in front of him. Peals of laughter.

He has been very good (no aggression) about grocery shopping with me and his two sisters even though he no longer fits in cart and has to walk with us. He is a good helper in putting non-breakable grocery items in the cart. Also he is sometimes capable of sitting at a nearby table and waiting for me while I check out as long as he gets ongoing verbal prompts (!). He is getting bigger and older and smarter and easier to get along with every day.

Although, I must say, he does not perform so well for poor Seymour, currently. Leelo was pissed as hell when I took the girls to visit my parents and brothers in San Diego this past weekend, and spent four days taking it out on his dad and his noggin. Seymour said that Leelo was hitting and banging his head so frequently that he was contemplating a safety helmet. Thankfully he calmed down when I returned, and has been very sweet for the past three days. Perplexing boy. Wonderful boy.

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4.11.2007

Leelo Want Food!

Leelo Want Food!

He doesn't actually say that -- he asks for specific foods, says "I" rather than "Leelo," and uses an article before the sentence's object -- but that declaration fairly well sums up his eating habits of late.

Leelo has always liked to eat, but during the past two months his eating has become difficult to control. He has gained several pounds -- a lot for a short guy -- is looking extremely bloated, and is having BM's all day long. I am aware that his appetite increased when we took him off the stimulant Fukalin, and that he has always tended to eat high volumes of his six or so approved foods, but this is just crazy.

He has been touchy and hard to please since December, so it is hard to deny him the one thing that both makes him happy and gets him to sit still for a few minutes. Also I identify with him -- when life is complex and challenging, treats are an easy way to mainline brief bursts of happiness. And I don't give in to his demands all the time. But he asks for food all day long and I can't deal with the Tantrums of Hell manifesting in my kitchen every three hours.

I sent an email to the local Y! board asking if anyone else has dealt with overeating and autism and/or come up with food management strategies. I hope someone has some advice. Leelo is getting huge, and that cannot be healthy, especially when he's gaining weight so quickly. I am wondering if his behavior is purely sensory seeking, or if it may be symptomatic of another condition such as diabetes. Good thing he went to the doctor so much this winter as they weighed him every time and will have a record of how fast his weight gain has come on, should I decide to consult his pediatrician.

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In Which I Bang My Head Against the Wall Even Though That's Usually Leelo's Job

In Which I Bang My Head Against the Wall Even Though That's Usually Leelo's Job

Leelo's first ever report card came home last week, stuck in his communication folder. I didn't know kindergarteners even merited report cards.

Leelo's card had ratings in many categories, not only for this term but the previous one. I did not expect him to be on the honor roll, but Leelo does have a lot of academic strengths and I figured those at least would be recognized. Except, no.

His teacher rated Leelo either Fucking Horrible or Not So Fucking Horrible But Still Deplorable in the subjects Identifying Upper and Lowercase Letters, Identifying Numerals, Identifying Shapes, Sorting Items by One Category, Writes First and Last Name, and Identifies Letter Sounds. If you had been there, this would be the part where you'd have heard crickets as I stared at the report card with cold fury.

Leelo mastered the first three of those subjects before he was two years old, and mastered the second three well over a year ago. So not only is he not learning anything new, but his teacher has no idea what he actually does know. If I had seen Leelo's grades any time before last week, I would have been that teacher's own personal Hellbeast or Furie. But now we've permission to leave, and I want to focus on getting him out of there as fast as I can. I have to wonder if she sent home the report card out of spite, seeing as it arrived two days after I informed Leelo's IEP team (which included her) that Leelo performed at age level for all sorts of matching and verbal identification tasks during his most recent visit to The MYND Institute.

It's been six days since I first saw that report card, yet thinking about it still makes me feel queasy. Thank the stars and the people who live amongst them that it's Spring Break and I don't have to see his teacher for almost a week, praise the gods of Instructional Aides that Leelo's 1:1 aide is so phenomenal and can support him despite working under a teacher who just does not grok Leelo and his autism.

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4.04.2007

Yay Leelo

Yay Leelo

I feel like we're seeing more of the Leelo behind the curtain lately. Still a lot of random aggression, both self-stimulatory and calculated for reactions, which sucks for everyone including him. But he has been reaching out and interacting with us, and is using so much more language than we've seen in weeks or maybe even months.

Leelo sat in the corner of Iz's room and played (in a stimmy way, but still) with blocks for a good fifteen minutes tonight, engaging me to participate halfway through, imitating my two-block structures, encouraging me to imitate his, saying "Good! Great" when I "did it right," and encouraging me, "Come on, you can do it!" and "Yay!" when I completed my task. It was wonderful.

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4.03.2007

IEP Results

IEP Results

Leelo's IEP was successful. I don't think it's wise for me to go into specifics, but -- thanks to a detailed and convincing Functional Analysis Assessment and presentation by Supervisor M -- we have a good framework for getting Leelo what he requires, for both short term and long term goals. Leelo's intense and varied special needs may cause occasional stress at home and in school, but they seem to make his IEP's go smoother than we anticipate. No one ever denies that he needs services. Lots of services.

I did not pursue the recess issue. That might seem strange given all my previous squawking on the subject, but I now believe that it we need to put our energies into larger picture endeavors on Leelo's behalf.

Supervisor M's most critical statement during her presentation was that she believes we may have all overestimated just how much Leelo understands about his schedule. As Signora Blog recently suggested to me offline, making a visual schedule for home and all other aspects of our boy's life could really help him grasp what's ahead for him each day (he loves knowing what comes next, in any context), and prevent him from spiraling into aggression because of unanticipated transitions. We probably should have done this two years ago.

Perhaps the last couple of weeks have been stressing me out more than I thought. I developed a nervous habit of scratching my scalp, but stopped abruptly last night when I realized that my fingernails were bloody. Ewww. Plus I have a gnarly tension headache. To bed!

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4.02.2007

Media That Keeps Me Sane

Media That Keeps Me Sane

I'm going to post some fragments that I never really fleshed out, for the time being. My thanks to everyone who wrote in with condolences and kindness.

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So, a couple of months ago, another favorite site has imploded. Fuck. Once again it takes a blog wedgie to remind me that online = ephemeral. And once again I am grateful for my stockpile of tangible, solid media.

I finished plowing through the pleasure that is The Collected Works of Sherlock Holmes a few months ago. People have often accussed Sherlock of having Asperger's, but I'm not convinced. Asocial brilliance does not necessarily equal diagnosis. His brother Mycroft, however, is clearly a high-functioning autistic savant. Creating a private club so he does not have to interrupt his routine or converse with anyone except on his terms? The British government's using his brain as their foreign relations database? He is a role model for Leelo and his spectrum friends.

Post-Sherlock, one of my current greatest pleasures is Seymour's subscription to Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine. The longer efforts, such as Matthew Hughes's Noosphere adventures, are engrossing, but I also adore the compact cheek of Tim McDaniel's extra-short and filthy "Why the Aliens Did What They Did to That Suburb of Madison, Wisconsin" in the June 2006 volume, and Heather Lindsley's short story "Just Do It" in the July 2006 issue.

The latter story contains the line, "I unholster my parenting gun and shift the round in the chamber from Go to Bed to Wake Up." What parent doesn't occasionally long for such a device? Two other nuggets are Peter S. Beagle's El Regalo (though, damn it, he wrote about magic and witchdom in ways I've been contemplating myself), and Donald Mead's A Thing Forbidden, which conflates transubstantiation and The Donner Party.

Castle Waiting. OMG. So beautiful, so optimistic, so clever. I don't remember the last time I read a book that I hoped would never end.

Princess of Roumania -- reading it felt like being drunk; took a while to get into its rhythms and realize that the author was giving me credit for being able to go with a straight take on intertwined worlds and the magic that unites them. Not a bad approach, as I've been re-reading HP & the Prisoner of Azkaban (my mind wants candy), and its scene in which Black appears -- and does not try to kill Scabbers/Peter Pettigrew for about twenty pages due to the need to explicate -- had me snarling at the pages in frustration.

Inkspell - Also took about 200 pages to get into it so I can't blame Liz Ditz for tossing it. Also I can't help but think that some of its magic was lost during translation, as it always felt slightly flat.

I am thinking that I will read Anything Oni -- Sidekicks, Banana Sunday, Polly & the Pirates, Rumble Girls, Blue Monday, Courtney Crumrin, JetCat (P.S. if you have our JetCat please return it; if you'd like a copy of Banana Sunday let me know as we now have two),

Series of Unfortunate Events is my literary Smallvillle in terms of the amount of wasted talent and opportunities, and not putting the effort that the franchise involves because it's pre-sold. Remember Enterprise? Geez. I stomped on The End when I was done with it. Even Iz was frustrated. Mr. Snicket, this may have been an exercise in cleverness and compound paychecks for you, but you seem to have forgotten that you are writing primarily for children. Even the smartest children I know like closure, and despise ambiguity. They will, however, tolerate an unhappy ending if it makes sense.

Firefly totally ripped off Cowboy BeBop! Pshaw. Even the music. Why had I not heard about this before?

Neotopia -- blech. Really bad names (a pet peeve) and not a single non-derivative idea except perhaps the Chiropterans and even then anyone who knows basic taxonomy would not be impressed. I might let Iz read it in about five years after she's more familiar with basic Fantasy themes. Maybe I'll get her The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.

That's it for today. More about TV and music later, maybe.

Ten Minute Break from IEP Prep

Ten Minute Break from IEP Prep

Mali is mini-Iz. She never stops talking. Except she doesn't always have the crisp articulation Iz had, so I'm not always sure what she's saying. Example:

Mali picks something out of the backyard dirt and puts it in her mouth.

Mali: "Itza kihndee!"
Me (running across the yard from where I was pushing Leelo on a swing): "What? What did you put in your mouth?"
Mali: "Kinhdee!"

I force her mouth open, and extract a candy corn-sized piece of sharp brown glass. I spend five paralyzed seconds in shock, then check for lacerations. Her mouth is miraculously free of blood.

Mali: "Candy! It's candy, Mama! Yummy yummy!"

---

Mali also does imaginary play. I still can't get over this; Iz never did this, nor did Leelo:

Mali (singing): "A is for apple, B is for bed, C is a crown that you wear on your ... " (turns to her Care Bear) "Care Bear! You sing too!"
Mali as Care Bear: "No, I'm happy and tired."
Mali as Mali: "Okay!"

Me (I was holding her on my hip during this exchange, this time while pushing Leelo on the hammock): "?"

---

BSG Season Finale: I don't think I could state my opinion any better or differently than H. Havrilesky from Salon (though my high school boyfriends were a ska boy and a goth). A big WTF.

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I'm feeling fairly positive about tomorrow's IEP for Leelo. Which means that Seymour and I will likely get broadsided. But perhaps not. I think and hope that everyone involved with Leelo understands that his class is not appropriate for him, and that without a placement change his aggressive behaviors are unlikely to improve. We are long past caring about integration and inclusion with regular ed kids. That may happen in the future, but for now we just want him happy and safe.

I've got emotional and practical backup from Sage, DoubleTrouble, Signora Blog, Jem, Ep, MB, Supervisor M, and of course Seymour. I have spoken to many people within the school district and from County and private schools, and have a sense of some solid, if not ideal, options.

Wherever you are at 12:45 PST tomorrow, think good thoughts for Leelo!

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4.01.2007

From Iz's Perspective

From Iz's Perspective

For any of you who are reading this and thinking, "But what about the (other) children!," Let me detail Iz's weekend for you, from her perspective:

Friday
  • I got to take my class bunny home for the weekend!
  • My friend Violet came home from school with me, too, for a sleepover! We got to play with the bunny in my room!
  • I went to a spelling bee and won third place out of 130 kids and got a goodie bag full of balloons and erasers, and gift certificate for a free week at Camp Gaul y Leo!
Saturday
  • Violet and I woke up early and did all sorts of crafts in my room because Leelo doesn't sleep in there any more and I have the room all to myself! When my mom asked us if we slept well or if we heard Leelo in the middle of the night we didn't know what she was talking about!
  • We went to The Cafe for breakfast and my mom let me get juice because it was a sleepover night!
  • Violet's dad met us at The Cafe and took me and Violet and her sister Fifi out to their place on the coast for the day!
  • When it got dark my dad came got me and brought Mali and we all got to roast marshmallows!
  • When we got home my mom looked tired and the carpet steamer was out but I was so tired I went straight to bed!
Sunday
  • My mom woke me up and made pancakes for breakfast!
  • My dad took me and the rest of my RE (Religious Ed) class on a field trip to a local Hindu temple! Did you know that Hinduism is not so much a religion as a way of life? Apparently my mom didn't!
  • My mom made me a tuna fish sandwich on white bread for lunch!
  • I got to walk over to Marys's house -- by myself -- for her birthday party!
I don't think she's entirely aware that, from her parent's perspective, this weekend has been somewhat less than stellar.

Another marker of our fantastic parenting: Mali ran up to me, clutching a long-handled butterfly net, looking very sweet. Then she yelled, "I'm JELLYFISHING!"

Leelo: Always Raising the Bar

Leelo: Always Raising the Bar

If you're tuning in to read about the latest hijinks of the Casa Rosenberg crew, rest assured that Leelo is not one to disappoint. How to top a night in which he only slept for two hours? How about stripping naked, climbing on top of our media cabinet, taking a big shit on it, and then smearing it all over himself and everything around him in a way that dripped off all the sides of the cabinet and onto the cords, shelves, and carpeted floor? While mommy has a guest over? And in less than two minutes from the last time I checked on him? A very talented boy.

Thankfully the guest was Signora Blog, who is not easily fazed, and provided great practical and emotional backup, and managed to carry on schooling me in a much-needed crash course in IEP ass-kicking.

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