Someone Please Just Shoot Me

Therapist F is moving back to her home country. Right after her upcoming 2.5 week break for getting married/honeymooning.

That soggy bleating lump in the corner? That would be me.


Three Months Today

That would be Miss Mali.

Her eyes are still blue, but if you look at them from the side they're already starting to fade. Her hair is coming in fast, and it's brownish. I keep trying to tell myself that it could be red, but that's really just her pink scalp peeking through and blending, or the yellowish cradle cap I'm trying to keep in check (perhaps I should start bathing her more than once a week, poor little thirdling).

I have alluded to her becoming a more, erm, active and alert baby. She is fussy and needy during the day! Wants her favorite pacifier (Mommy) all day long, doesn't want to be put down. Oh well. Still sleeps soundly at night, which means that all is forgiven.

She's still got some congestion going on, with big green boogers (this week's theme) in the A.M. The snot's been going on more than two weeks now. I should call the Dr. except I'm worried that they're just going to want to put her on antibiotics.

She is holding her head up routinely now when placed on her tummy (see picture). If you take her hands and pull her up off of her back, her head stays up rather than flopping back. Her whole body rises up like a board, though, not just her trunk (ack--stiff baby--early autism sign!). Despite that last parenthetical statement I think she's just strong: if I place her on my knee in a semi-sitting position so that she is reclining against me, she then sits upright all on her own.

Batting at objects with remarkable concentration. You can see those little cogs turn as she does it, and it is remarkable! I love watching her look at everything. Her hands have unclenched, and she now strokes my hands or side, open-palmed, as she nurses. Little tiny warm hands. This is one of my favorite phases.

I love three month old babies, as parents are their whole world. Everyone else is interesting, but Mali's whole being is focused on Mom and Dad. It's delightful, and we adore her right back, hard.

Badger has translated a poem that taps into this fierce love--check it out. There has never been a baby like this baby, and there never will be again. Worship her!


Cut Her Loose

Seymour says that Iz's nosepicking is driving him nuts. She does it compulsively, and thinks that if she does it with the other arm blocking her face then we can't tell what she's doing.

I told him to cut her loose! She is six, and he needs to tell her that if she wants to pick her nose in public then that is her choice. The first time one of her friends sees her doing it will be, I suspect, the last time. Then she'll learn to do it in secret like everyone else except me, because I never pick my nose.
He'll Have Fries With That

Yesterday was not a really great day overall for Leelo. He is being really spazzy, and Seymour suspects it's because of the B12 shots. Plus his wee sister cried all day long for the second day running because his mom keeps forgetting that she's not supposed to ingest dairy or caffeine.

Still, Leelo had isolated moments of wonderfulness. Two food victories, and two excellent examples of how his receptive language outstrips his expressive.

The first food victory came in his having no problem revisiting the gluten free bread* that used to be one of his sole food sources back in the GFCF-everything-F days. He still loves it. I guess he doesn't consider it a substitute for regular bread but rather a different foodstuff altogether.

The second came in his finally finally trying french fries. I've been offering them to him once a week for months, and he always tosses them away, or swats at the proffering hand. Yesterday, though, he was about to dispose of the offending item when I told him in exasperation, "Leelo, it tastes like a potato chip, for ****sakes!"

I swear I could see the little light bulb go off over his head. Down the hatch went the french fry, and the rest of our drive was set to the chorus of "More french fry! More french fry!"

Yes I know french fries are crap, but you've no idea what a relief it is to know that, in a pinch, I can always hit a drive-through and get Leelo some food, or we will have at least one menu option for Leelo at some restaurants. The rest of the time he's still limited to the six or so foods he will eat, most of which need to be purchased at Hole Foods or another health food store, and all of which must be brought along whenever we go out to eat.

His understanding what I meant by "It tastes like a potato chip" is pretty significant too. As was his helping me out yesterday by picking up the cup I'd dropped on the ground. I asked him to please give me the cup, and he turned around and handed me the one I hadn't realized he was holding. So I said "Please give me the green cup, and he immediately went over and picked it up off the floor.

So four nice things for yesterday. Hurrah.

Did I mention that Babysitter A started on Wednesday? She's here today too. Mali wasn't very helpful on Wed. but she seems to be okay with doing a bit of "clown time" right now (where she lies on Iz's bed and looks at the scary clown mobile that I make move for her). So I am typing furiously and nonsensically as I haven't had any real free time in forever.

*I am considering revisiting the GFCF diet in a few weeks, after our B12 trials are done. I am wondering if it isn't worth it. Before I do that, though, I am going to very carefully go through my archives and check out Leelo's behaviors vs. his diet.


Doesn't He Have Friends?

Poor Jools Netherlands. He is such a wonderful musician, and was so charming on this week's Kumars. Why hasn't anyone told him that he has his very own page in the Big Book of British Smiles?

Another road trip discovery: Seymour pointed out that I should be careful when tossing around D'Artagnan family-speak, and that--for instance--other people might be somewhat grossed out by the way my brothers and I refer to the mayonnaise-based sauces we all so dislike as "smeg."

"Dude, they put smeg on my hamburger!"

"You might want to wipe the smeg off that bite before you give it to the baby."


Hmmm. I'll consider it.


La lectura es más diversión que...

Iz is in San Dieggy right now. Where we left her with my parents, gleefully. I am certain that my folks will truly enjoy the next few days as they share their home with the terror twin instant combustion team of Iz and Merlin. Whatever money Ep (Merlin's mom) is saving by staying at my folks' place rather than a hotel will most likely be spent on valium when she gets back.

Shortly before we left on our trip, Iz informed me that she'd been placed in the top reading group in her class. This in addition to her being student of the month makes me yet again question the wisdom of placing her in that grade, in that school. What were we thinking?

The reading group thing is cool, as it means her Spanish comprehension has caught up with her reading skills (she could read anything put in front of her almost from day 1, Spanish being a see-n-say language). Most importantly, she is pleased with and proud of herself. And now so confident with the language that she's starting to bullshit us en Español.

While in San Diego, Iz started berating me for not bringing down more of the Seriously Inopportune Events books that she'd plowed through on the car trip down. I assured Iz that her lack of prescience was neither my fault nor problem, pointed to the big stack of other books that she'd brought down with her, and commiserated with her on how sucky it is to have a series interrupted when you really really want to know what happens next.

Afterwards, The Little Flower drew me aside, and said (and here is where Badger and Jo get to chortle): "Do you really think she's getting those books?"

Heh heh. Yeah. She has been reporting the plots to me in almost too much detail. Although I do wonder if she'll be as interested in the books that weren't chummed to make the movie.
Road Trip Short Scenes

After 18+ hours in the car together over the course of our extended weekend, the conversation that best sums up the pithy discussions Seymour and I had is the following:

"Dude, barfing up meat is the worst."

I also fell for "I think of you every time I drive by here" as we approached the San Onofre nuclear reactors. That has never happened.

I am brain dead!


B-lieve It or Don't

Before I forget: I started Leelo on his five week trial of B12 shots yesterday. He gets one every other day or so for 5 weeks, then we call Dr. P to see if there's been any noticeable change.

These would be shots in the ass. I've found out that, if I do it right after his bath and while he's turned away from me, he hardly notices. I don't have the patience to rub the numbing cream and wait, blah blah blah. The needles are teeny tiny.

Dr. G's wife/office manager called me today to let me know that some people have been having problems getting into the MYND Institute's programs. No worries, I can always try another university.

She was so sweet--she really wanted to help. Gave me names of local people who might be able to help us with Leelo (Brina Seagull was one name--I told her about that person's lack of bedside manner and she said that she wouldn't give the name out any more then). Also asked me if I'd started Leelo on Cod Liver Oil as she's heard that it was really important. And iron supplements.

Again, she was being so kind that I didn't really have the heart to mention that we already gave her an inch-thick stack of Leelo's biomedical data which included all his crazy supplement recommendations (including those two), as well as a copy of the DAN! protocol.

Not to be in any way pompous, but I believe she and any future autistic patients could benefit greatly from my sitting her down and educating her for an hour or two. There is some bonafide role reversal going on in this specific case.
No No NO

Off to San Dieggy tomorrow A.M. We are driving.

Why? Besides any masochistic tendencies Seymour or I might harbor? Well, Seymour's auntie Izabel wants to meet Mali, and her house is midway between Deadwood and our destination. Plus that way we'll have tomorrow's dinner at Casa in Anasleim. Buckets of melty cheese for everyone! Plus dollar glasses of passable sangria!

Accoring to waythere.com, San Dieggy is expecting rain all weekend long, through Tuesday. Mali's welcoming ceremony is on Sunday. And the ceremony is outside. GODDAMMIT!!!

Maybe we should rent a tent? I can't think about it. This week has sucked too many balls already. Although at this moment I am enjoying my very first break since last Friday immensely.

Have a good weekend. Back Wednesday.


Media Madness

Of the books I'm admitting to, I finally finished the doorstop: A Suitable Buoy. It was a pleasant, edifying read, but even I started flagging after the first 1000 pages. Discussion, anyone? How about that Maan and Firoz? Hmmm?

Now I am reading Johnnny Got His Gun, and, after I got over the absence of commas (yes I am easily distracted by such superficialities), I am now engrossed yet dismayed and certainly more disgusted with the concept of war than ever.

I am desperately in love with the new Batt1estar Ga1actica series, and swoon over the new Starbuck as much as I ever did for Dirk Benedict. She kicks ass!

Also can't get enough of The Kumars. I made Seymour watch it tonight and haven't seen him laugh that much in moons and moons. Although the episode with Buoy George freaked me out a bit as I'd never realized how similar his speaking voice is to Wombat's.

Seymour has never seen What's New Pusssycat?! Can you imagine? He agreed to watch it voluntarily. Romy Schneider is just the cutest thing. I want to be her. Still loathe Woody A11en, though. Swearing off anything with him or his voice in it.

Going to bed now.


Updates From Just Another Day

Seymour got the barf bug, and was up almost the entire night letting his system, erm, right itself. Then he slept in until 1:00. Poor guy.

I let the two older kids sleep in as long as they wanted to, and kept them home just to monitor the barfingness. There was none. Back to school with you tomorrow, my dear little menaces.

Mali and I seem okay still. I certainly hope we remain so so, as we're all driving down to San Dieggy on Saturday, for her welcoming ceremony.

About Mali's temper: she gets really pissed off sometimes if she's famished and my milk doesn't let down quickly enough. Really. She does this heart-rending wail that sends me into instant panic while I check to see if I've accidentally broken one of her fingers. If I didn't dye my hair I bet it'd be snow white by now.

But she sure is a cute sleepy bunny!

Leelo's been demonstrating crazy climbing skills. He is suddenly able to instantly scale the six foot "rock wall" on our backyard playset (more panic), as well as our floor-to-ceiling cupboards (another Leelo treats hiding place eliminated).

Feeling positive about the three final babysitter candidates. They're all excellent, but one more than the others really "got" Leelo. That same person clicked with me; I'd feel the most comfortable having her hang around, seeing as she'll be part our our household chaos rather than segregated in a room with the boy like the therapists.

Also feeling better about his ability to learn, about the choice to have the babysitter come engage with him. Whenever I can steal time to read him a book, do a puzzle, sing a song, it makes a difference. You can see the cogs turn. Makes me sad that I can't spend more time doing this myself, but with Iz and Mali too it's impossible. Hence the babysitter.

Example of cogs turning: After I put the batteries back into a particularly annoying toy (it plays the Alphabet Song among others) and we spent a bit of time playing with it and then he spent even more time playing with it by himself, he went around the house singing the entire song--and even let me sing along to bits of it with him. Encouraging.

Two more Iz interludes because as her mother I find her perpetually amusing:

She made Seymour a get well card that read "2 Daddy from your eldest [picture of girl]." Not Oldest, Eldest. The whole thing made my Prince-listening and Victorian and Edwardian literature-loving heart go thumpity thump.

She asked for bread and water for breakfast, as her stomach was still slightly unstable. "Excellent," I said, "you're eating a convict's breakfast!" She looked at me as though I was a complete dimwit, and said, "No, the bread's not stale."


Mali Madness

Cute cute cute cute baby. Chats all the time now. Likes to grab things and stretch her arms over her head. Goofy smiles. Keeps testing her grip, finger by finger, even when she's asleep. Loves sucking on her hands and rubbing her eyes. If she's awake, she's moving all of her limbs at once, all the time. If we put her on her tummy, she can push her self up on her arms and raise her head for a few seconds, but then that heavy melon drops.

Still hasn't given me one of those smiles while nursing where the milk pours out of both sides of her mouth. Leelo used to do that a lot. She doesn't always want to look at us, but when she does, it's a geek-fest--especially if she's in her favorite place in the whole world, the changing table. These two things make me fret about proto-autism symptoms, even though I'm certain they're just typical 11-week-old behaviors.

She's got a temper. Quick to fuss. Might be because she's still got all that mucus in her nose, and it makes breathing difficult. Mostly it's because she despises being put in her car seat, although she's usually okay with it once we're on the road.

So a fun baby, but not as easy as we thought she was going to be. Oh well. I'll take the daytime fussing as long as she continues sleeping so well at night.


Iz interlude for the evening:

Iz: "But I'm so hungry! I want some chocolate cake!"

Me: "Chocolate cake will make you barf."

Iz: "Pleeeeease?? Please please please?"

Me, snidely: "Sure, you can have chocolate cake if you don't mind barfing it up in half an hour."

Iz, brightly: "OKAY!"
More Vomit Fun

Leelo's got some weird bug. He was up, barfing strenuously, every 45 minutes from 12:30 A.M. onwards. He's killed three changes of bedclothes (including pillows), four outfits/sets of jammies, had three baths, and caused Seymour and I to change clothes at least once each. His diapers are being filled with the most foul-smelling mucusy output imaginable. At this point, however, he hasn't barfed in two hours.

Iz joined in the vomiting fun at 7:30 this morning, just as she was walking out the door to have a months-delayed "Daddy-daughter" morning, while holding a bag full of valentines for her classmates, and while wearing head-to-toe red for the one day this year that the color is allowed. Thankfully she knows both how to head for the toilet, and how to hold her hair back. Unlike her brother, she's still wearing the same clothes. A small mercy.

Both Seymour and I have insta-chapped hands from constant washing with caustic soap and almost-boiling water, as this is a bug we do NOT want Mali to get. Barfing diarrheatic babies are good candidates for ER trips, as they get dehydrated so quickly. Poor bits. She still has a cold, is still Princess Twin Green Rivers, so she doesn't deserve to have another bug on top of her existing one. Fingers crossed.

Darling Seymour stayed home during the morning until things evened out. I am grateful for that, and that my sick kids are happy to lie on the couch and plug into the TV indefinitely while I do the three extra loads of laundry this morning's adventures have necessitated, and make the nine phone calls to call off today's scheduled events.

At least Iz provided a comic interlude. She's not supposed to watch TV commercials, but rather is supposed to fast-forward through them when viewing TeeVO'd shows. This means, of course, that she adores them. Any commercial! She will beg for permission to watch car commercials, drill commercials, you name it. This also means that she sneaks in viewings whenever possible ("Oh, sorry! I didn't know it was a commercial!"). I'm not sure how she snuck this last one in, but she has spent the morning reassuring me that I really need to try a new birth control pill called "Saisonelle" because it will make it so I only have four periods a year and wouldn't that be great? You try keeping a straight face when confronted with such earnestness.


It's Official!

Seymour and I joined our church officially today. It was rather nightmarish from my perspective, as Leelo and Mali both howled through the entire ceremony, to the point where I left to go nurse Mali (who had just eaten 45 minutes earlier) and I missed reciting the official membership vows. Then Leelo escaped from the nursery and crashed the entire service during closing words.

One nice note, besides the lovely hydrangeas we were given, was that Iz insisted on signing the membership book, too. She also sang with the children's choir at the beginning of service.

Anyhow, all the members we talked to post-service swore that all our kids' shenanigans were no big deal. Sigh sigh sigh. I think it might be better for the mental well being of Teacher M, tender of the nursery from which Leelo bolted, if we started leaving Leelo home with a babysitter on service days.

Here's the bio they read for me during the ingathering ceremony:
Squid Rosenberg

I am from Southern California and can turn on the accent upon request. I was raised Catholic but am disappointed by that church’s lapses of logic and compassion. I have not one but two degrees in Geography because I am fascinated by the mutability and interconnectedness of our world. I have a lovely husband, Seymour, and we have three children: Isobel, Leelo, and Mali.

When I first started stalking Seymour, I did so not only because of his good looks but also because I saw in him almost limitless spiritual patience. Once he gave in to my attentions, he told me where his spiritual grooming took place: going to UU Sunday school with his best friend [that would be Gouda]. Ever since, I always imagined us bringing our children to a UU.

And so it happened. We’ve been attending the UUFRC for six years, since Isobel was six weeks old.

When I look around the fellowship, I see a group of people who live their values. Who take care of others because it’s the human thing to do, not because they want recognition. Who point out wrongdoings and search for solutions without getting sidetracked by finger-pointing. Who remind us that Jesus Christ was the biggest hippie freak of them all, but that his wasn’t the only message of love and tolerance.

My family and I are at home here.
Um, Is This Correct?

My days of figuring out permutations and combinations are but distant memories. However I looked up the combination equation online and it says that:

n C k = n!/k!(n-k)!

where C indications a combination of n items from which one is choosing k at a time.

So if I had 7 items and was choosing 2 at a time, the number of combinations would be 21, right?

Rusty brain cogs won't let me trust my own answer...


Oh, And...

Dr. G also said that Mali has full range of motion in her neck, and suggested that I switch bed sides with Seymour so she'll start turning the opposite way to nurse. She has no tight neck muscles or flat spots.

We switched sides last night. It was pretty funny, as for me nursing sidedness is like hand sidedness--it was difficult and comical to switch, and the results were sub-optimal.
Damn It

Mali has her third cold/flu. She's 11 weeks today. This seems fucked up to me. I suspect this one came from putting her amongst the obviously snotty-nosed children in the nursery while I worked two Iron Gate shifts this week.

Success! Sort of!

Dr. G didn't kick us out of his practice! He said he's willing to work with us on a modified vaccine schedule! I am doing backflips!

For the time being, anyhow.

I went into Dr. G's place prepared for the worst (i.e., with tears already welling and shaky hands). However I surprised myself by asking straight out if he'd be willing to work with me on a modified vaccine schedule.

He asked me what I meant. I told him that, while researchers are getting closer and closer to figuring out what the cause of autism is, they still don't know, but one of the prevailing theories is that it's a genetic polymorphism or disposition that can be set off by a number of environmental factors. Some people think that vaccines are one of those factors. I'd like to reduce the vaccine risks as much as possible.

I said that Mali was a surprise to us, that we hadn't planned on having another child but that since she's here we want to take every possible precaution to prevent her from lapsing into autism. Most children have a 1 in 166 chance of being autistic, but for her the odds are 1 in 20. It seemed to me that the likelihood of her contracting any of the diseases for which vaccines were developed are much more remote than that.

I then told him that I'm trying to enroll Mali in the UCDavis MYND Institute's Risky Infants program, so we can track her development and see how she's doing with respect to autistic symptoms. I told him that the MYND folks are scientists like him, that they're not in the cuckoo camp.

He said that he'd be willing to go along with whatever the MYND folks recommended in terms of a vaccine schedule. He even said that, regardless, he had no problem spacing out the vaccines, in terms of only giving one shot per visit.

In terms of giving individual doses rather than combo doses (e.g., diphtheria, pertussis, then tetanus rather than a single DPT), he said that his office has not been able to secure individual doses for some time. He said they used to stock them, but that demand was so low that the companies who supply him eventually stopped producing them. Even Stanffford no longer stocks individual vaccines. (Which seems odd to me when the first cry of any vaccine watchdog is "get individual doses and space them out!")

He reminded me that his responsibility was to the "people sitting out in his waiting room." "The herd," I said. "I know." He also said that there have of late been incidences of pertussis (whooping cough) here in Saint Matthew county, although he hasn't had any in his practice. The diseases are rare, but they're not theoretical.

He said we didn't have to make any decisions or get any shots that day. So we're okay until the four month visit, anyhow.

In the mean time, whoops. I am going to have to find other non-cuckoo sources that advocate fewer to no vaccines for kids like Mali. Not out of the woods yet, but at least we're still under Dr. G's care.



Love My Friends

Badger: Cooked and delivered and hung out during dinner tonight.

Jo: Took on Iz for 9 hours on Saturday.

Ep: Braved a Sebastopol road trip with me, Leelo, and Mali (i.e., much Leelo duty) on that same Saturday.

Would not be surviving this without them.

I was supposed to have the invites for Mali's 2/20 welcoming ceremony mailed a week ago; they are printing out as I type.

Have 20+ responses for the babysitting ad; Haven't been able to respond to any of them yet. NIIICE. Bet they really want to come work for us now.

Iz is doing a weird dual response to our new life. On one hand she is being super polite and obedient and thoughtful and kind (to me at least; others might not see it), completing her homework nicely without supervision, giving me tons of hugs and kisses, and trying hard to be nice to Leelo. On the other she is being excessively needy re: my attention, especially at bedtime, and has been having foul bedtime accidents 3 years after being night-time potty trained. She says the latter is because she's too scared of the dark to get out of bed and use the pot. I told her that I'd much rather be woken up than clean stinky sheets and diapers.

Leelo is also a needy bed-time boy. Took an hour to get them both down tonight. And I swear that he's figured out that crying because he's sad makes Mommy pick him up and give him snuggles, so he's working that angle a lot.

Good Leelo language lately. At our friend's house in Sebastopol, he spied and obsessed over a tiny three-key piano. "It's a piano!," he kept saying. I thought it was good generalization because it certainly didn't look like any piano he'd ever seen.

At the same place, we showed him a picture of an owl and tried to get him to tell us what an owl said. He said "hoot hoot" but didn't seem all that enthusiastic about it. Instead, he asked us "What does a rooster say?" I wasn't sure that I'd heard him correctly--he never asks those kind of questions--and so repeated the question back to him. "Cock a doodle doo!" he crowed, happily.

Dr. P, our DAN doctor, called today. He said that 1) he doesn't think that a vitamin deficiency would explain Leelo's excessive oralness. He thinks it's a stim or coping behavior, and that 2) the next phase of our treatment is the B12 shots in the arse 3x/week for 5 weeks. Leelo's going to loooove that.

Seymour sent me this autism article from the NY times. I am going to recheck Mali's 1 to 2 month circumferences first thing in the morning.

Mali is cute as a bug and looks like a real baby now. Does a weird thing where her head is turned all the way to the left a lot. I think that's because she ends up in that position frequently when she's nursing in bed, even though I try to roll her onto her side.

Isn't this all fascinating. I am wiped. Got our friend Marroqui to come help out around the house for 2 hours this morning. She got so much done and I am five-foldedly grateful but it's so very much a drop in the ocean, as I told Badger.

How do Mormons ever do it? All those kids? Catholics? Anyone with more than two? Am I just completely inept?


Really Bad Words

Iz: "...and so yesterday we were all secretly saying Really Bad Words when the substitute wasn't listening."

Me, with Interested Face: "Really?"

Iz: "Yeah. We were saying the worst words of all, the S word and the F word!"

Me, trying not to crack up: "Wow. What are the S word and the F word?"

Iz: "I don't want to say them. They're too bad."

Me: "Can you spell them? What is the S word?"

Iz, looking furtively around the ice cream shop: "S-T-U-P-I-D."

Me, truly trying to keep a straight face: "That is a powerful word. What is the F word?"

Iz: "F-A-T."

Me, with barely maintained poker face: "Those are definitely words that could hurt someone's feelings."

Iz: "Yeah, I know."

Gotta love first graders.


Quick Bits

Mali is starting to get hair. When people ask Seymour what she looks like, he still says "bald," but that dark little pelt is definitely starting to come through. Looks like she'll be a chestnut or brunette girl. Right now she looks more like my mom and her kin than anything else. Except those huge cheeks--not sure where those came from. She looks like she's hoarding hamster feed.

Starting to realize that she's not necessarily an easy baby, she just sleeps a lot. When she's awake she's fairly demanding. And awake is an increasingly more common state these days. Time to break out the sling, if I can figure out how to use it (tried once when Iz was a babe and gave up in disgust after an hour of fruitless reconfiguring).

She is on the tail end of being sick. The snot is almost completely gone. I will be grateful if she goes back to being a weekly pooper, instead of ejecting a mucus-lubricated bum-irritating streak after every meal.

Leelo was okay with being dropped off at school this morning. Whew. I only had to stay for 15 minutes. Eventually Therapist F was able to distract him, and I crept out.

We've had some success with him this past week in terms of keeping choking hazards out of his mouth. I bought him a ton of "chewies" (i.e., teething toys), and keep them in a special basket. Now, when he has something in his mouth, we ask him to go get a chewy. And he does, sometimes.

I finally posted an ad for someone to come engage Leelo in play for 10 more hours a week. So far I've receieved 15 replies. Damn. I forgot that merely posting an ad doesn't mean that the job is done--I have to manage the details of the interview and hiring process, too. Farts.

Seymour and I are trying to be more thoughtful in our daily dealings with Leelo. It is far too easy to drift into a reactive pattern, where, because of the busyness of the other two, we mostly engage him when he is doing something wrong. I have noticed an increase in his attention-seeking behavior, and so need to be very careful about not conditioning him to seek negative attention. Although it's difficult not to yell when he's finally succeeded in pulling out and ripping the car's windowshade, the one that probably costs $500 to replace. GAAAAAAH.

Iz has been making a real effort lately to be polite and helpful, especially with Leelo and Mali. Her ability to do this breaks down by day's end, but she is trying so hard and I really appreciate it (and tell her so). Although I really hope it's not a shiny happy cover. Much as I complain about her, she truly is a sensitive, loving, thoughtful girl. It's just hard to remember that she's emotionally a very little girl when she talks like a child who is so much older. Wanting to have critical discussions about the differences between the filmed and written versions of Seriously Unfortunate Events, etc.

I leave you with a picture of my office. I am trying to shame myself into cleaning it up, yet again.

The Courage to Shop

I went to the grocery store with all three kids yesterday, for the first time. A real, full-shopping-cart trip, as opposed to the already-mastered quick dash into Mercado des Llaves with Mali in the stroller and me holding Leelo's hand while Iz tries to sneak cookies off the shelves. It was Mali's first Bjorn experience, and she reacted with enthusiastic slumber.

I remember similar shopping excursions with Leelo and Iz while Leelo was still Bjornable. How I had to spend hours drawing up the courage to do it. Mostly because I was then patronizing the Holey Foods in Paly Alty, which was designed so that its aisles approximate those of a rabbit warren. So much fun to negotiate and navigate with a kicking toddler in the basket, baby strapped to one's front, and humongous backpack erupting from one's shoulders. I took out five people and three grocery displays during each trip, on average.

Now the new Hole is here in town, and has nice wide aisles. The experience wasn't all that bad, except the part where I had to get Leelo into and out of the cart while Mali was strapped on. Oh, and when the little bastard kept kicking off his shoes. One of these days I'm going to lose it and staple those fuckers right onto his feet (just kidding! I'll use epoxy!).

The conclusion: I can do this. Getting easier each day. Still sucks, though. For now.



Reverend Joan called this morning to ask if we were ready to officially join the congregation. I said I thought we were but am waiting to hear what Seymour thinks. He's been bugging me about it, so I'm guessing his answer will be "Well, YES." The requirements, besides a "contribution of record," which we already do, is that we each write an index-card sized biography.

That last one's going to be a kicker, as I almost never have time to write anything at all, and if I do it's writing-vomit like this rather than the sort of thoughtfully composed material I'm guessing they want. (As an aside, this absence of time is also why I respond to comments and email so infrequently. I want to, but I can't. Takes two hands. Rest assured that I get your email and read your comments!)

The other thing Joan asked about is whether I'd be willing to talk about being a birth mother during the Mothers Day service. I said I would, but then thought I should check with Seymour first (I am still waiting to hear back).

Iz will be present during the service, so I'd need to talk to her about it before then. I figured she's getting to the age where it would be best for her to know about it now rather than find out later, so this gives me a deadline.

Only problem: I have no idea how to go about broaching the subject with her. I know I've written about the need to do this before, but I didn't follow through. Now I really do need to figure out how to tell her about her 14-year-old half-brother, even though he'll never know about her or her siblings because his parents opted not to tell him he was adopted.

Any ideas? Counseling referrals? Ways in which to bring it up so that it's not such a BIG DEAL (although it is).

Mali has been peacefully kicking on the changing table next to me this whole time, I'd best go.


Tiny Mood Lifters

When your every waking moment is set to the "stress: high" setting, it's the little things that make a difference. (Little things are all that I have time to consider, or digest.)

It is with great delight that I got my no-longer-dented car back yesterday, after two weeks of driving a suspension-impaired rental that Ep and I designated the "tin can on springs." I can once again click the car doors open from the porch, which means I can walk right up to the car and throw all three kids inside. No waiting. Makes a huge difference in my outlook for the day, especially if it's raining.

I heart my car. And it warms my cockles to know that Giddy's driving the same thing around these dayses.