Wampum, Weekend

My heroes at Wampum speak out on autism and thimerosal in vaccinations, wondering why most people (liberals too) just won't believe the government fucked up on this one.

My opinion on the subject changes daily. I am not sure if Leelo regressed, but I doubt that all those maercury-laden vaccines helped if he was already genetically predisposed to developmental delays. Looking at videos of Leelo from way back I see him do and hear him say things he no longer does, but I also see a slightly odd boy.

Leelo seems more remote than ever. Doesn't want to read books, play with me, play with toys, sing songs, draw on the magnadoodle, jump on the trampoline--nothing. He wants to go for walks with his daddy and go swimming with his daddy, and fidget with Leg0s and put them in his mouth. That is about it. So of course we need to change something in his program, and have started giving him epsom salts baths. If nothing else, they are supposed to be calming and might help him and his co-bathing older sister get the fuck to sleep within 45 minutes of being tossed into their respective beds.

Seymour ran into a woman at the pool today who has a 8-year-old recovered son. She told us that Leelo seemed pretty high functioning and that she thought his chances of doing well were excellent, though the next two years would be rocky. I still have my doubts due to Leelo's inability to grasp anything complex or non-concrete but it was still nice to hear.

Feel sorry for Iz, she had all sorts of science and chemistry experiments that she wanted to do this weekend but we were always lacking at least one critical tool or ingredient. Also the experiments book was published in England which often had us at odds as the British illustration label she would read to me did not match my mental image of the Yankee tool (their "jug" appears to be our measuring cup, etc.). And WTF is "laundry booster"? Here in the U.S. I believe it is usually borax or baking soda, but I'm not sure either will cause the crystallization effect she's going for.

Iz's school Esperanza starts in four days. They just figured out who the new principal will be last night (good news: the retired founding principal is returning). No families have received any information about anything except families of kindergarteners. Is the first day of school going to be a short day? Quien sabe. Did they hire enough 2nd grade teachers? Will Iz be in Violet's class?

V. amused today at the Esperanza ice cream social as Violet and Fifi tried to persuade their mom to let Iz come spend the night. Except their mom had been in Africa for a month, had just spent two and a half days traveling from the Z***ian bush, and in fact hadn't even been to her own home yet--her family picked her up at the airport and announced that they were going straight to the school.

Mali is cute as a button but stays up too late and is nursing a lot at night. Probably we should give her more solids but she's not always in the mood for them. Prefers to spend all her time trying to crawl, or rolling around. Alert, social baby. Starting to reach or raise one hand out to greet people, enjoys showing them her toys. Pores over everything. Nice to have a baby who is transfixed for a good while by a sock or a hairbrush.

There has been a lot more going on lately, very exciting news some of it, but Seymour and I are both completely burnt and I cannot marshal any more typing energy.

Though I did manage to finish the new HP6 in less than 48 hours. Who wants to discuss?



First weekend day with no schedule for, I dunno, three months?

I spent most of the day hunkering in the office, tidying obsessively and in a manner which makes my zealous efforts transparent to the untrained eye (e.g., all the extra buttons are in their own wee box and I now have a lifetime supply of the tiny zip-loc bags formerly containing said buttons, which is good because I have a thing for them bags).

Iz is wearing a Leelo outfit, because he now wears bigger clothing than her even though he's a head shorter. She will be wearing many of his castoffs to school on Thursday when it starts anew (gack!).

Jo and Badger are at the BlogHer conference and even though I didn't want to go and would have been miserable had I gone, I am still feeling sulky about it. But it reads as though they are having fun and for that I am glad.


How to Make My Heart Sink, Shudder, Skip, or Stop

Last night: a person dear to me informed me that her three-year-old son has been diagnosed hyperactive/sensory integration dysfunction, has been in intensive therapy for the entire summer: OT, ST, social groups, etc., and that now they're exploring GFCF diet options. They had to pull him from his preschool due to his social/emotional behavior. My hope is that he is just a spazzy hypersensitive boy like so many of them are and that, when he hits seven or so, he'll even out. Fingers crossed for his worried parents in the meantime.

This morning: Jude, crushed and in tears at Iron Gate pickup because the school district swapped out her son's beloved aide. She was informed rather than consulted about the switch.

Right before lunch: A person who reads this blog called me on the phone, at home, after using information in this blog to figure out who I was and locate my home phone number. I was okay with it because of the kind, lovely person who happened to make the call, and the fact that we already had correspondence going on, but in the future I would request that any contact be made via email first. If you want my phone number, ask me. This blog uses pseudonyms for a reason.

During lunch: Ep told us about her car accident earlier that morning! She is freaking a bit, but luckily no one was hurt (tell that to her adrenal glands, though). Poor dear.

Right after lunch: Ep, JP, and I ran into the Malian waiters from the Malian restaurant where I had dinner last night, at the local Malian grocery. They snickered good naturedly as I purchased many of the same items I'd had for dinner just last night. I gave my leftovers to Seymour, you see, and so had nothing left with which to provide my afternoon fix. Turns out they now to PAL to NTSC duping to DVD as well as video cassette. Love this town.

On the way from lunch to picking up Iz: Supervisor M called to let me know that both she and Supervisor Andil have concerns about the aptitude and performance of one of Leelo's therapists. Fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

While picking up Iz:

1) Badger informed me that Iz was going around lighting things on fire with her magnifying glass. We live on a 3/4 acre tinderbox.

2) Rama, whose son K will be attending Esperanza with Iz next year, informed me that Maestra G, Iz's teacher from last year, is in fact an old-school educational sadist who got off on publicly humiliating the kids who didn't perform as well as her hand-selected darlings. She says that Iz must have been one of the darlings, and couldn't believe I didn't know about this woman's issues. I will have to do more investigating there. I knew Maestra G was strict, but every time I was in the classroom things seemed to go very smoothly and amiably.

Ah well, off to the pool. We are officially members of Satan's Pool (where Iz had her Super Duper Christian Tennis Lessons earlier this summer) for the next month. I won the membership at the Iron Gate auction earlier in the year. I won't give those people my money, but am more than happy to take advantage of their donation if it means Leelo and Iz get to play in their fabulous pools.
RFK Jr. Info

I've received many comments and emails about RFK Jr. and his championing of the potential vaccines/autism links/cause/coverup. Might as well reproduce the info here just in case it'll help someone with a decision:

The RFK Jr. fracas started with a joint investigation he did with Salon.com and Rolling Stone:


Even more information can be found at his own web site, including a 66 page research paper .pdf on the topic.


RFK Jr. and his editors refused to publish any statements that were not backed up with hard evidence, but of course they're still getting bashed by the (other) press. A follow up article can be found in this month's Rolling Stone (the one with Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn on the cover), though not yet on their online site.
Normally I Am Against Hate Mail

But when some fucker of an adult pays one kid to injure another kid--especially when the victim is autistic or in any other way disabled--then I will be first in line with the vitriol volleys.

Fucking felon. He is lucky that I am unwilling to spend more than two minutes looking for his mailing address.

This is the kind of thing that makes me seriously consider keeping Leelo in a special class or school, once Iron Gate is all done at the end of next year. I remember how cruel kids can be--how evil I myself was--to mainstreamed kids at my public schools. Leelo doesn't need that shit. He can get his non-therapeutic socialization with his sisters' friends, in arranged playgroups, and at the park, etc.

I am already far too willing to swing a battle axe and cleave the skulls of anyone who gives my darling, sweet, clueless son grief for being who he is. Best to reduce the opportunities for vindictive slaughter.


Vomit Score

Outfits Leelo has worn today: 3
Outfits I have worn: 2
Cheerios he has managed to keep down since 11:30: 3
Sips of water he has kept down: 2
Number of times he has asked me for toast: 100

We are so low on laundry that he is wearing a pair of Iz's bright yellow daisy dukes tennis shorts. Thankfully, for the sake of his dignity, we are staying inside today.

Leelo had been projectile vomiting since yesterday afternoon. No bad moms coffee for me this morning.

He seemed fine if somewhat mellow when I left him in Babysitter A's care last night so that Iz and Mali and I could go have a girls' dinner together. Mali used the opportunity to demonstrate that the sushi restaurant has a fantastic echo--she yelled with cheerful gusto almost the entire time.

When I returned, Leelo and the exterior of Seymour's car and the driveway (but thankfully not Seymour or the house) were covered in vomit. Babysitter A had run away as fast as she could, moments before I left. Apparently the barfing was preceded by a horrific meltdown over coveting a neighbor kid's bike--to the point where the neighbor said "just take the f***ing bike and bring it back tomorrow!" Babysitter A will get lots of coddling when next we meet.

We thought he was better and that it was just a one-time deal, but then he spewed his breakfast all over the counter.

On the upside a sick Leelo means five fewer trips/appointments for me today.

I think he has one of his standard 24 hour barf bugs. Hopefully it's not communicable.


Idées pour les Bébés

Godmother Stacy's baby shower is coming soon. I am hosting (well, a local Thai restaurant is hosting, I am sending out invitations). All the bad moms are invited.

She wants it to be more of a party than a shower, but I think we should torture her with at least one lame shower game. Ideas?


Autism Rates Leveling Off?

Possibly. Possibly. Linked to phasing thimerosal out of vaccines? Possibly. Possibly.

Thanks as ever to the good folks at Wampum.


Feeling Better

A person cannot remain grouchy after Jo plies one and one's infant daughter with cheescake. Thanks also to Ep who helped Jo watch Iz after camp so I could go home and scowl privately.

Cheering: Seymour and Leelo just spent a good hour playing together purposefully. They made up a game where Leelo goes backwards up the stairs on his butt, declaring "UP!" at every step, "UP AT THE TOP!" on the top step, and then--giggling wildly--"DOWN DOWN DOWN" as he thump/slides on his butt the entire way down.

Seymour was so very good about spending one-on-one time with Leelo tonight. I think it really makes a difference for our boy, who has had it with all the attention paid to Mali.

For her part, Mali has reached that delightful stage of homing in on random tiny floor items and then putting them in her mouth. Things like cat hair tumbledrifts, pens, random dried gook from one's shoe. Who needs nutritional supplements, I ask you? She remains utterly charming.

Apologies to the person who got Iz her subscription to Nat'l Ge0graphic Kids magazine, but I am banning it from our home. The latest issue was 90% advertising tie-ins, and and 10% legitimate content. The ads included a sampler DVD of non-pre-approved kids' shows (yes, I am a media dictator) that Iz had playing before I discovered what was afoot. I love the parent publication; the juvenile branch has sold its soul. I will not support such shenanigans.

Off to Sacramento tomorrow for more Leelo research testing. On the way home, I will stop in Bezerkely and drop off the contract that will officially begin the architectural design phase of our new or reimagined home. Fingers crossed.

But, on the other hand, how fucking cool is this!

(Sent by my grad school advisor the cartography king.)

Foul mood. Foul foul foul!

I think I am just tired. But I am also sad and grouchy about the reality of having three kids, any one of whom could command my attention full-time, and what that means about my relationship with my husband, and our friends.

I am disappointed that I am so wiped for time and energy that I am not monitoring Leelo's program properly, not really reading or responding well to the daily notes from the therapists. I am months behind on implementing the supplement regimen Seymour and I agreed on.

I am depressed that Leelo hasn't made more progress, that he is trapped behind some sort of transparent wall and I can see him and communicate with him, but only on the most rudimentary level. He backslid violently this past week, with constant verbalizations, squinting, elbow-grabbing, and hitting. I can rationalize all the goldfish (crackers) eating and juice box stealing I want, but the reality is that his progress is slow slow slow. (Yes I realize that there are worse off kids but that doesn't make me feel any better about seeing a three-year old who was an infant when Leelo's ABA program started socially and verbally running circles around him.)

I am exhausted from the aftermath of our trip (expected).

I am violently down about not being able to socialize the way I'd like, that having Leelo at a party or over at someone's house means either Seymour or I are having No Fun--or we look like horrible parents if we let him be on his own and he steals toys from littler kids or runs around being completely loopy and obviously not "right."

I feel stupid about going to Cece's daughter Ambra's quinceaneara with Iz and Mali, and having people like Marroqui and her friend Rica constantly helping me with both kids even though I didn't ask them to. It was a great party, though.

And now I've found silvery hairs sprouting all over my head. Guess I'd better grow out this dye job fast or I'll never see my original color again.


New Tricks

Leelo is learning to do so much lately! Yesterday he figured out how to kick from a standing position--and demonstrated with a well-aimed blow to Mali's head. His judo-style technique was impressive. Mali is okay, but we have had to re-strategize.

It appears that, while Leelo likes his baby sister (he does try to hug her, and often hunkers down to make eye contact with her), he does not like the way in which she complicates his family dynamic. He also cannot stand her frequent vocalizations, whether she's happy or howling (and she got her second tooth yesterday, so she was howling a lot). Now, any time he is displeased with his baby sister, his reaction is to brutalize her in some way. Great!

Our response so far has been to keep Mali out of his way. If he somehow uses his speed-of-light superpowers to thwack her, we say "no kicking/hitting," pick him up without further interaction, and put him in his room with the door closed--for a few minutes. I am not sure this is the right approach for an autistic child, but these infractions are severe and I don't know how else to make an impression.

It's not all bad, though. This means that he's paying attention to his social/family environment, and that he cares about what's going on around him. After the kicking incident was followed by a slapping incident, and he'd had two stints in solitary, his next reaction to Mali crying was to start sobbing himself.

Poor little guy! We were careful to give him lots of individual attention--without Mali around--after that. He seemed much happier this morning.

These next few months with a active, proto-mobile, vocal baby and resentful semi-verbal, strong, fast, autistic brother are going to be fascinating! Stay tuned.


Kiddlings Updates

BTW, upon re-reading many of my entries I sound whiney and depressed and mewly*. I do not feel that way. I feel tired yet wry.

Here is what my kids are doing. I will no longer make excuses for writing about them because if you have voluntarily read this blog for any length of time then you are a glutton for self-indulgent parenting dribble.

Iz: very inspired by her spy/chemistry camp. Spent all day yesterday conducting experiments with various juices, gelatin, etc. While I am not as disappointed by her camp as Badger was with Moomin's, I am annoyed that the kids did not actually get to power anything with the lemon-powered batteries they made yesterday (they completed the circuits with their tongues) and that they had to take the counselor's word for their being batteries. How fucking lame is that. Still, our girl comes home every day asking questions about chemical compounds whose names I couldn't remember if I tried, so that's all good. She seems in a better mood, generally, now that we're back from Hawaii.

Leelo had a fantastic session at the MYND Institute. Yesterday's evaluation of his imitation skills was two straight hours of exactly the kind of shit he spends all day doing with his therapists. He kicked ass! Imitating block structures, stringing beads in sequence, identifying verbs (e.g., "point to the baby that is sleeping"), etc. He didn't get some of the "ceiling" items, such as their spreading a group of objects in front of him and asking what their functions were, or completing phrases like "A stove is hot, a refrigerator is ___," but Supervisor M agrees that those are pre-K goals for next year.

I just wish they hadn't needed to use Goldfish crackers as bribe tokens. Twenty-four hours later and he's still a complete fucking nut. He was up yelling in his room until almost 10:30 P.M. It was worth it to get him to complete the study, though. Next week I will bring in our own bribes.

Mali has suddenly become an intelligent, rather than a merely sentient, being. She now does "patty cake" on command, has one all-purpose word ("mama"), and boogies to music. All in one day. I am pleased, because if she is a neurotypical baby then the next 12 months are going to be fun indeed, but it also marks the end of her lump stage and means more work/interaction for me, lazy git that I am.


*"What is "mewling"? asked Seymour.

"That is the sound made by something that you stomped on and it isn't dead yet and it's crawling towards you," said I. Others might say it is the sound of hungry, fluffy little kittens, but I say only if you've stomped on them, etc.
My Greatest Day

I think perhaps my warm chewy center is starting to destabilize. I thought I was holding it all together well enough, but perhaps not. Today, for the first time in 11 years, I completely fucked up on a major obligation, and spaced on picking up Jo's kids and my own from camp this afternoon. I don't have an excuse. I don't understand how it happened--I looked at the clock and it was two hours until pick up time. I looked up again and it was five minutes past pickup time. Thankfully Jo is a kind understanding person and no one was permanently damaged.

If it makes her feel any better, I managed to scissor-chop a big crescent of flesh out of my hand this evening. Bled for a good 20 minutes!
Smack on the Ass

Yesterday morning as I was picking up the doughnuts that Iz and I had for breakfast on the way to camp drop-off at Jo's because I am a bad mom and didn't have time to prepare her usual fare of three organic eggs, nitrate- and hormone-free bacon, hand-squeezed orange juice, and toast with wild-gathered honey and wheat germ camouflaged by my dipping the granules into chocolate and then pre-chewing them individually, a lady asked me the question every infant's mother yearns to hear:

"So, when is the baby due?"

GAAAAAH! As if viewing the Hawaii pictures of me in the sausage casing that used to be my bathing suit wasn't ego-pummeling enough!

At the time, though, I burst out laughing and told her that the baby was due 7 months ago, and that she was right outside in that minivan right there (did I mention the whole BAD MOTHER thing?).

Guess it's time to stop kidding myself about being overweight. Don't worry, I am not a crash-dieting freak, and am not trying to elicit reassurances or other comments. I am a body image realist. I generally refuse to join in body-related conversations because I grew up in Hell Lay where such discussions are always completely deranged, but I actually have no hang ups about the topic of weight except absofuckinglutely wanting to kill people who obsess or make moral judgments about it.

I have observed many friends remake themselves into healthier versions (one quite famously, though possibly not quite so healthfully) through moderated and revised but still totally normal eating, and less-than-insane exercise. I have, or used to have, the kind of body that responds to eating a little bit less and exercising a little bit more. It is doable if I can reallocate some of my already-low reserves of attention and willpower and energy.

In the meantime perhaps I will wear slightly tighter shirts. I'm sure Seymour won't mind.



We've been back for two days. But as the two days have been wacky there's been no posting.

Lovely surprises upon getting home: I, As$hole has been resurrected! We were all so worried. Waiting on the doorstep: a big thick new Harry P0tter book. Wish I had time to read it.

Yesterday, our first day home, was loverly. Until Leelo barfed all over the restaurant during dinner, anyhow. Note to self: NO MORE LASSIS FOR LEELO NO MATTER HOW MUCH HE BEGS.

Before then we lounged at our friends' pool party. Badger and Jo and kids came, hurrah! Leelo showed off his newly acquired pool skills, Iz swam to the bottom of the deep end with Seymour, Mali made many friends and everyone wanted to grab her great big squishy thighs for good luck.

Anya and Carys, the hosts, let Iz indulge in the "watermelon madness" she'd been desperate to try for weeks: cutting a hole in the top of the watermelon and grabbing out the fruit with hands and fingers. A lot of the kids were skeptical but I am a dork so I joined in--loved the sensation and slobbery good fun.

Afterwards at home Iz requested a cakewalk for her half birthday which we semi-celebrate every year by eating some sort of ice creamy-cake concoction and having a few friends over. This year's ice cream roll arrived courtesy of ever-helpful Badger. Iz made many prizes and a certificate for the winners and their parents (I forget what the certificate said but it was quite lengthy and used lots of big words and in my opinion was quite impressive for a child who hasn't had English language instruction for well over a year).

Then restaurant with Jo and family. We partied, culminating in the aforementioned vomit-fest, until 9:30. Then I remembered that Leelo had to be at OT in RW Shores at 8:00 A.M. the next morning, and that Iz had camp at 9:00. Whoops.

Also forgot that I had to work at Iron Gate this morning. In the nursery with all the screaming infants. Mali was such a dear mellow noodle in comparison. I don't understand why all the other kids can't shit as sweetly as she does--then I wouldn't mind having to change their diapers.

Then pickup from Secret Agent Camp. The kids seemed hot so I picked them up some smoothies. Iz promptly dropped hers all over the back-back seat floor of the van.
So, instead of getting to hang out at Jo's house with returned-from-the-NoCal-bush Ep, I got to spent 90 minutes at the car wash with Leelo and Mali and--whoops, no stroller (still in garage due to clearing out back of car for trip luggage). Blessings on Ep and Jo and Manny for letting Iz remain with the other kids while the car scrubbing was done. I was beyond irritation and exhaustion by the time I came back round to haul Iz home.

Spent the remaining free time of the evening reviewing family videos of Leelo, as they will be needed for his first of three weekly MYND institute appointments for their imitation and regression study. Tomorrow. In Sacramento! Yeah!

Got to write that, after reviewing those tapes, I think he's pretty much the boy he's always been. Some slight regression (he used to say "no" and "yeah" spontaneously, used to slightly wave), but he's always been verbal in short descriptive phrases. I suspect that being a toddler might have masked some of his symptoms, and that now that he's getting older the realities of his condition are becoming apparent. He's becoming odder and odder with the vocalizations, fidgety atypical toys, and constant elbow grabbing. But he's always had good self-initiated eye contact, always been a love.

Reassuringly, Mali is not Leelo. She mouths everything, explores everything. Leelo was not oral at 7.5 months (he saved that for age four, go figure), was not a dedicated object manipulator and examiner like the wee girl. Leelo also never really responded to his name until ABA-taught to do so. Mali already interrupts what she's doing and looks around if you call her. Also she is intensely social, geeking at and engaging strangers constantly. Leelo would smile back at anyone, but he did not seek attention the way his sister already does.

And I know I've written about it before but--damn if 28-month-old Iz wasn't hell on wheels. Recognizing every state of the union by shape (multiple contexts, not merely a single memorized puzzle). Facts about them all, too. Plus insane drawing skills. All this before even stepping foot in a preschool. Now I am wondering if her rather dry M0ntessori sucked the intellectual and artistic striving right out of her. More likely it was her distracted mom no longer paying much attention to her. Whatever. Here is my favorite drawing of hers at that age, the Dancing Yam. Good night.


Big Islanding

Off in the morning. With loads and loads and loads of stuff. And then more loads. Makes me pine for the pre-kid era of easily keeping all our gear stuffed into one mite of a roller bag.

I have gone gaga over Skip's latest musical recommendation, and so have sent copies to the following people for their birthdays: KV, Badger, Jo, Godfather M, and my sister-in-law Wren (Chet the not-spy's wife). I only hope I remember to hum rather than sing Too Drunk to F*** while on the plane, around children, and around in-laws.

BSG S2 starts July 15, the day before we return. Your homework is to see all the Season 1 episodes and comment. Or give your opinion on why 5tarbuck is so very very hot.



Off to Hawaii in two days! Iz is looking forward to exploring volcanoes, Leelo is going to spend the entire time in the pool, Mali will be showing off her sporty new pink sunglasses, Seymour will be birding/stargazing, and I will be eating spam spam spam spam eggs rice and spam for breakfast every day.

Iz overheard me singing a jolly tune this morning, and sang it back to me almost verbatim. I told her I was fudging one line, but then we arrived at Jo's house and Jo assured me that "I chop down trees, I eat my lunch, I go to the lavatory..." was indeed correct. So Iz is merrily running about singing verse one, and telling us that she's "off to the lavatory..."

She and Tea spent a good deal of time arguing over exactly what the Martian Girl in the aqu*bats song is doing, and why she is wearing silver underwear. I told Iz that I didn't understand how she could be Martian if she was from Planet V. "That's exactly what I was wondering!" said our girl.

Iz's turn at the eye doctor was today. She's all good. Ordered new glasses to replace those she lost at Violet's.

Leelo had a fine day, demonstrating lots of potty prowess for visiting Supervisor Andil, both at Iron Gate and at home. Showing us all how he no longer needs a potty ring or food reinforcers, a regular toilet and praise will do just fine, thanks.

He hugged Iz when we got home from our errands. Sweet boy.

Mali is achingly cute. Her legs go straight up in the air when she's happy. She has figured out how to be a quadruped in terms of lifting her entire body up on just hands and feet. Still has no idea how to get to a sitting position herself. If you lift her over your head she makes her happy pteranodon croak/squawk. She now really really really loves toys. I have discovered that she will eat almost anything mixed with 50 percent applesauce. And I have to admit that I have been slipping her Cheeri0s for three weeks now--they turn to mush, so no harm or choking hazardousness to my way of thinking.

Today's schedule. Does it appear as exhausting as it was? I went more than 12 hours straight with literally no break.
-Woke up late, was forced to choose between shaving legs and washing hair
-Ferried Iz to Jo's for camp pickup
-Worked at Iron Gate
-Brought Leelo and Mali home, handed Leelo off to Auntie F (dear!) as I had to pick up Iz early from camp, as well as Tea since her dad had an appointment in the afternoon
-Got Iz and Tea from camp. No mere appear and extract--actual hiking was involved.
-Rushed to Iz's ophthalmology appt. 15 miles away
-Eyes examined. New glasses ordered.
-Girls hungry. Drove through Evil Incarnate (BK). I had forgotten to eat lunch so every nasty bite was ambrosia.
-Took the girls to The Hole because our house lacked edibles. Also I needed to make a meal for a new Iron Gate mom.
-Arrived home to get notes from Therapist L and greet Babysitter A and hand off Tea to her dad
-Dropped off assembled rather than cooked meal to new mom in Saint Charles
-Came home and assembled same meal for my family. Or me and Seymour, anyhow. Iz rejected it for a pure fruit dinner, Leelo of course wanted only croissant or almond butter sandwich, Mali ate peas and apples.
-Joint kid cleaning dressing reading to and tossing in bed
-Crazy trip planning

Those of you who remain coherent under stress and despite bone-deep fatigue, I salute you.


WWJD? He Wouldn't Start a War, That's for Sure

(Forgive the simplemindedness of this passage. I am not a philosopher, but I try to be a humanitarian.)

My friends are probably tired of hearing me bring this up, but: I am convinced that most modern Super Duper Chri5tians wouldn't recognize Je5us if he walked up and bit them on the ass. I believe that, were he to appear among us today, he would be a freaky hippie hanging out at a homeless shelter or similar place of need. Most people who profess to love him so much? Five dollars says they would slam their fancy doors right in his face, were he to approach them in an attempt to spread his Word.

I rarely encounter a Believer who practices unconditional love, tolerance, compassion, charity, or service, let alone all at once. If they do embark on one of these acts, they always have a church or personal agenda; they erect hoops that the objects of their beneficence must jump or crawl through. I wish these people heeded Je5us's words instead of fucking up the world in his name.

Most irritating are the ones who feel any action of theirs is justified because they pray publicly and frequently, and so consider themselves to have a special direct line to the Almighty. They crow about their goodness and good deeds. They thank Je5us for their lovely lives and fat bank accounts. Apparently without a camel or a needle's eye in sight, with left and right hands not only aware of what the other is doing but working together to grasp what they can while pushing the less blessed--the exact souls Je5us would seek--out of the way.

And no need to mention my hatefulness and divisiveness in calling out these hypocrites. Nor am I proposing a big Je5us love-in. I simply think that he, like Mohammed and Buddha, had a lot of wonderful things to say, and that many of his most ardent followers just aren't hearing it.

Surely there has been a good novel written on this subject, on Je5us appearing in the here and now and being persecuted not by his enemies, but by his myopic followers. If not, then someone needs to write it.
Aye, Doctor

Leelo went to the Ophthalmologist today. Fun! Yeah. I'd misremembered him as having an okay, compliant experience during last year's annual visit, but no. They had him down as fighting every single test. As he did, again, this morning. Our boy does not like having his eyes dilated.

Dr. C is a talented and perky pediatric specialist, and so was able to get most of the data she needed by hand instead of via the machines. Though she said that if he ever goes under general anesthesia for anything, she'd like to come in and take a really good look at his peepers.

I told her about Leelo's abnormal EEG for pre-seizure brain activity. She took a look at indicators for swelling of the optic nerve (which can accompany those symptoms), and said he was all good. No swelling. Though if he ever does need to go on seizure meds she wants to examine him for the same indicators.

I told her about his increased squinting, and asked whether it could be visual or sensory-seeking. She said that from what she could tell his vision was fine. She also said that with non-verbal kids she relies a lot on function, and since I said he was able to find small objects easily, and hadn't recently started being unable to find things he used to find, that it's probably not visual.

One downfall of the move to PAMPERS is that they have their own pediatric ophthalmologist and so didn't approve using Dr. C. Good thing clever Seymour set up a medical flex-spending account and we can still see Dr. C without getting dinged.

Which is good because Iz has to see her tomorrow.



Turns out my html issues weren't mine, after all. They were Blogger's.



I am buying this shirt for Mali. You can have one too!

Post-Tennis Brouhaha

Check out the interesting comments about Iz's tennis camp fracas on both Jo's and Badger's sites.

The aftermath on the home front was this:

1) I left an angry voicemail for the tennis camp director, letting him know that I understand she was taking tennis lessons at a Christian facility, but that since the bible time was not included in the camp description, I felt deceived and that we would not be coming back.

2) Violet's mom laughed at me for not knowing that that was part of the deal. She had called them up and grilled them about it, and they finally admitted to that yes, there might be some religious instruction. Needless to say her girls camped elsewhere.

3) I sent a warning to the Deadwood Moms Club and Iron Gate Forum:

Hi Folks,

I did not find out that my six-year-old daughter's
PQQQ tennis camp included daily religious "tabernacle
time" until the very last day of camp, when she told
her father about it during breakfast.

I am extremely angry that this part of the camp was in
no way disclosed beforehand, particularly in the camp
brochure's daily "sample schedule." We would not have
signed up for this camp had we known.

Obviously the camp is taking place at a church
facility, but, as a non-member, I had no knowledge
that religious curricula were incorporated into the
sports programs. They were not part of the swim
lessons my daughter took last year.

Though I do not agree with the church's policies
(e.g., barring membership to Hindus and same-sex
couples), I support their right to do as they please
within their own facilities. However, I thought I had
the right to be informed about these policies
beforehand. I do not believe Jesus would have approved
of such subterfuge.

Hopefully this will help prevent other families from
making a similar mistake.

4) One of the coaches called back coincidentally right after I sent the email above, promising to put the entire schedule in the documentation for next year. He said that the goal is to have shared story time, that it is such a camp tradition that they "forgot about including it in the schedule," that they try to say "this is what we believe" as opposed to telling the kids that it the truth, and that they are not trying to convert anyone. Right.

He also said that they try to stick to Old Testament stories so that they won't be offending any Catholic or Jewish kids. Nice take on religious diversity!

He did also say that they loved having Iz at the camp, and suggested several onsite tennis programs that do not include happy bible time.

I think we'll stick with their swim lessons only, as they are the best in the area. Seymour wants to avoid the place altogether.


Spitting Nails at the Heavens

Here's something I'd rather not have found out on the last day of camp:

Iz's tennis camp breaks every day at 11:00 for--bible study. Bible study! And not a critical reading of the bible, no. Rather a "God created the heavens and earth so there were no dinosaurs" mystical crap. THIS WAS NOT MENTIONED IN THE VOLUMINOUS CAMP DOCUMENTATION. Swimming, lunch, bring sunscreen--that was all there. The part about ambushing my kid with Pentecostal Christianity was SOMEHOW ABSENT.

I am incredibly angry at this slimy underhandedness. When I pick Iz up at noon I will ask the staff why I wasn't informed about this part of the program. Once I get my answer I am going to post a warning on the local parenting boards. What a fucking ruse.

And thank heavens (heh) she's a clever girl with a questioning mind, that she loves science, and that she's been going to Unitarian Sunday School for most of her life. She told Seymour that she knew what the coaches were saying couldn't be right, because she herself has seen dinosaur bones.

This explains a lot of why Iz has been so quiet about this camp! Usually she is all abubble. I am glad Seymour took her out for breakfast this morning, where she relaxed enough to tell him about it. Can you imagine the stress of being a six-year-old kid, dependent all day on adults who bombard you with a foreign ideology? Jesus fucking Christ.

One benefit of Leelo being my son besides his extreme cuteness and snuggliness: as his primary caregiver I get an exemption from jury duty! Dr. M was more than willing to fill out the medical exemption form for us.

She was also willing to do titers rather than immunizations during his (seven months late) four year check up yesterday. PAMPERS even has a lab on site. I will do the labs next week, though, as the exam was already overstressful for him, even though he agreed to open his mouth by doing his funny face (see picture).

He is 90th percentile for weight and still only 10th for height. I thought he was getting proportionately taller but I guess not--all the boys in his class at Iron Gate must be short. Ah, well, at least he's not below the chart like he used to be.

He has also said "thank you" spontaneously to both me and Seymour within the last 12 hours. Appropriately, within context. He's still slightly ill, though--barfed again yesterday morning.

Iz is still super-sporty tennis girl this week. Her camp is all goofy fun at this point, but she sure looks cute. For some reason, most of her coaches are from Ma1awi. "The dagger into the heart of Mozambique, eh?" I said to one of them. "Um, we prefer to think of it as The Warm Heart of Africa," he said.

Mali has discovered that she can flap her arms. It is exciting. I have discovered that she will nap for more than 10 minutes, if I put her down in a dark quiet room. Poor bit; there are so few windows for her to get uninterrupted nap time with her siblings' crazy schedules.

Seymour got me a new camera. My very first shot was a picture of Mali:

One week until Hawaii. I am starting to get excited--and fretful about a five-hour plane trip with Leelo and Mali. It will be worth it, though, it will it will!