Vomit Means I Love You

Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that Leelo is so affectionate. I really am. But this latest wave of separation anxiety--wherein if I try to deposit him in the church nursery or his preschool, he sobs so hard that he barfs--is a little extreme.

Needless to write, Leelo got sent home from school this morning.



This doesn't look like Mali, that baby who is 9 weeks old as of yesterday. It's still cute, though. And she certainly doesn't look the least bit sick, which she isn't anymore--except a slight snorfly nose and some sneezing.


Sucky Week

How fast can I type with one hand? Not. Sigh.

This week sucked balls.

It began on a high note, even though I had the flu, b/c Badger showed up with popsicles and videos to help run herd for most of Sun. morning, then MB showed up with groceries and the sweetest assortment of organic cotton baby gifties. Thanks again, both.

Sadly, for each day during the remainder of the week, either a child or a therapist was sick. Which meant continuous double-duty for a certain cephalopod who really needed to get back to her routine to claim her sanity. Not good. Iz and I had reduced each other to 0tears by yesterday's late afternoon (which meant that Leelo & the baby joined in, too).

The only bright spot was Mali's remaining healthy. Until 1 A.M. last night when she woke up howling with a 102.5 F temperature. The on-call nurse sent us straight to the ER, since M is < 3 mos. (I have not yet slept, but can't really complain since this is the first time she's given me a sleepless night.)

The ER folks were nonchalant about M's condition, subjecting poor baby to three separate tortures: a blood draw (which took 3 sticks), urine test, and chest X-Ray.Not to mention an immediate double dose of motrin & tylenol. Even though it all came back neg., & I insisted that she has the same nasty bug we all had and they all agreed, they gave her a prophylactic antibiotic shot. Wouldn't quite tell me why. All happened too fast.

Dr. G, who M then saw this morn for a sick check instead of the vaccines-showdown 2 mo. well baby ceck that'd been scheduled, had no prob telling me what was up. 8 week old babes don't usually get 102.5 F fevers unless it's something like meningitis. HowEVER, he said very quickly afterwards, this latest bug is gnarly and has been leading to extra-fevery symptoms. He wants to play it safe, and wants us to observe M very carefully this weekend. He also said that, had she been one week youngr, she would have been admitted to Stanffford, & would have had a spinal tap. He also said that motrin is contraindicated for babies < 6 mos.

So I am holding her close and will probably be a shut-in this weekend. But now more a worried than a grouchy shut-in.


Now everyone's sick except Mali. Farts. SEymour and Iz seem a bit better, though, but I am no good for anything except lying down and nursing. I want my mom!


Yes, I Watch Too Much DS9

But, hey, it's in reruns, so Iz and I were watching it this morning. This time it was the episode where Quark finds out his mom is doing the whumpa-whumpa with Grand Nagus Zek (Iz: "Hey, it's Vizzini!"). It was also the one where my least favorite characters, Rom and Leeta, get all cross-culturally huffy over prenuptial arrangements, and thereby exemplify the worst kind of ST righteous anthropocentricism. Barf.

I am glad Iz was there, so we could talk about how messed up it is that everyone was cheering at Rom's being so open-minded and non-Ferengi about the match, whereas when Rom dared to bring up some Ferengi concepts about marriage to the Bajoran (i.e., human proxy) Leeta, he was almost thrown out of an airlock.

The Ferengi traditions were blatantly sexist, from Leeta's and a human non-Muslim's standpoint. However, there were zero discussions of how culturally outrageous Rom's concessions were. And, of course, in the end, he made a compromise that respected the letter of the Ferengi code but reamed out its spirit entirely, making all the humans & Bajorans so proud of him. How loathsome.

There is a big rollicking discussion going on the Deadwood Moms Club board lately, about the same topics: prejudice and respect. It's gotten passionately convoluted yet thoughtful, especially since both Badger and Ep have joined the debate. I usually sit on the sidelines and make noises of outrage, but this time I had to chime in in defense of Iz's school, Esperanza, which the original volley maligned as a gang-filled wasteland.

What bothered me more than anything was that the writer of the original email didn't even bother to mask the prejudices she was voicing in a polite query. She couldn't write, "I have heard that Esperanza's dress code forbids red because they don't want to encourage gang activity--is this true?" Oh no.

Instead, we get "My friend heard that the Esperanza dress code is because of gangs and now Esperanza is DEFINITELY off her list." How fucking rude is that, to send such a statement to a group of 200+ Deadwood parents without even considering that some of their kids might attend Esperanza?

Here was my response:
Holy S***! I'd better pull my daughter out of Esperanza right away!

Right. The dress code has more to do with equality than anything else--the student body comes from a very wide range of economic backgrounds, and the staff doesn't want clothing to interfere with the social dynamics--as much as this is possible, anyhow.

Having said that, the school does go up to grade 8, and the staff does prohibit the wearing of the gang color red. However, if you knew the caliber of the students and extremely involved families at Esperanza, you would laugh at this sort of overprotectiveness.

Esperanza is a fantastic school. My first-grade daughter has been there since August, and is already fluent and literate in Spanish. The teachers and families are the most involved I've ever met. I consider my daughter fortunate to have the opportunity to achieve biliteracy in such a nurturing environment.

With tongue firmly in cheek but still annoyed by this type of knee-jerk ignorance re: Deadwood schools,


I am not trying to wrest control of the PC scepter by any means, as I certainly say stupid, offensive shit all the time. But I hope that I'm considerate when broadcasting my opinion--in a non-anonymous fashion, anyhow. Especially since everyone in the moms club has access to the other members' addresses.


I Have a Right to Sing the Blues

Yes, for fuck's sake, there are people in the world worse off than me. Doesn't mean it doesn't suck to have two sick kids and one sick husband and a broken dishwasher and a broken clotheswasher and ants everywhere and a house so full of crap that every available surface has a disorganized pile sitting on it and my one night off to have dinner with my book taken over by a wakeful baby and so I still haven't recovered from somehow managing to throw Iz's birthday party on Saturday, especially since Leelo's been sick since Monday (which was a school holiday for both kids) and so hasn't had therapy in days and days except for one hour this morning when Therapist F had a scheduling conflict (not her fault) and had to come two hours late and our boy is darling but lately a complete nut to take care of. GAAAH!

Irony: We've had two up-all-nighters this week. Neither because of Mali, who still (knuckles firmly tapping wood) sleeps really well. No. It's the other kids who provided the puke-and-piss wee hours symphonies. Thank heavens for our darling easy baby, otherwise Seymour and I would have lost track of our sanity weeks ago.

Thankfully I am healthy and Mali is healthy and there you go.

Iz has been spending her sick time watching Iron Chef America. Seymour has been watching Battlestar Galactica (which, from the snippets I caught, seemed excellent). Leelo has been using good language in having us "play with Tubbies on the compuTER!," a site which is actually quite engrossing. I could make those bunnies hop for hours.

'Cause, you know, I can do that with one hand.


There Will Be No Wool-Pulling This Morning

Iz's butt: Tooot! Braaaap!

Me: "Izzy! That is very rude, especially while you're eating with someone!"

Iz: "But girl toots don't smell. Only boy toots smell."

Me: "Trust me, the bacteria in your intestines don't care whether you're a boy or a girl. They just produce gas. Here, would you like some of my yogurt drink?"

Iz, with a smirk: "Thanks, Mommy. I love Kefir. And not just because it decreases GAS."

D'oh! Busted!

Conversation about probiotics ensues.


On the Other Hand

What a luxury it is to have two functioning hands.

Mali prefers to be held whenever possible, so much of my day is spent figuring out how to do things one-handed, or saying "fuck it" and abandoning tasks.

Still, it is amazing what a body can do with one hand, with the right tools. A wide stable serrated knife is all one needs for almond butter sandwiches with supplement powder mixed into them, and cut up into Leelo-sized pieces.

The dishes aren't getting done by me any time soon, though. Poor Seymour has been on semi-permanent dish detail. And the dishwasher seems to have stopped draining.

When I get frustrated, I think about Goatface's friend R, who actually does only have a single hand. She always looks totally together, and I've never seen her ask anyone for help. I am sure she would be chock full of tips--after she stopped laughing at me.

Leelo is laid out on the couch for the second day in a row. Poor bit. He is barfing and feverish and sleepy.

At least he only got up a couple of times last night, to get water. The previous night he woke up screaming, vomiting, and completely on fire, fever-wise. Seymour got stuck handling it all as Leelo's howling woke up Mali.

If our boy wants to lie on the couch and watch Totoro all day long, then that's just fine.

I'm prepping for a big write-up of Leelo's current status. I have been pondering what might have led to his current set of behaviors, as are his therapists. And I have to consider that a precipitating factor may be preschool. But in what way? Is attending school stressing him out? I don't think so; he's been making fantastic progress there even when he's been idling at home. I suspect it may be the reduction in one-on-one hours of engagement (notice I did not write "therapy") since school started.

(Can anyone who's ever watched Pinky & the Brain use the word "pondering" with a straight face?)

Leelo's oralness has increased markedly of late. Every fucking thing he can find goes in his mouth. Previously, he would orally stim on/obsess with a few select items. Teacher M, who mans the church nursery on Sundays, remarked on it, and said that Leelo reminded him of a dog he'd had who used to eat everything until they found out he had a vitamin deficiency. And, hmm, we are just wrapping up a five-week anti-yeast program during which we cut out all Leelo's regular multivitamins.


Geeky Baby

We're in that period where all she knows how to do is give big geeky smiles. Hours of fun! Silly baby. With the strangely elongated but oddly cute H. R. Giger head.
Happy Birthday, Miss Isobel Rosenberg

Today's the actual day. And what a day it was. Church! Children's Choir! Chunk E. Cheese with Sophie and Seymour! Ice Cream with Merlin! Mexx's with Mommy and Mali!

All of this capped off by a trip across the parking lot to B&N to get a couple more of the Ramona books she's been tearing through lately. Finally, our girl is off the almost pure science route she'd been on for almost a year, and back into fiction. Whew. Doesn't mean she didn't fully groove on the rocks & minerals books and samples collection her dad and I got her for her birthday.

Izisms from lately:

She watched Star Wars episodes 4, 5, and 6 for the first time this past week. Now she is all hopped up on finding out how Anakin became Vader. "But I can't wait until May to find out! I can't!" She whines. To which I reply, "Honey, your daddy and I have been waiting for more than 20 years. You can wait four months, trust me. I know it seems like forever."

While listening to Robert Johnson and discussing the legend of him selling his soul to the devil at the crossroads, she asks, "How come the devil uses his pitchfork to poke people in the butt?"

After describing the two boys on whom she has crushes and how they both have crushes on her too and how they let her cut in front of them in lines and how they don't mind when she gives them hugs: "Well, they tolerate me giving them hugs."

And when she was going to bed tonight: "I'd want you to be my mommy even if you didn't do nice things for me." Lump in throat: Check.

Possibly the best party yet.

The parents of our core crew attended and were incredibly, incredibly helpful--Ep and Jo with the photos and videotaking, everyone with cake-cutting and herding and pizza-fetching and such. The other parents dropped their kids off, which means I didn't have to worry about making people I didn't know comfortable in the middle of localized chaos. So nice. Iz was visibly bursting with joy, all day.

Leelo had his very own babysitter. Who was visibly exhausted by day's end. But thank heavens for her, the stress would have conquered both Seymour and me long before the party ended otherwise. Our boy spent many happy hours in the bouncy house, and only tried to crash the magician's show twice (our sitter didn't quite get how speedy and wily our boy can be).

The magician was quite talented, and funny. I didn't get to watch the whole show as Mali was hungry and declined to eat in the middle of a small room with 20 kids constantly screaming. I also forgot to video the whole primary segment with Iz as the featured player, though Jo took care of recording the rest. Sigh. Badger told me of one of his naughty asides, where he told the kids to give a Magic Wand to their moms. Cheeky.

Seymour was wrecked before the party, he is extra-wrecked now but still went along with Iz's request to have her birthday lunch at that seventh circle of Hades, Chunk E. Cheese. With Sophie. While I am hanging with Leelo and Mali. After going to pizza/character/arcade hell and back, Seymour gets to go cycling as a reward. I hope I get a reward, too. Perhaps dinner with just myself and my infant, tomorrow night?


Iz's Birthday Party

It's today. Gack.

Although I've not gone balls-out like usual. And I am finally being true to my abhorrence of those farking goodie bags. If the little ingrates think they deserve something beyond a bouncy house, magician, and cake, then they can kiss my lack-of-butt.

Mali's first day at Iron Gate went beautifully, BTW. I only got called in once to nurse her, and even then she wasn't being all that fussy.

She was 7 weeks old yesterday. Still young enough that I can trick her into sucking on the tip of my nose or a knuckle to see if she's hungry. Her face is much wider than it is long, making her look like one of the Pod People babies from The Darrk Crystal. She is howling, so I will find a picture later.


Wakeful Baby

See? I fucked it up. Mali was awake all morning. Occasionally fussy, but mostly just wanting to engage in marathon geeking/smiling sessions. There is just not a whole lot one can do with a wakeful newborn. Good thing she's a cute girl. I managed to accomplish perhaps one or two two-handed tasks all morning.

Tomorrow I go back to work at Open Gate, and Mali goes in the nursery. Fuckity fuck fuck. Too early! Not ready! Maybe I'll be lucky and she'll scream the whole time and I won't have to work at all.

We put Mali in the bath with Leelo and Iz tonight, in her little special bath chair that my mom got for us. (My mom will be pleased to know that Mali is actually receiving baths even though her grandmother is no longer here to give them.) Iz thought it was great, Leelo was disturbed and wary yet fascinated. He watched her the whole time.

Speaking of Leelo, he has been getting a kick out of hauling ass down our really long driveway if I don't hold his hand all the way from the front door to the car. So charming when I'm carrying Mali in her car seat and he gets a good head start. He used to heed our "Stop, Leelo!" yelling, but those days are apparently on hiatus.

Achieved a minor breakthrough with Iz and the homework tonight. She had been intentionally doing messy or "art" writing with every number and word on every page. I used to have a cow and make her redo everything, but over the holidays decided that making sure the work gets done nicely is her job, not mine, and told her so.

Tonight, whenever she would put forth her little challenge, and then ask me what I thought of her work, I would dust off the time-honored "well, what do you think?" and she would declare that it was just fine. But then 30 seconds later she would change her mind and fix it. In every case. It was an almost pleasant session. Whew!

She is still being a pain in the ass during her facilitated playgroups with Leelo and Danielle, not listening to Therapist F at ALL. A solution is needed. Allowing a special snack beforehand is not doing it; perhaps a discussion of expectations before the session and then delaying the treat until afterwards would be a better attack plan.
Happy Birthday to My Favorite Lurker

Have a good one, Skip! We all miss you.



Yes I am on nursing-driven lovey-dovey hormone overdrive, but you've got to admit that she is a snuggly little lump of cuteness.
Leelo Lags

The way we think about Leelo and his progress doesn't really conform to chronological schedules. I know that. Still, it was an unpleasant shock to get a letter from his pediatrician informing us that, since Leelo is eligible for Kindergarten in the Fall, we should be sure to schedule his pre-Kindergarten wellness exam a.s.a.p.

Kindergarten? In the Fall? Right. That's where he would be if he was neurotypical. Sigh.

In the meantime, since he's a November baby anyhow, we're keeping him a year back, and hoping to see a lot of progress in the next 15 months, until the real Kindergarten readiness evaluations take place. And I'll get my small doses of cheer when he does things like yelling at La-La the teletubby on screen, telling her to stop yammering on about those fucking rabbits. "It's a bunny!" he shouts, indignantly.
Fit to Be Tied

I can't believe Iz is going to be six on Sunday. Neither can she.

She has traditionally not been the most independent of kids. Original-thinking, yes, but in terms of self-sufficiency, no. She proudly put together her own breakfast (rice krispies and milk) for the first time a few days ago, while we were still downstairs sleeping. I have friends whose kids did this when they were two. She still likes to have us do as much as possible for her, and is not above a little subterfuge when necessary.

Last week I realized that she hadn't worn laced shoes for months, and had her wear a pair on the weekend so she could keep practicing. She wailed and whined, and told me that she's forgotten how to do it. We were in a hurry, so I helped her out. Later on at Merlin's house, she told his parents the same thing.

However, three days ago, when I brought out an old "shoelaces" puzzle and told her that she couldn't play her Lapster until we'd practiced tying all three shoelaces, she had the trio tied perfectly--with narrated instructions--in under 90 seconds. The little shit.
Sleep, Mali, Sleep!

That way I can jot down some quick notes here and not forget them in two days.

Not that I can complain about her sleeping habits, at all. She continues to be an ideal baby. Went down with me and Seymour last night, woke up with us this morning. Not a peep in between. She has on occasion woken up once during the night for a feed, but nothing--NOTHING--to complain about as I don't even have to change position to feed her. Darling baby.

Still has that one-month baby acne all over her face and ears. People who meet her now are giving us the forced "oh how cute" stiff grin. I am not offended. It will clear up.

Perhaps I've forgotten everything there is to know about babies, but I don't remember the other two being so alert at this age. Looking at me out of the corner of their eyes while nursing, or tracking objects, or just engaging so vividly with the world around them. When awake.

She still has my brothers' hairline, that dark sweep across the back of the head from ear to ear, and precious little else. She is starting to get some dark hairs elsewhere on her head, but--if you're not gazing lovingly at her head all day long--she's just bald.

Her eyelashes are starting to change from colorless to dark, but her eyebrows are still transparent. Bright blue eyes, still.

She is just now starting to spit up; she didn't do it at all before. Good thing I didn't get rid of all the urp cloths. We needed so many for Leelo and Iz, but I wonder again if we only started using them later. I honestly don't remember. This morning I burped her as I was lying on my back in bed, with her across my chest and head near my ear. She urped all the way down my neck and all over my hair. I'll rethink that position.

I have probably cursed our good fortune by singing her praises, but she is again a darling, darling wonderful baby. If she does change, I want to have a written record of this luscious time.


For the Cause?

I just declined to speak with a gentleman who said he was doing an article on parenting blogs for a major newspaper. (He contacted me via email.)

My reasons were entirely selfish: people I care about deeply might be offended by what I write here, which is why I've got that whole batch of pseudonyms going on. However, it just occurred to me that my selfishness might be getting in the way of spreading the word about autism treatments, about lending a very human (i.e., fallible) perspective to a disorder whose media treatment has, of late, been fairly glossy or rubbernecky.

What would you have done?
Another Potential Autism Cause

Seymour subscribes to an online service that feeds him all sorts of left-field autism medical information and studies. Here's the latest theory to catch his eye:

"In a study released this week, the antibiotic Augmentin TM has been implicated in the formation of autism. The study published in Medical Hypotheses strongly suggests the possibility of ammonia poisoning as a result of young children taking Augmentin."

(Author: Dr. Joan Fallon; Distribution Source : PRWeb; Date : Wednesday - January 05, 2005)

Of course, Leelo's frequent ear infections required 10 or 15 courses of Augmentin before he was two years old.
Good Leeloisms Plus Some Concerns

Mali's finally asleep. I have a babysitter for another 60 minutes. Quickly:

Something funny that Leelo and Iz have been doing lately. Leelo has started tackling his big sister a lot--in an affectionate way--so I've been encouraging her to greet him when he does it. Yesterday this kept ending up in a greetings loop:

Iz: "Hi, Leelo!"
Leelo: "Hi, Izzy!"
Iz: "Hi, Leelo!"
Leelo: "Hi, Izzy!"

Repeat three or four times. It's pretty funny.

He's been much more with us the past few days. Still skimping on the spontaneous language, but great with the responses and listening. For instance, this morning I told him, in regular tone and speech, that he'd dropped his fork under Iz's chair and that he needed to get down and pick it up. And he did, without any further prompting.

Seymour and I voiced a lot of concerns to Leelo's team at Monday's program meeting, about his not making much progress lately and in fact appearing to backslide in many areas.

I worry that they thought we were attacking them, so I just wrote them a letter reiterating that our questions were not in any way an indictment of his program, but rather our asking if the three of them could help us identify any changes in Leelo's environment or program that might might have contributed to his recent spate of nuttiness. My no longer secret concern--which I finally summoned up the cajones to ask their opinions about--is that we might have derailed things by going off the GFCF diet. I really wonder if and fear that it's worth revisiting it.


Back on Track

Yesterday my new life started, for real. Seymour went back to work after a holiday weekend. Iz went back to school. Leelo had two sessions of in-home therapy. And I had all three kids, by myself for the first time, for the entire afternoon.

So I took them all to Iz's eye appointment 20 miles away, then out for dinner to The Indian Restaurant. (Seymour met us 45 minutes into the meal.) Iz's eyes are looking really great, very aligned, but she still needs to wear glasses:

It all went swimmingly. Leelo needed his diaper changed in the middle of Iz's appointment, but she's now a big enough girl to stay with the doctor by herself while I get things done. Leelo got upset during dinner and pulled the tablecloth/dishes/water off the table, and then dumped his lassi all over himself and me, but I was in a strangely calm place, took it as a learning opportunity for situations to avoid in the future, cleaned it up, and proceeded with dinner.

This was all made easier by Mali's sleeping through both situations. It's going to get a lot more interesting once she's awake for more than a couple of hours each day. Plus, I got to leave the restaurant and Iz and Leelo when Seymour arrived, as I had an Iron Gate meeting to attend to. Mali woke up there and got cooed at for three hours straight, when she wasn't nursing.

Leelo had an interesting mellow and lucid period yesterday, right after he drank rice milk with vegan protein powder in it. He looked at Mali, and spontaneously announced "That's Baby Mali!" Then he said "Baby Mali is crying!" and answered a bunch of other questions that I threw at him.

We got the protein powder because Seymour's been worried about our vegetarian, egg-hating boy's protein intake. I will continue to experiment with it.


No Good Unless You Say It Like William Forsythe in Raising Arizona

She smiled at me!


Miss Mali also had her two-week jaundice follow up. Where Dr. G took one look at her, laughed, and said that she was totally fine and didn't need to have a blood test. Whew. Now, why was it that I was supposed to go off nursing for 24 hours again? Sheesh. But I guess not everyone's as lucky with the breast milk jaundice as we were.

Dr. G also said that his office record for a breast-feed baby's days between poops is 17. Owing to their digesting their food so completely and all. I asked because Mali went almost a week without a BM--but then resumed production so violently she sprayed everything within two feet of the changing table. Such a strong little girl!


Collective Breath Holding

I don't know about you, but I didn't make any resolutions for this year. Mostly this is due to pig-headedness--I refuse to do "what everyone else is doing." And then there's the fact that I honestly didn't have a minute to think about it until the moment had already passed.

Because these past two weeks have been brutal. The whining that has taken place in this journal has been the snapshot version. (And bite me if you think that my privileges negate sanity-perforating stress.) Seymour and I are both at wits' end, and have entered into a pact--if we can just make it through until tomorrow, when Leelo goes back to school and therapy, then we'll be okay.

I knew in advance that it was a bad idea to have my entire family over for Xmas right after Mali's arrival, but since my mom was already here and my eldest brother and his wife were coming out to visit her two local sisters anyhow, there wasn't much in the way of choice.

The ants and flu and visitors were the superficial stressors. What really is making me go nutty, and Seymour even more so, is trying to run herd on a trio when the kids have been out of school for two weeks. Especially with Leelo.

Our boy really can't have this kind of break from his schedule in the future. Or, if it's unavoidable, we have to at least get some kind of quality baby sitting for him, so that he at least one part of each day is focused and predictable.

But we weren't able to give Leelo what he needed, for almost two weeks. And now we have a loupy (heh) wolf-boy on our hands. I am hope hope hoping that his regular routine will snap him back into shape, that he will stop running around gibbering and nattering, and will start talking to us again.

My brain's gears are still jammed as I try to write this, so I'm not sure if my point is coming across. What I'm trying to say is that, now that some of the stressors have abated and I can partially process what we've just been through, that I am making a resolution after all. In order to keep my family from losing every last bit of its structural integrity, I have to admit that we need more help with Leelo, and that this is not a failing on anyone's part.

I will start looking for a weekend babysitter/therapist for Leelo, immediately. Three-four hours per day.

Because of Leelo, we are not a "normal" family. My New Year's resolution is to stop pretending that we are. A stiff upper lip will drag us all down into HELL.