5.30.2007

2.5

2.5

Forgot to mention that Mali hit 2.5 a few days ago. That's 30 months, yes?

Here she is with Floyd and TLF's adorable and easygoing little girl, Talia:

Mali and Baby Talia

Leelo was thwacky today; I think the packing stress and extra babysitting is getting to him. But he still had good playing and spontaneity, and used good language. While we were reading the same bedtime book we've been reading for the last four years, he pointed to one of the pictures and said, "I see bubbles! I see a ball!" which was lovely.

Reader, Meet Black Hole

Reader, Meet Black Hole

I am too busy to entertain/bore you at the moment, so please feel free to waste hours of your own time casing the exteriors of the homes of everyone you know (especially those whose homes you never actually get invited into) via the Bird's Eye features of Zillow.com.

Dee, your back yard looks great!

5.28.2007

Cat Door Fever

Cat Door Fever

Mali's Favorite Part of the New House

Mali's favorite part of the new house.

5.25.2007

Helpful Happy Nice Big Brother Leelo

Helpful Happy Nice Big Brother Leelo

Forgot to mention two items of very exciting Leelo behavioral/interaction news

Yesterday when Leelo's aide Rosie was over, she made him a PB&J sandwich. Apparently he didn't like the way she did it so he took her hand and showed her the right way to make him a sandwich. I did not know he could do that. Wow.

He has been very sweet with Mali. He gave her his coveted bag of goldfish crackers when I asked him to do so; he also spontaneously gave her one of his new straws when she asked for it. Those are both *huge* as those are two of his favorite objects ever. He really is such an innately sweet boy.

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Additions:

Also when he saw Mali drinking from a juice box, he went in the cupboard and got one for himself instead of stealing hers.

He spontaneously asked Babysitter A: "Let's go sit on the stool and do a puzzle." Which he did! Also when they were reading his "Leelo's New House" book, he started talking about "Mommy and Daddy." Also one of his stimmy verbal pairs today was "Mommy and Leelo! Mommy and Leelo!" which I of course liked a lot.
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And wait! Leelo just told Seymour that he needed to go #2, and did so in the pot ... Lots of OMG happening over here today ...

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5.24.2007

Fretting

Fretting

Mali got her official asthma diagnosis today. She'll be the Albuterol and Claritin girl for the next two weeks at least, and despises both her inhaler and being dosed with liquid medicine. At least she is chipper; she spent most of the day climbing on top of high objects, yelling "Catch me!" and jumping on me whether I was ready or not.

I am freeeeeeeeked out about cashflow. I suspect we will be living in a very nice house that will have no furniture in it owing to a nosedive on the part of the stocks we used to purchase our new place.

Yesterday was my dad's birthday; my parents' wedding anniversary is in two days. I am glad that my mom's sister is staying with her and helping her get through this time. My aunt characterized my mom as "intermittently weepy." I know how she feels.

Sleep is not coming easily lately. And if I wake up, I am up for at least three hours. This is bad for this time in our lives.

I got extra daytime babysitting for Leelo with his wonderful aide Rosie, but am finding that it's not helping me all that much with packing and arranging for the move as the girls are in my face all the time.

I am not keeping up on figuring out Leelo's classroom situation for the fall. Must call county Elementary SpEd contact in the morning. Must contact my district contact re: Leelo's summer school.

Nice news, though, Leelo is in a very daddy mood, which is nice for Seymour. When Seymour escaped from Leelo's grasp and hopped into the shower, Leelo said, "Where's Daddy?" I really did almost fall down in a faint of disbelief. Then he shocked me again by spontaneously pointing to the giant fish head painting in the bathroom and declaring, "That's a fish!" while looking at me for confirmation. He has been in a mellow good mood lately as long as you don't try to take him to the toilet.

It's Official

It's Official

Ep, Clyde, and Merlin are the ones kicking me out of who are taking over who have generously agreed to purchase, so that Leelo can still come play at, our house

5.21.2007

The Face Off

The Face Off

I might be grumpy, but I can still draw a happy face. So can Mali, apparently.

Mali Imitating Mommy's Happy Face

5.20.2007

Behavioral Excerpt From Leelo's Day

Behavioral Excerpt From Leelo's Day

I don't remember if I've mentioned that I track Leelo's daily Routine, Health, Sleep, Diet, Medication, Language, Behavior, and Toileting, in a Google spreadsheet that is viewed by everyone who works with him. Here's todays entry in the "Behavior" column:
A lot of really hard punching and hitting today. However if we ignored him and just let ourselves get beaten upon four or five times, eventually he would stop and use language instead. Babysitter A and my cousin Nad, both of whom have allergies, suggested that with all the winds, sinus pressure symptoms have been peaking for the past few days. A few episodes of manic giggling. However he was totally fine, behaviorally, while swimming at a friend's pool for two hours.
My shoulder hurts.

Went on a tour of the new house today, so that the kids could see it and I could get pictures to make a social story like the one Signora Blog made for Moon when they moved. Iz loved everything about the house, Mali loved going in and out of the cat door, and Leelo was really really excited about the pool and spent a lot of time trying to get away from Seymour and under the pool's cover. We really really need to get that pool fence installed before we move in.

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Anyone Want to Go on a Bender?

Anyone Want to Go on a Bender?

With the moving comes the purging. We have collected a lot of stuff over the past few years, and one of the oddest collections is all the gift booze. I would like to jettison it all, but what does one do? While I'm sure that there are many, many people on the local mothers' group email board who would take it, I doubt my posting "free booze to first taker" would be looked upon kindly. I don't know how Freecycle or Craigslist would react to such things, either. Any ideas?

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5.19.2007

She's Like a Breath of Spring

She's Like a Breath of Spring

Did you know that that bitch Jennyalice has a blog? Why can't wittier wordsmiths than me (than I? Fuck, I can't remember, but she would) stay out of the blogosphere? And when is she coming over to my house?

Yesterday Mali handed me my phone and told me that my dad was on the line. If you were at The Hole yesterday, then I was the woman in the expensive bottled teas aisle staring mutely at her phone-brandishing toddler and trying not to cry in public. Though I did lose it a bit today when, after Iz's and Sophie's and Merlin's and Violet's lovely piano concert, their teacher's husband sat down and played the hell out of the Gershwin Prelude featured in An American in Paris, which was one of my dad's favorite movies.

Some quick Leelo dispatches:

Yesterday he did an experiment! Seymour and I really enjoyed watching Leelo acquaint himself with variables. First, he took a bowl of Cheerios off of the counter and out onto the back deck. (Doing anything other than eating from a food receptacle is different.) But, then, he placed the bowl on his trampoline. And then he placed his feet on either side of that bowl and proceeded to dance those Cheerios up into the air. (And then he picked them all off the trampoline, put them back in the bowl, and ate them. Eww.) But, an experiment! Damn!

He is also playing his little keyboard a lot, in terms of messing with various sounds and combinations and patterns. I think he's even figured out how to do the playback mode. Cacofonix would be proud.

Our boy has also been displaying a bit of OCD in needing to touch both sides of doorways, pillars, etc. before passing through. This makes a nice addition to his need to make sure the back door is latched, and his love of flushing any potty three or four times before doing his business.

Tonight we had TLF and Talia and my cousin Nad and his wife JP and their kids Danielle, Elise, and Xander over. Nad gave us one of the best gifts any person can ever ever give, which is to take Leelo and go play with him -- for real, and enthusiastically, not just watching our boy wander around the yard -- without even asking, and for a good length of time. When you have kids like Leelo, this sort of thing just doesn't happen very often, which is too bad. I think parents like us can use those kind of breaks even more than parents of typical kids, as every moment of Leelo's waking time has to be closely supervised by either us or a paid substitute for us. (Not that I can really complain seeing as TLF took Iz to a local fair for most of the afternoon, and helped JP supervise her while she was one of the dunkees in Danielle's and Elise's school's dunk tank fundraiser.)

Anyhow. We all had pizza, and then I told Iz that she should take advantage of this yard while she can seeing as we're moving out in less than three weeks. Everyone eventually went outside with her, while the kids ran around gathering "wheat" and making sacred Indian prayer circles, and debated the plausibility of the Troll Hole in the corner. Then we picked ripe cherries from our tree while bathed in the kind of golden glow that only a late spring afternoon in California can provide. And I sulked again about leaving this place I love so much. But it has to be done.

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Why Eat Chicken When You Can Eat Cock?

Why Eat Chicken When You Can Eat Cock?

I heart bad translations. Thank you, Japan! And further thanks to my Auntie F, who brought us these treats from Kyushu.

Thank You Japan!
The stress, it is making me punchy.

5.18.2007

Signing Off

Signing Off

Today we signed the papers that officially offered to surrender the home I swore I'd never leave. *Sigh*

Mali demonstrated excellent form today when she figured out how to jump off the top off the couch and land on the cushions in a perfect straddle. Five hundred times in a row. Five hundred tiny heart attacks for her mom. Like her brother, she prefers to be shirtless and shoeless. She can sing/recite most of The Mysterious Ticking Noise.

TLF and Floyd and their baby Talia are visiting from Boston! Leelo hadn't seen either of them for over a year, but when Floyd arrived Leelo gave him a big spontaneous, "Hi, Floyd! Where's TLF?" Floyd was visibly tickled. And the next time TLF showed up, Leelo grabbed her by the hand as she was exiting her car, and yelled, "Play on the play structure?" All very nice. However he had a rough time today re: needing to bang his head all day long. Squeezing his body between beanbags, and his head between my knees helped somewhat. Maybe the claritin has stopped working.

Iz has a piano concert tomorrow morning, along with her friends Merlin and Violet. As recently as five days ago Iz was moaning and complaining that she would never learn to properly play her piece, Haydn's Symphony No. 94 In G Major. We assured her that if she put some time into actually practicing the piece, that she would indeed learn it. So she grudgingly consented to practice. And she gradually realized that she was improving. And, lo, she can now play it perfectly, including all the changes in volume. In every keyboard setting: vibraphone, pipe organ, harpsichord, etc. More importantly, she has finally realized that hard work and practice can be of value. This is huge.

Also Iz tried out for and won a solo singing part in her school's talent show. I thought everyone in the school got a solo, but no. Yay Iz! They are doing a song from High School Musical. Which I suppose I'd better actually watch, beforehand.

Also she tried out for a part in next year's production of The Tempest. She gets to be a fairy, like all the other kids in her grade. Both Seymour and I loved being in school plays, so I hope she enjoys it, too.

I went to a meeting today about Spanish for her and her former Esperanza (Spanish Immersion) cohorts at Big Noggin. Armada, another parent, proposed bringing in their tough but beloved first grade teacher to teach an after school class once each week. Next year the kids will get Spanish classes as part of their curriculum, so it was agreed that the Esperanza crew will have their own separate "literature circle" during that time. Seems like a good balance to me.

Seymour and Floyd are off in SF being boys. Tired as I am, it just isn't right or fair to deny them their infrequent nights of paradise. Plus now I get to publicly flout my amused martyrdom.

Anyhow. Tired. Huge weekend of responsibilities ahead, then Seymour goes to Vega$ for a couple of days, then we have special snack-requiring school events almost every single day until school ends. We start moving the day before school gets out. Not the best time of year to try to pack one's house up. I haven't hung out with Jo or Badger or Ep for weeks, it seems.

5.17.2007

Faith

Faith

Iz on the topic of things intangible, after a discussion about the origin of the phrase "Doubting Thomas:"

"I believe in things I can't see! I believe in air! I believe in electronic money!"

5.16.2007

Bad Timing, Leelo

Bad Timing, Leelo

Things are getting really nutty around here what with cleaning and purging and repairing and prepping our house to be not our house anymore. And Leelo is picking up on it. And has refused to go to sleep before 10:30 for the past five nights. He is awake right now, cackling in his bed like a lunatic.

At this very moment I am supposed to be getting the house ready so that realtors can come by in the morning and help our own realtor figure out what this place is actually worth (which, for many reasons, I hope is close to what our realtor originally estimated). I have been working very very hard over the past week or so to be methodical in my pre-moving preparations so as to avoid the ol' "Sweep everything into a box to be sorted out later," but given how tired I am and how not-tired Leelo is and the lack of free time I had during the day, I might just have to wake up early and start piling crap in boxes to hide in my closet. Damn it all.

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Caller ID

Caller ID

I just don't seem to be able to change the listing on my cel phone from "Mom & Dad" to "Mom."

5.13.2007

Mali and Mothers Day

Mali and Mothers Day

Last night, during the kids' bathtime, Iz and I were teasing Mali about her eyebrows (or, rather, her lack thereof). Mali got very concerned:

"I need to go upstairs! I need to go find my eyebwows!"

Later on, when I told her it was time to go downstair and go to bed,

"I don't want to go downstairs! I still need to eat some choc-o-late chips!"

She is slaying me, and indeed most people she encounters, with her Cuteness. Especially since she remembers the names of every person she meets, yells greetings at them from across parking lots, and then tells them how nice it is to see them.

I still think she is a funny-looking little thing, darling as she is. Her new cloud of curls has many people declaring that she looks like Shirley Temple, but I maintain that she looks more like Richard Simmons. Here she is, jellyfishing:

Mali Jellyfishing

She is now so very Two that most requests are met with an emphatic "NO!" just because. Basically, she sees negation as a super ability. Sigh. I hope we get through this phase quickly. It would probably help if we didn't giggle so much each time she summons her powers.

I still can't get over all her typical little kid behaviors that I'd heard about but never really experienced. She insists on certain items of clothing, e.g., "I want to wear my KITTY CAT SANDAWLS!" She has a "rainbow dress" that she insists on wearing 24-7, even on top of her jammies. She is always getting into other peoples' shoes and wearing them around the house. She likes to play dressup, and put on costumes. She likes to role play with dolls, independently. All very unfamiliar. Observing her makes me feel like Margaret Mead.

Anyhow. I have been banished downstairs. I went up to start working on today's Holy Shit We're Moving task list and encountered a frantic and perturbed Iz, who was doing *something* in the kitchen with her sidekick Seymour, and who yelled, "BACK IN BED!"

Oooh, look what they brought me! Happy Mothers Day to all you other hot mamas.

Mothers Day Fruit Face Breakfast

5.11.2007

The New View and a Review

The New View and a Review

New View

The new place is one hill over from our current place. We're staying in Deadwood, natch. Ain't nothing like Big Noggin or the Deadwood Special Ed PTA in any towns anywhere near here. We're on district boundaries arrest.

Totally unrelated: I can't say that I didn't enjoy Spiderman III, but the women were so ornamental that it was like watching Entourage: A Very Special Superhero Episode. When are we going to get our big screen Xena?

Rambo III Already Put Me Off the Place

Rambo III Already Put Me Off the Place

Listening to a mom whose son is in Leelo's class, who was talking about the infamous "Welcome to Holland" essay and how she felt the first time she read it: "Holland? HOLLAND? This is fucking Afghanistan!"

Unrelated: Getting a long-neglected house back into shape while living one's regular life yet also prepping to move is a wee bit overwhelming, I must say.

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5.09.2007

I Heart Adrenaline

I Heart Adrenaline

Lucky me; I don't need prescription uppers. My body creates them for me, for free.

Busy busy busy. Not thinking not thinking not thinking. Much.

Though I do wonder if people think I'm an ass for being so chipper and manic, or if they just see me as crazy grief-avoiding lady to be patted on the head and not taken seriously because I'm temporarily insane.

Last night was my penultimate Iron Gate night class and I nattered on all night with an opinion on absolutely everything that came up. Whereas another parent who lost her dad a few days after I did is in such a state that she sent her husband to the class in her stead, and had him ask for our understanding. Is what she's doing what I'm supposed to be doing?

I did mind-blowing grief for a day, but decided that it sucked not only for me but for everyone in my family. So I found the new house and now am so busy that my partitioned mind can think about my dad without me having to take to my bed for the day.

Did I mention that we swiped my dad's wedding ring before the coroner whisked him away, and that my mom said I could keep it? I see my father every time I look at my writing hand, and so am not exactly suppressing all dad-related musings. But I also cannot allow myself to tumble headlong into a black pit of grief. I have too many people depending on me. And I am feeling very fortunate that I can make the choice to stay aloft, knowing that not everyone is able to do so.

5.07.2007

Moving: Towards a Positive Frame of Mind

Moving: Towards a Positive Frame of Mind

I just reread my last post about moving, and realized that it portrays Leelo negatively. So let me rephrase in a way that is truer to our intentions:

We have found a house that has enough space for Leelo to be Leelo, year-round. The house already has the two holy grails of Leelohood: a trampoline and a pool. Plus a big play room inside. His own, much larger room. A larger outside deck to run and ride around on. We think he will be ecstatic. And if he is happy, then we are happy, too.

I am hoping that providing him with enough interior space to be active will help alleviate these horrible winter downward behavioral spirals he goes on each year. We hate seeing him be so miserable, when we know what a sunny, happy boy he can be.

Also, since he doesn't like to travel, we are excited about the guest room that will allow our friends and family to easily come stay with us. Another case of Leelo happy, everyone happy.

This move will drop us into hell for a month or so, but then we'll all be as close to heaven as we're likely to get.

Speaking of heaven, if I close my eyes and pucker up, Leelo will give me a big smooch. Sweet, yes, but even sweeter is the fact that I can close my eyes and trust him to kiss me, not deck me. He is trying really hard to be a good boy, and I spent all day telling him how much I appreciate him and wonderful he is.

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Moving

Moving

So, I didn't want to post this until I broke the news to our architects. Who took it well.

We're moving. The building project + Leelo behavior situation has gotten too unwieldy, plus Seymour has a different, high-stress job than when we started our house project 2+ years ago. Time to make a big, but quick, change, and focus on Rosenberg mental wellness.

Plus, pool and big trampoline! And a guest room so that people can visit us, as travel with Leelo is increasingly unpleasant.

You have a standing invitation to come visit. Starting in July.

5.06.2007

He Can Do It

He Can Do It

Leelo can:

  • Tolerate sitting in a regular cross-shoulder strap car seat with booster, with ongoing reinforcements encouragement. This means that if we put in the effort, we can get rid of his gargantuan five point harness car seat, and he can ride in any car, without special accommodation. This was inconthievable even six months ago.

  • Help his parents shop for groceries. He is getting better and better at getting the things I ask for, putting produce in bags (if I hold them open), retrieving non-breakable goods from shelves and putting them in the cart, getting the number of things I ask him to get (we're still working on that one-to-one correspondence), and unloading the cart for purchase. He can also get the shopping cart out of the corral and put it back when we're done, with prompting.

  • Tell us how he feels. This is starting to happen more frequently, and it is wonderful and welcome. This morning upon waking, he went into the living room, sat down on a bean bag, rubbed his eyes, and declared, "I'm tired, Dad."
Sadly, he is at his best when other kids (especially his sisters) aren't around. His tolerance and compliance and expressiveness all go south when other kids appear, or he's surrounded with and overwhelmed by people. But he is making strides, all of which are very good. And we are taking very large steps to support his growth and mental well-being in a way that will make life easier for all of us Rosenbergs. Details later.


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5.04.2007

Kissy Face

Kissy Face

I do like that Leelo is currently asking for kisses, and letting me give him kisses. Even better, he is looking me directly in the eye the whole time, as opposed to grudgingly offering me his cheek while looking into space.

Also, currently when I say, "I love you, Leelo," he responds with, "I love you, Mommy" instead of "I love you, Leelo."

Sweet boy.

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5.01.2007

Leelo Update

Leelo Update

Leelo and Seymour were in SoCal for less than 24 hours; they managed to squeak in hotel pool time with me and tons of cousins. Then of course we had the funeral and reception, followed by an eight hour drive home. Leelo wasn't thrilled about any of it except the pool, and has been acting out most of today. Though he does also have a cold, and we've been forgetting his Claritin for most of the past week.

However, his language and behavior are still mostly really great. And he managed to hold it together really well despite my being absent for most of the previous week, including two weekends. I am impressed. His teaching staff is impressed. Everyone who works with him is impressed. I hope he's impressed with himself.

Example of awareness and togetherness from two minutes ago: just now he exclaimed, "Daddy's going to work!" as we are sitting here late in the day and Seymour will be home "soon."

Here are more observations and great language/behavior instances from the past three weeks, dispatch-style:

Great language: "I want to go to Sewerage" instead of "I want naan bread"; "Sophie's gone!" when we told him that Sophie went home, "I want to go on your back, Dad" when asking for a piggyback ride. Also is calling Seymour "Dad" instead of "Daddy." "I want to go play, Dad." "Open the gate, please." And I am occasionally "Mom."

Spontaneous "I'm fine" when a friend's dad asked how he was doing, Asked, "Where are we going, Mommy?" after we dropped Iz off at Aikido (as that was a change in routine), Said, "Happy Face!" upon a video case for Happy Feet; I don't know how he would know what that it, also the word "Jambo" makes him giggle madly and is something he asks for "I want Jambo;" anyone can say "Jambo" to him and he'll start laughing. Nice for his sisters to play with him that way.

Language still good. Has been saying, "no pushing" or "no falling down" in instances where he _wants_ to do those actions, but knows he's not supposed to. Great self control, IMHO.

Looked at my camera and said, "It's a string!" (the cord), also naming and comparing "This is a toothbrush, this is a hairbrush, these are teeth, this is hair," and proceeded to brush teeth and hair at same time. Also likes to brush our hair, or tell us to brush our hair.

Very mellow and compliant, even with toileting (mostly).

Last week he was able to share his favorite trampoline with two constantly marauding toddlers without incident, which is a big deal as he doesn't like being crowded, or being surrounded by noisy people, and I can tell you that Mali and her best friend Trinian are busy little chatterboxes.

Sage is helping us transition Leelo back to chewies and off of straws. He will usually trade out willingly, but still prefers straws.

I restrung his favorite old trampoline. It is more a hammock than a trampoline, but it seems to make him happy. He likes being suspended in the stretch fabric.

He has been more compliant and easy going about toileting, except some head-banging. Tolerated getting a splinter removed from his arm, able to walk most of the way from car to classroom by self without me holding his hand to prevent bolting, able to watch Totoro without banging t

He has been having more good toileting days in general: Totally dry at 1 - 1:15 hour intervals and even during erranding from 2:45 to bedtime. Underwear 7:30 to 2:45; one accident for Therapist L.

When trying to sing "Madeline" song with him, I prompted, "She may be very ... ?" and he said, "Happy?" (The correct answer is "tall" but it was still good thinking, to answer with an adjective).

Today we were talking about friends, and he responded, "Moomin and Sophie! Sophie and Leelo!"

Leelo is now eating plain peanut butter sandwiches, as wed been wondering if processed sugar was affecting his appetite. Asked Y! list about autistic children and compulsive eating, and got several responses: 1) try chewing gum, 2) it's most likely not diabetes (from a woman who son is both autistic and diabetic); and 3) it may be esophagitis as that creates constant pain that is relieved (briefly) by eating. An exam for Leelo was definitely recommended.
Seymour took him into the pediatrician while I was away. As we suspected, he has eczema, so it's lotion time. Also he has indeed gained a ton of weight in the last few months and at 63 lbs is 125th percentile for weight in his height category. Dr. M. wants to do some blood and urine tests to rule out anything obvious.

And oh, The Morgana Center. I did like it. Very structured, which Leelo would love. But it's far away, and doesn't include any social time with typical kids. I think Leelo does really need to be around typical kids eventually. They emphasized that we should focus on sight reading for Leelo (as they said that is how all their kids learn, being visual thinkers), should consider a program like Rosetta Stone, and should also consider getting Leelo a Scuut bike as an intermediate stage between his tricycle and a two-wheeler. In their experience it is better for autistic kids than using a bike with training wheels, since the extra wheels can make the bike jiggle and jog with anxiety-provoking unpredictability, especially for sensory kids.

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