8.31.2007

In an Unintentionally Spatial/Temporal Escapist Anglophilic Mood

In an Unintentionally and Temporally Escapist Anglophilic Mood

I need to start start looking for entertainment in my own country. And century. Here's what I'm currently reading:

In the bath
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (My mom's 1945 edition)
  • Author: English
  • Protagonist: English
  • Setting: England and abroad
  • Time Frame: 17th Century
On my bedside stand
From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell
  • Author: English
  • Illustrator: Australian, so a Commonwealth subject
  • Cast: English
  • Setting: England
  • Time frame: 19th Century
In my car
Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson
  • Author: American, but:
  • Cast: Mostly English
  • Setting: Mostly England and its colonies
  • Time Frame: Late 17th/Early 18th Century
In my backpack
She by H. Rider Haggard
  • Author: English
  • Cast: Mostly English
  • Setting: England and Africa
  • Time Frame: 19th Century
At night with Iz
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Author: English (moved to the U.S. when she was ~20)
  • Cast: English
  • Setting: Primarily England
  • Time Frame: Early 20th Century

8.29.2007

Shoppity Shop Shop

Shoppity Shop Shop

I detest shopping. Truly. But I also like to find people The Best Gifts Ever. How wonderful, then, that my very favorite online store, the one that straddles that lickety-split yet thoughtful gifting sweet spot, the one that saved my bloated ass when I got stuck on bedrest for two months while pregnant with Iz during the entire 1998 holiday shopping season, has relaunched!

Why should you shop at Violet.com? Because:

  1. They have the tidiest assortment of unique, intuitively organized, lovely gifts you'll ever find online. In all price ranges. (Think Red Enve1ope, but without the suckage.) The selection will expand as the holidays approach.
  2. It is a local and woman-run business.
  3. They really do have exquisite taste. Do you remember Microserfs' first chapter, the one in which the narrator couldn't believe his eyes upon meeting techheads who dressed well and dwelled chicly? Douglas Coupland's thin literary veil was covering Violet's founder and her partner.
Go. Shop. Now. And please spread the word. I want Violet.com to be around forever. And please know that my only association with the company is my dependency.

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Organic Chemistry

Organic Chemistry

I would love to have a short conversation, voice or email, with someone with a working knowledge of organic chemistry. Any victims? Know anyone? Thanks in advance.

8.27.2007

Pushmi-Pullyu

Pushmi-Pullyu

I love this picture. Leelo's sisters pulled/pushed him all around the yard, spontaneously, after seeing him sitting in his wagon, patiently waiting for *someone* to come take him for a ride. Sweet girls. The three of them make my heart go clink-a-dink.

Pushmi-Pullyu

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8.26.2007

Positively Poopful

Positively Poopful

Leelo is doing beautifully on his potty training; many bountiful BMs, almost no pee accidents, waking up dry most mornings and holding his pee until he gets to the potty, almost no middle-of-the-night poops, nice soft non-constipated looking movements (sorry to be so frank, but I spend a good part of my day watching closely to see what, and how much, comes out, as Leelo is an obsessive toilet-flusher and everything he produces is gone almost instantly), occasional trots down the hall towards the potty when it's time to go. I think, as does Supervisor M, that Leelo is having a lot of success. He might always be a prompted or a schedule-trained boy, but that is just fine, and ever so much more preferable to daily changing of a very big boy's poop-filled pulllup.

He will be seven in about two months. A professional who is very well known and who will remain nameless but who in hindsight gave us some of the most negative feedback we've ever heard about Leelo (said in such a cheerful, professional, reassuring voice that we actually thanked him profusely) told us that if we didn't get Leelo potty trained by the time he was six, it would be almost impossible.

To this person, I say: nyah nyah nyah. To my son, I say: go Leelo go!

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Leelo Cheat Sheet

Leelo Cheat Sheet

Leelo starts his new school in three days. The school is 18.2 miles away from our home. I hate hate hate the idea of him being so far away from me during the day, but as it is the best possible available option for him at the moment, I will need to get used to it.

I have not yet met the long-term sub who will start out as his teacher, but have been given permission to go down to the school tomorrow morning to ambush chat with her. I will bring a CD of ambient music and lotion for limb massages as per Supervisor M's request. I will bring photos of our sweet boy, and the boy himself. I will cross my fingers that this is a woman with an intuitive understanding of autism, as well as the patience and resilience to look beyond our boy's occasional outbursts and into his brain so she can help him learn. I will bring this cheat sheet to help her help him:

LEELO ROSENBERG CHEAT SHEET

PERSONALITY AND PREFERENCES
  • Leelo is a sweet six-year-old boy who laughs easily, especially when tickled.
  • He loves music, "scatting" and having people imitate him, stories with repetitive rhymes, "dancing," paging through books, simple puzzles, swimming, straws, and grabbing peoples' elbows.
  • We call him "The Cobra" as he can very quickly steal other peoples' food or straws.
  • He only likes to eat: PB&J sandwiches, croissants, pancakes, fruit smoothies, cheerios, Burger King french fries, and bananas. He enjoys Pirate Booty and Goldfish crackers but they give him indigestion except in limited quantities. We try to limit his sugar intake as it is overstimulating.
  • Leelo has a short attention span, but can attend to preferred tasks for a few minutes. We have tried ADHD meds in the past but the negatives (mainly aggression) far outweighed the positives.
LANGUAGE
  • Leelo has good receptive language for simple instructions, especially those regarding objects (e.g., "Pick up your clothes and put them in the bin"). He has limited comprehension of non-concrete topics.
  • Leelo's expressive language is mostly limited to requests and simple concrete descriptions/responses (e.g., "The circle is blue.").
ACADEMICS
  • Leelo knows letters, numbers, shapes, colors, etc. He can read his first and last name. He can write "Leelo." He is good at sorting and categorization. He enjoys doing simple puzzles. Specific information will come from his home program supervisor, M.
SELF CARE
  • Leelo is (mostly) schedule potty-trained, on 45 - 60 minute intervals. He needs to be told to go, and accompanied to, the toilet, and may need some prompting for individual tasks (e.g., "Leelo, pull up pants"). However he can use the toilet, manage his clothes, and wash his hands independently. He is unlikely to produce anything other than urine at school.
MOTOR SKILLS
  • Leelo does not yet have the fine-motor skills to manage zippers, buttons, etc. However he can hold a crayon/pencil and write his name.
  • Leelo has very good gross motor skills. He is good at climbing, running, swimming, and jumping, and has excellent balance. He can ride a tricycle and a scooter. His upper body strength is not as developed as his lower, and so he needs to be encouraged to hang from bars/trapezes, etc.
CONSIDERATIONS
  • Transitions can be difficult. Both verbal and visual cues/reminders are helpful.
  • Leelo can lash out, hitting, pinching, or scratching peoples' arms, when he is upset. He also enjoys getting a big reaction from these actions. Usually the reason is clear in hindsight. He can usually be reminded to tap shoulders (say "Leelo, tap tap") and then prompted to ask for what he wants afterwards ("I want..."). Trying to ignore his outbursts and then redirecting him can also be helpful.
  • Leelo is not currently taking any medications except Claritin for seasonal allergies.

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I Have the Higher Ground!

I Have the Higher Ground!

I wish this phrase were part of Leelo's repertoire. It is a good warning for both lapsed Jedi knights and parents of occasionally violent autistic children. But now I know not to approach Leelo from below when he is sitting on the stairs to ask why he is upset -- I needed both my hands to grab the handrails and keep from being pitched backwards off the stairs, and so left my head/ears/face completely unprotected. Stupid of me. At least he managed to keep most of the gouges inside my ears, as he was using them for handles.

He was so sweet all day until then; we had just spent a wonderful long time playing sound and facial expression imitation games, and he had even just had a successful BM in the pot. I still don't know why he was so mad; it may be because he got his shirt wet while washing his hands. Yet another *sigh.* And another reminder to be more careful about paying attention to his mood and body language. I will get the hang of this eternal vigilance thing eventually. I am definitely getting better at staying silent while being assaulted -- any reaction just reinforces his bad mood and prolongs the incidents, and increases the likelihood of his then turning on anyone else in the vicinity. I don't want him to be violent at all, but since that's not currently a reality, the second best choice is making sure he only assaults me.

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8.23.2007

Mmm, Kitten

Mmm, Kitten

Everyone's asleep and I have a warm fuzzy kitten purring atop my chest. Yay.

Fuzzy Kitten Panacea

Two nights ago Ep and Jo and I took our big kids to see Hairspray. Who knew that Cyclops could dance and sing so well? It is an electrifying movie with really talented people singing and dancing their asses off. I can understand why a person might have some technical quibbles with the staging or the movie's history but think that anyone who doesn't enjoy it on a visceral level is a constipated jerkwad. I also think that Elijah Kelley has the potential to be a manly-dancer successor to almost-same-last-named Gene.

Yesterday I took Iz and Mali and Iz's friend Emi to The Exploratorium. Very fun. My favorite part, besides everything, was watching an obviously autistic little boy whose parents let him happily stim like mad with the mallets inside the xylophone enclosure, running back and forth and wiggling them next to his ears ecstatically.

On the way we visited Seymour at work so he could show off his girls. Got to have a nice chat with one of the producers who is researching a story on 2nd Lyfe. I didn't realize there was an Aspergers/Autism-only Island, Brigadoon. Wow. They take field trips to other islands. How cool to talk to an adult about interesting topics in an almost academic way.

Last night got some very bad news about a tragedy in a friend's family. Very sad news. Haven't been able to function much since.

Leelo didn't feel much like pooping yesterday. That made him pretty grumpy. He wouldn't go until he had his nighttime pullup on. He had an accident today too. We have been busier this week than during the past two and it is not helping; he needs lots of calm downtime to relax and do his thing. Where to find it, I don't know. He was not interested in sitting on the potty much at all, when I tried to encourage him with the usual bribes (YouTube, etc.) he got irate and pinched and scratched and hit. I thought I had cut his nails short enough but the scratches all over my face and arms make me think I should try another pass.

This morning I think he was still uncomfortable. Also he didn't like being alone with his mom and sisters all morning (school is ramping up and his team is in schedule flux). Mali still won't sleep until 10 - 11 PM and I think this makes her grumpy and cry easily about things like not getting to sit on the stool she prefers. Which sets Leelo off, so he hits her and she cries harder and you can imagine the escalation.

I tried giving him some decongestant as he said his ears hurt. Didn't seem to help. I am not sure what he needed; usually I can tell in retrospect but this time he was just angry. One time I eventually figured out that my being sad and having sad expressions was the trigger but I wish I'd been quicker as it is difficult to pretend to be happy when someone has grabbed your nose using their nails for anchors and used said nose as a handle to bash your head against the wall.

Iz had her last Aikido session of the summer today; when Leelo and Mali and I came in to pick her up Leelo was very loud/screechy and again violent with me. For now she is blowing it off/not letting his behavior bother her but it's going to start mattering to her soon and/or I'm going to have to either arrange Leelo's schedule so he's not with me for pickup or have her stop going. Not feasible currently.

Supervisor M came over and had some really great thoughts about how to keep Therapist L in Leelo's life, also about how to approach the next few weeks in Leelo's new school system. I asked the local SNK board if anyone had heard of Leelo's new teacher but received no reply. But I am still feeling very positive, very hopeful that Leelo is going to be at a school where all the teachers and staff "get" him. That has never happened before.

Babysitter A, who has been with us since Mali was three months old, might need to be leaving us. I cannot even reply to that email at the moment.

I think about all my friends or web dopplegangers who do so much more than I do with more stress and fewer resources; all I can say is that I am not like you. I don't get how to be like you. I wish I did. Sorry.

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Today I Wish I Was From...

Today I Wish I Was From...

That small island of stiff upper lips where everyone carries on cheerfully or stonily but with wisecracks and no breakdowns no matter what kind of cursed hellfire rains down from above. I keep thinking about how Harry Potter never underwent counseling to deal with his life's ongoing stream of tragedies any one of which would have derailed an American kid into indefinite weekly therapy sessions. A good or a bad thing? All I know is that I am not feeling particularly strong at the moment but that I also don't trust therapists, am congenitally incapable of talking through anything that means anything to me, and don't have the time to see one anyhow. However it is very nice to have friends and a husband who pat my shoulders sympathetically while knowing that I'm not likely to articulate all the reasons why I'm upset.

8.20.2007

Hi Supervisor M

Hi Supervisor M,
Had a chat with Jay at County this morning about getting Leelo set up for class next Wed. It looks like we won't be able to squeak in an IEP before then, but we will get one within 30 days. However we can certainly set up a meeting with his teacher before then. (They do not yet have the permanent teacher but have a "good" sub in place, and the aides are all veterans.) My friend has monthly meetings with her child's teachers and that seems like a good model to me; please let me know what you think.

In the mean time it would be a good idea to get a one page, ten (or so) point "Leelo Cheat Sheet" for the staff. I can do this if you'd be willing to review. Please let me know.

Also, and very very sadly, Therapist L's [she who has supported Leelo for four years] schedule does not at all work with Leelo's new schedule; the late afternoons (which is all Leelo will have available) have always belonged to another family. She may be able to keep one Wednesday 1:30 - 3:30 shift as Leelo gets out at 12:30 those days. Sigh. [A more accurate sound effect would be *hoarse sobbing.*]

I have not yet talked to Therapist Y, but Rosie is definitely available to cover late afternoon shifts, if you think this is a good idea. It certainly seems like a good idea from the perspective that she is already a school district employee, and that she is so proactive with and good with Leelo. Therapist L will be coming this Wednesday to give Rosie some training seeing as no matter what happens with Leelo's home program, Rosie has taken over Babysitter K's Thursday session and it would be nice for R to have more skills for playing/working with Leelo then.

Thanks,

-Squid
Other breaking news:

  • Leelo pooped in the potty at the library this afternoon. We may not be completely and indefinitely housebound during the second half of the day!
  • Our pool has a huge, expensive-looking leak that is not covered by our home warranty. No swimming until further notice. This is bad bad bad bad bad if your name is Leelo or Leelo's Mom.
  • Mali seems to be warming to the concept of peeing in the potty. Getting about one direct hit per day. Of which she is cognizant. Progress.
  • Iz spent yesterday morning on a fossil-finding hike with her dad and one of the primary paleontologists from the Ca1 Academy. Hate them both.
  • Seymour's party was fun. But I am finding that I cannot fully enjoy a family bash in which my son cannot participate, especially when the party is in his own home. Until or unless he starts tolerating crowds and noise better, we will socialize on a smaller scale.

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8.17.2007

Happy Birthday Seymour

Happy Birthday Seymour

Today is the man's 38th. Shocking. He looks fantastic. I feel very lucky to have attached myself, remora-like, to a man who is obviously going to get only more handsome with age; to a Sean Connery rather than a Robert Redford.

I am a bit busy preparing for tomorrow's birthday party, which is of course at our house and as per Seymour's request will feature a Lebanese buffet but unfortunately no live music as I couldn't get it together. And I'm not really sure I'll get it together by tomorrow, either, and so instead of trying to entertain you myself will leave you with last week's extremely amusing restaurant review of San Francisco's Old Clam House by Iz's beloved Godfather M.

8.16.2007

Complete Unedited Brain Download Mali is asleep i...

Complete Unedited Brain Download

Mali is asleep in her own bed rather than her parents' for the first time in her life. She didn't fall asleep there and she probably won't stay there, but it is a start. She also peed in the potty for the very first time today, shortly after I mentioned that some kids get M&M's for peeing and pooing in toilets rather than in their pants. Rah.

This afternoon Iz made a fuss about wanting some frozen pizza. Mali put her finger to her lips and said, "Shh, Izzy! Be patient!" Yep, in less than ten days it is already evident that this kid goes to Trident Montessori.

Yesterday we asked Mali if she was a zebra. She replied that no, she wasn't a zebra, she was a green boat. This morning Seymour asked her if she was a green boat. She said, "No, PINK."

Leelo is going to go to a county classroom; I signed the authorization papers yesterday. I feel good about this option: the staff is experienced, the facilities and playground--and even the natural light in the classroom--are very Leelo-appropriate, it is practically an all-autism campus, and Leelo's not being completely potty trained will no big deal. The funny thing is that even had I done spectacular long-range rather than hurried crazy short-term planning, I would probably have ended up with this same decision. Now I need to tell the good folks at ALSO that Leelo won't need the space they're holding for him. It shouldn't be a problem; the director mentioned that she'd been getting a call a day from families looking for placements.

I did look at another really wonderful class at a Rainbow center out in Union City. As I wrote to some friends:

Rainbow was great, really great. I can see why Supervisor M insisted that I at least go to see it. Everyone there is moderate-to-severe certified, or working towards it through an integrated credential program offered at nearby Cal State Hamward. All the kids have individual three-ring binders: on the cover of each binder is a spreadsheet of IEP goals for tracking, inside is behavioral and discrete trial data tracking. I have never seen this in a class before today. Each child also has a nicely organized accordion folder containing all of their individualized materials, which the staff are responsible for creating, maintaining, and updating. The entire staff goes through intensive three-day seminars every year focusing on "behaviors," on understanding them, redirecting them, etc. The aides all come from behavioral backgrounds. They have QA behavioralists come in periodically to evaluate the program and offer suggestions to help increase overall effectiveness. It really was lovely.

I still don't think it will work for us as it is just too far. Also it is on a middle school campus; while this is great in that they're able to bring in a dedicated set of "buddy" volunteers from that school for generalization and socialization, it also means there is no playground per se, only a field and a PE yard. There is an APE [Adaptive Physical Education] room on campus, though. And while there is a dedicated OT [Occupational Therapist], there is no OT room. The OT brings in the materials and tools; however they also spend a lot of time in the classroom assessing general classroom OT and sensory needs. Also the classes are housed in portables, so the facilities are not as nice as County in terms of class size, sinks, adjacent bathrooms, ability to have separate work cubbies, etc.

I didn't get to see the teacher for the class that would work for Leelo, as the current summer school class was [...] not taught by the incoming teacher.

Overall I am thinking that it was great for me to see Rainbow and to read your emails as I have a lot of material for formulating Leelo's IEP (i.e., I really want to see those IEP-goals-tracking binders appear in Leelo's classes from now on). Thanks again for all your input.
The county class starts two weeks from today. I have to meet with the County folks as well as Leelo's Deadwood school district contact, etc., to update his IEP/do an intake/figure out busing/driving. County is at a segregated site, which means there are no typical kids on campus; it's all Leelo and his friends. I really could care less. At this point we need to get him into a supportive environment with experienced staff who can help him learn how to function in a (supported) classroom rather than a 1:1 environment.

Although today and yesterday I'm not so sure I even care about getting him out of a segregated site; all I care about is trying to figure out how to help him not be so violent. Yesterday during a potty session I was so tired that I dozed off as I was reading him a book. This set off a primal switch in his brain; he grabbed my hair and slammed my head into the wall, then proceeded to beat me around the face, then scratched my face and arms, and then jammed his fingers into my eyes. All this before I could recover.

I have not really been able to talk since. It has put me in a very deep funk. I am really, truly worried. Even though I gripe a lot here, I don't think I gripe this much IRL, and am usually cool with Leelo being Leelo, with him being funny and off and doing his own thing, but not having it hurt anyone so who cares. This violence is very different; if we don't get it under control it means that we can't take him out and that his sisters can't have friends over and that they themselves are in danger. And that either we medicate him into a stupor or are forced into other options that I can't even type.

Supervisor M came over today and helped talk me through the funk a bit. She gave me some practical advice for avoiding conflict (keep myself seated higher than him; use my forearm to block him, keep myself out of his line of sight during trying scenarios, as much as possible). She also mentioned that she has a colleague who trains special needs professionals to assess and manage violent behaviors without resorting to restraints. She suggested that we try to ensure that the district and/or county has this training, and that we should definitely consider hosting a training session for all friends, family, and professionals who deal with Leelo. I was thinking it might not be a bad idea to have SCEPTRE, our special needs PTA, see if we could sponsor a community seminar as well. It is about $1K for 20 people, though, so we'd have to step up our fundraising.

We also talked a lot about Leelo's pottying. He is pooping in the pot quite a lot, and this is great progress. Even with a day like today:

Backwards day. Poop accident in middle of night. Poop accident shortly after waking up. Poop in pool at 6:00 PM. Pee accident at 6:15, ten minutes after being taken to the toilet. Poo accident at 6:30 PM. Pooped in potty for Seymour at 8 PM. All accidents were avoidable in hindsight, except mid-night one, which I think happened because he didn't have his second BM yesterday: Shouldn't stay in pool in afternoon for more than 15 minutes, seems to swallow a lot of pool water so going about 20 minutes after exiting pool is good; letting him watch TV while I make dinner is a bad idea at this time even if he's just gone to the toilet ten minutes beforehand.
Supervisor M said she has some families who are lucky to get one pellet in two weeks. And I'm feeling rather positive about Leelo's toileting in general, because even with this setback day, his progress and clothing casualties aren't really all that different from those during the purgatory potty training of one resistant little girl named Isobel Rosenberg.

Speaking of whom, yesterday Iz was aghast when I asked her if she intentionally disobeys direct requests so that we will give her negative attention because she's not getting enough of the positive kind. "YES," she said, after she'd recovered her composure, "you give Leelo and Mali ALL the attention!" She then outlined what would be her perfect Mommy-and-Iz day, which would take place in SF: Fries in Hayes Valley, desserts at Citizen Cake, walk to City Hall, go to the Exploratorium, drive across the GG bridge, and maybe go to the Zoo. I think it's doable. Will have to chat with Seymour about making this happen. Also I think she should give up piano. She's not really that into it and her life is nuts and pressure-filled enough. Aikido and Spanish are more than sufficient; probably too much, really, on top of her very intense school.

The kids' fall schedules. Gack. Haven't even figured out what we're going to do for Leo's home program, how I'm possibly going to get all the kids to their three separate schools in three far-flung locations AT THE SAME TIME, how we are going to manage afternoons, what we are going to do in the afternoons when it gets too cold to swim.

As I said, this is my fret space. If you actually called me up and asked me how I was doing, I would say, "Fine." I think (hope) I even did a pretty good job of being a sympathetic listener to my SIL Bree who called up this afternoon (in the middle of Leelo's shitfest) freaking and rightfully so, about the fact that her older girl, Leanne, just got diagnosed with a mild form of epilep5y. Which almost always hits siblings, and Leanne's has a four-year-old sister. And is carried in families--perhaps it's time for another Leelo MRI or EEG?. I remember how terrifying Iz's febrile seizures were--one time she was altered, and terrified, for hours--and cannot imagine that articles like this are making Bree feel any better. I didn't tell her about a single thing that was going on at our house. Not the time.

Think good thoughts for us, and my niece. And Seymour, who will be thirty-eight tomorrow.

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8.14.2007

Flirting in Cars: A MotherTalk Review Cars: A (Positive; I Swear) MotherTalk Review

My first reaction to the cover of Alisa Kwitney's sneakily clever Flirting in Cars was, "What the f***? This is a fricking Chick Lit Book! They told me it was about a mom dealing with her kid's learning disability! I can't believe I agreed to read a book that I would be ashamed to be seen with in public!"

Books are one of my lifelines, and it pains me to waste time on crappy or frivolous stories. As a result of wanting two kids, ending up with three, and then having one diagnosed with autism, I have found myself in a grueling parenting netherworld whose soundtrack is mostly the soft dribbling of my brain leaking out of my ears. I love my family, but I live a less-than-interesting life. While I will occasionally search for inspiration in the stories of special needs parents who raise hell and/or find peace, I do not otherwise care to read about contemporary women whose lives are compelling enough to spawn a novel. Especially a life that can be summed up with a pair of red heels*:

flirtingincars.jpg

Thankfully Ms. Kwitney has given us a smart book in a silly book's cover.

Flirting in Cars' Zoë Goren is not a chick lit heroine. She is a single parent in her forties; she is intelligent, centered, and refreshingly neurosis-free. She speaks several languages and is an established journalist. She is an independent woman who likes but doesn't moon over men. She isn't waifish, and she isn't worried about it; in fact she is extremely comfortable with both her body and her sexuality. She could care less about shopping or shoes. (If she lived in my area, I would probably follow her around and ask if we could be friends.)

Not to say that Zoë doesn't have worries. Her fractured relationship with her parents is a source of pain. She has to move out of her beloved Manhattan so that her dyslexic daughter Maya can attend a school that helps learning disabled children gain classroom confidence and skills. Also, Zoë both can't and won't drive, which is a problem in her new rural home (hence the title, sort of -- Zoë has to take driving lessons, and finds herself getting involved with Mack, the local who offers them).

Much of the story focuses on Zoë's adjustments to rural life, and her relationship with Mack; there is some not-so-subtle lampooning of both corrupt rural politicians and rich "weekenders." But Ms. Kwitney also contemplates the mindsets of soldiers and veterans, the workings of and our interactions with automobiles, Iraqi culture, environmental issues, the politics of national vs. local businesses, and religion. All of which I enjoyed, and which helped me ignore that awful cover.

I was disappointed by how little of the book actually focused on Maya's dyslexia, or Zoë's somewhat hands-off manner of dealing with it. However the small sections that did describe Maya and her school treated the subjects of learning disabilities frankly, in a sympathetic manner that I hope enlightens both the parents in the book and its readers.

Those who go fishing in the pink section of the bookstore will find Flirting in Cars breezy enough to carry them away to the wonderful land of Women Having Hot, Well-Written Sex With Men Who May Actually Deserve Them. I hope those readers don't mind learning quite a bit about contemporary politics, environmental issues, and special education along the way.

*These shoes may actually be called mules.

This review sponsored by MotherTalk.

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8.12.2007

The Wrong Totoro and YouTube-O-Rama

The Wrong Totoro and YouTube-O-Rama

Everyone knows that Disney re-dubbed Totoro, right? Even though the Fox version was perfectly lovely (and yes, I know the DVD transfer kind of sucks). Everyone also knows that with Disney, we generally get overly shiny and brassy and big and vapid and lowest common denominator. But even that knowledge did not prepare me for the newly re-sung opening theme, which sounds as though this woman mistook her throat for her coochie, and the song for a ping-pong ball:



So, yeah, we're watching lots of YouTube lately. And it's working; Leelo is sitting on the potty longer and longer and longer and is having quite a few BMs there. Here is what he mostly wants me to loop indefinitely, which would be fine if I had an bottomless source of pot to go along with it:



Next is what Mali always wants to watch. ("Umo! Mommy, I need you to help me watch Umo!")



I get it; I love crazy music-making women from Japan, too. But how is it that I didn't know that one of my favorite Cibo Matto songs had a trippy video to go with it? And how embarrasing is it that I had to find out from Entertainment Weekly?



And, oh heavens above, Seymour and Iz are back. I did miss them dreadfully. Seymour even brought me a cool blown glass necklace!

Cool Blown Glass Necklace From Seymour

Almost to bed. I am still on indefinite loop, myself, but will leave you with these two thoughts:

1) If you were to look in my office closet, could you guess what is in the box labeled "Westernmost Products of the Velvet Divorce"?

2) I was born in 1969. Gone With the Wind hit the big screen in 1939. Star Wars will have the same amount of classical distance to kids born this year.

8.11.2007

Hmm.

Hmm.

It is summer; I have a house with a pool, trampoline, view, and a fucking KITTEN, for the love of Pete, but even so I can't find anyone to come visit and save me and my children from myself on this, our last day without Seymour, Iz, or any Leelo help. Guess it's time for cat photos and videos. Or for me to either take a bath or stop whining.

I'm in Yr Province...
Wanted: LOLcatz titlez.
Jo:
We haz big map, im in Canada
Jo: We haz big map, I poopoo in the Pacific


Do videos get titles, too?

Why We Moved

Why We Moved

Check out the world's most serenely happy little boy:



Watching him be so completely at ease with his environment and his body is worth everything we did to get here.

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8.10.2007

Leelo: More Potty Talk!

Leelo: More Potty Talk!

From yesterday's daily record spreadsheet.

Kept trying to get me out of bed from 4:30 to 6:00 AM. Finally came up to me with two [least-creative and therefore really irritating Dr. Seuss] books and said "I want you to read books, Mommy." [The clever little man knows I can't resist such requests from him.]

Pretty good behavior in terms of aggression. Very loopy and manically giggly all day, probably due to lack or sleep and/or cheesy puffs overconsumption.

Two poops in pullups during the night (1 AM, 4:30 AM). Underwear all day. Going every 45 minutes. No accidents. Trying to keep him on the potty for 15 - 30 minutes each time (cheesy puffs, reading books, YouTube). The latter two are preferable as he keeps getting off the pot to tap me and ask for the cheesy puffs. Went poop around 7:00 in the potty with no crouching beforehand (for Babysitter R). No wee hours poops. Yay Leelo!

Dr.M says he has a congestion headache and we should put him on a decongestant for three days. If that doesn't work we may need to up his Claritin. Also his ears have fluid in them but they are not infected.

8.09.2007

Becoming Jane

As I have mentioned too many times before, I've had a stressful stretch what with the moving and the tandem potty training and my autistic son frequently mistaking me for a punching bag. At the moment, even things that would usually make me happy just make me grumpy: the latest Harry Potter movie and book twin treats left me more irritated than sated.

But you know what always makes my heart grow three sizes? A nice dose of righteous indignation. And the new fictionalized Jane Austen biopic, Becoming Jane, has oh-so-many sweet jolts of it. The opportunities for genteel outrage shouldn't surprise any Austen fan -- we are smart romantics with feminist underpinnings, after all, and Austen wrote primarily about the friction between those people who get us, and those people who definitely do not. But it was lovely to be able to experience new Austen-generated irate pleasures without having to sit through yet another filmed version of her novels.

Oh, the carefully worded slights to our smart, kind Jane! Oh, her sharply courteous retorts! No one in her world understands her, except her father and the man she can't have! It's soooooo unfaaaair! And so utterly enjoyable.

Another salve for my bitter, oozing little soul is a well-made period piece, especially one that takes place within the familiar framework of Austenland. Becoming Jane has the costumes, the witty dialogue, the stately homes, the lush country scenery. Though there were a few behaviors that would have been out of place in an Austen story -- such as how Jane's father attempts to disprove her mother's statement that he is nowhere close to perfection -- they felt right for a story about "real" people, Regency-era or contemporary. I sank into the movie, I connected with the characters, I suspended my disbelief, and reached that that Nirvana-like state so craved by overstressed parents: Pure Escapism.

I also got a vicarious thrill from the mad, passionate, doomed romance of Jane and her Mr. Lefroy. I am someone who almost fell in with a Wickham but had the good luck (and the hunting instincts) to end up with a Darcy, and I dearly remember the heady adrenaline rush of my romances in their earliest days. Silly, reckless, young lovers drowning in each other's everything; how I envy them. How I appreciate a movie that can portray them well, and empathetically, without getting soggy.

My only caveat would be that Anne Hathaway's startling beauty distracts from a movie in which the sets, actors, and staging are mostly naturalistic. I am guessing that, as with the filmed version of My Fair Lady, Becoming Jane's producers wanted a bankable star. But Audrey Hepburn blended into her movie's glitzy styling, costuming, and set design; she became Eliza Doolittle, whereas Ms. Hathaway is far glossier than anything else in her film. In her well-made, enjoyable film that should please anyone who has ever wanted more Austen than the author's scant six novels provide.

For more MotherTalk reviews on Becoming Jane, visit www.mother-talk.com.

Grumpy, But.

Grumpy, But.

I think it is okay to be really sad when your husband is away for a week and your autistic son is potty training so you can't ever take your eyes off him lest he takes off all his clothes and shits on the rug or your bed and he finds the whole process so frustrating that he gets very aggro and violent and on top of it all fully six of his weekly therapy sessions get cancelled and also the person who normally helps with him in the afternoon a few times per week will not be doing so for three weeks. And it's not like I want to go off and get my hair fixed or read a book or go anywhere fun. All I want is enough time to get my shit together, post-move, so that the nice people who take away our garbage don't have to call me and remind me to pay them, so that I can reply to all the really kind comments people have left and the 254 emails I've not yet answered, so that I can find the piece of paper that Iz's new teachers sent home with her in June to tell her what to do all summer to prepare for fourth grade which begins August 27th, and to bring my stress level down to a point where my left eye doesn't twitch so much.

Also it turns out Supervisor M wants Leelo to go to a school across a bridge, and that she was not excited about me wanting to put him in a county class that I hadn't yet seen even though DoubleTrouble and mb had good things to say about it and they're super picky. She has a point; she has given me very clear criteria for what Leelo needs in a classroom and I didn't ask any questions about how the County folks take data on IEP compliance, how they comply with behavioral plans, how they measure the kids' progress, etc. I am really feeling like a giant fuckup about Leelo's Fall placement. I also just realized that the school district never provided him with speech or OT over the summer -- and only because another friend sent out an email stating that the same thing happened to her kids, meaning that the district is out of compliance with their IEP (and, so, Leelo's too). I are Special Needs Mother of the Year, I'm telling you.

At least I got to talk to Iz and Seymour today. Iz's dinner tonight was fish & chips featuring a rock cod she caught, she's got a natural knack for Monopoly and is kicking everyone's ass, and she and her dad keep getting to go on hikes where they find secret lakes up in the mountains (with ten different kinds of rainbow-colored fungus) and no one else is ever around. Seymour got all his work crap taken care of before he left Seattle and so is able to enjoy his boating week. When I figured out that Leelo wanted me to scat with him this morning, he came up and gave me a snuggly hug and put his head on my shoulder. And Mali is a cute bug who keeps cupping my face in her hands so she can give me big wet smackers. And I did have babysitting tonight, and got to see a lovely movie (Becoming Jane). So, rah, not everything in my life begets stress.

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8.08.2007

Leelo: Yesterday's Potty Progress

Leelo: Yesterday's Potty Progress

From his daily record spreadsheet:

Underwear all day. Pooped after I put him to bed (around 1 - 2 AM) in pullup. After 30 minutes of sitting on potty, being read to, and watching videos, he pooped in the potty BY HIMSELF without being in any kind of crouching position first. FIRST TIME EVER! Pooped in potty again later on after I caught him crouching and put him on the pot. He had no pee accidents for me, but two for Therapist L.

Some intense aggression when I had to remove him from a preferred activity to go to the toilet [i.e., he hit me in the nose/sinus so hard that I saw stars.]. Also told Therapist L that his ear hurt, and was seeking a lot of pressure on his forehead and nasal sinuses. I am taking him to Dr. M tomorrow to ask about his allergy symptoms [i.e., ask if Claritin is still effective after this many months, whether we should try another allergy med, and possibly for an MRI because he seems to have constant headaches and he can't tell me what he's feeling].
Meanwhile, Mali just came up to me as I was typing this. She smelled like an open sewer. When I asked what was in her pullup, she looked me straight in the eye, shrugged, and said, "Nuffing!"

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8.07.2007

Another Bedhead Morning

Another Bedhead Morning



They're getting better every day. Iz got a huge hunk of her hair trimmed off after this shot was taken; I didn't get a photo but will do so when she gets back from her vacation.

Jump in the Stream of My Consciousness. Watch Out for the Poo.

Jump in the Stream of My Consciousness. Watch Out for the Poo.

Those darling buds of mine are finally asleep. If they do this staying up past 10 PM thing one more day I will put them on someone's doorstep in a box. (But will of course watch from around the corner to make certain that they are actually taken in and loved and didn't run down the street or into traffic.)

I am very cheered by the thought that, no matter what happy or horrible things are happening here on the homefront, Seymour and Iz are off in the wilds of Queen Charlotte Strait and the Broughton Islands, having a fantastic time. Seymour had a minor work quirk that prevented him from boarding his plane in Relaxed Vacation Mode; I hope he managed to find a solution before he left communications range. He did call me after they arrived boatside to let me know that he had already negotiated a decimation of nautical TV time, so perhaps Iz will come home raving more about the things she saw and the things she did than about who won America's Got Talent.

It was our twelfth wedding anniversary yesterday. Happy cool dozen, my love.

Mali became the world's cutest fucking Montessori preschooler today. Witness:

Miss Mali Montessori
(Togs by Plumtickled)

I thought Teacher Anarchy would take to her and declare her Perfect and Darling, as does every other person who encounters her, but no. Our Mali spent the last nine months being a free-range chicken at Iron Gate, and did not appreciate being put in a preschool pen. She did not want to sit on anyone's potty, she did not want to sit still for anything, she did not like being told what to do. She will figure it out, though, once she sees that everyone gets to do whatever they like as long as they follow the rules for doing so. She is unlike her siblings in that she is an environmental learner; she actually notices what other people are doing and follows suit. Witnessing the same daily conga line of other kids going potty, doing "jobs," and sitting for circle time should be enticement enough.

Right now her imitation is mostly centered on copying the bratty brat brat behavior of her older sister. Mali is getting snatchy and rude, demanding, "Hey, those are MY french fries!" instead of her previous "Mommy, can I have some french fries please?," and smirking knowingly when she takes something that doesn't belong to her. But she is still polite when prompted, so I will hope that this phase is tied to her current language and conceptual developmental leaps. Even one week ago, she would not have declared, "I am missing my Daddy" and then known that it was naughty to answer "No" when asked if she missed her big sister, too. Nor would she have responded to my sing-song "Mommy nee-eeds co-ooffee" by piping up from the back seat "..and Mali ne-eeds a made-line"

Still absolutely uninterested in placing anything in the potty, though. Always wants to sit on it, can now recite all the potty books by heart, enjoys discussing the matter at length, but could truly care less about the act. Which means, to me, that she's not ready. Which is certainly FINE, seeing as Leelo is needing almost all of my potty energy these days.

He really is doing well, so very well. Two days ago he had no accidents at all, and waited to poop until he got his pullup on after his bath.

Yesterday he pooped while being a naked swimming boy (his too-big trunks fell off) in the pool with friends. Which was awesome for two reasons: 1) I dragged him into the house and he did a huge big poop in the potty! and 2) Mask-wearing Merlin was actually underwater looking in Leelo's direction when it happened, and he had the very best Caddyshack-level "Doody!" reaction I've ever seen. Hopefully Merlin wasn't traumatized.

Later on yesterday Leelo had a poop accident, but it was my fault as I'd taken my eyes off of him for five minutes even though he'd been doing his sneaky butt-in-the-air in the corner "I'm pooping" position just a few minutes beforehand.

Today he pooped four times. The first time I caught him as he was positioning himself, ran him to the potty, and he pooped in the potty all by himself! FIRST TIME EVER! The second time he had already started but finished in the toilet. The last two times were full-bore accidents. I had no idea he was going to go again, and again, as he normally only poops once or twice per day. But I should have been more watchful; he really doesn't seem to be outputting as much as he is inputting, and it had to come out eventually. Plus I am making sure he gets cod liver oil every damn day, and I'm using cheesy puffs (Pirate Booty) to encourage him to poop, drink his rice milk/vitamins, and take his cod liver oil, and all that tends to grease the chute. I don't think he's quite emptied himself; his tummy still looks quite distended. It looks uncomfortable and is possibly another reason for his awful recent behavior. However I am not encouraging him to push unless he has started trying himself; no need to add hemorrhoids to the mix.

Other good potty indicators: a couple of times he has started walking down the hall towards the potty by himself, he has asked to go "poo-poo for cheesy puffs," and tonight while I was driving him and Mali all over The Peninsula to try to force them to sleep, he called from the back seat, "Push, Mommy!" So I pulled off at the next Burger King and he went to the potty again. No poo production, but still. Wow. (And that Burger King stop is the reason for all the French Fry language above. Though Leelo didn't actually want any.)

Good happy Leelo things today: We had a lot of fun on the trampoline. He is sweet and kind, mostly, in letting his baby sister wrestle with him, and they even get each other to laugh both while playing on the trampoline, and while splashing in the bath, which is wonderful (even though he also smacked her once he'd had enough). He had me play him lots of music on the piano, which is interesting because I can only figure out melodies one key at a time, in C or G, and he kept insisting that I play each tune (Good Night Ladies/Leelo; Totoro Theme; Schubert's Trout) with both hands, one octave apart, ack. Also he still loves the Increasingly Complex Musical Vocalizations game, in which he scats and I have to imitate until I can't keep up. Today's scat words were "garlic" and "onion."

(BTW, I am currently finding both Schubert's Trout and Chopin's Prelude marvelously calming -- even the Beethoven's Wig versions.)

I just realized that we have been in this new house eight weeks. Eight weeks during which my kids have mostly refused to sleep except when I do, during which I've taken three trips (one long, two short), the kids' schedules have been constantly shifting craziness, and Seymour has been working the wacky hours. Why I thought I should have this place already put in perfect shape, who knows.

Another piece of house-happiness felt into place yesterday with a nice satisfying clink, when Ep's Clyde swapped out our dishwashers. (One more example of why it's nice to sell your house to friends. Another is that when Clyde found some sub-dishwasher puzzle and game pieces which, unbeknownst to him, had still been causing me the occasional OCD eye twitch, he brought them over instead of throwing them into the trash and both Leelo and I got to do happy dances.) The swap happened because our house came with the same model of dishwasher Ep and Clyde abandoned when they sold their house. Basically, when we moved into our new homes, they inherited my much-adored new dishwasher, and I inherited a doppelganger of their own beloved. And neither of us were happy.

Knives: A Dishwasher Effectiveness Comparison
Good dishwasher work on left, evil dishwasher work on right.

Dishwasher dissatisfaction may seem minor, and as lame as blogging about a disappointing manicure. (And that is SO an "I bet she won't read this.") But when I am mainlining stress, any extra strain -- such as having to wash the five thousand knives we use each day to make Leelo's PB&J sandwiches even though they've already been through the wash cycle of a super-sniffy extra-fancy dishwasher -- forces the stress to arc out of my eyes and into the nearest light fixture. Fun, but not pretty, to watch. I am so happy to have my good old workhorse back. It is still in fighting shape; it has already easily plowed through the Dried Cheese Sauce on Plate and Peanut Butter on Knife challenges.

And, hey, I finally got 'hold of the County Education director! They have a place for Leelo, in a school that both mb and DoubleTrouble think could be acceptable. It's a segregated (Leelo and friends only) rather than an integrated site, but frankly given Leelo's recent behavior, I'm not sure I want him around kids whose parents don't want him around. Now I just need to get my Deadwood school district contact/facilitator to call me back right now so that we can make it happen A.S.A.P., and so I can let the ALSO folks know not to hold our spot. Assuming the school district approves County over ALSO. The schedule and location are rather unfortunate, but I talked to a friend today who assured me that her child not only tolerates but loves taking the bus. Hmmmm.

It is such a blessing to have friends come over who are comfortable around me and my kids. Jo, Ep, and Clyde kept me company yesterday. The wonderful Liz Ditz was over today, and was totally unfazed by Leelo's giving her three or four big shoves ("Lady, I work with horses and big dogs. This is nothing."), or by the evening's poopfest. Jennyalice, DoubleTrouble, and bunch of the hot mamas and their broods are coming over tomorrow. I miss Seymour and Iz, but am finding that I can weather their absence quite well if I have enough company.

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8.06.2007

Broadsheet Blows a Gasket, Cephalopods Cheer

Broadsheet Blows a Gasket, Cephalopods Cheer

Broadsheet's Rebecca Traister usually keeps her indignation carefully calibrated. Thankfully, today she let out some roman candle-style rage -- and it was wonderfully cathartic for both her and me. Even though the article she reamed was about overprivileged women with three or more kids opting to stay home because it is the cool thing to do.

I Ask You...

I Ask You...

What kind of fucking kids play on a trampoline for two afternoon hours straight and then when you get them bathed and in their jammies and put them in a car and drive from Deadwood to SF, from 8:45 PM to 10:15, assuming that of course they will fall asleep, DO NOT DO SO? Arrrgh!

Raw Autism Trench Blogging

Raw Autism Trench Blogging

It is very hard to muster up the energy to clean one's trashed house when one has spent the entire morning having one's autistic child punch, slap, and pinch one's face, arms, chest, and neck. And who then thinks it's funny when one starts crying. And who hits himself even harder than he hits anyone else. Thankfully he's not yet strong enough to leave bruises from his punches, though my face, arms, and chest are all bright red.

I am so worried about Leelo. Not because I think he'll never be able to leave home, but because he might not be able to stay. I am going to have to talk with Supervisor M about what we can do to manage his violence and aggression -- at this point I don't care if he never becomes potty trained (not that I'm suspending or scaling back those efforts). I am only grateful that he remains very sweet and gentle with Mali -- last night he used great language when she tried riding him in the bath, saying "Get off me, Mali, and tapped her shoulder gently (as Supervisor M and Therapist L have worked so hard to get him to do) and said "My turn, Mali" when she kept stealing his favorite straw even after I asked her not to. But he does hit anyone one else, unpredictably. This means I am worried about taking him anywhere and having anyone over.

I am also not discounting how difficult it is for him to adjust to summer school ending, his therapist being sick on the first weekday afterwards, having to take his baby sister to her first very noisy and crowded day of school, and his dad and big sister being gone for a week.

Anyhow. He just did a great potty session and I promised him french fries. All hail drive-through cuisine.

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8.05.2007

Grabbity Grab Grab Bag

Grabbity Grab Grab Bag

Today is our twelfth wedding anniversary. Yay us! Of course, Seymour is up on a boat near Port Hardy with his parents and Iz. But still, a cool dozen. We did the schmancy dinner at Bella Vista in nearby King's Mountain. It was quite the classic French cuisine throwback treat. And the souffles were from heaven above -- not in the least bit eggy, as Seymour remarked.

Mali is as always cute beyond measure or the camera's abilities. And she starts for-real drop-kick preschool tomorrow. Thankfully the school's toileting policy has been revised since Iz's day, when "go in panties or go home" was the rule. Now they just charge extra money for the kids in pullups.

8.03.2007

Holy Shit on a Shingle

Holy Shit on a Shingle

Potty training is ongoing. I don't ever remember feeling this continuously stressed, but suspect this is because both my long- and my short-term memory have been obliterated. Certainly not getting a damn other thing done. And I think it's stressing Leelo out, too, and making him withhold -- in the last two days his entire output has been a scant handful of pellets. But he has done some pooing in the potty, and didn't have any pee accidents yesterday or today.

Below are daily notes directly copied and pasted from Leelo's daily record as I've no time and Seymour and Iz are leaving for tomorrow for a week boating with Seymour's parents (with my blessing; his folks built their boat for luring family and friends to sea, and there's no point in all five of us staying home just because Leelo isn't boat-compatible). Herewith:

WED 8/1

Underwear 6:30 AM - 8:30 PM. Well now. Did very well staying dry until school. Accident at school. Was placed in pullups; had poop in those. When we returned home and I returned him to underwear, he had a major hissy fit. Took him into the pool; he pooped there. Took him out of the pool and put him on the potty where he peed nicely; then he ran into the backyard and peed on the trampoline. Did very good poops in the potty for Seymour with juice as reinforcer (***EPIPHANY***). Had two more huge poops after being put in bed (with pullup). [Killed three or four outfits and at least one set of sheets.]

Very kindly and spontaneously handed a water bottle to Mali in the car when she asked him to. No external prompting or repeeating of her request. Beat the holy hell out of me when I put him back into underwear after a mid-day pullup stint.

Very good asking to "put diaper back on" when I put him in underwear in the afternoon (he had an accident at school and I had forgotten to take the pullups out of his backpack).

THURS 8/2

Underwear all day. Naked during break b/t morning therapy and summer school. Only accident was when naked and ran into living room and peed on futon right after peeing in toilet (random). Some poops in the potty at night for Babysitter K, but not much. He is trying to push really hard, though. No night poops.

Asked Seymour for "No kiss" as Seymour was leaving for work,which meant that he wanted a kiss. Still adding "please" to the end of all sentences.


FRI 8/3

Underwear all day. No accidents doing toilet intervals of 30 - 45 minutes, even during errands (dropping Iz off at camp, etc.). Trying to use cheesy puffs & juice as reinforcer. He is having a rough time producing poo even with lots of trying. I am worried that he is getting blocked up.

Trying to give him more fiber & oil.

Very pleased to see that he now always wipes the fronts and backs of his hands on towels (I've only been working with him on it for three years) while reciting to himself "fronts and backs...fronts and backs...")

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8.02.2007

Reunion Final Recap

Reunion Final Recap

Okay, so here is the short version of the reunion. I'm never going to get to anything longer:

  • Gwen Stefani didn't come. No surprise; she was very shy in high school.
  • A bunch of the very nicest people I know got divorced. Their exes have to be the stupidest fucking people on earth.
  • I love Dee so much!
  • A lot of people looked like hell, but all the people we hung out with looked amazing. I think Mr. Bakery, Dee's partner, and Godfather M were among the few men who didn't look bloated and partially melted. But most people were quite nice.
  • Two people who hung out with me when I was wee but figured out by 5th grade that I was a geek and dropped me cold wanted to come up and reminisce about Good Times. Uh, okay. I guess I'm still slightly bitter! Yay for maturity!
  • The people I really loved in junior/high school but haven't seen in, oh, forever? I still think they're wonderful and we still get along amazingly well. Will have to try to be better about keeping connected.
  • Two guys I've always really respected turned out to be major comix junkies. We were working through some small talk, one of them mentioned that he was missing Comic-Con, we other two yelled out in anguish, "I KNOW!," and the conversation took a deep plunge into Geekland. Will have to follow up with them, too. Especially since I couldn't remember that the reason for reading Runaways (which one of them hadn't read) was that it was another Brian K. Vaughan project like Y: The Last Man (which we all keep up with).
  • Anasleim is still a shithole. But now it's a shithole be-ringed by Starbucks.
  • God do I not miss Orange County.
Now, I didn't want to go to this reunion. Not because it conflicted with BlogHer, because last year's local event proved that I am even less voluble or socially enabled than advertised, and I ain't paying money to go to fricking Chicago just to remind myself how well I suck at conferences in which I have no role. No, indeed, I didn't want to go because I honestly was not interested in seeing anyone from my high school whom I wasn't already still in touch with, nor did I feel like hanging out with a bunch of people who would spend the entire evening, as they did at the last reunion, wondering whether or not Gwen Stefani is going to show up. Besides, Hayley had offered to let me be her roommate at Comi-Con, a conference at which my role would be clear: I would be her partner in mainlining fangirl-strength geekitude. And her job set her up with cool passes to cool events.

But I am glad I went to the reunion. The people I did hook up with again, they were worth it. And there is nothing better than getting to hang out with Dee and her crew, except maybe hanging out with Giddy AND Dee AND their crews. I just wish my boy was in a space where both of my boys could have come along, too.

8.01.2007

Reunion Weekend Continued ... Oh, Wait, Someone Peed on the Floor

Reunion Weekend Continued ... Oh, Wait, Someone Peed on the Floor

Seymour, bless his proactive soul, decided while I was off reunioning that as long as he had a weekend with Leelo all to himself, he might as well put our boy on the All Undies, All the Time wagon train. Then Seymour went back to work.

I was slightly surprised by the change in schedule, but fortunately am in a state of continuous daze, and adjusted well. Besides, I agree with Seymour that there is no going back.

Leelo is making a good effort for the most part, as long as we take him to the potty at least every 45 minutes. The only accidents that occurred on my watch happened when that time frame was breached, which means that I am becoming increasingly alert, and that is not a bad thing.

Leelo won't poo in the pot, though; he holds it all day (or until we take our eyes off him for a moment and he can lie down and stick his butt in the air) and waits until after he gets to put on his bed-time pullup. I am worried that this kind of withholding could lead to encopresis, but am willing to stick it out for a few weeks at least. I think that the withholding itself indicates that he has the necessary control for full-fledging toileting, and that once he realizes the all-underwear concept is a permanent lifestyle change rather than a phase, he will start doing what he needs to do. All ten fingers crossed.

At the moment Leelo only leaves the house to go to school, and we make very few stops along the way. When we're home, I have him and Mali spend as much time naked as they can, but regardless have to watch Leelo constantly to make sure he's not perched or standing on anything absorbent (e.g., the futon currently serving as our couch). I have also checked out every single potty-related book at the public library and stacked them next to the toilet, and read as many as Mali and Leelo will tolerate while they do their every-45-minute potty time. Mali even produced a miniature turd today, though she seemed mostly unaware.

So, busy. If you want to see me then you'll most likely need to come to my house. But it's for the greater good; it may be that our family is heading towards a diaper- and pullup-free future. That would be blissful indeed.

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