Getting My Act Together

It is only now occurring to me that, if I want to make some sort of holiday pittance from my Carfe Press site, then I need to make items that people who are not me would want to buy. So I'm ruminating--would anyone else buy a shirt that says "My kid may be autistic, but your kid is ugly"?

Other ideas/logos are welcome.

And yes, I know my product site is ugly and that I need to work on that too.
Poo is Funny!

Leelo's got this weird GI thing going on, where now almost every night he takes a big poo within a couple of hours of going to bed. Most inconvenient for everyone involved, especially if he wakes up during the diaper change, as that means he'll be up for another two hours.

Last night he had a late night poop again. Only this time he decided to take care of matters himself.

Seymour, who was sitting in the office next door to the kids' lair, heard the telltale "clang!" of the kids' hamper closing, and went in to see what had happened. He found both kids in their beds with their covers drawn up to their chins. So he went back to work.

A few minutes later, Leelo started retching and gagging. Seymour went into investigate again, and discovered that, in the act of disrobing and taking off his soiled diaper, Leelo had managed to cover his sheets and comforter with muck. When he pulled the covers back up, he'd begun to asphyxiate from the stench.

Seymour called for me to come help take care of the bed, while he whisked Leelo off get scrubbed. As expected, and much to the now-awake Iz's delight, I found poo everywhere--on Leelo's wadded-up jammies, on his sheets, on his socks, and of course on the dry-clean-only comforter.

The diaper, however, was nowhere to be found. Not on the bed, not under the bed, not in the trash, not even in Iz's bed (where she insisted I look). Then Seymour hollered to look in the clothes hamper--and, lo, there it were. I guess it was hard for Leelo to tell the difference between the trash and the hamper in the dark.

So, you've got to give the little guy points for trying to do the right thing. And for absolutely making his sister's evening--in her world there is nothing funnier than farts or poo.


Okay, Okay, Okay

Apologies to Brainy, Child magazine, the latest issue of which I bashed after only reading the first few articles. Though, to be fair, I hated everything last Friday.

I guess they front-load their fluffy bits, since the back half was filled with thought-provoking goodies. I was particularly grateful for a touching article by Kristin Ohlson, which told of how her adult autistic son continues to amaze and astound her, defiantly living his own life even as it remains intertwined with hers. It was a timely antidote to that fucking dog book.

It is good to know that the white magic with which to fight Parenttting and all those other fuckwad child-centric mags remains strong.


Patriotic Duty, Part IV: The Environment

As ranked by readers of RAW, The Sierra Club's online newsletter, here are:

The Top 16 Bush Administration Environmental Issues of 2003

1. MERCURY RISING - Issued public health warnings to pregnant women and children about mercury after announcing policy changes to triple amount of mercury pollution allowed from power plants.

2. SUPER DUPED - Became first administration to support shifting burden of Superfund toxic waste cleanups from polluters to taxpayers.

3. SOOTY SANTA - Dismantled provision of Clean Air Act that requires oldest, dirtiest power plants and refineries to curb soot and smog pollution.

4. BACK IN BLACKOUT - Proposed a national Energy Bill that did nothing to reduce dependence on foreign oil, repair or address antiquated electricity grid, or protect special places from oil and gas drilling.

5. DRILLING WILDERNESS - Opened nearly 9 million pristine acres in Northwest Alaska to the oil and gas industry for exploration and drilling.

6. STONEWALLING, BIG TIME (tied) - Continued to withhold documents from secret meetings between Bush/Cheney Energy Task Force and energy industry lobbyists.

7. DON'T AX, DON'T TELL (tied) - Promoted a wildfire policy that expanded commercial logging in the backcountry but did little to protect people where they live.

8. NEXT STOP, SHINOLA - Allowed untreated sewage to be blended with treated sewage, cut funding for local sewage treatment, and didn't require health officials to warn public about sewage in water.

9. CRITICAL CONDITION - Obliterated the process of critical habitat designation for imperiled wildlife under the Endangered Species Act.

10. COP OFF - Continued pattern of willful negligence for enforcement of even basic clean water and clean air laws.

11. POST 9/11 LIES - Discovered by EPA Inspector General to have lied about post 9/11 environmental health hazards near Ground Zero.

12. ROAD WARRIOR - Expanded the legal loophole that allows obnoxious road claims through federally protected wilderness, national parks, and public lands.

13. HOG WASH - Secretly negotiated backroom deal to exempt giant animal factories from laws governing air and toxic pollution.

14. POLLUTED LOGIC - Refused to classify industrial carbon emissions, linked to global warming, as an official pollutant under the Clean Air Act.

15. HOT AIR - Proposed fantasy hydrogen power initiative to improve auto fuel efficiency rather than promoting more proven technologies like gas-electric hybrids.

16. ESTATE TOX - Ended a 25-year ban on the sale of PCB-laden real estate.


Stupid Modest Baby

My doctor did indeed sneak me in for the promised ultrasound. At which point the baby reiterated: Buzz off! and kept its legs tightly crossed over its nethers.

Looks like any fabric-based shopping we'll be doing will be in white, yellow, or green.
Patriotic Duty, Part III. Though It Comes Via Ep, Who Is Canadian.

I sent my mom this, and asked for her to consider that many of the points were true (even though, as Floyd pointed out, it's the Department of Homeland Security).

She replied with this, to demonstrate how polarized both sides are in her opinion.

I know that my liberal blinders are fitted tightly, but I see the first posting as a passionate, justified listing of facts, and the second as a xenophobic, bilious screed. Grrrr.

Still, she's an intelligent woman and I will continue to work on her for the next five weeks, using the "what kind of world do you want your grandchildren to live in" angle.

I forwarded my mom's forward to Ep in a fit of apoplexy. She wrote back brilliantly with:
I have more dark thoughts about being given permission to luxuriate in the pleasure of negative emotions like hate, anger, and revenge. Experiencing these emotions is very exciting and stimulating, but we're not supposed to give into them. Along come a group of people, the President of the United States included, who say, "It's OK! Go for it!" The price is if you're black and you hate gays, you are electing the party of the KKK; if you are working class and you hate Arabs, you are electing the party of big business; if you are a woman and you are afraid for your children, you are electing the party of pollutors; and if you are an educated, urban professional who hates paying taxes, you are voting for the party of religious fundamentalists who oppose reproductive freedom and teaching science in the schools.

For these people, it seems, the desire to lash out and punish overwhelms their own sense of survival.

Demagogues, dictators and religious leaders have been playing on the same quirk of human nature for millennia. A nifty little self destruct button preprogrammed for pushing.



Iz wrote this quiz for me while we were sitting in the lobby of the Paly Alty minivan dealership, waiting for the salesperson to explain why we should pay $5000 over MSRP solely for the privilege of buying our vehicle in his tony town, when the Deadwood dealership listed straight MSRP and was willing to negotiate:

What is fire?

[ ] solid
[ ] liquid
[ ] gas

My answer: Urp? Um, none of the above, or maybe part gas? Isn't it light? Oh, jeez. How can I not know this?



I crapped out on the political posts because today was a thoroughly crappy day. Seymour has just returned home to take over the herding. I will go into an explanation when I've recovered, but now it is time for bath and book.


Patriotic Duty, Part II

I may not have mentioned this before, but Leelo's preschool just happens to rent its space from our church. This means that, while I am hiding from all the little monsters during my ten minute work break, I can hang out in the social hall and browse through the flyers. This opportunity is what made me realize how little I am doing about my political concerns. Plus they have stacks of free Kerry bumperstickers!

Anyhow. Jo's comments a few days ago from an anonymous conservative got me wondering what personal freedoms that nameless person considers dispensable. Are people truly so cowed by The Terrorist Threat that they consider privacy battering rams such as the Patriot Act and Section 215 tolerable? What do you think?

Consider what the ACLU has to say about it.

And if you think they're flag-burning freaks, consider the Quaker perspective.
Patriotic Duty, Part I

I haven't been doing enough to further the cause of getting Mr. Bush kicked the fuck out of office. So, today's posts will be political. I will release them one at a time so you don't get overwhelmed, because I'd really like you to try to read them all, and discuss.

Firstly, I'd like to thank Mr. Norton for capsulizing something that's been making my skin itch uncontrollably for years, namely how Bush and Co. get away with unrepentant, uncontrolled, malicious spin while their opponents almost never do. I'm hoping that Kerry learns to take his gloves off a bit--I don't want to see him stooping to his combatant's level, but I hope he addresses the spin issue directly, so the public can at least consider exactly how they've been and will continue to be fucked under his tarnished aegis.

Also, in terms of my own efforts, I've just realized that my parents will be visiting during the weekend before the election, and will be driving home and voting immediately afterwards. We might be able to work on them while they're here.


Let the Hardcore Nesting Begin

This is day number 210
You're 30! weeks! pregnant!
Your baby's age since conception is 196 days / 28 weeks
There are 70 days until your due date! (25.0% to go)

What this means to those of you who've ever spied and coveted something in my house: now is the time to ask for it. Everything must go! Three big bags already went out the door today.
Yes, I Read People

I don't subscribe, but it is my first trash-read choice whilst detained in any medical or therapeutic lobby. I know I'm not alone, but am not asking anyone to out themself.

Why do I read it? I dunno. Pretty, sparkly clothes mostly. And even they couldn't ignore the excellent Persepolis. It never really seems to get nasty, like the slime mold that is Us. Plus, it's brainless, and brainless interludes are critical to maintaining my energy reserves.

I appreciate its being mindless and silly. Unless they try to do some real journalism, such as this week's (9/27) article covering the autism and mercury/Thimerasol controversy. Then it is as putrid as any of its competitors.

At first I thought the reporters were doing an even-handed job, featuring quotes from and pictures of families whose children had regressed after receiving their vaccinations, and describing how these people were trying to do the best they could by their children but were demanding more research. More research! Yeah!

Then the article slid right down into fearmongering and misinformation territory. Specifically:

-Sweden discontinued Thimerasol use in 1993 but autism rates have continued to accelerate. So, maybe it wasn't the Thimerasol. I'm open to that. But there was no mention of research implicating the MMR and Hepatitis B vaccines themselves, no mention of genetic susceptibilities, no mention that More Research is Needed.

-Pediatrician X had a patient who died of complications from measles because he wasn't vaccinated. His parents will never forgive themselves. Perhaps. But there was no mention that measles is now so rare that most pediatricians wouldn't recognize the symptoms if they bit them on the ass, and no mention of why parents would make such a difficult decision--for instance, having a contraindicatory family history of neurological or immunodeficieny issues. Also no mention that, specifically because of vaccinations, measles may have mutated into a much more virulent form.

-Thimerasol is still included in some vaccines such as flu shots, but the amount is less than you'd get in a can of albacore tuna. It is safe. First of all, I've never heard of anyone mainlining albacore tuna--gastrointestinal absorption and direct injection are somewhat different processes. Second, this is the same fucking tuna that has been vilified in the news lately. You know, the one that pregnant women shouldn't eat at all, that children shouldn't eat more than once every three weeks, that adults shouldn't eat more than once weekly.

So, I guess we sad, proud families with autistic children should just suck it up. And the rest of you, don't worry about vaccines and environmental mercury. You're totally safe! People Magazine says so.


And What Do You Drive?

Today's mightiest chuckle so far came from watching the most sugar-fearing and natural fiber-wearing mom I've ever met speed by me in her gas-guzzling SUV. Which gets a crappy combined 17 MPG. Even the behemoth Acura MDX gets 19!

Both my current and planned-for-vehicles get 21. That's not stellar, like the 28 of my beloved old Plymouth Horizon, but at least it's not in the you're-going-to-hell-you-selfish-bastard red zone.

What I want to know is why a 2004 Prius only gets 55, when a 1997 Geo Metro gets 49. Granted, there are size and weight differences, but it seems to me that the gap should be much, much wider.

Ever wondered about how badly your vehicle is messing with the environment? Check out this excellent site: http://www.fueleconomy.gov
In Gratitude

Right about this point in Iz's pregnancy is when I got put on bed rest. For ten fucking weeks. Due to pre-term labor.

I contest that I did not bring it on by flying to Atalanta and partying with Dee and Giddy for several days, but rather that it was brought on by the stress of getting slammed with several emergency writing projects at work right after I stepped off the plane. Of course, if I hadn't gone to GA the projects wouldn't have started stacking up and toppling over, but hey.

Anyhow, the bottom line is that stress and pregnancy are a bad mix for me. Hence this list:

Thank you to Jo and Manny, who took Leelo and Iz for a big chunk of yesterday so I could sit calmly and firmly on the couch, watching a middling movie and attending to some soothing, months-old mending.

Thank you in advance to Badger, who has offered to come and work with Iz on some homework this afternoon so that any Spanish knots can be untangled on the fly, rather than via jarring gaps as I desperately paw through a Spanish/English dictionary.

Thank you to Seymour, who took time he did not have to empty the litterbox this morning.

Thank you to Godfather M, who accompanied the kids and me to Doula A's salon so that A could actually attend to the hacking of my parti-color locks.

Thank you to Emsie, who had us three over to her jewel box of an apartment in SoMa, and pitched in amiably with the Leelo and Iz wrangling at the nearby park and Ferry Building.

Thanks to Babysitter Cece, who sat on Leelo so I could take Iz to a gymnastics party without having to wrestle our enthusiastic boy out of all the out-of-bounds areas the entire time.

And, finally, thank you to the invisible forces that influenced the mom hosting the gymnastics party, and made her tell Jo and me that we could drop our girls off, giving us almost two whole hours of complete freedom to go eat The World's Best Chinese Food.

I would not have survived Seymour's conference weekend without all this help. I'm still mostly holding on by my nails and teeth.

Semi-related somewhat distasteful postscript: If you're going to eat a large portion of chili-flake tofu for both lunch and dinner, remember that you did so before wiping yourself the next day and completely freaking out for a split second, thinking that you're seeing vaginal blood.


It Is 10:48 P.M.

And Leelo has been screeching, bouncing, and otherwise staying up for 90 minutes now. So far he has only stripped jammies and diaper off once. I just want to farking go to bed, but can't until he's down as one never knows what he will do if left alone--tear the doors off the cabinet of art supplies? Climb up onto my dresser and eat the organs from Iz's anatomy model? Get into the bathtub and turn the water on while fully dressed?

I will be grateful when this conference is over and Seymour's days do not end with him returning home at midnight and then leaving the house before 7 A.M.

Good news from this ungrateful, moany wretch--the friends who were supposed to come over tomorrow afternoon had a scheduling hiccup, and won't be visiting after all. I am both disappointed and relieved. However as I had made a special trip to Giddyap Girlie Creamery in The City this afternoon, I am now stuck with large quantities of spectacular cheeses...what to do, what to do?
When You Are Really Tired

You leave a bag of "to be composted" foodscraps on the porch and then forget about it until the next morning, when you realize that the raccoons sure as hell didn't forget about it and now your porch is covered with slimy rotty vegetable bits.

You deny that you are tired and take the kids up to many fun places in the city, then return home and realize that you are so tired and sore and stiff that you could care less whether the kids watch TV until bedtime, or have baths, or brush teeth. Especially since they fell asleep in the car on the way home and will be up until midnight anyhow.

You mindlessly trawl awful sites like this, and then chuckle over entries such as:
i have two daughters--sapp*hire dea*nna and amet*hyst b'ela*nna. my husband is a sttar trrek fan so we compromised with the girls having
star trek middle names. i name my daughters after my two favorite gemstones and they both are truly precious to us.

And, ideally, at some point tonight, you sleep.


Speedy Blathery Snatches From the Past 48 Hours

Crazy crazy crazy! I am tired.

Wednesday night we had babysitting. Seymour went biking, I went to dinner. The restaurant did not have the foie gras advertised by their online menu (and let that be a source-verification lesson to you all!), but they did have something equally morally questionable and iron-rich: a veal porterhouse. With mashed potatoes and a truffled cream sauce. I could hear my hemoglobin sighing with delight.

I returned home to a very flustered Babysitter Cece. Iz had accidentally locked them out of the house once, and then decided that her spy-kid-like re-entry through the kitchen window was so exciting that she pulled it on Cece two more times--once while Leelo just had escaped into the house ahead of them.

Thankfully Iz was in bed by the time I returned, so I didn't have to kill her. Cece was too kind to tell me to take a strap to her and made excuses for her instead. And I do understand how thrilling it must have been for her to have that kind of adventure. But we are having ongoing discussions about the danger she put everyone in, she is not to see any friends for two days, and she had to write Cece a heartfelt note of apology.

Plus I let her know that, in the Olden Days, had I done such a thing I would have experienced a spanking so severe that I wouldn't have been able to sit for days. I think that got through if nothing else did.

Bad Moms Coffee. Sigh. Happiness. Although Badger was not there.

Then Iz went to our local dentist for the first time. And, awwww, she has her first cavity! It'll get filled next week.

The dentist gave her the most excellent bag of tricks. A timer (hourglassish) to help gauge how long to brush her teeth, those pink pills that reveal any remaining plaque, a tongue scraper, multicolored dental floss, etc.

The dentist took one look in our girl's mouth, and, seeing the intense lower jaw crowding that made her first adult tooth push out two baby teeth to get through, reacted with the expected "oh, my!"

Apparently our girl told the dentist that she "didn't have a photographic memory, but it's still pretty good."

Yeah. That must be why, when I turned off The Offspring's "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)" mid-song, she sang the rest of a truncated line even though she's only heard the song in its entirety two or three times (she usually loops the "Uno Dos Tres Quatro Cinco Cinco Seis" part, ignoring the rest). Thankfully its expletive count is rather low compared to most of their songs--the only violation is "ass."

Leelo's got The Ramones' "Mama's Boy" chorus down. He sings it all the time, and asks me to do it too--although I must pat his tummy when it's my turn. He also has his own version, "Izzy's Boy."

His speech therapy session went well yesterday afternoon. They're working on adjectives (big/little etc.). She remarked upon how changed he is from the boy she started working with 18 months ago. I hope hope hope so.

In order to boost my iron levels, I made sloppy joes for dinner last night. From scratch! They were farking awesome once I tweaked the recipe and added a buttload of Sriracha. But this meant that the kids spent a good hour force-watching TV so I could cook. I'm trying to figure out when else during the week I'm going to get any real cooking done as Thursday is Iz's only homework-free day (although she still has a mandatory book-a-night reading assignment that we sign off on every day).

The wonder that is TeeVo continues to deliver much in the way of interesting laundry-time viewing material.

That remake movie, The Riing? When are people going to figure out that disjointed enigmas are insufficient substitutes for good storytelling? Although the sequence where the girl crawled through the TV screen is going to keep me sleeping fitfully for many nights.

Actually I've been sleeping fitfully since I started taking those supplements daily. Sweating at night and such. WTF? I am normally an excellent sleeper. I don't need additional stamina drains at this point and so am hoping it's an adjustment phase.

Like most people, I am semi-obsessed by remote archipelagoes and so have been watching documentaries on the Aleutians. I should know better, but still always imagined them as wildlife, particularly avian, wonderlands. In fact Seymour and I have talked about a birding expedition to both them and the neighboring Pribilofs, for years. Who wouldn't want to see eiders in the wild?

I don't want to go into the depressing details, but the Aleutians, their people, and wildlife were severely fucked up by WWII Japanese and American resettlements, occupations, and conflicts. Shredded by thousands of troops. War debris cleanups are recent and ongoing. Nuclear testing. Overfishing. Now I'm really depressed and will stop.

This morning both Seymour and I had alarm malfunctions. Our double redundancy system obviously needs review.

His workplace is hosting the annual international conference for his type of business for the next five days, so we won't be seeing him until Wednesday or so.

Leelo's school went well this morning. Our boy learned how to climb up into and back out of the school fort's trap-door style entry by observing another child. Very encouraging.

I spent Leelo's school time going to the chiropractor (aaaaah!), talking to the good doctor's spouse/admin about vaccination options, attempting to be helpful at Iz's school but instead wasting reams of state-underfunded copy paper and shamefacedly taking the job to CaupyMat and paying for it myself, and then meeting poofy little snuggly Milton!

I am leaving several things out but you do understand that even a life as boring as mine can be a logistical nightmare.

Now I must go water all those pots of plants littering my yard and porches. I'm supposed to do this every-other-daily during the summer, but am finding finding the time increasingly challenging. I will be adopting out as many plants as I can before the thirdling arrives, but the too many of them have touching stories attached and couldn't possibly be given away. This one was given to me by dear Sukie shortly before she died, this was on the altar at cousin D.'s funeral, this showed up on our doorstep when Iz was born, when Leelo was born, at Iz's welcoming ceremony, at Leelo's ceremony, Iz grew this herself from scratch, this is the first plant of this variety that I didn't kill...you understand.

Every other plant is going, though. As I must, to get Iz from school and then relieve Therapist F of Leelo duty and then take Iz to ballet. Have a good weekend.



Okay...so if you're pregnant and already exhausted and anemic and nauseated and the iron pills don't seem to be doing anything at all yet then you should not be the one to volunteer to fill your preschool work morning by pushing three sobbing toddlers in an unwieldy stroller contraption all the way around the block. I am so tired that I'm going to barf. Leelo and Iz, let's see what's on TeeVo!
Oh For Fuck's Sake

Last night was the first parent meeting for Leelo's preschool.

These mandatory three-hour meetings happen twice monthly. The local adult school partially funds the preschool (tuition is cheap cheap cheap!); in return we must put in a set number of hours of parent education to keep our good standing and cashflow.

Everyone was kind and earnest, in keeping with my previous experience and school tradition. They were very friendly and welcoming about Supervisor M's handouts describing Leelo and his background and our goals and how to interact with him in class.

But then we did the "get to know you" section of the show. Teacher K had us talk about who we are, why we chose Iron Gate, and, for fun, what food we eat when no one is looking. We chatted about our answers with a partner, and then our partner got to tell the class all about us.

As we went 'round the room, I found the food answers increasingly silly. In my mind, a food you eat when no one is looking is something horrible or nasty or weird. Apparently at Iron Gate, where sugar of any kind is forbidden, the worst possible horrible nasty food is either chocolate, ice cream, or Cheetos. One person--I must get to know her better--admitted to a hankering for McDickwad's chicken sandwiches.

I went last. My answer was the morally bankrupt foie gras. Everyone in the room gasped. Exactly, people. I wouldn't eat it in front of you, just as you would only eat your chocolate late at night, with all the shutters closed, sitting on your bed of nails and wearing your hairshirt.

Then we talked about food allergies. I said that we didn't feed Leelo chocolate or citrus because it makes him crazy, but that as Therapist F would be monitoring his food intake, they wouldn't need to worry. This let to a collective titter about how they would NEVER allow chocolate at Iron Gate anyhow, so it wasn't really an issue. Give me a break.

My approach to our kids' food is that they eat good, wholesome fare most of the time. But if they want to cut loose with an occasional soda or donut, more power to them. They know that these foods are special treats. I don't want them to end up like me, eating Lucky Charms cereal for every meal of every day in college just because I was denied it for the 17 years beforehand.

It was also funny to hear everyone else's reasons for choosing the school. They all cited the Sense of Community! and the nurturing environment. I was amused to hear Scarlett list this as well, when in fact she chose the school because I told her to. Then it was my turn. I said I chose Iron Gate because the kids don't have to be potty-trained. I wonder if these people will ever talk to me again.

Fuck 'em for now. I have made a 6:30 reservation at a local restaurant featuring foie gras terrine as an appetizer, and several chocolate desserts. I wish Seymour had time to come with me, as we've been completely parallel for more than two weeks and I miss him (don't tell him I wrote that!), but he is coming off a hard-core weekend of solo dad-dom and so is running off into the mountains with his new biking friend.


Music That Qualifies as a Tax Write Off

Clash: Combat Rock
Educational Niche: Iz/Spanish (Should I Stay or Should I Go)

Offspring: Americana
Educational Niche: Iz/Spanish (Pretty Fly [For a White Guy])

Educational Niche: Iz/History (Explaining why her uncles used to sing Beat on the Brat to me)
Educational Niche: NLP w/Leo (Getting him to sing Momma's Boy)

Any other ideas?
Leelo at Preschool

Check out Supervisor M's notes on what a faboo first school day our boy had.

My favorite part was when he walked up and gave his name tag back to the teacher at the end of class with minimal and almost exclusively verbal prompting. He was not able to complete any part of this Iron Gate Preschool routine at the end of the year last year--he wouldn't even hold on to the name tag. What a different boy he's become.
I See Stars!

Iz wanted to learn how to draw pentagrams so she could properly mark up the homework assignments she's been giving us. (Her maestra puts stars on good work.)

Every single piece of paper in our house now looks like this:


An Anemic Excuse

My OB just left a message letting me know that pregnancy has made me anemic. Well, at least that explains the weakness, super-tiredness, and nausea I've been experiencing lately.

But damn, have you ever taken iron pills? They are nasty, and leave you with an I've-just-sucked-on-a-rusty-tailpipe taste in your mouth--for hours.

Off to get Iz and, I guess, pick up some iron pills.

Leelo had a faboo first day at school. More on that later.
The Issues

Dropped Leelo off at school. He was a little bit clingy but seemed fine. We'll see how he is in two hours when I pick him back up.

Can I just say that this is the first morning in which I've had the house to myself since August 2003? There are visble waves of relief emanating from my roof, I am certain.


Ep, our highly-informed source for all things political, told us of a fabulous Clinton quote while we were away: "Democrats win when people think." He also said that Republicans win when people let emotions get in the way of the issues.

Make sure you're thinking clearly. Please follow the two very different links below for summaries of where Bush and Kerry stand. Then go and discuss them with any friends or family who may not have had the, erm, time to research this themselves.

Bush vs. Kerry at a Glance: MSNBC Summary

George W. Bush vs John Kerry: Independents for Kerry

Also: Though we often ridicule the French, they've got our candidates pegged. If our election was to take place in France today, Kerry would trounce Bush by a 13:1 margin. Merveilleux.


After a Weekend Away

I am sunburnt and exhausted but happy and more in love with my friends than ever. And Ms. Jane! She can sing show tunes, even lesser-known ditties from Guys and Dolls. She's got the timing down, too. I am smitten.

Two things that made me pogo-stick in the back seat: Stumbling upon the UCSC Agroecology plant sale that I've meant to go to for years but haven't actually attended since 1996, and finally getting to go to Ricardo Donnelly chocolates. Mr. Donnelly's confections kick those of Mr. J. Schmidt right out of the park, something the instantly ensorcelled Ep will back up. I got me some of his brownie mix.

Much else happened but I am wonked and so will write only that I enjoyed the hanging out at lovely beaches and chatting away, the constant laughter, having the mellow time to pay attention to and think warm thoughts about the feisty little being in my belly, and the fantastically gorgeous hike to Frank1in Point--even though the path was overgrown and poison-oak infested.

Tomorrow is Leelo's first day of school. Aick! How interesting it will be to see how he is with other kids his age. The very thought makes me nauseated yet I am thrilled to my toes.


That's My Girl!

Iz's class had a mock election yesterday, "Se elige el presidente." She brought home a handout with all sorts of pictures and information about both candidates. For instance, "George tiene un perro llamado Barney, y una gata llamada India. Él es de Texas."

By the way, has anyone noted how much first daughter Barbara Bush looks like Posh Spice? Anyhow.

Apparently Iz was incensed that several of her classmates voted for Mr. Bush. She told them that they shouldn't vote for him because he isn't a very good president; he lies and he cuts down trees. Yeah! Go Iz!

The discussion got her needing clarification on several issues. I hope we did good.

She first asked me why I think Bush isn't a very good president. I told her that he isn't doing the job he was elected to do. I told her that the American people elect their president and that s/he is supposed to work for us, for our best interests. Mr. Bush, on the other hand, is only working for the interests of his friends. That is neither fair nor right.

"Yeah," said Seymour and Jo later on, "It's as if the parents of the two richest students in your class paid your teacher to only teach those two students and ignore the rest of you."

Iz's eyes got wide and she seemed to really get it.

Then she asked my why both my and Seymour's parents are voting for Bush. I told her that her grandparents worked very hard all their lives to make enough money so that they and their families would feel safe, and that they think the Democrats are going to pass laws that will take away an unfair amount of their money. She seemed okay with that.

By the way, Therapist F's car is now sporting a Bush/Cheney sticker. WTF? She can't even vote! I am guessing and hoping that her partner the investment banker put it there.
Medical Conditions and Investigations

Forgot to mention that, directly after Leelo's EEG, I took him to his pediatrician to get his stinky gooey ear looked at. I figured we might as well go while the boy was already pissed off; no use busting up any potential later good moods (as an ear infection veteran, Leelo is terrfied of otoscopes).

And he did have an ear infection, in the ear that still has a tube in it. The other ear was just fine--so at this point the tube is letting infection in, probably from submerging his head while swimming/bathing. That tube is scheduled to be removed next month.

Good Dr. G, whom I adore, said that because we're trying to avoid antibiotics with Leelo, he'd prescribe ear drops instead. Bless him. That makes 15 antibiotic-free months for our boy.

I then made a last ditch effort to see if we'd be able to salvage our patient/doctor relationship by asking him if we needed to give our newborn a Hepatitis B vaccine at birth since I tested negative for Hep. B in June. (I am heavily researching vaccines at the moment, more on that later.) I told him that I'd thought the vaccine was being administered to newborns because mothers weren't always screened before delivery.

He said, no, actually, if a mother tests positive for Hep. B, then we'd give the infant the vaccine plus a dose of gamma globulin.

I nodded and said "okay," but hung my head to hide my teary eyes. That may very well be our last visit to his office, unless one of the kids gets sick in the next two months. Damn it all. He is such a good doctor, and his office has worked so hard to get us the five thousand referalls Leelo and Iz have needed.

Today I made it to the chiropractor, who saw my vaccine information book and was very excited to talk about it. He is very anti-vaccinations; he told me that he himself has never been vaccinated for anything, and neither has his two-year-old son. Hmm. I'm not totally against vaccinations, but am always interested in hearing peoples' experiences and decisions regarding them.

He was also happy to recommend his son's pediatrician. I'd heard about the pediatrician before, from my friend MB's research. Perhaps I'll interview her after all.

Then I went to my OB. She was entertaining as always, and gave me more information about the tubal ligation. I will be given a general, and will be out for one to three hours. I will see if Seymour can guard the baby from the vaccination squad during that time. The procedure will probably happen the day after the delivery, so no quick escape from the hospital for me. Rats.

My doctor also said that she'd try to sneak in another ultrasound during my next visit (her group has their own machine) to see if we can get this modest baby to give up the goods about his or her genitalia. I know it's silly, and doesn't give any solace to people like MB, Kevin, or Catherine Maurice, but I'd feel somewhat less worried about the autism likelihood if this baby is a girl.

That next visit will be in two weeks, BTW. I really do have preganancy amnesia--I thought I was only supposed to see her monthly until the last few weeks, and then it would be weekly.

Off to the beach tomorrow! Which reminds me, the wax was not so bad. Especially for someone who spent her formative years being ambushed by three brothers yelling "Odd or Even!"


Potty Thoughts

Leelo's potty training is still not going anywhere fast. He can and will do it, but it's still hit-and-miss--if he's brought to the potty at the right time, he'll go. But he doesn't show any awareness of or interest in doing his business in the potty on his own.

Also, he still drops a load or two per week in his diapers while he's sleeping. That doesn't seem like particularly mature bowel behavior to me.

I fucking HATE potty training.


Pants! Now!

Because I have neither hips nor ass, wearing below-the-belly pants isn't the best idea in the last trimester. It's like trying to put trousers on an ice cream cone.

Alas, my two favorite pairs of knocked-up wear sit low. The constant hitching is tolerable as long as I remember to pull on my pants instead of my drawers--self-inflicted wedgies are almost worse than the aided kind. Especially since I prefer what erudite folks term "ass floss."

Speaking of things below-the-belt, my bikini wax is scheduled for tomorrow morning. Aiiieee!
Return to Our Version of Sanity

Therapist F is back from vacation, and Leelo is having his first morning session in almost three weeks. Big sigh of relief. BIG.

Below is Leelo's weekly schedule as of Monday 9/13. He will have ~20 hours per week of ABA, 1.5 hours of other therapies, and 7.5 hours at school. Busy boy!

Although Therapist L will be on vacation Sept. 16 - 21. Sigh, again.

School/Therapist F: 9:00 - 11:30
ABA/Therapist F: 12:30 - 3:30
OT/Therapist M (offsite): 4:10 - 5:00

ABA/Therapist F: 8:30 - 12:00
ABA/Therapist L: 12:30 - 3:30
Session includes faciliated playgroup 3:00 - 3:30

School/Therapist F: 9:00 - 11:30
ABA/Therapist L: 12:30 - 3:30

ABA/Therapist F: 8:30 - 12:00
Speech Therapy/Teacher A (offsite): 2:30 - 3:00

School/Therapist F: 9:00 - 11:30
ABA/Therapist L: 12:30 - 3:15

For contrast, here is Iz's schedule for the next few months:

School 8:10 - 2:30

School 8:10 - 2:30
Leelo Playgroup: 3:00 - 3:30
Karate 5:00 - 5:45

School 8:10 - 2:30
Spanish Tutor: 3:00 - 4:00

School 8:10 - 12:45

School 8:10 - 2:30
Ballet 3:30 - 4:15

My Schedule:

See above, plus:

Frantically clean house: All day
Pick up and return Elise/Danielle for facilitated playgroup 2:45 - 3:45
Find somewhere to go during house cleaning: 4:00 - 6:00
(twice monthly) School Meeting 7 - 10 P.M.

Work at Leelo's Preschool 9:00 - 11:30
Babysitting 6 - 9 P.M. (This is how our sanity is maintained)

Coffee 10 - 11:30 (This is how my sanity is maintained)

I am also trying to fit in weekly chiropractic and prenatal yoga sessions. Hmmm.


Action Links

Hey, locals! State Assembly candidate Ira Ruskin has a blog. Please check it out.

Also, you must buy Barak's beautiful book. All proceeds are going to the cause of kicking Bush the fuck out of the office he usurped:

What Barak has to say about it:
I am now offering the images from my Naked Truths series in book form. In addition to the images, essays by some of the models and myself will be included in the book. All proceeds will be split evenly between moveon.org and America Coming Together, two organizations I feel are doing valuable work towards removing George Bush from the oval office.

Leelo had an EEG at Stanffford this morning.

We had to keep him up until midnight last night and then wake him back up at 5 A.M. this morning, so he would be properly sleep-deprived for his 8:30 A.M. appointment. All this because they needed him to fall asleep during the procedure.

This is what he looked like during the exam:

They had to swaddle him in sheets so that they could glue all the wee electrodes to his scalp and chest. Then they had to secure all the electrodes in place with a gauze wrap that left only his face showing. Oh yeah, he just loved it.

The technician assured me that she was used to screaming, non-compliant children, but I wasn't really worried about her, nice as she was. No, I was sick with sorrow over not being able to communicate to Leelo why we were torturing him for an hour. He was absolutely terrified, and sobbed for 30 minutes straight until my 50 refrains of Good Night finally got him to zonk out.

Then she woke him up by flashing bright epilepsy-inducing lights into his eyes. Poor little bit.

Thankfully we've a two-week buffer before his MRI. I'm guessing they'll have to sedate him for that one: his final neurology test. Afterwards, the doctor is supposed to tell us what the combined MRI, EEG, metabolism, and amino acids tests have revealed--if anything.

Therapist L is here now, and is trying valiantly to work with our groggy boy. I am going to take a five minute nap before retrieving Iz from school, and then picking up Danielle for the afternoon facilitated play group.


Two Exciting Weekends

TLF and I have some great plans for this weekend. Or rather, I have some great plans and hope she's up for them.


-The cafe is closed, so we will hit the Suraaaj lunch buffet instead. I've been to visit her in Phx three times, and we've yet to find comparable Indian food. Anyone who wants to join us is welcome.

-Afternoon of slothfulness. Perhaps a walk up to the caves.

-Dinner at Godfather M's faboo restaurant in The City. Sans kiddies.


-Up Pasta Bowl. Go to excellent, wacky farmer's market. Stuff kids with the best ice cream anywhere. Let them go nutty at the huge crazy playground. Deal with my super-strong craving for soft polenta with pesto, goat cheese, and caramelized red onions.

-Go on lovely afternoon drive from Pasta Bowl to excellent beach which is supposed to finally have good weather this weekend. Avoid sharks. Have dinner at beachside restaurant.

Monday: Lounge and recuperate, then put her on a plane for home.

I'm also getting excited about the next weekend--our annual foray into hedonism and self-indulgence--even though we don't leave for eight days. Ep! Jo! Ms. Jane! Alas, no JP or Badger, even though I had carefully arranged things so that the latter playmate could share my room and I'd finally get to tie her to her bed...to stop her from smacking me because of my damn loud pregnant snoring.

It will be fun nonetheless. We will do whatever we like! Browse bookstores! Go to the beach! Linger over coffee, having conversations that last longer than five minutes! And everyone else can tie on as many as they'd like, because I can't.

Um, yes, that is my definition of hedonism. Sad, eh?
Fricking Frack

Apparently each of my posts has a unique URL--but I've no idea how to transform those addresses into permalinks.

However, as a cheapass I still prefer free though cantankerous Blogger to its competitors. Even though it hates Mozilla/Firefox.
More Barfing!

Poor Iz, she's only had some soda and a bite of croissant today, and it all came right back up. I have to applaud her for using DivaLea's technique of running for the non-carpeted floor. We will concentrate on the tiny sips of water for now.

Seymour and I are both zonked from lack-of-sleep. He says it's good prep for returning to newborn land.

I am more worried about exhaustion fucking up his planned desert mountain biking trip with Floyd. Floyd has traded The Little Flower to me for the weekend, in exchange for my spouse. I hope everyone's well enough to have a good time. TLF hasn't been in Deadwood for quite some time, so I want to make sure she gets to do everything she wants to. Although unfortunately the cafe is closed for the long weekend.
Leelo Milestones

Leelo figured out how to ride his tricycle yesterday, all by himself! He only got about three feet, but it was entirely self-directed. Seymour, Iz, and I all broke out into applause and cheers. The boy seemed pleased--this is something he has initiated and pursued on his own, with only moderate coaching from the rest of us.

Our short boy has also finally grown legitimately big enough height-wise (he's plenty big width-wise) to wear size three pants. This only a few months before he turns four! I have boxed up all of his size two clothing despite a few lingering still-fitting pieces. He will only wear age/size correlated clothing for now.

He couldn't find me for a scant few minutes yesterday, and so stood at the top of the stairs yelling, "Mommy? MOMMY?" Name usage is a big deal for him.

I asked him what he wanted to watch yesterday afternoon, and he said "I want to watch The Wiggles!"

Okay, first of all, IMHO The Wiggles only used Australia as a launching pad. They are originally FROM HELL. Gaaah! Second, he's only been allowed to see them in hotel rooms when we're on vacation, so what the heck? How did he even remember them? But, as with all long spontaneous requests, he will get what he's asked for. And then I will leave the room.
No One Looks Cool in a Minivan

A few days ago I spied a stylishly dressed woman crossing a parking lot. I sighed and felt mild nostalgia for the days when I wore clothes that didn't easily double as sleepwear. Then she got into the driver's seat of a minivan, and her aura of coolness dissipated like that. Pfffft! There is nothing hep about being a member of the minivan driver corps.

Which probably makes you question my hesitancy about purchasing such a vehicle--I mean, I am the president of Dorks-R-Us. And I already drive an equally goofy-looking wagon.

The wagon is rationalizable, though. I tell myself that some cool people drive wagons. Artists who need to haul around their wares, parents with boutique farms who need to get the kids to school and the produce to the farmer's market. None of these people drive minivans.

The minivan is the point of no return. The one-way ticket to both practicality and dorkitude. Seymour says that since it's the car we need, I just have to slap a KQED sticker on it and suck it up. And no, I can't paint it fluorescent orange. He did suggest that, if I was looking for some way to make the minivan stand out, he could install a fake gun rack in the back.

Anyhow. Iz was up all night barfing--she's got whatever Leelo and Eliz had. Poor girl. I will be nursemaiding today. Thank heavens Therapist L is scheduled for a brief session this afternoon--I might be able to eke out a nap.


At Least We've Got Santa Fe on Our Side

Godfather M took this shot while vacationing in New Mexico last month.


Two Grouches

As I think I've mentioned before, Leelo is back on just about all foods except chocolate, peanuts, and citrus. I don't think we'll ever do much citrus until he's potty-trained, as it gives him a huge diaper rash, but it is time to start experimenting with the other two.

Leelo jump-started the chocolate reintroduction himself, yesterday. He spied the cookie display at the grocery store, and loudly announced, "I want a chocolate-covered cookie!" He got that cookie, damn straight. So what if it was only 9:00 in the morning.

While he tucked in, happy as a vindicated mole, I got weirdly and pre-emptively defensive, just waiting for someone to jump all over my ass for letting him eat chocolate in the morning, so I could then chew their judgmental butt off. Why? Just grouchy, I guess. It's been hot for too long.

Iz is currently in her room with her tutor, doing her best to make that pleasant, earnest lady's life hell. Sigh. She is a cute girl, but we need to get her some sort of isolation chamber for when the grumpies hit. Maybe it's the heat with her, too.

This morning, as I was walking her to school and explaining to her that, when we get our minivan, we will need to start practicing dropping her off on the corner, she turned around and announced that I could start right now--she could walk the rest of the way herself. So I left her at the corner of the schoolyard and observed as she meandered around, dawdled, and finally made her way over to her room in plenty of time for class. Another milestone.

She refuses to be known as Iz at school, btw, even though she's never been called anything else. She is Isobel, with the Spanish pronunciation. That is what her teacher calls her, that is what all her classmates call her. Weird. I keep wondering who it is they're talking about.
The Third Trimester

I'm officially there as of today.

This means, among other things, that I can't see around my belly well enough to take a decent hack at the undergrowth, and will need to get a bikini wax before going to the beach next weekend. I don't know about you, but whenever I hear the term "bikini wax" I also hear the Psycho violins in my head. Not very excited about it.

It also means that my twins are so large that I have to be careful to align them each time I put on my bra. If I don't, then my bosom bears an uncanny resemblance to Marty Feldman each time they stand at attention.

This also means that I've gone absolutely wacko with the nesting. Leelo and I spent the morning at a car dealership, cruising minivans. It is only by the greatest exercise of self-restraint that I am not moving around all our bedroom furniture, since the current configuration doesn't allow for the bassinet to be by my bedside. I'm picking up a used crib from some friends today. I've been cruising the local listings for used glider/rockers (I know from experience that nursing on our hand-me-down couch will tweak my back badly). I've ordered the car seat and its matching, interlocking double stroller. Somehow I finally realized that my current, almost-four-year-old parent backpack looks like someone spent hours carefully rubbing it with crud, so a new backpack is on the way, too.

The last three items are all black, which is practical but kind of odd for baby gear, don't you think? But I am sick to death of navy blue, and the kind of colorful stroller that I lust after but would never buy doesn't come in a tandem version.

Which reminds me, female people, please stop wearing black tops with khaki bottoms. At least accessorize with orange socks, or something!