So this will be disjointed and scattershot.

That whole cuteness thing about Leelo being able to take off his own zipped jammies and diaper? It was still funny when we went to check on him one last time before going to bed at 11:00 last night, and found him sleeping in his bed totally naked yet dry. Seymour easily redressed him and put him back to bed. The nakedness ceased to be cute at 4:00 in the morning when he stripped himself again, peed everywhere, got all cold, started coughing, woke up completely, and refused to go back to bed until 6 A.M.

Leelo and I spent a total of 1/2 hour at home today. Iz, nada.

Leelo's appointment at Stanfford Neurology was fine. Mostly an intake exam. A two-hour intake exam.

He is 38 inches and 38 pounds. Does that make him square? It sure as fuck makes him heavy, says she who lugged his sleeping form from car to bed this evening.

The Neurologist wants to do an EEG, because of Leelo's occasional zoning out, petit mal seizure-style. He says the difference between one of these seizures and an autistic tuning out from overstimulation is not always apparent.

The doctor also wants to do an MRI, because our boy's got a friggin' huge noggin. It's a virtual planetoid. Has its own weather system*. Ninety-fifth percentile for size, on a very short boy. This is also a frequent characteristic in autistic kids, and may point to problems with overdevelopment of his brain's white matter, and problems with myelination. Not that they know what to do about this if it is the case.

Strangely, the doctor took a good five minutes of his precious time (remember, we had to wait six months for this appointment) to go off on the DAN! protocol, how wasteful and wrong it was, and what charlatans all its practitioners were. I told him that, while Leelo's autistic symptoms do not appear affected by diet, I have friends for whom the difference has been noticeable. I also said that it is not invasive, and there's no harm in trying it if the parents are willing to put in the time and effort. He scoffed as politely as he could. I couldn't really get too offended; for purist research scientists like him, non-scientifically-validated methodologies like DAN practices are complete blasphemies.

Also, we did/will do blood and urine tests for amino acid and metabolic irregularities. Will report as all these things take place and we hear back on them.

The phlebotomy was stressful for Leelo, as this is exactly the kind of thing he just doesn't get, so I promised him some naan bread and a sweet lassi when we left. Stupid me, this meant we arrived at the Indian restaurant at 12:00 on a Friday, the day they include beer with the standard buffet price. We couldn't even park in the parking lot, and the buffet line was hundreds of yards long. Thankfully they know and dote on Leelo, and snuck him his lassi without anyone noticing his line jumping.

Then home to get warmer clothes for the zoo. That part of the city is fogged in all summer long.

Off to Iz's school, to pick her up from her very last day. Sigh. The two teachers practically cried when she left, and had made her goodbye posters and signs. Too cute and sweet. Jo frothed over her new iPod. Cuter and sweeter still. Last frolic on the school lawn. Double sigh.

Off to the zoo. JP, Danielle, Elise, and baby Xander were there, so Iz engaged in much merriment and I got to concentrate on keeping Leelo out of the duck pond, or watching him ride the teeny tractors, or clamber around on the rope spiderweb. We stayed until the staff kicked us out. Then I discovered that some sick fucker had stolen Leelo's dinner sandwich out of my stroller. Bastard. I hope that person enjoyed all the vitamin- and enzyme-enriched almond butter.

Then off to retrieve Godfather M from his place near Pacific Heitz, and shuttle him down to San Metao for a birthday dinner at The Best Chinese Restaurant Ever (Godfather M'd rather go there than any similar place in The City). Fortunately this restaurant is adjacent to a stupid overpriced grocery store that nevertheless sells croissants and organic cheesy puffs, so Leelo got something to eat despite the thievery.

Then Seymour took Godfather M back home and the kids and I hit Holey Foods to stock up for tomorrow's BBQ celebrating Jo's birthday and my cousin's staying at our place for the weekend (she, her daughters, and charming Newfie husband arrive tomorrow morning).

I couldn't believe the kids were still awake when we arrived the store at 9:30, especially after so much driving and Leelo's naked party time, but they were patient and non-fussy, and we blasted through speedily and will now have tons of Californian yummies with which to torture my Ontario-dwelling relatives: wines, cheeses, mission figs, strawberries, avocadoes, tomatoes, champagne grapes; so good. We will eat panzanella, strawberries in real balsamic vinegar, soothing guacamole. Oh, and salmon for everyone who's not me or Ep.

We will set the tent up in the backyard and try to convince the non-Leelo kids to sleep there tomorrow night.

I will be busy all weekend long and the relatives will be sleeping in this room, so see you later.

*Come on, people. SOMEONE please ID one of these quotes.


Leelo the Mighty

Righting wrongs and singing songs,
Being mighty all day long

Okay, geeks, show yourselves. What am I quoting?

Leelo had a totally schizoid day. On an interaction level, he was once again looped. Still has that cold. Won't give eye contact or answer questions without herculean (snarf) attempts by me or whomever.

But then, he did some incredible, unprecedented things. Busting open my closed office door even though it has an anti-child thingamawhatsit on the doorknob. Iz hasn't even figured out that one. Stripping off his jammies and diaper this morning so that I awoke to a naked hooligan having a one-man party upstairs. His jammies were zippered foot-to-neck, so that's some serious fine motor control.

When we're undressing/redressing at the pool, I always have him take his diapers and put them in the trash himself. This afternoon, I noticed that he'd put his wet but otherwise clean swim diaper on top of the trashcan across the room. I told him, once, as I would any other child, that he'd put his diaper on top of the trash can, and could he please go put it inside? My eyes almost popped out of their sockets when he did just that, with no additional prompting.

Little glimmers.

Iz had her second-to-last preschool/kindergarten day today, and her last day with teacher Anarchy. No teacher will ever be that wonderful, or patient with my little firecracker! Also, my kids will no longer attend school with the kids of Ep, Jo, or Badger. I'll no longer have a guaranteed daily sighting of any of them. I am moping.

Iz brought up yet another possibility with Leelo's autism. I told her that I did have a maternity bathing suit and that I would love to go swimming with her some time when I didn't have to watch Leelo, too. She told me that that was okay, she didn't think the chlorine in the pool was good for the baby anyhow. I said, "but I went in the pool with you when I was pregnant with Leelo every single week...oh, shit." Anyone have any other chlorine theories? As long as I'm being totally paranoid?

Tomorrow Leelo has an appointment at Stanfford's pediatric neurology clinic. We've had to wait six months for this appointment, because autism is hot! hot!, and they've apparently only one doctor who specializes in kids like Leelo. They didn't tell me much about what to expect, other than to say that they might be taking a blood sample, and that he doesn't need to fast beforehand.

I have mixed feelings about his exam. On one hand, I'd like to find SOME farking reason our boy is an alien, but on the other, I can't handle much more bad news. Maybe I'll cross my fingers sideways.


In Which I Am All Powerful!

I have successfully warped at least two young minds!

Iz and Leelo's cousins Danielle and Elise came over today for a facilitated playgroup with Leelo and Therapist F. Afterwards, I hung out with them while they romped about our yard, waiting for their mom to come get them. They soon tired of trying to push each other off the fort, and started peppering me with questions about trolls. Because I am thick, it took me a second to realize that they were asking about the trolls from the story I wrote as a holiday present for Iz and all her friends. (I am cheap; xeroxed, the books cost $1.50 each.) They completely believe the story, and wanted some specifics on when and how to make the trolls appear. I was astounded, then overcome by a feeling of mad power, and couldn't help but cackle.

In other news, I got Leelo to pee in the potty for me today. For his therapists, he had multiple pees as well as a nice big dump. Gosh, it's great to be alive!

Iz went for her yearly eye exam today. Her ophthalmologist finally agreed to estimate how much longer she'll need to wear glasses for her mild exotropia: two to three years. Iz seemed bummed, but then the eye doctor--who could easily moonlight as a children's TV show host--got her all jazzed about new glasses with pink frames and those funky lenses that turn dark when you go outside.

Later on our girl informed me, after reading a book that contained both fictional and non-fictional elements, that it should be put in the "niction" category. I snorted, then agreed. I get my jollies where I can.
How Has Your Life Changed?

That was one of the questions the reporter asked me last week, about life with Leelo. I hope she didn't bother to look past my poker face, to see the crumbling, hastily spackled, aching person behind it. I don't need that part of my personal shit in the paper, even if it's a paper that no one reads besides Ep and Jo.

I try not to dwell too much on why we live in this tangential universe, even though Leelo and his ways and needs have reshaped most of what we do, and how we do it. This is the reality we know, this is where we live. No use wishing it were otherwise.

But I do, sometimes. I think of how things might have been, how they were supposed to be. Tiny things like Leelo being the only kid who isn't interested in picking blackberries when our friends come over, even though their son is one year younger than him and picked a whole bucket himself. Bigger things like being stuck down here in the basement all day long while Leelo is in therapy, when by rights Leelo and I should be spending our afternoons at the park or zoo, or riding a train.

Those of you who read Jo's blog may recall her briefly mentioning my participation in a discussion at the park. My being able to join in was an anomaly; normally I spend all my park time tending or chasing after Leelo, and wouldn't be able to participate in discussion threads of more than half a sentence. But Seymour joined us yesterday and took on Leelo duty, bless him. Then again, if Leelo wasn't Leelo, Seymour would've been able to join the discussion, too.

This, the summer before Iz starts at Esperanza, was always intended to be spent in Costa Rica. We've friends with a beachfront place south of Quepos, and they constantly badger us to come freeload indefinitely. This was to be the summer we did just that, the summer we all immersed ourselves in Spanish. Instead, we're hesitant to take Leelo out of therapy for more than five days, and have spent this summer mostly sticking around. When we did vacation, we brought one of Leelo's therapists along.

Iz and Leelo's birthdays are 21 months apart, but fall in consecutive years (1999, 2000). She's January, He's November. Once we got over the shock of having two kids in diapers, Seymour and I thought this arrangement delightful and convenient--our kids would almost always be at the same school, and would graduate in two quick pops. Instead, Iz hopped up a grade, Leelo's slipped down a year, our boy will not be attending Esperanza, and we've got a little surprise coming down the pipe. Ah, well, at least I can rationalize not working outside my own castle for another few years.

Our life isn't without plenty of laughter and levity. Seymour and I were chuckling about the kids we already have the other day, about how unprepared we will be if #3 is a "regular kid." We truly have no context for such a specimen.

Leelo brings us gifts, too. His love and enthusiasms are pure, unbridled, untempered by mood or whim. Iz may sulk and deny and grow away, but there's a good chance Leelo will not. He won't see the point.

I can live with a kid like that, in this universe or any.
She Won't Blog, Don't Ask Her

But she will let us publish her work!

Our brilliant friend EP's musings on Clinton, Carter, and Gore at the DNC:

2004 Democratic National Convention - Highlights from the Highlights

I accidentally caught the NBC news highlights of the National Democratic Convention, while channel surfing, bored, last night. There was Bill Clinton, looking trim and energetic. He was giving a barnstormer of a speech. Relaxed, at ease, a natural, delivering well-reasoned political analyses along with the fire in the belly that makes you want to jump up and take to the barricades. The crowd is in love. They have stars, and tears, in their eyes. Bill says, about John Kerry, "Strength and wisdom are not conflicting values," and "In a time of change he has two other important qualities: his insatiable curiosity to understand the forces shaping our lives, and a willingness to hear the views even of those who disagree with him." And, pausing, "Remember the scripture: Be not afraid." He insults George Bush six ways from Sunday, without ever uttering his name, managing to pick up on every criticism leveled against him, from the working class attack on his jobs record to the intellectual's despair of the man's willful ignorance. No wonder some in the crowd appear to be crying. "Just one more term," they weep, "Why can't we have him back for just one more term?"

Read More -->


I Beg Your Pardon...

Whatever you think of Harper's Lewis H. Lapham, you've got to admit that the man is funny. (I generally heap more superlatives on that adjective pile, since I envy his pen-wielding and agree with almost everything he writes.)

Witness this excerpt from August's kick in the posthumous ass of Ronald Reagan, titled (how could it be otherwise), "Bedtime for Bonzo":
"...and it wasn't as if he promised a rose garden to anybody who couldn't afford the price of a Mexican gardener."

Another recommended read.


Leelo Lore

So much going on with the boy. Sorry I've not written of it much lately, I'm just friggin fraggin tired, and writing about him is draining.

He's still fun, maddening, all that. Sweet, sneaky, bouncy. Increasingly chubby and growing taller too, possibly thanks to his new non-vegan diet. Making great strides. Here's infomation on specific progress, courtesy of fabulous Supervisor M.

As always, it is difficult to see the progress ourselves as we live with him day by day by day. It it particularly brutal for poor Seymour, who comes home tired from work, and encounters a little man who only wants to cut loose and ignore everyone because he just spent several hours in grueling therapy sessions, dammit.

Seymour worries that reports like the one linked to above are optimistically skewed; I can only remind him that these reports are not interpretive. They are based on cold, hard data. The progress is real. It's the generalization--the applying of what Leelo's learned to the non-therapeutic outside world--that takes time.

People who don't see Leelo for long stretches continue to comment on how much he's changed for the better, which is always heartening. Mostly folks can't believe how well he now responds to requests, as he ignored them outright for so long. We now know for certain that he understands most of what we ask him, but frequently chooses to ignore us. Yes, he is a preschooler.

With Leelo, as with so many autistic kids, it's all about (lack of) motivation. He will fully disengage if he's not interested in a topic, and will toss out rote answers in the hope that one of them will be correct and we'll leave him alone. "Leelo, is this carrot purple?" "Yes."

These color questions are a particular sore point for me, specifically "What color is X" vs. "Is X blue, green, etc." He almost never answers the former question correctly, whereas with the second he has 80% success--again, depending upon his level of engagement. However, when I show him some chocolate and ask him what color it is, he practicall shouts "The chocolate is brown!" with great eye contact. He then gets the chocolate, even though it comes from my private Joseph Schmidt stash.

As you may have guessed from my baiting him with chocolate, his diet is increasingly mellow. I guess I didn't realize how stressful this part of his treatment had been, until the other day when Clyde offered him a tray of leftover snacks from Iz and Merlin's school and, instead of jumping in front and saying "No, no, Leelo!," I realized that he could eat it all. I almost cried.

His willingness to eat available foods, well, that's something altogether different. He rejected everything on the tray except the Cheeerios. However, the boy loves smoothies, and I can hide normally tossed-across-the-room things like carrot juice, tofu, and blueberries inside them. Excellent.

Specific dietary crap: We stopped giving him B12 shots last month after we reintroduced dairy. We'd never seen any results, positive or negative, from this very pricey supplement. We'd only kept him on them because B12 deficiency is a problem with vegan diets such as the one he'd kept himself to for the past 10 months.

We are still not giving him peanuts or citrus. I want to get his bowels stabilized before another onslaught. He still gets the trots from whole milk products (yogurt, ice cream) and too much fruit. Plus, the fruit gives him a bum rash, just as it did to his sister.

Which, as always, leads me to question whether or not the dairy reintroduction has anything to do with his current behavior. The therapists say absolutely not. He still has last week's minor cold, and that always means crazies. Specifially, his pronunciation is mush, and conversations have to be forced unless he initiates them. As I type, I can hear normally unflappable Therapist F having to call "Leelo, Leelo, Leelo" repeatedly to get his attention.

However, since I've now been blabbing, er, blogging about him for more than a year, I can go back through these archives and judge for myself. Or maybe one of you can tell me, if you've been reading the backlogs more recently than I.
No, George, No!

Big sigh of relief this morning. Iz was going to bring her No, George, No! book to school today, but at the last minute opted for a kitty cat puppet. Whew! I don't think her preschool is ready for a discussion of why Dubya is a bad man because he takes money away from social programs, etc.

Too bad she's not a little bit older, or I'd have her read this week's Rawling Stone interview with Garrry Trudeaux (by Eric Bates). It's especially good reading because, y'know, he went to Yayle with Dubya. Some of the best swipes were left out of the online version:
...George Bush was a competent public servant but no leader. Now, of course, he seems like a paragon of decency, moderation, and thoughtfulness, everything his arrogant, radical, proudly ignorant son is not. What a shame the world has to suffer through the consequences of Dubya not getting enough approval from Dad.

...The contradiction of this man of the people is that he has utter contempt for them. ... Bush says, "We know best, but don't ask us about our policies because we don't trust you to support them." ... every Friday afternoon he quietly guts an environmental regulation and renames it "Clean Skies" or "Mossy Trails."

An enjoyable rant. Anyone who's interested is welcome to our copy as soon as Seymour's done with it.



Today I laughed harder and longer than I have in a long time--how I ever kept continent what with the gigglings spasms and pregnancy bladder is a mystery.

Why? Because my daughter asked me the following question in her totally innocent, squeaky little five-year-old voice: "Mommy, do you think people will ever be able to reach the diamonds in Uranus?" I am chortling again as I type.

See, the thing is that the scientists who wrote her book support the theory that Uranus has a layer of diamonds near its center. Or, as she continued to read out loud as I continued to laugh so hard I was gasping for air, "...a THICK RING of diamonds, surrounding a methane gas core..."


Three Things I Learned This Week

Because I do occasionally encounter subjects unrelated to the kiddlings.

From my friend PV the cardiologist
Drinking unfiltered coffee raises your cholesterol level. Bad news for this French-press-and-Turkish-coffee-brewing, genetically-predisposed-to-high-cholesterol girl.

From Seymour
Everyone on Iron Chef is legit, except Chairman Kaga. He is a Broadway-style stage star.

From Sunday's guest sermon
Somehow I never learned about this: American colonists tried to enslave Native Americans before they started importing slaves from Africa. Why was this never taught in American History? I passed the fucking AP exam, for chrissake.

Anyhow, the Native Americans said "fuck you" and escaped easily as they knew the geography, and could disappear back into their communities. That, or they died from imported European illnesses.

Then the price of trans-Atlantic passages nosedived. This simultaneously tapped out the stream of indentured servants coming from Europe, and made African slave importation feasible.

The Africans were ideal victims. They were shellshocked by separation from their culture and geography. They were unlikely to escape as they didn't know the land or language, and stood out instantly.

The early Americans got around that pesky "all men created equal" thing by reason of the Africans' "heathenism." Once the Africans started converting to Christianity, lawmakers created grandfather clauses chaining the converts to their ancestors' status. Yes, I'm sure that's what Jesus would have wanted.

None of this part three information was included in the America Rocks cartoons Iz and Leelo watched this afternoon. When they're old enough, though, I will make sure my kids know and remember these omissions.
Asajj Ventress Now Lives at My House

Badger and I decided last night that, why not, our kids (and, um, Jo's) are ready to watch the fabulous SW: Clone Wars animated series. I particularly enjoyed the aftermath: Iz and Eliz, naked but for their dress-up petticoats, in a full-scale lightsaber battle. One of these days I'll remember to recharge my camera batteries.

Oh, and apologies to the children whose foam lightsabers Leelo destroyed the moment they were left unattended.


We Interrupt This Program

Leelo pooped in the potty!

A fabulous achievement for any child, but an unbelievable one for an autistic kid who still struggles with the request "Look at me."

Yeah! We may yet have a month or two without diapers before #3 arrives!
Who Needs Fiction?

It finally dawned on me that, at this point, our girl would be content to side-step the whole fiction category. She did check out a single non-non-fiction library book yesterday, but did so under protest. Thankfully we ran into a second grader friend, who recommended the Magik Tweehouse series and was able to convince Iz that it contained lots of interesting things to learn as well as the silly stories.

After she grudgingly added one Tweehouse book to her stack, she set off in search of the last item in her her seven-volume quota. (That's all I can carry.) I heard her puttering on the other side of a stack, and then, suddenly, a shriek of delight: "Mommy! I found a book called Classifying Fish!"

At night both Seymour and I read with her. She doesn't argue when we choose CSLewis's or Mr. Dahl's books, but never has any questions about them, or wants to discuss them. Her science books, however, generate a constant stream of queries: "If Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system, then what's the smallest?" "Is amber softer or harder than coral?" "Will humans ever become extinct?" Seymour and she have just started Dynotopia, and she's a bit more enthusiastic as it interweaves a lot of semi-science. But still.

She has nothing but contempt for stories about children who hang out together and have adventures or interpersonal conflicts or bake cookies. She's not even that interested in stories about witches, magic, or dragons. She craves cold, hard, facts. Even her viewing material is similar: The Magic Schoolbus, or animal documentaries.

I am probably projecting too much, as, in my mind, there is no surrender sweeter or stronger than giving oneself up to a good story. I loves me the science, too, but am panicking at the thought of her missing out on one of the most delicious parts of life. Suggestions?


Oh, Oh, Oh!!!

Floyd and The Little Flower just sent us some t-shirts they made. They say:

(will replace with scan when I have more than a minute).

So fucking brilliant! I will wear mine proudly.
Bloody Hell!

Leelo's morning therapist cancelled, and his afternoon therapist is on a two-week break. FUCK. No rest for the wreck-ed.

A quick look in the mirror reveals that my summer staple, ribbed tank tops, now make me look like I've got a beer belly. And not in a cute way. Niiiice. Regardless, I will wear one this last time because I am evil and can't resist making the uppity types at the pool pretend they're not looking at my tattoos.

Leelo has been nutty for the past few days, as I've noted. Then, lo and behold, his nose started running yesterday afternoon. Aha! He loses it when he's sick. His nuttiness is the pre-illness equivalent to PMS. Someday I will learn this.

Good Leelo note: He dropped his cup at the park yesterday. I asked him, once, to please pick it up and bring it to me (using the pronoun rather than "Mommy"). And he did! Then the clouds parted and the angels sang and we all went and had veggie sushi in the great restaurant where the trains go right by the window every five minutes and they have the best mochi ice cream anywhere.
More Information

Leelo had another howling fit in the middle of the night. Uncharacteristically, he went back to sleep after only 30 minutes of plucking at my elbow. Unfairly, I am still awake. So a pleasant good farking morning to you.

The in-house interview went well yesterday, I think. But I've spent so much time drifting through Autism Land; it's hard to remember everyone else hasn't spent the last 18 months here. The reporter, nice as she was, was starting from scratch. I probably firehosed her. We'll see how much information, and in what form, filtered through.

Turns out yesterday's interview was for a wholly separate, more general autism article. The Leelo's Day story ran on the front page yesterday, and, as an example of questionable filtering, made me sound like a superstitious twit. That's okay, since the point was to showcase JM's photography and get him some business--Leelo was merely the hook.

Once the reporter and photographer left, I crumpled. Too many hours spent frantically cleaning (What if they take a picture with some of the outside toys? They're filthy! Must scrub them all!) and a forbidden shot of coffee fuel set me up for a major energy crash. Thankfully the kids were happy and distracted by pool time and, later on, mellow park time with Ep and Co. at strangely empty Ford Madox Ford (snarf snarf--you locals have probably made the name connection before, but it only now occurred to me).

Let's see how today goes. Five hours of sleep and already empty tanks. Should be interesting. At least we've babysitting tonight. Praise be!


Mystery Revealed

Ah. Turns out that the Leelo's Day story hasn't run yet because they've decided to turn us into this month's Big Autism Story (autism is hot, hot!). So, tomorrow we have yet another interview. This time at my house. Which means I have to clean it. Gaaaaaah!

Snideness aside, I am happy to do what I can to spread the word about ABA and dietary approaches, and parents needing to swallow those wrenching early fears in order help their kids.

But, most importantly, I may have to brush my hair for the second time this month.


As I Run Screaming

My brain imploded on Friday afternoon. The outward symptoms were my grabbing the kids and running, silently howling, from an afternoon playdate at the park.

I bolted because I collapsed under the stress of tiredness, sadness, and self-pity. Fucking pathetic, but true.

The traveling, parent-hosting, and Leelo wee hours fiestas of the past few weeks have decimated my mental and physical energy. Example: I had two much-appreciated dinner dates with my book this week, and both times fell asleep in the middle of my meal. (Upon hearing of the second incident, Iz chirped, "Did you drop your book in the sauce again?")

I am wiped. Verging on narcoleptic. Afraid to sit on comfy couches in the afternoon. Bobble-heading during sermons as provocative and mind-routing as this morning's electric riff on racism.

Part of my problem is the gestating; the rest of it will wear off as I wedge myself back into a routine. But in the meantime I am weak, small, and unable to bear daily petty lamenesses.

Like those of a random mom at the park from which I fled. Not our regular park, no--a park in Santa Carlotta. A town whose borders I rarely breach, because I hate its pod people majority, their oppressive manicured brittle-cheerfulness, and the delusional, self-righteous bubbles of small-scale privilege in which they encase themselves.

Back to the random mom. In my opinion, it is perfectly acceptable for strangers like her to pinch-hit parent for Iz if I'm not available. But there are tacit rules. The main ones being, again in my opinion, that a person does so using a nice but firm voice, and avoids making snap judgments when information is lacking.

I'm sure that bitch was tired from dealing with both an infant and her whiny baby monkey of a daughter. But that does not excuse her from jumping all over Iz in snarky vengeance mode just because Iz happened to be at the top of a ladder when her daughter decided, after several minutes of wailing and hanging off the side of said ladder, that she wanted to go up and couldn't because Iz was standing there.

This was a rare instance in which I was actually watching Iz the whole time, as Leelo was stuck in a loop, obsessively running back and forth across a jangly suspension bridge (whiny baby monkey: "It's too loud! Mommy! MOMMMMY!") and didn't need all my attention. So I knew that bitch had no right to yell at my kid. But, as Iz didn't seem particularly offended, I didn't lash back--that's not our best playground behavior. Instead I inched closer to my mental precipice.

Then I stepped off. I spiraled. I wondered what the fuck I was doing at the park after already running the kids through several play time hoops that same afternoon. I got pissy about being Leelo's mom, about never, ever, ever being able to take my eyes off him in public places, and how fucked it is that this won't change for a good long time--certainly not by the time this new baby arrives. I brooded about unfair it is to everyone else that I can't properly watch Iz 90% of the time if Leelo is around. I whined to myself about how desperately I wanted to be like all the other parents and plop my butt on a bench instead of running or standing the whole time (this is not entirely fair, but I was not entirely rational).

Then Iz made a minor transgression and I flipped and used that as an excuse and we left. And now you know why.


Iz herself is mostly okay with losing her great-grandmother. I told her a few days ago when we were behind our garage picking blackberries, basically saying that her GG unfortunately didn't get better, and instead died, and that meant that we wouldn't get to see her any more. Iz sobbed and sobbed and sobbed, then sniffed, then asked where her GG's headstone was. I told her that her GG was getting cremated, which fascinated her and made for an distracting tangent.

Iz still stops every now and then, remembers that her GG's gone, and gets weepy. Just now she called me into her room to wind up the musical bear her GG gave her. She says she wants to hear the music play for a long time so she can think about her GG, and feel better.

I think we are all feeling better today. Iz and Seymour had a fabulous time at last night's Casa Ocultada Star Party, and spent all morning chattering about the relative sizes of stellar bodies. I somehow manage to conjure up a delicious trifle, and we got to devour it during a lazy-dazy foodie-crazy afternoon at KV and PV's house. Leelo had been refusing to use "yes" for preferences yesterday, but today is back to using it correctly so I am no longer spazzing on that issue (it must have been the concentrated dairy in that yogurt he loves so! Aiiigh!).

Everything seems to have realigned.

P.S. The Leelo's Day article hasn't run yet. Maybe it'll be in tomorrow's (Monday's) paper. My OB checkup was peachy and all of five minutes long. And my ultrasound won't happen for another week because I need a referral from the HMO.


Cephalopod Fashion Advice

Take my advice, ladies. If you are short, stacked, and pregnant, all patterned dresses will make you look like an overstuffed throw pillow. Don't bother. Dark tops and all the patterned bottoms you want, sure, but dresses need to be solid colored, and preferably dark. The one exception might be an excellent wrap dress Dee sent me--it looked good six weeks ago.

Also, whoever put that shmancy maternity shop on Santa Ana Row next to a frickin' Ben & Jerrry's is pure evil. Cackling, rubbing-hands, "My dastardly plan has worked!"-style evil. Bastard.

I can really only laugh at my body from this point on. I don't have anything resembling a cute little bump. Instead, my entire abdominal cavity, from my diaphragm down, is steadily inflating. My charming daughter told me yesterday that, because my top half is so big, wearing shorts makes me look silly.

The Leelo's Day article was not in today's paper. Tomorrow, then. Also, the online edition of the paper is not fully functional, e.g., their last published online edition is for July 6. I may end up scanning the article instead. Depends on how big it is. Or, as Badger noted, whether or not it pisses me off.

Leelo himself is having a fantastic day. His OT therapist reported that this morning's session was fully of appropriate listening and responses, and spontaneous requests.

Then she told me that she'd be moving out of the area next month. God fucking damn it! This is the second OT defection in six months!

Right. I'm off to my 20-week OB checkup. Where they'll schedule me for my level two ultrasound, and hopefully won't have saved any horrible AFP test results to tell me in person.


What Is Leelo's Day?

Apologies, I forgot that some of you don't live in my brain, house, or neighborhood.

Last October, a professional photographer friend (discount!) of ours spent an entire day following Leelo around. His goal was to document a typical day in our boy's life. He did the same thing for Iz two years ago. The resulting photos are gorgeous, in both cases.

I am trying to help this same friend to get this part of his business revving, and so arranged for him to have a showing of his Leelo's Day photographs at the local cafe. The show will run through the end of this month.

Because Leelo is autistic, and because the photographer has a friend in PR who was willing to do him a favor, this show attracted the attention of a local newspaper. The article will run tomorrow or Saturday.

And that's about it.
Ungratefully Gleeful

My parents, much as I love them, are gone gone gone! Hurrah! Now it's just me, Leelo, and the therapists, which means I could, in theory, hide downstairs and do whatever I like all morning. As long as the buzzing's not too loud. From my electric toothbrush, natch. Heh.

Off to coffee and much gossip.


What to Do, What to Do

We haven't told Iz about her great-grandmother's dying yet. Aside from goldfishies and plants, this will be her first experience with Death, and I'm not sure how to handle it. But I suspect we'd better hurry, as we're going to have a picnic dinner at the park with her cousins Danielle and Elise, and I just got an email from their grandmother, saying how sorry she is for our loss--and that Danielle was the one who told her.

As for our other child, he knows who his GG is, but the concept of death means nothing to him. I guess we'll tell him anyhow.

Speaking of Leelo, his photo exhibit is fantastic. Damn, our boy is cute! The photos are beautifully mounted and just the right size. I hope Seymour, Iz, and Therapist L don't mind that JM didn't select their pictures. JM ended up writing up his own take on the photos and what they meant, and expressed himself so touchingly that my he got my mom to cry.

I am on my way back over to the cafe right now. JM's publicist friend arranged for a Leelo's Day article in the San Mattteo Times, and the reporter wants to interview me. Hokay...maybe the paper hasn't run an autism article recently, and they need to meet their quarterly quota. Whatever. If it helps JM's photography business and helps spread the good word about ABA therapy, then I'm happy to be their dancing monkey.

The reporter also wants to get a photo of Leelo at the exhibit. I hope her photographer has lots of patience.


So Long, Farewell

Seymour's grandmother was a lively, ass-kicking, independent spirit, and we were lucky to know her. I hope that, like she did, we all live to see age 90, while still driving our own cars, using our own ears, legs, and eyes, and never seeing the need to play the part of the sugary-sweet old lady. She amazed us all.

She had just bought the house next to Seymour's parents' place, and had been looking forward to having her great-grandaughters Iz and Leigh over for sleepovers. Big sigh.

We will all miss her greatly.
...and in the "Oh, FUCK" Column

This is day number 140

You're 20 weeks pregnant
Your baby's age since conception is 126 days / 18 weeks
There are 140 days until your due date! (50.0% to go)
Trip Pix

We are having a sad day over here at Casa Rosenberg. Seymour's grandmother is quite ill. I am not much of a pray-er, but I am doing my best, as there are too many unfair things happening to her right now.

The present is leaden and gray. Mostly. Except for Leelo's getting back into Iron Gate nursery school for the Fall (it's the co-op devil I know). So I will write about the past instead. Here are some images from our trip to Burns, B.C., and Seattle, WA:

The fabulous 'KSan project. Living history, contemporary culture. I was agog. Leelo (foreground, running away) thought the great big lawn was fantastic. Iz and her cousins preferred picking wild raspberries to the presentations. I don't care--I got to see real copper shields and bentwood boxes, so I am happy.

I love fish almost as much as I love goats. Here is Iz with one of my favorite totem symbols, the halibut.

The bulk of the family reunion took place over two days, at this lovely lakeside yard belonging to my auntie's sister. We had bocce, boating, innertubing, fireworks, and a spit-roasted whole lamb (fun keeping Leelo away from the roasting pit, oh yes).

The ten grandcousins are spaced amusingly. From nine year old Nicole to three year old Kennedy, we have only girls (a wolfish pack of them). From stripey-pants wearing Leelo to four month old Picard, we have only boys--all wearing Leelo hand-me-downs. This made me realize that, save disastrous amounts of barfing, #3 may indeed get some nuclear family heirloom garments.

Hey, look! It's a really crappy picture of Seattle! I have about 20 of these on my hard drive. (No, this will be the perfect picture of downtown.)

We passed Gasworks Park during our lake outing, which made me think of SJ Alexander and how much I miss her blog. SJ's Frenchie, Chasmyn's Quinn, and my Leelo (not to mention MB's Sophie2) were all born within three weeks of each other, and I jonesed like a junkie over every Frenchie update. That little girl was my peephole to the alternate universe of typical Leelo-aged kids. And her mom was funnier than fuck.

This is Iz using the head. Does she look happy? No, she does not. I refer you to her quote of three or four posts ago.

I don't have any pictures of the Merser Island kiddie parade and festival we attended, because I kept clenching my jaws and fists too tightly to use a camera. This happened mostly because Stepford parents sporting Bush/Cheney '94 stickers kept walking by me, and it was either make my palms bleed, or jump them in full view of Seymour's folks. Sigh.

Bringing Therapist L to Seattle made the trip that much better. Seymour's folks were a bit stressed what with taking care of his grandmother, but they remained unflaggingly generous and hospitable, and took all the time they could to hang with Leelo and Iz. And the four of us got to visit with Seymour's grandmother as recently as Saturday. I am grateful for that.


More Before I Forgets

Looks like mom and dad won't be here until midnight, so I am madly uploading trip pix and videos in the office/guest room. Images will be broadcast, in abundance, soon.

Has anyone seen the Leelo's Day show yet? I will take my folks to see it tomorrow, if it is up.

Speaking of los padres, my folks want to do a house swap for the months of November, December, and January. If you know anyone who lives in or around Deadwood City, and would prefer to spend those three wintry months in a sunny, warm, 3bd/4ba La Jollla condo 2 blocks from Windanssea Beach with an easy walk to downtown, let me know.

Iz finally seems into learning Spanish. She has her basic little libros, can read them with fairly decent pronunciation, and has taken to quizzing us instead of the other way 'round. She's picking it up so fast that I'm getting less worried about the transition.

Seymour's dad, on the other hand, had barely contained contempt for our fretting. We got the full dish about his twelve-year-old little immigrant butt being thrown into an English only, sink-or-swim classroom. He then spent a good while mooning to Iz about the beauty and consistency of Spanish (he's fluent), and the horrors of trying to grasp English inconsistencies.

And finally, fun fun fun via Waiting for Nat. This is the closest to me I could get:

Slow and Snarky

Briefly, before I forget:

Best moment of vacation: Leelo waking up yesterday morning, realizing that it was me and not that Seattle babysitter who put him to bed the night before, breaking into a huge smile and springing up to give me a great big hug.

Possible nadir: Iz telling Seymour's parents, "Mommy says that only she is allowed to hit Daddy."

I am having a slow, slow, slow day. Vacation recovery time is lengthy for me. Seymour is trying to pick up the slack and be Proactive Man, which I appreciate, but I am still wrecked.

Also, I love my parents, and I realize that they have to drive back from the family reunion extravaganza at some point, but do they have to start their visit tonight? Tomorrow morning was to be my first non-ill and completely child-free morning in three weeks. I was bursting with anticipation and delight, and now am all deflated. Ungrateful wretch that I am.


Heydilly Ho

This was an exhausting but fun trip. I am happy happy happy to be back in my own house.

I failed utterly to find souvenir underwear for Badger. Sigh.

My new very favorite movie theater in the whole universe is the Cinerimerama in Seattle. Because they have only one giant, awe-inspiring screen, it is no big deal to take a potty break--they pipe the movie's audio into the restrooms. Plus they have a family bathroom, something I've never once seen in a theatre. And SpideyToo was awesome, goofy fun.

Iz quote to record before I forget about it: "Using the head (potty) is difficult when you're a child who is wearing a life jacket." Maybe you had to be there to chortle over this statement, delivered, deadpan, in her squeaky little five-year-old's voice.

Also, I got to meet the delightful Chasmyn and you didn't. My life is so much the more enriched than yours. Nyah!

I am going to go collapse. In my OWN bed. Rah for me.