Birthday Baby

White cake was really very effective in terms of making her face- and hand-wiping needs appear less imperative. Also I didn't feel like dealing with food coloring. Iz, Violet, and I made the cake and icing from scratch--because if I say "I'm going to teach you how to make a cake," then that cake is sure as fuck not coming from a box--but I couldn't summon up the energy to push additional decorative boundaries. Pink icing sugar over a cut out and then peeled off "1" was what happened. And it was fine.


Comic Interlude

I am so sad over my friend's sadness. How could this be her current reality?

To distract, an Iz conversation from two days ago:

Iz: "So, first you got your tubes tied, and then you and Daddy stopped having sexual intercourse to be totally sure you wouldn't have any more babies?"

Me: "Well, Iz, that is a private matter, so I am sorry but I am not going to answer your question."

She seemed to get it, I think. In the mean time, beware anyone to whom she puts her "Do you feel comfortable talking about reproduction?" query.


Also, she lost her first front tooth on Mali's birthday. The other one is hanging by a thread, and she looks entirely snaggletoothed.

Last night we saw HP4, and I would like to offer a rousing "FUCK OFF" to people who go to kids' movies and then look askance at the children in attendance who are so excited that they can't always remember to whisper. I cried when Harry brought his friend's body back to the stadium, Iz did not. Ep says Iz's empathy chip will click on in two months when she turns seven.

Mali's birthday was good fun. She mushed all sorts of cake in her face, though not so much in her hair. A mellow party with good friends. Badger brought an octopus-shaped massager (stop snickering, fans of naughty anime) and it was the hit of the party.

Today I took the wee bit to the MYND Institute for her 12 month checkup. They couldn't stop remarking on how cute she was, how analytical and methodical, how advanced she was in some ways, how friendly, how easy-going yet focused.

I am worried that the intense focusing tends to interfere with her responding properly to her name, but that is of course my extreme paranoia poking through.

Right as they were trying to get me to see if she could walk, she took five steps towards me, the most ever yet. The evaluator was thrilled to catch it on camera. Also she is over 20 lbs so I think it's time for a big girl car seat, facing forward.

Many thanks to Seymour, who played the part of Me all day today and who even worked my Iron Gate shift. Also Jo for picking up Iz. And kudos to the Iron Gate moms who loaned Seymour a car seat to get Sage's Kiki home from Iron Gate, because I fucked up and forgot to write that entry on his schedule. D'OH! That'll teach me to assume I've got my own schedule memorized. Repeat: Must Check Calendar Every Night.


Bye Bye Baby

This is Mali's official last day as a baby. Tomorrow she will be one. How the fuck is that possible?

She is celebrating by taking the first nap in our bed (her bed too) in recent memory. Consolidating naps, she is. Oh well, it's not as though she's ever napped in a manner that was in any way useful to me, so she might as well cut down.

Also last night she took her first step, or "stagger" as witness Ep would say.

After we got home from a very fun though completely draining Thxgiving at JP's house and were greeted by the cats, I said, "Hey, Mali, say 'meow' to the kitty."

"MEOW!!!!" yelled Mali. So she's sentient after all.

A lot of kids later diagnosed with autism are happy bright and chatty up until age 14 or 15 months, but I have to say I am feeling optimistic. She is a very different baby than Leelo was at the same age.


Short Bus!

Both MB and Sage told me something yesterday I'd not even considered. If your child qualifies for special ed district services through the city or county, then that district will send a bus to come get your child for their classes. Woo! How cool is that?

Short discussion with the sorely missed MB about how this was the year we thought we'd be prepping our kids for mainstreaming in kindergarten, and how...well, let's just say that we're considering all options. And that we're grateful for environments in which our kids aren't the outliers.

Also it was just good to hear from my friend. Although every time I talk to her I must admit that I'm forcibly reacquainted with the spectrum quality of our kids' identical diagnoses. She was telling me how her Sophie loves her Laepster. The only time Leelo has even noticed Iz's is to chew on its stylus. Different kids.

I was also telling her how Seymour and I are starting to wonder if Leelo doesn't have straight ahead autism, but rather a combo of severe ADHD, Tourette's, and slight OCD. But that is really me talking out of my ass. His social and communicative impairments are pronounced. He probably just has all that other shit, too.

Yesterday was one of the worst Leelo days ever. He was so off, so jitterbuggy, so lost that he couldn't even remember to pull his pants up after going potty. I watched him toodle around the house for a good five minutes with his pants around his ankles, even though I'd reminded him to pull them up. Normally he takes care of such things on his own, without prompting.

I am going to write and drop off Leelo's Deadwood school district intake letter today, damn it.
How Seriously Do You Take Feminism? How About If You're Male?

"Conservatives contend that the dropouts prove that feminism “failed” because it was too radical, because women didn’t want what feminism had to offer. In fact, if half or more of feminism’s heirs (85 percent of the women in my Times sample), are not working seriously, it’s because feminism wasn’t radical enough: It changed the workplace but it didn’t change men, and, more importantly, it didn’t fundamentally change how women related to men."

-Linda Hirshman

Want more? Via Br0adsheet.


Chattering Teeth

Starting to worry about our Xmas trip to Seatt1e. Sigh. We love Seymour's parents and his brother and wife and their kids, but they and their lifestyles and values are wacky-different from us and ours. Because I do not have a fully developed sense of self, I find these weeks soul-crushing. I do not like feeling like I am an ass just because I am left-leaning, pudgy (the other two women are wafery, though they do not verbally obsess about it), and fashion-challenged.

There aren't any arguments, or insults, or slights. These are kind people. My discomfort springs from unintentional slights or exclusions (which in turn stem from being non-extroverted as well as perceived as the least interesting person there), and from always being greeted with a declaration that I must have lost weight!

Not that I don't have fun. Who wouldn't, as Seymour's folks are beyond hospitable, and go to extra lengths for their grandkids. They are once again bringing San+a (private audience for the kids), reindeer, and snow to their yard. But all our Seatt1e friends are going to be gone, or are Jewish or Pagans, and most likely won't come join in.

My biggest worry is that Iz will start to internalize their values rather than ours. She has already started to tell people how her "abuelos son muy ricos," in a tone of wonderment though not yet pride. I have been taking pains to tell her that we are not them, that living in a very big house is actually a logistical nightmare for slacker-leaning types like her and me. But perhaps we can get her to bug them about getting a recycling program in place.

They do have a full wet bar, though. I suspect that while I am on duty, the kids will spend a lot of time locked in the racquetball court while I gaze on from up high, occasionally saluting them with my highball glass. There will be frequent outings to non-mall, non-restaurant places (suggestions?). Also we will spend a day up in Vanc0uver visiting my three 90+ year old aunties.

I am being a complete dick about this, as well as inarticulate. Come, regale me with tales of why you also dread spending big bolts of time with your nice in-laws.
Streaming From the Ears

Forgot other stuff, about kids mostly:

Iz realized today after diving back into It's So Amazing (called "That BOOK" by Anarchy her preschool teacher) that Seymour and I must have conceived her via "sexual intercourse."

Iz: "But what are the other natural ways to conceive a child?"
Me: "Natural? What do you mean?"
Iz: "I mean besides sexual intercourse!"
Me: "None that I can think of. None that we've used."
Iz: "You mean you did that for Leelo? And Mali too?"
Me: "Yup. What did you think we did?"
Iz: "I don't know, I thought maybe it happened up in the air..." (wanders off, looking pensive.)

Later on we had a nice conversation about whacking off (she used the term "masturbation," love that book) and how of course it feels good, that's how our bodies are designed, with clitorises that have a bajillion nerve endings, many more so than other places on the body. How despite this logic both her grandmothers would fall over in dead faints were she to use the word "masturbation" in front of them. She thought it was silly that the urethra connects to the bladder rather than the uterus, based on the way they're all pronounced.

Leelo has been off his rocker since we got back from Phx, mostly due to sugar and artifical colorings/flavorings, methinks. He's been ravenous, too. Hasn't been like this in months. His stomach got all distended and his output has been prolific. Might need to ask the biomed list about this reaction. He is hyper and hard to put down at night as well. He is also humping stuff a lot, still. Gaaah. Saying "no penis, no thank you" doesn't seem to register.

Mali is the cutest fucking baby in the world, as always. See?

She is really talking. Saying Hi There and waving, asking What's That, I swear saying "yes" in answer to questions, talking to the cats in their own language. etc. Plus she is absolutely cheerful, hilarious, hyper-social. Wonder what the MYND Inst. folks will make of her next week.

A friend's 23 month son is not really talking and listening much at all. After hemming for months as I don't want to be the messenger who gets killed, I wrote her a brief email listing my concerns, assuring her that my worries were purely language-related, and listing two community sources for evaluations and therapy. As Sage says, there is no harm in speech therapy, and, as Seymour pointed out, I'd love to be proven wrong.

After Ep and Clyde were brave enough to attempt taking our holiday family portrait (in which Iz wore her pirate hair and kerchief from yesterday's pirate party), we made our way over to Sage's son's party, which was a huge Leelo comfort zone as all the other families shared his space in some way. How totally relaxing not to have to explain or worry about any Leelo thing.

Can you tell how spaced I am? Spaaaaaace. I have had no interstitial space in which to tacke the small tasks that have piled up into monstrous towers of crap, in five weeks. All of which prevents me from living the real life, thinking the real thoughts. Coherently, at least.


Yet Another List

I realize that it must bore you folks to tears to see yet another fucking post detailing my overbooked careening about town in yet another responsible parent disguise, but it is my hope that one day I will be able to look back in amusement at the carnival-that-was-my-life. Because it will get more manageable, right?

we came home from Phoenix. Fridge was dead and full of stuff that smelled funny, and needed a full purge. Thankfully Al the fridge guy was in the neighborhood and came over to fix it post haste. I don't remember what happened for the rest of the day. Oh! We went for dinner at the sushi place and all three kids were so tired that they were relatively complacent and calm. We had a storybook family dinner as a result; very little screaming or foodstuffs thrown at our heads by irate co-diners.

A regular, crazy Tuesday. Except that this one was topped with an Iron Gate meeting. I didn't go, though. We were coming off a weekend so busy that both Seymour and I were afforded only bathroom breaks, plus four weeks of shitstorm-style scheduling. I got chills and woozies as the night wore on: symptoms of The Exhaustion Flu. Seymour escaped somehow, so he kindly did all the tidying and bedtime wrangling while I nursed Mali down in front of R0me. (That show is so violent and gory that one particular beheading made me scream like a girl and jump out of my chair. Seymour laughed at me, but fuck! Asterix this is not.) Hot bath and mega-vitamin C.

It worked! No flu in the A.M. Good thing because we had to go to Bezerkeley to meet with the architects. They gave us three potential designs and one is perfect. I call it The Yelling House because I can yodel and be heard from any interior location. Plus we can live in this house while building that.

Iz's conference. No new news. Our girl is sharp, grasps concepts in one shot, talented artist, yup. Now let's talk about her behavior.

Ran home to make UCZF psychopharmacology phone consult for Leelo (yes, we are thinking about drugs. We have tried everything else and it is just that time.) Leelo is such a stimmy boy, in that regard he seems to share much with the kids in a Tourette's documentary Seymour and I saw. They described their tics exactly as adult or highly verbal autistics describe their stims: trying not to stim/tic is like trying not to sneeze.

Sage arrived as consult was wrapping up and was able to stay for tea. So pleasant.

Armada (Violet's mom) wrote me that she'd read one of my stories and her girls loved it and I should publish it. Cockle-warming.

Spent the morning at a private school for autistic kids, to see if it would be right for Leelo in the fall. Answer: no. Leelo doesn't quite need such intense supervision and intervention, though the facilities and instructors/therapists were truly wonderful. Interesting in that two of the students looked so much like Leelo, more fodder for my theory that Leelo probably has a very specific genetic-based version of autism, as so many kids in those autism collages share his feature set.

Supervisor M went, too, and rightfully got her panties in a twist about the lead therapist's bashing ABA Therapy. She thinks people need to get a fucking clue about the difference between discrete trials (specific) and behavior modification (general).

Coffee with bad moms (late). Arrived in a huff over chi chis/ta tas billboards en route, wishing that there was some quick 8-line summary explaining the objectification of women for me to pass to Iz so that she wouldn't internalize all the unreasonable body imagery. Since I am the group bimbo and no one ever takes me seriously everyone decided to write patriarchy-bashing haikus instead.

Worked at Iron Gate because I missed my Monday shift due to travel. Realized that the drop-deadline for silent auction items was 15 minutes after class ended, and in a panic decided to offer a custom written and illustrated story in addition to the usual cheese-fest. Hopefully it will sell for lots of money but will never be redeemed.

Then to Iz's school dance concert in the evening. So cute! Dinner afterwards with Seymour and Iz.

That is going to have to be it. One of these days I will write a real post.


Magic and Disabilities, Wizard Genetics

I haven't found (though didn't look too long or hard) for bloggy opinions on the shape of autism in the Potterverse. Would wizard therapists use leglimancy in addition to ABA therapy, enabling recoveries or effecting communication breakthroughs in ways we muggle parents can only dream of? Or ameliorating symptoms at least, for those kids who find themselves in horrible pain due to gut injuries, etc., and who act out because they can't tell anyone about their agony?

What would it be like to be a blind wizard child? Deaf? Have cerebral palsy? It seems as though magic abilities would offer fantastic empowerments to disabled kids, and those who work with them.

One item I did run across was a discussion on wizard genetics. And a link to a lightning rod blog, that of the Autism Diva.



I think Iz has finally internalized the concept that, while Dizney versions of stories can be entertaining, they often bear very little resemblance to the much grittier and enjoyable originals.

This morning she awoke asking me all sorts of questions about A1addin, and how she'd had dreams about a live action A1addin movie that was truly frightening, and what was the real story like anyhow? I whipped the Burt0n translations off the shelf as that's the only version I have at the moment and read her the first paragraph of the tale in question.

It was of course all full of "hath" language, but even so you could see her eyes light up in hearing that the naughty boy was actually from China, that he wasn't just a scamp, but was an unrepentant little shit, etc. Then she asked me why the book was called 1001 Nights instead of A1addin and I gave her the short version of Sch'zade's plight and cunning, saving the feminist messages for later. Iz was completely fascinated! So, off to Kep1er's to find a hath-less version for her to devour. (Bus leaves at 10:30 if you want to come.)

I remember my same-age fascination with Sinb@d and how many times I re-read those tales. Ooooh, I hope she feels the same way!



Today Mali thumped me on the chest with her little paw, looked me in the eye, and said "Mama!"

I am less excited that she figured out how to open our "child proof" CD cabinet.



Wedding was good. My pilot brother looked shellshocked, Rita was efficient and direct and amusing. Iz was a gorgeous flower girl. I really enjoyed being suspended in a cloud of relatives for four straight days, but it all came and went so fast that it may never have actually happened. I didn't have time/remember to file my ragged fingernails, bring jewelry (Seymour's mom is very generous in gifting me sparklies for birthdays and holidays so I try to bring it when she's around, as she was), assemble or dry clean a suitable outfit (went with my Steviae Nicks gear), do the same for Leelo (he wore a long-sleeved t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers), or repair the ratty shoes I ended up wearing anyhow. I certainly never had time or opportunity to replenish Leelo's take-along foods like I thought I might. So, Leelo got to eat yogurt, froot loops, peanut buter and jelly, and cookies, and Seymour and I got Leelo through the wedding ceremony by plying him with M & Ms (he's not supposed to have chocolate, excess sugar, artificial anything, peanuts, dairy, or wheat).

Mostly I was too busy to be stressed, but on the way back I realized that things had gotten truly dire when I had to feed desperately hungry Mali macerated peanuts and ginger ale during our flight, because the Phoenix airport was so insanely busy that most people had boarded by the time we got to the gate and there was no time to purchase food.

Gauge of how things are going now that we're back: The entire counter is covered with dead fridge foodstuffs that need to be dealt with (emptied, mostly, so the containers can be cleaned or recycled); Leelo's birthday presents are still gathered in a corner, unopened, on top of a box marked "Halloween," which itself is supposed to be filled with all the pumpkin-themed decorations still bedecking our home.

I have not yet written or contacted Tia Izobel to tell her how sorry we are about her son Dick's passing last month. I have not sent presents to the two last weddings we attended. I've not yet mailed birthday presents to TLF or Hayley. I've yet to even purchase them for Dee's Artoo. Or Kerali, for that matter.

There is an Iron Gate meeting tonight. I told Sage I was going but I might just have to bail. I literally, literally have not had a break (except right now while Marroqui is watching Mali while I'm supposed to be cleaning the house) to even read a book for five minutes or be by myself for a very long long time. So, if you've not seen me yet it is because I might have to kill anyone who looks at me sideways. If you've got someone on your list, though, send them my way for easy dispatching.

What keeps me afloat is the horrible yet comical image of poor, dear, vegetarian Ep, who came to the rescue of our kids' three placentas in the melty freezer and--I'm guessing from the empty containers on the counter when we arrived back home--had to transfer the nasty things into some other receptacle. Eww. Even I wouldn't want to do that. I owe her, big.
Greetings, Packmates!

What Is Your Animal Personality?

brought to you by Quizilla

Would one of my beloved packmates like to hang out with Leelo at my home from 12:00 to 12:45 tomorow just in case I don't get back from an East Bay meeting in time?


Off Again, in a Few Ways

Off to Phoenix for a few days, for my pilot brother's wedding. It should be a lot of fun--even though they put it together in less than three months (they're knocked up with #2 and my soon-to-be-sis-in-law Rita said she would NOT have another baby without being married) every relative on the planet is coming and it is going to be a wonderful rather than a rushed and uncomfortable wedding. Well, for everyone but Seymour and me, as we'll have Leelo and Mali. Iz is going to be a flower girl with her adored older cousin Nicole.

Floyd and TLF aren't in Phoenix anymore, they moved to San Dieggy last month. Sigh.

Short bursts re: the kids:

Leelo blew out the candle on his birthday cake. That is a big fucking deal. He has also been doing a lot more downloading on the potty, which is also a big fucking deal. Still lots of #2 accidents (less so with #1), but the continuing progress is cheery. Iz's took a tortoise's age to be a fully certified toileteer, so I can be patient.

We let the boy have lots of sugary crap (smoothies, gfcf cake) for his birthday and the backsliding is notable. But he was so happy!

Don't ever laugh when a baby climbs stairs. Now Mali goes for the stairs every chance she gets, with a big "hey look at me!" grin the whole time. She is also standing up a lot without realizing it, for instance letting go with her anchor hand to grab something because the other hand is already occupied. A free-standing structure.

She is impossibly fucking cute right now. Chatting away in her own private language all day long. It may be related to English. She makes Seymour and me very smiley and happy unless she continues to shift a second nap to late afternoon and then stay up past 10 P.M.

Iz has this new electrical circuits kit (it was supposed to be an Xmas present, but she found it in the office) and can think of nothing else. Witness the glee:

I have been really down lately, too busy. There is good busy and there is gasket-blowing busy. Also I am worried about the neurotypicality of a few kids I know.

Plus our fridge and now our freezer are non-functional. And we're leaving for the airport in an hour. Most of the items within can rot, but we've Leelo's expensive B12 shots and also the kids' placentas. Fuck.

Back Mon. or Tues.


Happy 5th Birthday Leelo!

Yay for our boy and his getting to do exactly what he wanted for his birthday: run around his favorite all-equipped kiddie gym. You can tell how great he feels even through the photo tampering.


Still Set to 78 RPM

Saturday: Breakfast at the cafe, of course. We were joined by Moomin and Rook--rah! I must apologize for firehosing Rook with my half-baked rantings about the objectification and degradation of women in show like Ki11 Bi11 and Manchi1d (the former of which was especially repugnant containing as it did the protagonist's epiphany that Life Becomes Precious If You Get Knocked Up!), and that the scariest thing about Ro5emary's Baby was not her getting it on with Satan or ejecting his offspring but (as I also ranted to Ep) that everyone told Rosemary that she was simply being hysterical (as women are so prone to be), and that she should be a good wife and go back to her husband.

Then off to Leelo's 5th birthday party, which was the best Leelo party ever! We had it at the gym where Iz took yoga and where all he ever wanted to do was run around and play play play but was never previously allowed to do so. My god, look at this boy's smile as he FINALLY gets to cut loose in the ball pit of his dreams:

The party was a success, in my opinion. It also validated my suspicion that when kids are allowed a good space for free play, they need neither sugary treats nor goody bags, are satisfied with healthy though yummy snacke and juice, and need no more than a minimal amount of cake.

The V's came over afterwards for dinner. I experimented with an all-sheep cheese plate, and we were all bowled over. I heartily recommend R0ccchetta cow/sheep stinky cheese in particular--it is light and sweet and almost souffle-like.


There was more but I'm publishing this now as it's almost two weeks old.


Nursing It

I love to recycle, so I will regurgitate this post to a hippie-freak slow & no vaccinations e-list for your enjoyment. It is a response to a mom who wanted advice on weaning her 13 months old so that she could have some resentment-free personal space, and who was afraid of the attachment parenting boards' flaming swords:

Kudos to you for figuring out that you need to be happy and create your own space in order to be a good mother. I do not know if you have heard of Brain, Chi1d magazine, but the last issue had a good editorial on just how incendiary & political nursing can be.

A friend of mine recently lost her battle with post-partum depression. One of the factors her partner suspects is that she continued taking a lactation hormone known to exacerbate depression because of the societal pressure to continue nursing.

Anyone who can't consider the needs of both the child and the parent when making decisions about nursing deserves a swift kick in the ass, in my opinion.

In terms of advice, we eliminated one nursing at a time over the course of a few weeks. The last ones, the nap time/bed time ones were the worst (my son was nursing every two hours all night long). We had a guest bedroom at the time, so I took him into that room so the rest of the family wouldn't hear his hollering and cuddled but did not nurse him through two sleepless nights. It broke my heart, but like you I was growing resentful and I felt that was interfering with my ability to be the best mother I could be. From that point on he was weaned even though he continued to sleep with us for another year.

Get Your Asses to the Polls, Californicators

California conservatives, did you know that the Governator used his special powers to move the election to tomorrow? No worries, you can stay home today to futher ponder fucking over teachers and nurses, and endangering the lives of teenage girls.

Confused? Look here for ballot clarifications.


Squid Smoothie Recipe P. 2

Haven't been writing because I've hardly had time to wipe my kids' arses. Also Miss Mali has been playing barnacle to my gray whale, and hasn't let me or my boobs out of her graspy bedtime grasp until this very evening.

Atlanta, great food (Barbecue! Okra Fritto!), wonderful friends and kids. So excited to finally meet Dee's Artoo, age 3, owner of the world's cutest diction. The parents' nerves might have had it easier had we put Iz and Giddy's E in a soundproof room, locked the door and walked away. Ep calls this age 5-6 dynamic "The Bickersons." They are darling girls when apart.

Fun to watch Mali and Giddy's Kerali, who is one week younger. Kerali's remarkable presence and interactivity reminded me of when Iz was that age and much like the more staid Mali. Iz's co-babies, like Kerali, were more physically present and engaged, and I secretly wondered if Iz might be a bit on the slow side (the irony being that I wasn't so worried about sunny Mr. Leelo's social persona until late toddlerhood). Then again, Mali was still feeling so off that she nursed almost exclusively the entire time, to the extent that her radioactive swamp gas stomach virus diapers turned into bonafide breast-fed baby sweet curd sacks.

Realized several times that my verging-on-paranoid assertions about vaccines and their schedules, flu shots, etc. might not sound entirely sane to two medical writers, one of whom works for a big pharma co., and Dee's partner Dee2 the CDC employee. But they all voted against Bush, and that's all that really matters.

Rest of week:

Flight home from Atlanta. Pleasant enough. Iz inhaled "The Witche5" and now doesn't want to take baths, as that way the witches won't be able to smell her own Iz scent beneath the grime. I ordered a glass of wine from the O'Haire airport bar while hip-loading Mali. This got me some funny looks, and also eye locks of pure sisterhood.

Arrived home at midnight. Leelo stayed up most of the night crying and fussing. Seymour and I took turns. Rah!

Met with another builder Monday morning, then ran home to meet with our architects for more site surveying. The architects told me that the storm drain running under our house isn't on any county records, and that I should ask our neighbors about both that and the access easement that runs across our yard and which they own. Guess we'd have to inform the somewhat odd, contentious backside neighbors about our building plans at some point, but I was hoping not to do so until we'd already finished construction.

Remembered that Iz was still on break and yet I had to work at Iron Gate in the afternoon, called Ep in panic and she agreed to host Iz for my shift. Bless her.

Flailed at yet another Iron Gate shift.

Teacher P let me know that, during last week's Halloween parade and costume show-off--at which Leelo was a cowboy--he not only partipated in the parade but he got up during circle time when "cowboys and cowgirls" were called, and walked around the circle with the other cowfolk--with no prompting or guidance! She was almost in tears as she described the scene.

During clean up, one of the other moms, who has three kids four and under, came and offered to do my clean up as her daughter was home for the day and she knew I wanted to go to circle time with Leelo. They are good people, despite my snarkery about methodology and practice.

Leelo started getting feverish and increasingly irritable after we got home, so Iz/Hermi0ne went trick or treating with Seymour and her friends in Ep's neighborhood, and I stayed with the two tinies. Mali missed her first Halloween, but I doubt she minded. She got to be a cute leopard at a Halloween carnival in Atlanta, plus she'd also shown off her costume during Art Trai1s the weekend before (where people commented on her pungent cuteness so frequently that Jo and I started to tell them that we dressed her so as a disctraction while we picked peoples' pockets. Nervous laughs aplenty).

Tuesday Violet came and got Iz for the day. Rah! As Tuesdays are always so much fun. This one was notable for Leelo demonstrating his increased geographic awareness by asking for Knob and Mauna when we neared downtown (where their cafe is), and his awareness of routine by asking to go get Sage's daughter and his classmate Kiki after leaving Sage's speech therapy session, as picking her up is our next stop. Observation skills are not strong points for many autistic children.

Then we had a really wild Sushi dinner with Violet and family, and Jo too. Had parts of real conversations amidst the racket with Violet's mom, who needs a pseudonym.

Then off to an Iron Gate night class about managing TV and the media (mostly old hat to me--we watch videos and TiV0 but the kids are allowed absolutely no commercial-larded or live TV). Mali came too and spent the entire meeting playing performing puppy for an adoring crowd: crawling around, flirting, mugging, and posing. She was feeling much better than her Atlanta self. Sage and I agreed that this is not a socially impaired child. We will take her to the MYND 12 month evaluation at the end of this month anyhow.

Wednesday Mali and I went to her music class for the first time in weeks (no illness or emergencies to tend to). We left, and just as I was pushing Mali around The Hole, marveling at the 90 minutes I might have free once we arrived home, I got a call from Iz's principal. Iz was being sent home for the day, and I needed to come meet with the principal and then collect my child.

Apparently (and the story keeps evolving), a trio of boys had been teasing Iz about being a "midget" and other factors, and wouldn't leave her alone. So, Iz waited until the smallest boy of the three was alone, and then enlisted the biggest girl in her class to come along and help kick the boy's ass. They beat him hard enough to make him cry, hard enough to leave red marks all over his back.

While this displays a fine sense of battle strategy, it is simply unacceptable. Iz knew this, and was somewhat penitent. The principal and I talked Iz through various scenarios for dealing with the boys, most of which centered on the disengaging and walking away that Iz simply cannot do. Her school now wants her to attend social skills workshops onsite.

She did write the boy she beat (who has always seemed like a very sweet little boy to me) a very funny letter of apology, a huge long gushing splutter, telling him how sorry she was but that he still wasn't going to be invited to her birthday party and if he ever hurt his leg she would be happy to show his friends how to make him a "wrist chair" so they could carry him to safety. Both the principal and I busted up reading it. The principal also mentioned that Iz was "one of the smartest little girls she'd ever met" and that was a reason that Iz should have been able to figure out a better solution.

I think a combination of not having same-interest friends, being put in a classroom away from all of her existing friends, and Violet telling her that she can't play with anyone else anyhow is starting to frustrate our girl.

On our drive home Therapist S called to cancel her afternoon Leelo session at Iron Gate on account of her having come down with the dreaded barfing bug that's been making the rounds. Other things may have happened for the rest of the day but I don't remember what they were. Ah yes--Iz went to her piano lesson.

Thursday: Cancelled Leelo's overnight sleep clinic study scheduled for that evening as it was $4.5K and our insurance still hadn't agreed to pay for it. Therapist L stayed home from the morning session to be with her ill father. So off Mali, Leelo, and I went to coffee. Where Godmother Stacy showed up! Goddamn! So good to see her, so amazing that she had the balls to break out of the house, away from her twins and come do a social sanity check. We all saluted her.

On the way home I heard from MB, who told me that her Sophie--who is near Leelo's age and shares his label--actually figured out trick-or-treating logistics in only a couple of tries, and was then able to ask to go home when she'd had all the (over) stimulation she could take. Such progress. This is tearworthy stuff.

Then home for a Leelo team meeting. We are going to start fading verbal and visual prompting for potty training because Leelo tends to overly rely on it and sometimes can fixate on incorrect cues. We are going to silently and physically and from behind prompt/guide him, and gradually fade his cues. Should be interesting, but I am game. Supervisor M also mentioned that we can use Leelo's "potty" cue card to get him to go to the toilet even when he's not in session (he protests when we try to take him), as it removed all subjectivity from the process.

Went downstairs mid-meeting to find that Scabby had shat and pissed on our bed again, for no reason I could see--the door was open and her litter box was clean. Felt a few blood vessels burst inside my head and thought dark thoughts about putting her in a box on the dry cleaner's doorstep.

Took Leelo to Iron Gate, late. Drove around the neighborhood and looked at all the houses for sale and thought, what the hell--maybe it would be easier to just move! Talked to Seymour, who agreed about the possiblity of that line of thought. Called real estate agent, who arranged tours.

Videotaped Supervisor M's very sweet talk at Iron Gate about differences and Leelo's behavior. The kids seemed to get it, somewhat.

Took Leelo and Iz home (the latter from patient Ep's) and deposited everyone in front of the TV, but not until Iz had told me how she spent recess on the bench for getting in yet another playground spat (though this one did not turn violent). SIGH.

Leelo followed me downstairs, and made my cry by singing a song along with me for the first time ever ("Shoo Fly"). He was watching my mouth intently the whole time to make sure we were in synchronization. That boy needs a music class.

Ran screaming to the Indian restaurant the moment Babysitter Celia and her daughter arrived. Read book. Ate food. Emptied brain of all thoughts.

Today (Fri.):

Went to Iz's school to do reading. The class was missing; I found them in the library. All the children except Iz were sitting at tables doing word search puzzles; my daughter was sitting in bean bag in the corner, reading. I wasn't able to gather if she was being punished (because if so they could have made it even harsher by giving her a candy bar or soda) or they were allowing her to get out of a boring activity.

Went and looked at houses. Now I am totally confused and will have to write more on the matter when my brain is intact. Ep came along, which was ever so helpful.

Ran off to our estate lawyer to finally add Mali to our will. And set up a special needs trust for Leelo. Looked over the will and realized that our lawyer's wife, who disappeared a couple of years ago, was the witness when we drew up our will and signed every page. Eerie.

Quick impromptu coffee with Jo at our spankin' new Preets Coffee. Chat about my house/build worries and her plot twistings. Oh my am I jealous of the world inside her brain and her ability to tease it into the open for the rest of us to enjoy. So altruistic, though the process is not an easy one, it seems.

Picked up Sophie and Iz and hauled them to the toy store to get Leelo's birthday presents. This year I am being smart and bought him something he'll go ballistic over: the three Th0mas trains he's lost. Got the girls a puzzle.

Went home and the girls played so nicely, with role playing and cooperative puzzling. So pleasant. Then Jo brought us dinner! I snarfed mine and then ran off to the Hole to get party and dinner fixings for tomorrow's Leelo birthday party and dinner with the V's afterwards.

Mali went down without using me as a permanent snuggly/pacifier for the first time in over a week, so Seymour and I had some chat time while I made tomorrow's dinner. And then I got to come down her and spew. If you made it this far, give yourself a cookie!


Squid Smoothie Recipe P. 1

I'm going to laundry list the last while. No other way to do it. Settle on in, this'll be a long one.

Last you heard from the Rosenberg Clan, Iz had been up barfing all night, Mali had been barfing occasionally, Leelo had been barfing intermittently, and I had started barfing too, though not from my mouth. And we were supposed to be going to Atlanta in a few hours.

By mid-day, Iz insisted she was fine. So fine that she issued and won a BK kids' meal challenge. Mali declined to eat from anything that wasn't attached to my chest, and I decided that the best way to stop an overly productive output system was to cut off input. We made it to Atlanta just fine. Red Eye: no problem. Transfer at Dallas: no problem, and in fact my psychic Nano shuffled up some cheery Ly1e Lovett for me.

Atlanta was extra-groovy. If they could do away with their summer heat and humidity, I'd consider relocating. Dee's lovely home is within equally lovely walking distance of not one but two gelaterias, a spa (to which I was sent for the best massage and pedicure of my life, thanks chicas), Thai food, basically all those things we Gen Xers refuse to live without and about which we riducule those who do not understand that they are rights rather than privileges (I jest, but only slightly).

To be continued later. I need to go read at Iz's school, and afterwards look at houses with the rational Ep and my barracuda of a real estate agent, as Seymour and I have decided that it may be both easier and cheaper to move rather than build.


Too True

You're Ash, baby.
Gimme some sugar baby.

Which B-Movie Badass Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

And no, I didn't tweak my answers on account of my Bruce Campbe11 hankerings.

Thanks to Lea.


And I Like Your Shirt, Too

I'm probably not the first to think of this, but it occurs to me that the old saying "You've got a face made for radio" works with blogging as well.

Real posts soon. I've been put in the blender again, on Liquefy.