Beer: The New Coffee?

Maybe I've been going about this coffee-as-crutch thing all wrong. It doesn't get me through these newly overscheduled days; it just makes me too hyper to decide which of five thousand neglected tasks should come first.

Now, a beer--that gets me to relax and realize that the taskload is irrelevant, that it's much more fun to play with kids or partner. Maybe if I put the beer in one of those opaque traveler coffee mugs...


Addendum 10 hours later

Okay, okay. Jo and Ep slapped me around for that last one. I can never properly write out my thoughts anyhow. Part of why I'm more a lurker than a joiner. But:

I want Iz to enjoy her abilities, rather than use them as competitive tools. I don't want her to get freaked out when she meets someone who matches or exceeds her skills or knowledge--I want her to be excited that she's found someone to learn with or from.

And I surely don't want to beat the confidence out of her--her self-assurance is amazing and I respect it even though it's foreign to me. I hope she retains it through puberty--she's going to need it if she inherits my twin rockets along with that awesome Portuguese butt her dad already gave her.

In conclusion: If she's going to be a smart-assed little shit, she'd better have the chops to back it up. That's all.


Leelo is sitting next to me, mushing up playdoh. He just turned to me and said "The playdoh is yummy!" Good: Totally spontaneous. Bad: Full of gluten.
The Reading

Here's the deal with my freaking out over Isobel's reading: I don't want her to be a performing monkey. She is the offspring of two performing monkeys; we lived for the applause as children. Especially Seymour, who still gets that extra-bright tone in his voice when he thinks he's the center of attention. As delicious as he is, this particular behavior is not so cute when you're 34.

There is a lot of projecting going on here, granted. But I am worried, worried, worried that Iz gets back flips and candy from observers just because she can read--people don't ASK her about what she's reading, or participate with her. And she stands there on her imaginary pedestal and eats it all up with a big googly grin. Meanwhile I am chasing Leelo around in the background or concocting something inedible for his lunch--I don't have time to be a proper guide, to explain what reading means.

I want her to read for the love of it, to go deep and come up gasping, to work hard for the epiphanies that blow her world off its axis, to immerse herself in alternate realities so vivid that she never really leaves them. I wish this understanding for everyone, really. Maybe then they'd leave me alone when I'm reading.

I don't want her to be like her dim mother, who was told she was smart for reciting book lists, was never was asked to discuss anything, read too much of what she thought she was supposed to read instead of what she loved, and finally cracked in her teens, falling under the spell of Stephen King and V.C. (shudder) Andrews. I am still recovering.

Maybe Iz doesn't need my help. Maybe she can figure this out on her own. But genetically, the showoff tendency is there, and I don't have time to track it down and stamp it out. So, think good thoughts for our girl and her wandering, rootless mind. And if you see her, ask her about the latest thing she's read. Don't just ask for its title.


Therapist F, Back From Vacation

Therapist F came back from vacation today. Leelo was delighted to see her and had a great session. Supervisor M came over too and we had the second of what will be our twice-monthly meetings. Went over lots of things such as needing to model greetings by identifying people with "Hi, Dorkface" or whatever their name is, as Leelo now greets people with "That's Dorkface!" Also was reminded that I am a total fuck-up as I was supposed to gather and print out all sorts of pictures for "social stories" about what Leelo and his friends do during a day. I blame my PalmPilot--it refuses to recognize my handwriting, and so I refuse to record reminders or lists. Will do the pictures thing by Monday.

Fellow solider MB sent me an interesting article comparing the symptoms of mercury poisoning with those of autism (with the caveat that it's written by a true believer). Woo. MB and I also discovered that we are both Rh negative, and were given Rhogam shots containing Thimerasol during our pregnancies (the mercury-containing vaccine fixative is no longer used). Fuck for the fortieth time. Leelo will start heavy metals chelation in a few months, after Dr. Prattle feels the boy's gut will be able to take it.

Leelo is sitting in his high chair yelling at his Thomas the Tank Engine book. He keeps putting his finger on Harold the Helicopter's mouth and commanding "Shhh! QUIET!"

I hate being the one in charge of all the house crap. Part of being the domestic as opposed to the laborer, I suppose, but it is TEDIOUS. I tore down the hideous gray blinds that came with our house weeks and weeks ago, because they added those scale-tipping extra grains of depression. Now the snotty neighbors can watch me spill cereal on the couch whenever they want. I hate this too, but haven't had the energy to deal with it all. However, Leelo is distracted by the view so I've been told to get a move on. Sigh. We are aiming for inexpensive yet professionally installed, since we are cheap yet inept.

Hate house crap and am fuck up version 2: Just got a notice from our home insurance company informing us of cancellation due to non-payment. Whoops yet again. Didn't I pay that? Maybe I really should stop organizing my office by piling all the papers on the floor, giving it a good stir, then seeing what floats to the top.

All that new music finally arrived (well, new to me. I am usually 5-10 years behind). Dressy Bessy is as perky as advertised. St. Etienne's Good Humor is a tonic for the wounds that accompanied the sucking of The Cardigan's second U.S. release. April March pains my ears in the manner of Julie Brown yet I can't stop listening. Must be something subliminal happening there.

Happy discovery: LH knows the lyrics to ...Birth Control and Beer! (Before I had children, this was the only non-show tune I knew by heart.) Now I don't have to go to Indiana to find someone to sing along!



Beautiful sight: Decidedly anti-glamour moms Me, Jo, Ep, and LH all standing on the lawn outside Iz's school. Not protesting--we all have kids there now. We are taking over!

Another beautiful sight: Big round orangey Mars at 5:00 A.M.


God, I love Sebastopol

The first car we parked next to had a BUSH LOST! bumpersticker. Another one read "We the People Have Spoken. All Five of Us." Nearby a billboard proclaimed: "War Is Good! Don't Believe What You Read!" Our hosts told us that the Green Party has taken over the city council. Grape growers may rule the county, but they lay low here because they're considered well-desiccating lower demons. Frostily hostile restaurant-goers are reminded that they're the ones who strayed over the Wine Country boundary by waiters who pointedly and loudly remark: "Oh, we just LOVE children; in fact all of us have small children."

Oh yeah, love them hippie freaks. But not the flaky ones (and they too are legion, one must be careful). I love the ones who groove with the land and grow their own pure, grubby food. Comb and spin their own yarn from their own goats. Reason: in the aftermath of a nuclear catastrophe, I will have nothing to barter with unless my ovary (only running on one cylinder these days) still functions. These are good people to emulate.

Leelo and Iz (and Iz's fiance M) had a great time poking around the farm we stayed at, poring over bunny shit, feeding horses and sheep, gathering chicken eggs. We parents (including M's recently-divorced mom H) were all coming off of brain-numbing weeks and were too tired to stay up all night drinking and chatting like we normally do. It was a curiously subdued weekend. Not to mention a blazingly fucking hot one.

Spent some time on the coast. Checked out an arts and crafts fair. Good to know that I can gain another 200 pounds and still find plenty of tie-dye to wear. The kids got all sorts of wet sand in all sorts of places and were happy, happy, happy.

Leelo had a great time, even without his beloved TiVo. We got him a drum and he spent oh a WHOLE lot of time playing that (good thing our house was isolated). He also busied himself by making his stuffed animals act out scenes from Max and Ruby (hard to decipher exactly what he was saying, but there was lots of "Max," "Ruby," and "chocolate chicken" going on). His diet and supplements were fairly portable, and we only forgot about one or two of them amidst the vacation madness. Worrisome: he started biting himself hard enough to leave marks (infrequent, but ACK!). Is this his way of letting us know that he's hungry all the time? He does seem to be losing weight.

Iz and M had a great time. Following M's lead, they put on lots of shows for us. Iz discovered a copy of "Where The Sidewalk Ends" and was in heaven (Sebastopol moment: she told a local man what she was reading, and he told her that Shel Silverstein got his start drawing for Playboy).

I ran off a lot in the mornings before everyone else got up, and made for the corner cafe. There I sipped heavenly organic Italian coffee and wondered why the fuck I was making myself read Bill Bryson. But it probably wouldn't matter what book I was cursing at; I get very little pleasure out of pleasure reading these days.

Books are no longer the crutch they used to be--I get angry with them all for sucking or failing me. Even the froth, which is what I prefer at the moment. Examples: Mr. Bryson fails because he labors for each laugh, gets tired, and his mean streak comes through. Then he aims for fat people and other easy targets. The silly detective novels that Ep keeps feeding me fail because they always, always wrap things up too hastily (same with Nancy Farmer). I don't trust V.S. Naipaul anymore, even though his writing is spare and clear--he no longer even tries to temper his misogyny or racism. The latest Harry Potter was a good escape, and I get a kick out of the Buffy comic books--but the latter are too short. Sigh. Maybe I should just keep re-reading Cryptonomicon and A Little Princess indefinitely. That way I'll never be disappointed.

Grouching off now.


Leelo spent the morning pretending to go on an Easter egg hunt (Max and Ruby again). He used a bunch of colored balls for the eggs. Said "I want the caterpillar book!" Pointed at the hole in the middle of the caterpillar book and said "that is a circle!" Pointed at apples in the book and said "I see apples!" When I said "I see apples, too," he said "I see the pears!" All progress.

Still has never said "yes."


Mi Cerebro Es Como Un Tamiz

This eejit's fourth round of Spanish I began tonight! This time I swear I will pay attention to where the accents go and why.

Spanish I four times, you say? Well:

Round I (college, 1990): Took Espanol I because I thought I was going to have a solely Spanish-speaking mother-in-law. Halfway through the quarter I decided that no, in fact, I was not going to spend my life chained to that woman or her son, changed the grade to Pass/Not Pass, and stopped paying attention. Scraped by with a P. Retained phrase: "Tengo un gato muerto."

Round II (community college, 1996): Plugged along nicely until a pesky ectopic pregnancy slapped me with emergency surgery and then bed rest for two weeks. I was too hazily happy to remember to call in my excuses to El Profesor (go Vicodin go!). My butt got dropped from the class automatically.

Round III (extension course, 2000): Paid enough attention to go at real-world conversations like a monkey with a machete. Can now converse with Spanish-speaking individuals, but they spend the entire exchange wincing, or pleading "En Ingles, por favor." Ignored those accent rules again, so start relying on an online translator for written communications. Horrible misunderstandings result.

Round IV (community college one more time, 2003): Iz is going to start bilingual kindergarten in one year, so this is my last chance. Now or never. Otherwise our girl will be muttering "tonto" at me under her breath within three months of starting la escuela.


Some good Leelo news today! Definitely some cognitive leaps:

-If I start to sing, he yells "No!" at me. Eventually it becomes a game, with him yelling/laughing at me by note #3. This is some serious interaction from our boy, and totally self-initiated--this behavior was neither modeled nor prompted. He'd just had enough of his tone-deaf mom and her show tunes, and realized that it was in his power to make the pain stop.

-The refried beans I was supposed to make last week finally happened tonight. I tried to get him to eat them: "Look, Leelo! Mmm, beans! Yummy, yummy beans!" He looked me straight in the eye and said "No beans. Bye-bye, beans. Beans are all done." Yes, I know those are called beans; no, I'm not going to eat them no matter how much you prance about; get those things out of my face! Again, spontaneous language, and most importantly throwing back in my face a word I was in the process of introducing to him.

Tiny, teeny, glimmers of hope! I'll take them all!

He's had serious liquid stench bottom, though. Dr. Prattle thinks he might be reacting to the NutriBiotic grapefruit seed extract part of the anti-yeast program, so we'll take him off that and see what happens. Tomorrow is his last day of Diflucan anti-yeast medication. That means by Friday he'll only be on Lactobaccilus, Nystatin, and DGST powder. Any reduction in the complexity of his routine is good.

We are off to the dreamy, happy, agri-hippie, nuclear-free zone that is Sebastopol. Back in four days.



Great. Scabby the cat is barfing all over the kitchen floor. This is preferable to her barfing on the bedroom carpet in secrecy and me stepping on it barefoot and in the dark, but only just. And it's still preferable to walking/scooping up after a smelly slobbery dog.

Leelo was spaced-out boy yesterday. Nuttiness episodes were noticeable, and even commented on by friends. Goddammit. Is he just warped from lack of calories/refusing to eat any of the crappy crap we're trying to feed him? Finally experiencing a yeast die-off? Reacting to the gluten I let him have two days ago? He is tired, tired, tired and sad, sad, sad. Today he seems a bit more focused and clear-headed.

He is a stubborn little man. Refusing to give greetings that he knows perfectly well. Is he bored? Therapist L is almost done with her training and Therapist F will be back next Wednesday; the fully outfitted version of his ABA program will then start in earnest and he won't have the time to consider his lack of options.

ABA sessions with Iz home (afternoons) are not fun. She does not like being stuck downstairs and I don't like arguing with her about it. Going to get that damn yurt. I am not kidding.

Cousin-in-law F is home and on the mend. Still weak from blood loss. He has an extended, loving family at home and couldn't be in better recovery circumstances. Plus his son can run the shop during the convalescence.

Re-read the last whiny, bitchy, wallow-y post. Come to think of it, I have it pretty good compared to the group of friends/moms I ran into at the park on Monday. One recovered from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma between the births of her two small children (the oldest is 4 1/2). Another has a child with anaphylactic-grade food allergies. Still another's child is also going through ABA therapy, but in this case the mom had to compromise her career/identity to stay home and make it all happen. A fourth recovered from uterine cancer before she had her kids, and now has a husband whose work contract specifies no fewer than 50 hours per week--she and her kids never see him (oh, wait, she didn't get to come because her oldest contracted a mystery barfing bug). A fifth has a husband who just got laid off from a niche field, and whose employment opportunities seem to be limited to Finland or Sweden. And there's KV from the last post, who at this point considers herself a single mom. All these people are perfectly functional, socially, so what the fark is my deal? Some of them are introverts, too, so that's not an excuse.

Uh, we're doing great! Just fine.


Socially Induced Catatonia

Friday: Diana summoned me. I warned Seymour. He assured me that the great god Apollo will protect him as he does every month. Everyone else should probably just stay out of my way.

Later: LH and co. threw ice cream social. So, sent social parts of family (Iz and Seymour) while Leelo and I stayed home and Leelo got to knaw on DAN-sanctioned dried corn husks instead of howling for ice cream that he can't have. We played Teletubbies a LOT. He never did pretend play of this sort before, so I am yawning in fascination rather than boredom.

Saturday we celebrated Seymour's birthday. Threw party/BBQ for him and his bike riding/chess playing/bird watching buddies. No cake so as to avoid torturing Leelo. Sang Happy Birthday To You at least three times due to Leelo's requests. Fun, but it all happened in my house so I am even more exhausted and scowly by the time it's over. Attending friend KV needs emotional support--her partner is deep into a medical fellowship that has him out the door by 6 A.M. and rarely back before 9 P.M. They have two kids, younger than ours. He says to her "KV, what would I do without you?" She says "See your kids a lot more often since you'd have 50% custody." I don't think he realized how tightly clenched her teeth were. I will lure her down here more frequently. I fall asleep on couch. Hagiography candidate Seymour cleans up after his own party.

Sunday morning (Seymour's real birthday): Iz's Godfather M coaxes ambrosia and nectar down from the clouds for Seymour's birthday bruch. Unfortunately (from my, silent-for-the-day, perspective) we have to go to The City to be served said delicacies. Godfather M's pad should be on the top-10 list of least child-friendly places in The City for its rickety hanging-in-the-air-three-stories-above-concrete back porch alone (also: we are suburban poofs). We bring high chair for sequestering Leelo, which makes this the most pleasant trip to Godfather M's place yet.

Sunday afternoon: We get home. Seymour goes on bike ride. I call Ep's house to find out when Jo's birthday party starts, and am told that it started 20 minutes ago. Yup. Madly slap homemade CD package together and rush over. Ability to fake non-grouchiness has completely eroded by this point. I wander around after Leelo and glower at everyone, even at poor birthday girl Jo when she opens up my present in front of everyone. There is a surfeit of damn good Indian food (at the restaurant, Jo's partner SS was handed another group's order in addition to his own). Leelo howls for naan bread. Well, we weren't going to really go gluten-free until this week. Delighted boy gets to snarf three pieces of his very favorite food. Then he goes back to playing, and makes poor naked Madeline ride a giraffe bareback. She didn't act that way in the orphanage...

Today: I am incapable of normal functioning. Haven't had a good chunk to myself for far, far too long and it shows. Example: went to store to get desperately needed menstrual gear. Bought everything but. Am reduced to scavenging backpacks and suitcases for emergency supplies. Worse example: cannot work up the energy to play properly with Leelo, or Iz for that matter. Video-rama. Worst example: Seymour's cousin F, who we visit several times a year, had his throat slashed last night during an attempted robbery (nice safe small town they live in). The thugs missed both his carotid and windpipe, but he lost close to too much blood. Did I remember to call today for an update? Did I even remember that the event had happened? No. I did not. I remembered that that poor guy got his head cut off by the elevator, though, the story of which got lots of excellent gasps and squirms at the park. This is the brain that is managing Leelo's return from autism land. This is why I've enlisted so much professional help for him.
Saddest Boy

Leelo really, really dislikes his new food choices. Spends much time seeing how much of them he can throw on the ground before we'll intervene. He approaches his meals listlessly, and sits there with an expression suggesting that he's awaiting electroshock therapy. Sad, sad boy.

Sure makes him talk a lot, though. He's been saying words we didn't even know he knew, like "yogurt?" or "watermelon?" Too bad we can't reinforce him on these. Retired ABA therapist extraordinaire JM says we should reinforce him verbally for using the language, but explain to him that he can't have what he's asking for. Sigh.

One bright spot: He will eat guacamole without lime juice in it. So, we have greenness and nice fatty goodness for our boy. Two big missing pieces of the otherwise rice-bread green-apple and nut-butter puzzle. Still trying to figure out additional menu items--he likes NOTHING.

Dark spot: Amazake rice shakes are so "naturally sweet from the rice" that they have 30g of sugars per 8 oz serving. Fuck! All the yeasties in Leelo's gut were probably ecstatic for the reprieve. Still figuring out the intricacies of label-reading--none of the rice shake's listed ingredients are sugars, and it didn't occur to me to review the percentage/by weight breakdown for discrepancies. Bastards.

This past weekend has me so wiped that I have to be careful not to sit down too long lest I fall asleep. More coffee!! Details later.


Help Me, Obi Wan Kenobi

Isobel and I are hiding downstairs while Leelo and Therapist L conduct their first-ever extended session of 3.5 hours.

Iz has discovered my old Princess Leia doll, so I have spent the last while valiantly trying to recreate hairstyles from the doll's box, e.g., Solar Swirls and Lunar Loops (I suck with the hair creativity, which is why I sport the ol' Wash, Comb, & Go). Who the hell were these doll stylists, I'd like to know? They must have made a special thick-haired styling doll for the box shots, since the moment you try to separate any part of our doll's hair, you get patches of bare plastic scalp and she looks all mangey. Overall, though, our hero is in great shape and has brushable, glossy hair. Not like poor old Jaime Sommers, whose hair is one big matty tangle and whose rubbery bionic parts skin overlays have long since powderized. Hard to believe they were both made by Kenner.

Uh-oh, now Iz is singing a song called "Jaime Sommers Has No Arms."


Seymour and I manage or are technical contacts for about eight URLs. The contact email adresses for these sites get spammed like nothin' you've ever seen. Usually I scan the headers to see just what today's version of GET THAT B1G H A R D PENI5 is going to be, or to marvel at the free-form spellings. But today was the first time I've received a flat-out extortion attempt:

We have just charged your credit card for money laundry service in amount of $234.65 (because you are either child pornography web master or deal with dirty money, which required us to laundry them and then send to your checking account).
If you feel this transaction was made by our mistake, please press "No".
If you confirm this transaction, please press "Yes"

They then ask us to fill in our credit card info. Well, I guess I'll go ahead and do that. Then I'll open up the attachment that came with the email. What should I do after that?


In other news, my brother is back from a year in Afghanistan. His wife and 18-month-old son are elated, as are we all. You would think this Arabic-speaking night-paratrooping Army Ranger would have been in Iraq long ago, possibly even just because he wrote his 1990 masters thesis on the the threat posed by Sadaam Hussein, but no. The Army doesn't allocate its resources that way. Now, I do not want my brother to go to Iraq--I don't think the U.S. should be there in the first place--but the Army is desperate for Arabic speakers. And if they can't properly manage their own people, how are they supposed to manage the occupation of Iraq?


Love that Likker

One of those days. Bolted at the first chance and had a stiff drink (stiff for this lightweight, anyhow). By myself. The ingredients for said drink will never materialize in my house, lest I become a sloshy I love you sweetie darling give mommy a hug afternoon tippler mom.

Iz was being a true live horror (oh, you're on the phone? I will pee all over this stool while telling you that I am having an 'accident') and I just had to leave. Apparently she was then a happy girl for the world's best babysitter, CS. Maybe Iz is taxed--Teacher A mentioned that Iz somehow skipped a typical six-month figuring-out-reading period (?), so perhaps her brain is running too hot. I will get her some popsicles tomorrow.

Possible results of new diets/supplements: Leelo is calling people by their names without prompts, and running up to them with requests and hugs. Magnificent eye contact, although still only when he initiates it. A whole lot more purposeful play (mostly acting out Teletubbies episodes). Another side effect: no poop in over a day. He's usually a multi-event boy. Uh-oh.

Seymour is out playing chess with bud LM. I hope he returns before the dam breaks.

Nowhere to Run

One of the side effects of this ABA schedule is that there's always someone about to come over. Which means that I can never really let my house devolve into the comfortable cluttered mess that makes me so happy--that same mess gives me an absolute complex and heart palpitations if it gets invaded. We have far too much crap in a too-little house, and I lack the energy to get the house really tidy, so we're always somewhere in the middle (cleared surfaces, big piles of crap in the corners) and I am totally stressed out IN MY OWN HOUSE. Not to mention my issues with people trying to be helpful and putting things away in the wrong places. Basically, if you come over to my house unannounced and you're not JP, Jo, or LH (all of whose housekeeping tendencies are more like mine), I will fall over and start twitching.

I think I might have a partial solution: Build a deck for a yurt over in the corner of the yard. Where the snobby neighbors can see it and be totally appalled but it'll be out of everyone else's view--well, except for the sullen axe-murderer candidate whose cabin overlooks our driveway. He's unfriendly so fuck him. Either Leelo and the therapy crew could do their thing there, or I could use it as a refuge/batik studio/yoga area (I am hoping to lure a yoga instructor and another student or two over here during afternoons when Leelo's in session, seeing as I'm not supposed to leave).

The really enticing part about the yurt is that we wouldn't have to get a permit since yurts are temporary structures The snobby neighbors would just have to buck up and get used to living next to eco-leaning freaks. They've already commented about the fact that we let our grass die in the summer. I know at least one of them was born and raised in the neighborhood--how they can be so ignorant about water (over)use in this parched land is beyond me. Their lawn is the size of an olympic swimming pool, and just as useful to a family of five. Malicious me thinks they use their lawn less than they normally would since it looks down into our yard and there's an off chance that we might try to talk to them.

Fuck. The Frantic Fish is eyeing me again, as best she can from inside her grubby little tank. She is going to get adopted out, along with the hot tub that came with our house and hasn't been used since September.

I have promised Iz that we'll try to make it a "Yes, Isobel" day. In contrast to yesterday, which was almost 100% "No Isobel," and "Maybe Later, Isobel." Who the fark cares if her mom is totally slogged. This means we'll be watching a whole lot of videos, and cooking too. Strangely, this past weekend while Seymour was patiently and altruistically watching the sprogs, Iz decided she wanted to read by herself for almost the entire time. By the time I came back she had memorized most of an entire book of Mother Goose rhymes. Her teacher A says she's plowed through a good portion of the school's books already. I wonder why she doesn't read like this around me as much? She prefers to nag for videos, or have me read to her. I am going to introduce her to When We Were Very Young so she can go around like I did chanting "James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby George Dupree..."

So far Leelo hasn't had any side effects from all the supplements/meds. His cheeks smell a bit like stale urine--maybe that's the smell of dead/dying yeast? He is recently scrubbed, so maybe he's been diddling and then rubbing his face, but I doubt it--his diapers seem secure around the waist.

The supplement regimen is going okay. It takes at least 20 minutes longer to give him each meal, what with all the dispensing, dosing, and mixing--so I've been even more late for everything than usual. If he refuses to drink or eat all of something that's been dosed, them I'm just screwed since I don't know how much of the supplement he's ingested and can't re-dose. Also, he isn't that excited about his current meal selections, so I have to buckle him into his highchair and place him in front of TiVo if I want him to try anything new. Eventually he forgets to look at what's on his plate and just starts shovelling it in--but this takes at least 40 minutes.

Also: it's really great that he finally tried the dried blueberries, but I just realized that they were the only fruit besides bananas that came out positive on his allergies test. Whoops! Well, he seems to be mouthing the dried raspberries. And hey now, he's actually drinking an Amazake hazelnut/rice shake. Wake the guards!

Watched silly movie But I'm a Cheerleader last night. Great soundtrack (April March, Dressy Bessy, etc.)! I will buy it! Oh wait, there is no soundtrack CD and I already deleted the movie so I can't rewind the credits. Goddammit. Ah well, I will watch the next selection, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Holy shit on a shingle, that is Elrond/Agent Smith in the Dolly Parton wig crooning "I've Been to Paradise but I've Never Been to Me." Um, he's just not very pretty. Sorry, Hugo. Guy Pearce seemed so funny last time I saw it; this time his every lip-purse and hip-wag looks studied. But it was verging on wee hours and I am just fuck-all grouchy-assed these days.

Today I swear to start putting real effort into a low-cholesterol diet. I would prefer to avoid the quad- and quintuple-bypass heart surgeries that my dad and his brother just had. So, this morning I bid a fond, lingering farewell to my beloved fried eggs with steamed rice. Perhaps we'll meet again when I inevitably slip and go on a high-cholesterol bender.


No Sugar For You!

Today the first really big axe fell. We are formally on an anti-yeast regimen. I have read that this makes kids go ballistic when the yeasties die off and flood the body with mood-altering toxins. Therapist F, who left for a two-week vacation yesterday, was delighted to hear that we didn't have time to start the anti-yeast deal before she left--I suspect she's witnessed this program before and prefers to be on the other side of the Pacific Ocean for the truly nasty bits.

As of today Leelo is taking the following supplements/meds:

Nystatin 2x/day
Diflucan 1x/day
DGST 3x/day
Nutribiotic 1x/day
Lactobaccilus 1x/day

He is also totally off sugar (which means, for instance, that I got to spend a good part of our morning meal picking the raisins out of his non-dairy no-sugar power roll). Woo-hoo! No jam, no cookies, ketchup is teetering on the edge of acceptability except as camoflauge.

Here's the official nyah-nyah, you can't have it list as of today:

Sugar/sugar substitutes

So far the things that are OK for Leelo to eat on his fully implemented diet (i.e., all the above plus gluten) and that he will eat are:

Almond Butter
Pear Juice
365 Chips--sometimes
French Fries--sometimes
Dried Blueberries--sometimes

Oh, wait--holy shmolies, he just ate some of that god-awful GFCF rice bread from Whole Foods! So there's that.

You see why we're loathe to give up the gluten.

Today I intend to experiment with refried beans. The boy can eat meat, even though he has always refused to do so, and I have yet to meet a human being who can refuse homemade, bacon-greasey refried beans (except Ep, who is the only truly dedicated yet not bombastic veg-head I've ever met).

I believe I have reached the 'acceptance' stage of transitioning to this diet and think it'll be OK. I just hate having complex inflexible constant scheduling. One of the reasons I chose to stay home with the sprogs--I don't deal well with external impositions on my time.


Hat in Hand

New diet will start tomorrow (eesh!). Here's the letter we sent out, begging everyone to please not feed Leelo donuts and milk:

Hey Folks,

Starting tomorrow, Leelo is going to be on an extra-strict diet.

There are many reasons we are trying this approach. The main reason is that
we think (and have run multiple medical tests that indicate that) Leelo's GI
tract has become inflamed due to his 15-20 or so courses of antibiotics.
This has led to an overgrowth of candida yeast, and a "leaky gut" that
allows undigested food molecules to pass through the intestinal barrier into
his bloodstream, where his body attacks them as allergens or they are
converted into opiate-like substances that make him loopy. Sugar in
particular feeds the yeast and exacerbates the situation. You can read more
about why and how come at:


Our write up of Leelo's specific condition, following our last meeting with
Leelo's doctor, can be found via the link below. For the list of specific
foods Leelo can't eat, see the "Modify Diet" section of the page.


Ideally, Leelo will only be on this diet for six, or at the most nine months.
Then, once his gut is healed, we'll start reintroducing foods one by one and
see if he can tolerate them. Hopefully he'll be back to his regular five
foods in less than a year.

We are asking for your help in keeping Leelo on this diet. He truly cannot
have any foods other than those we give him, or give our permission to give
him. No slipping the cute little guy cookies because he asks for them "just
this once." Please please please!

Once we get Leelo to eat all these new foods (and he's already starting), our
life will become routine. We already had to bring his own food to
restaurants anyhow, so--with the exception of Indian restaurants where he can no longer
go because he will shriek for a lassi and naan bread--our life won't change
that much.

Thanks in advance for all your help. Having such an amazing support network
is making all the difference for us!

Let me know if you have any questions.




Marvellous news: Therapist L starts Tomorrow! Bless her, bless the powers that be, bless everyone! Me: Exhaling in a big way! Unclenching buttocks!!

Had faboo time in Santa Carla. Folks there lo-ove their hippie peacenik bumperstickers; knowing that we had found a nest of liberal do-gooders made me feel all warm and cozy. Then we would drive by blocks of crappy-assed shacks and I would wonder if the bumperstickerers pretend such neighborhoods don't exist, like their dopplegangers here do. But I suspect that Santa Carlans have hearts as well as pocketbooks, and provide services galore. Doesn't mean the folks they're targeting want to use said services, though.

I loved frolicking on the beach. I loved hanging out with my buds, especially LH who let me leave my brain on the curb and follow her around like a puppy. I loved watching the Dance Dance Revolution Extreme freaks. I loved winding our way back up the coast, even though I couldn't find the proper trailhead for Franklin Point and dragged my poor companion along adjacent bluffs and coves instead.

I would like to know who cursed me, as my wishes so often come true these days--but only literally, and in fucked up ways. For instance, my two heart's desires for the Santa Carla weekend were that I wouldn't have to drive all the time, and that we'd get some quiet time to just hang and read. And lo: just after our arrival I smashed my thumb in the car door, meaning that talented nursemaid LH took over the wheel, and that we got to hang out in a hushed clinic waiting room for an hour when we were supposed to be out rollicking. So, despite the sheer sausageness of my thumb, which made holding my silly book a mite difficult, much reading was had. Additional examples: this past spring I was ovewhelmed and wrecked and desperate for a break. So, I got laid out with pneumonia for two weeks. Two years ago, I was worried about Leelo being a 'typical' boy--something that as the sister of three sports-obsessed brothers who used to blow lizards up with firecrackers I wasn't all that interested in--and look, Leelo's surely not a typical boy. Cursed.

Curse suspects: Ex-boyfriend GC or his mother. Possibly some poor child that I tortured in grade school? Who else would bother, really.


Never Underestimate the Power of Ketchup

Are titles helpful?

Kids love french fries. This is an axiom, neh? And potatoes are supposed to be a big staple of a the new casein/gluten/everything-free diet we'll be launching in earnest next week. Well, up until today Leelo had never let a single potato-containing food product pass his lips. Then Jo, E, & S invited us out to dinner at a local grind. Jo was asking me about Leelo's new food scheme. I gave the pat answer "The problem is not what he can eat but what he will eat, blah blah blah."

Jo: "Not even potatoes?"
Me: "No."
Jo: "WHAAAT? All kids love potatoes. All kids eat french fries!"
Me: "Not this boy. Check it out. I'll even dip it in ketchup" (hands Leelo now-red french fry)
Leelo: "I was skeptical at first, of course--since you frequently try to poison me by telling me that inedibles such as carrots are in fact food--but at this time have decided that french fries are tolerable. In fact, I will eat five of them, some without ketchup, just to prove it and make your friend think that you are a loony."

So, rah for Leelo! If he will indeed eat them without ketchup (I have yet to find ketchup that's truly gluten-free) then that's one more item he can eat once the full crazy diet is in place. We are doing the full-phase out of sugar in three days, and are going nix gluten last, probably at the end of next week. Got to get that bread machine kicking, first.

In the meantime Iz is not comprehending the new regime, and just handed Leelo a chocolate mint ball. Doh!

Am thinking that the juicer, which had until last night spent at least a year in its unopened box, will be a key element of the new diet. As Leelo is a juice-a-holic. We made homemade pear juice tonight and it was so good I almost cried. So even though fruit-wise we're limited to pears and green apples and non-strawberry berries, I'm guessing that the taste of homemade juice will cover the flavor of many an icky supplement (when we start them, that is). Also figure we could toss in carrot, parboiled spinach bits, etc. and actually get some veg/fruit nutrients into this boy.

All the houseguests are finally gone. Tomorrow morning I am going on an over-nighter to Santa Carla with what LH calls the Bad-Assed mamas. (So named because we don't lie prostrate before our children's every need, and often prefer a good book and then take out to cooking). I would be more excited about the weekend if I'd been afforded a bigger buffer between intensely social events with nowhere to hide, but suspect it will be fun. By this time all my friends are used to my constant spacings-out and "what?"s in realizing that we're midway through conversations, so they shoudn't be too offended by my remoteness.
G-spot and crew left today. The moping will commence. And not just because G-spot's partner S showed me how to reconvert my futon back to a couch for the first time since we bought it last year. I miss wee girl E's singing already. Why can't they live close by? I want those damn transporters in place NOW. After they left Iz settled down and became her regular self again. Perhaps the two-week whirlwind of training/houseguests/babysitting was as draining for her as it was for me.

Therapist L hasn't called back yet. I don't understand--she wrote me back Wednesday evening and said she was interested in the position, and just had to check to see if the hours were compatible. I wrote her back immediately, waited/fretted all day yesterday, and finally placed a voice mail this morning. Nothing yet. Is she punishing us for not hiring her during the first round? If there wasn't the welfare of an autistic child in question I wouldn't mind so much. This makes me think more about Therapist E's bailing on us mid-training and how fucked up that was--but again, she was very young and probably doesn't realize how unethical it was. Or, perhaps she used her two work sessions to pilfer our financial records. Maybe I should go check my bank balance.

At any rate, if Therapist L isn't going to work for us I need to know NOW so I can look elsewhere ASAP.

Leelo is having a good day today, so far. I've been trying to make the living room/playroom/only common room less chaotic as per Seymour's request, and so put all the stuffed animals away in a new storage bench. Iz already managed to stuff it so full that opening it is problematic. Leelo was unable to retrieve his toy of choice, and so came running up to me, demanding "I want Laa-laa!" with excellent eye contact. He's also been doing some imaginative play today, putting two Teletubbies on the couch with pillow and blankets, and then announcing to me "sleeping!"

Dietarily, the new program and his self-imposed limits within it have led to GI distress. He's had a week of diarrhea, and it doesn't seem to be getting better. With the exception of Wednesday's guacamole, he's eaten only breads, cheerios, bananas, and nut butters all week. And diluted pear juice (which Therapist F says is a tremendously successful reinforcer for his discrete trials, so there's one new-diet hurdle covered. I was thinking there would be NO foods he would like enough to use as reinforcers under the new diet program).

Have added mind-blowingly addictive Strip Mining blog to must-read list.


Dietary checklist: As of today, Leelo is off:
-processed sugar/high sugar foods

His behavior (as a result? we think so):
-no running in circles
-no "neh-neh-neh-neh" gibberish bouts
-better focus

Therapist L hasn't called back yet. Therapist F leaves for a two week vacation starting Tuesday. Help!

Lesson for today: Don't try to sneak donuts around the boy. He can sense them, and will then demand them--with emphasized articulation so that there is no mistake. Result: two teeny donut bites and two hours of Crazy Boy.

Spent the afternoon hiking with three friends and seven small children. We explored some local caves and yelled at the kids a lot--they wanted to see for themselves whether or not each cliff face was really as steep as we told them it was. Leelo was all over the caves, and completely understood my command to "watch your noggin!" (In spots the caves are less than 3 feet high.) He kept crouching down and then glancing up at the cave ceiling to make sure it was still a safe distance away.

I love Isobel dearly but she really is a little shit. I am worried that she is edging into brat territory--she doesn't mind other adults' requests, and talks back to them all if that's how she feels. Honestly, some times I just want to thwack her on the head and scream "because I'm your mommy and I fucking say so and you WILL LISTEN TO ME!!!" Dearest G-spot is here from Indiana with husband S and wee girl E, who at one year younger than Iz is remarkably more polite than our girl. E is sibling-free; makes me wonder if Iz would be a better listener and less of a twit if I was able to give her "ALL the attention." Sometimes I really do wonder if a 21-month spread is ill-advised (not that we planned it that way, but if we DID).


Tried sunflower butter as a peanut-butter substitute today. Leelo seemed to like it better than almond or cashew butter. It is a strange ochre color, though. Looks like an MRE component. Tastes OK.

Two days without sugary treats has resulted in almost no wackiness, and sentences, such as: "I want to play in the water!" Also Therapist F reported that, in reading his Very Hungry Caterpillar book, he told her "I like pears!" (Reasonable enough. He does like to steal them from the grocery store shelf and hurl them on the ground.)

Great news! Therapist L, who was my gut-level first choice over flighty and cursed yet slightly more experienced Therapist E, wrote back tonight and said that she is indeed available. However she has also been hired by another family in the interim (makes sense, she is darling) so I don't know if our availability will work out for her. Crossed fingers again. Waiting anxiously for her to call/write back.


Reduced Sugar Dieting

Leelo is on a reduced sugar diet today. The goal is to weed out all yeast-feeding sugar sources by Sunday, when we put him on anti-yeasty drugs. He was okay with it for the most part, and had significantly fewer 'nutter' outbursts.

Spent a good long while at Whole Foods today looking for things that he can potentially eat. Today's candidates and reactions were:

-Pear juice (low sugar juice recommended by his DAN doctor): Qapla'!
-Raspberries: Good for smushing and making things indelibly red
-Whole Foods Veggie Chips: Satisfying crunch when smushed, lack sufficient heft to qualify as projectile
-Pine Nuts: Did not register

So at least we've got a juice source for mixing in the supplement/medication cocktails he'll be taking soon. Dr. Prattle and all those books assure us that Leelo will not starve--if he gets hungry enough, he will eat the food we give him. Seymour questions whether or not this is true for autistic kids since they're out of touch with themselves in so many other ways. I haven't heard or read of any truly difficult kids' adjustments to the GF/CF sugar-free diet, and so am going on faith here. He already looks a lot slimmer, and not just because of the haircut.

Avoided dealing with Dr. G, our traditional pediatrician, by cancelling both kids' appointments for now. I claimed that Leelo was ill. See, Dr. G's office manager/gate keeper is also his wife, and I suspect she will be most unpleasant in hearing that we want to explore DAN methods for dealing with Leelo's autism. Why: the day after Leelo was diagnosed with autism, I took him to Dr. G because of yet another ear infection. Dr. G was not available, but kind sweet Dr. N was. I wanted her to know about his diagnosis to see if she knew of any resources, but didn't make it through my rehearsed shpiel--I broke down and started sobbing. Poor Dr. N got wide-eyed, patted my shoulder and gave me some niceties about a possible high-functioning or Asperger's condition, and bolted for the office. A few minutes later Dr. G's wife came in and gently tried to calm me down, but in the course of doing so mentioned that I shouldn't listen to a lot of these people who will want to put Leelo on crazy diets or send him into therapy for 40 hours per week. I really don't think she is going to want to hear about me expecting her husband to be responsible for Leelo's general health while we delay important vaccinations for at least 6 months. Oh, and restrict his diet severely and whack him out with all these supplements. And slap him with 30 or so hours of therapy per week. I believe I will schedule a debriefing with Dr. G himself if I can get past the guard. (To be fair, from a liability perspective I wouldn't blame him for dropping Leelo. I just want to hear this from him, not his wife).


Diet/Supplement Program: Dr. Prattle's Review

Sent our write-up of Leelo's diet/supplement program to Dr. Prattle for review. His response revealed few surprises, other than that Leelo doesn't have to avoid yeasted breads. So, our quietly expectant bread machine is going to become quite the workhorse. And, in a pinch, we can buy bread at Whole Foods.

Also, he's not entirely off fruit (not that he eats fruits besides the now-proscribed bananas). He can eat green apples, non-strawberry berries, and pears. He can drink diluted pear juice. OK then.

Totally off all citrus, though. This is indeed a bummer as I don't know how else we're going to get avocados into him--he will only eat guacamole prepared with avocado, garlic, lime, and salt. No substitutes, and don't mess with the proportions.

Dr. Prattle is also not worrying about calcium for now. He wants to monitor dairy sensitivities first.

Tomorrow will be the first clash between our traditional pediatrician and Dr. Prattle's recommendations, as I have to call and tell them that Leelo will be skipping the final phase of his hepatitis A vaccine--for now. Iz will still get her vaccination, though--and since she greets all injections with storms of heart-wrenching, terror-stricken sobs, it should be a real train wreck. Lordy lord.
Cashew butter! Leelo seems to be okay with it. Crossed fingers. We are off dairy too as of yesterday.

We had lunch at Leelo's favorite Indian restaurant, so he could have his beloved naan bread one last time. (We bid farewell to lassis last week).

Therapist F reported that his eye contact was fabulous during this morning's session, but that he's still very resistant to following directions, even for things he knows damn well. Sigh. Stubborn boy. This means that for today, our first session in tracking his progress in discrete trials, we have mostly negative marks.

Iz and Leelo got haircuts yesterday for the first time in far too long (whenever Leelo's hair got wet, his curls de-sproinged and covered his eyes. Isobel had visibility issues too). I prefer shaggier children, but tidier is probably cooler for these last few weeks of summer.

The kids are watching The Tweenies. Harmless programming, cute songs that Leelo ends up singing, and giant puppet faces that give me the creeps. I can't look at them. Reminds me of the creature in Stephen King's The Library Policeman. Seymour prescreened the one episode we have on TiVo so I wouldn't have to bear them. I am next to the kids but facing away from the TV screen. Now I can see the frantic fish in the dirty aquarium that she out grew long, long ago (9 months ago she was one quarter this size). Poor Whitey. Maybe if I feed her she'll stop staring at me? Works with the cats.
Funny--although I'm a blogging newbie, it didn't take me long to figure out that most blogs are crap, crap, crap ("you think?" says the person slogging through this entry). Still, I am hooked on the brilliant rants and pronouncements of Badgerbag and I, Asshole and check them both several times a day. This is much easier than attending to housework or the mountain of autism books and tasks I'm supposed to tackle. Some people have reality TV. I used to have Buffy. Now, when I want to take off my head and wear someone else's for a while, I have these two blogs.

Only problem is that I've got badgerbag bookmarked next to The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins, sung by Leonard Nimoy. So, half the time I'm greeted with a balladeering Mr. Spock and his inexplicable squadron of pro-Hobbit cheerleaders instead of the latest spoutings of geeklizzard. Sigh.

Leelo had a rough time last night--up most of the night crying inconsolably and then refusing to eat breakfast this morning. I think it's because we've started the transition to his new CF/GF/EverythingF diet by eliminating dairy and his beloved peanut butter, so he's been getting his toast with almond butter instead. He is not pleased. But hey, buddy, neither are we. Sorry.


Apparently the sugarless eggless soyless yeastless version of the casein free/gluten free diet is even more fun than the basic version. Have spent much time today flipping through Special Diets for Special Kids and going "urk?" The regular CF/GF diet looks like the land of milk-substitute and honey from my perspective.

Also, Whole Foods simply doesn't stock CF/GF yeast-free bread, so we get to make it ourselves. In the fancy bread machine that Seymour guilted me into buying two years ago when I jettisoned our original machine after determining that it hadn't been used for more than four years (and guess what--this will be the new machine's maiden voyage!).

Forgot to mention that, at the beginning of the first ABA training session last week, I went around and asked Leelo "who's that?" for every attendee. He correctly said "that's XXXX" for each of the fourteen. Go Leelo GO! This is in keeping with his general approach to communication--he can do just about anything if prompted. Tonight I showed him a picture of a duck and said "Duck says..." He said "Quack Quack!" which I've never heard him do before. So what if a typical child would have done this a year ago--I'm excited as hell.

Speaking of typical kids, ever-amusing Iz was hanging out with us this A.M. while we were pushing Leelo in the swing. Pat the cat came by. Isobel said "There are five persons out here!" I said "Is Pat a person?" Iz laughed, and corrected herself: "There are five MAMMALS out here." Go Iz GO!

Keep forgetting to register for my Spanish class (will finally do it! Will finally get past that mental barrier beyond which lies the ability to discriminate between ser and estar!). The idea being that when Iz starts Spanish immersion kindergarten a year from now I won't be totally useless to her.


We've Got a DAN! Good Plan

Yeah, baby! The fun begins!

Leelo Rosenberg Test Results and Game Plan
Based on analyses conducted on hair, blood, urine, and stool between 6/23 and 7/9/2003

Leelo’s tests indicate problems in the following areas.:
· Heavy metals abnormalities:
o High tin levels
o Skewed copper/zinc ratio
o Low mercury levels in hair/mercury not being excreted
· Abnormal E. Coli (bacterial) growth in intestine
· Yeast overgrowth in gut (candidal enteritis)
· Signs of inflammation in gut, leaky gut/intestine
· Acid Ph in gut = poor digestion
· Low Glutathione
· Multiple food sensitivites

Game Plan

1) Get Yeast Down
· Remove sugar and sugar substitutes from diet.
· Low-sugar fruits are tolerable
· Avoid antibiotics
· Drug/Supplement therapy:
o Diflucan for 10 days
o Nystatin: until told to stop
o Lactobaccillus: 1 capsule each morning on empty stomach
o Nutribiotic: 1/drop/day 1st week, 2 drops/day 2nd week, 3 drops/day 3rd week, continue 3 drops/day through 8 weeks
o DGST: ½ tsp at beginning of each meal, mixed with juice/water or sprinkled on food

2) Modify Diet:
· Remove:
o Sugar/sugar substitutes
o Chocolate
o Lentil
o Peanuts
o Gluten
o Oats
o Rye
o Wheat
o Soy
o Dairy
o Eggs
o Oranges/citrus
o Bananas
o Blueberries
· Rotate foods to avoid creating additional allergies
· Consider Hemp Seeds as protein source (order online f/Canada)

3) Prep for intensive supplement therapy via Bioset
· Read: The Food Allergy Cure by Ellen Cutler to see if Bioset/Accupressure is acceptable option (Dr. Prattle indicates it has 80-90% success rate)
· Bioset practitioner will determine which of the following supplements can be tolerated. START TOLERATED SUPPLEMENTS IMMEDIATELY! Start others once desensitization is achieved.

4) Supplements:

B6 200 mg capsule 1x day w/food
MG/K aspartate 1 tablet 1x day w/food
Zinc w/o copper 1 capsule 1x day w/food
Ascorbic Acid/Vit. C 1 capsule 2x day w/food
Folid acid ½ capsule 1x day w/food
Selenium 1 capsule 1x day w/food
Cod Liver Oil ½ tsp 1x day Mix with half/half juice
DMSA 1 capsule ??? ??? whoops, confirm dosages
Magnes'm Glycinate ½ tsp 1x day w/food
DMG 1 capsule 1x day w/food
B12 1 injection 2x/week 30 degree angle

At the first sign of illness:
· NO ADVIL OR MOTRIN—too irritating for already fragile GI tract
· NO ANTIBIOTICS—exacerbate yeast imbalance
· Manapol 5–6 day course (use with Mycoimmune):
o Twice each day: 4 capsules mixed w/ 1 oz each juice and water
o Causes fever to 102°F. Mitigate fever w/sponge bath. Fever over 102°F requires Tylenol, call to Dr. Prattle
· Mycoimmune 5–6 day course:
o 3x each day: ½ dropperful

To Do as of 8/2/03
· Place/pick up Nystatin/Diflucan Rx
· Read Cutler’s Food Allergy cure
· Call Dr. Prattle’s office to:
o Schedule visit near September 1st
o Order Folic Acid
o Get Bioset practitioner recommendation
· Plumb Special Diets for Special Kids for recipes
· Set up diet plan, go shopping!! Yee-ha!
· Whole Foods/Apple Foods
o Manapol capsules
o Various food items for special diet, above
· Call Kirkman Labs 1-800-245-8282
o Cod Liver Oil item 228-8
o Magnesium Glycinate item 259-4
o DMG item 020-250
o DMSA – fax prescription 1 (503) 682-0838

Questions/Confirmations for Dr. Prattle:
· How are we providing calcium?
· What types of fruit qualify as “low sugar?” Which juices?.
· How long do we use Lactobaccillus?
· Reconfirm proper dosage for DMSA: 1 50 mg capsule how frequently? With food?


You'd think I'd remember my cartography training re: fonts. Serifed fonts are so much easier to read.
The family training went well, thanks for asking. Supervisor M ran a squadron of us through all sorts of therapy techniques such as incidental learning and natural language paradigm/pivotal response training. This is the kind of stuff that we can throw at Leelo any time, anywhere and maintain an airtight, 24/7 therapeutic environment.

Many chuckles from the group of friends when Supervisor M kept giving directions about keeping it positive (e.g., "Let's get our clothes on so we can go frolic and be with nature" as opposed to "put on your clothes NOW or there will be NO playing outside for the next seven weeks!"). Anyhow, I am now feeling cocky about using natural language paradigm. I get it. I think everyone else does too. The amazing thing is how many people came to Supervisor M's training sessions. All four grandparents, C the world's greatest babysitter, Ep, Jo, LH, JP, plus both therapists. We've got an army.

Small bump in that our second therapist (Therapist E, who was to work with Leelo 16 hours/week) bailed on us after the second day of training. APPARENTLY her fiancee surprised her with an out-of-the-area academic appointment that he couldn't turn down. All I can say is that he'd best pray I never meet him in a dark alley. This surely would have been good information to have two weeks ago before we hired her, or four weeks ago when we'd found a great therapist but to be fair waited an extra friggin' week for Therapist E to return from vacation. This is also what I get for ignoring my gut feelings and instead going along with the person with a smidge more experience. GAAAAAH! But darling Therapist F, who currently puts in 6 hours/week, is offering us more hours starting in Sept. In the mean time I wrote an obsequious email to the therapist we turned away (who, it turns out, is in Chicago for a week), and Supervisor M is trying to help us find an interim therapist blahbitty blah lah. AAAAAIGHTTGHPLT. If we don't find someone by August 11 when Therapist F goes on vacation we will have a largely therapy-free August. NOT IDEAL.

It's been some week and I'm totally behind on all these postings, I know. I am one of those people who goes into total inertia when blindsided or overwhelmed. In the last week we've been put on a gluten-free/casein free diet that also excludes soy, peanuts, and all sugar; I've had three meetings of 12 people or more in our tiny house; and our bulk-hours therapist flew off. I've been drifting along in a cloud...somewhere out there are bills to be paid, blogs to be updated, & dietary attack plans to be written, but I'd rather just spin around inside my head.

Dear darling LH has proffered company and/or movies tonight. My folks have offered to take the kids so Seymour and I can get away. I would rather go see a move with LH. I am grouchy and Seymour reads too much into my frequent silences, but I suspect LH would not mind if I didn't chitty chatter on all night.

Starting to crack open Treating Autism: Parent Stories of Hope and Success. I guess this would be the less-crazy biomedical take on autism for laypeople (I find the DAN protocols impenetrable, which is fair since they're written by and for the medical/scientific communities). Folks, if you've any interest in a biomed approach, do yourself a favor and read Treating Autism first. Chapter after chapter hands out measured, qualified, calm bases for trying therapies such as vitamin B6/magnesium on your kids. Sure, there's some sputtering, and some "oh, come ON"-style anecdotes, but the main point is that the therapies they're advocating are safe. No harm in trying them.