Our friend Sue the Tree Planter invited us over to a last-minute New Year's dealie. Since she and her spouse are among the coolest and kindest people around, we said yes. What parent of small children wouldn't, to a party whose stated goal was to bring appetizers only, celebrate New Year's at Newfoundland Time, and then kick everyone out the door by 9:00?

We figured we'd know at least a person or two, which would be a bonus. Imagine our surprise when the party ended up chock-full of some of the local people we love the very best, outside our usual posse: Anya and Carys, Diki and Tan, Kynn and Len...and then SAGE and her partner showed up! I was wiggling in my chair with glee.

So, All:

Happy New Year! (Said as Eddie Murphy in Trading Places, which is the only way that phrase ever sounds inside my head.)


If You Thought I Was Mopey Before...

Leelo woke up at 4 A.M. howling about his knee. By 7 A.M. he still refused to move it or himself, so Seymour helped me get him to the doctor. She poked and x-rayed the boy (Seymour took that one, bless him). The good doctor found nothing obviously wrong and pronounced it a sprain or bruise, then sent us home. It must be a pretty bad wrench to keep our quicksilver boy glued to his chair, and having to be carried everywhere (at 48 lbs he's quite a load).

We still can't figure out how he did it. He will gingerly pull himself to standing for a moment, but otherwise didn't get off the couch all day. I do have to admit it there was an unexpected bonus for this selfish mom, which was the relief of not to having to worry about where Leelo might be, or where he might be going, all day long.

Those of you who track such things will note that, owing to the conflict between the doctor's visit and Leelo's therapy session, and Therapist L having to cancel yesterday again due to continuing illness, our boy is 0 for 4 for morning therapy sessions this week. Not good for me, but even worse for our boy who really does need his sessions to ground him and give him a baseline from which to approach the rest of his life. Poor guy. And now, of course, we're on to a three-day weekend.

Next year will be better!

Though I will add that the last few weeks' entries make me sound grumpier than I am. Now that we're back home with very few events on the horizon, I'm actually feeling quite cheery. Especially with Iz home--we missed her ever so much, even though I punted her over to Merlin's house an hour after she got back.



Seattle, Outline Style:

Woke up morning of flight 90 minutes later than I wanted to. However, since I stayed up until 2:00 the night before in a frenzy of OCD-style packing, we really only missed out on showers and breakfast. And the latter was amply provided for at the airport, after Jo dropped us off (hero!).

Babysitter A flew up with us. I don't think she'd ever seen the logistics of travelling with three small children first hand. She was a very good sport.

Paid $25 because our main bag was overweight because one of Scabby's parting gifts was pissing all over our smaller alternate bag. I anticipated the charge and so wasn't too irritated--until that same bag failed to show up at our destination.

The bag still wasn't located after an hour of investigation, so we carried on to Seymour's folks home.

Dinner at Nishin0's in Madis0n Park. Mmmmm.

Back home, still no bag. I slept in my clothes.

Woke up next morning, still no bag. Babysitter A and I threw all three kids in the car, I borrowed her socks, went commando, bade Seymour a hearty farewell, and drove up to Vancouver.

Met my baby cousin Machete at my 96-year-old Auntie Diamond's apartment. Auntie D was not in the greatest of spirits, though she was happy to see us. In the 18 months since we saw her last, her eyesight has plonked (she couldn't read 18 pt. type), her hearing has gone fuzzy, her balance has fizzled (she now uses a walker) and her hands have gone too stiff to hold a pen or utensil. Leelo lasted about 90 minutes in her very small quarters before he started being uncontainable, and we had to leave. Felt horrible about the short visit, Auntie D was visibly disappointed.

Remembered that everything in Vancouver is always twice as far (distance and time) as I think it is. I thought we could fit in the visit to Auntie D (eastern Burnaby), Roots Outlet (eastern Vancouver), the Aquarium (north of Downtown), the Naam (Kitsilano, I think), and a visit to Machete's big sister Andie and her two-week-old baby Audrey II (Richmond) during a day trip to Canada. Ha! We lost the Roots and Naam legs and did just fine. Plus I managed to feel like a drug seeker in asking for literally over-the-counter codeine for an anonymous friend ("How many do you want?" "Uh, how many can I have?"). And Audrey II is a sweet little bug who already has the Anglo-Slavic family nose, in the cutest possible baby way.

Leelo and Babysitter continued held themselves together, trooper-like as we started home. However Mali, halfway through our drive back to Seattle, decided that she really didn't like her newly forward-facing car seat, and commenced screaming. She would only stop if we stopped and then I took her out of the chair and nursed.

...and there was a lot else that happened, mostly that Leelo was on the warpath and visibily unhappy to be there, even almost toppled his Grandmother in a fit of wanting to play with her but not knowing how to ask, and scared the shit out of her. So the inlaws (granparents as well as sister and brother-in-law) now have a clear sense of how difficult it is for us to travel with the boy, and what sort of effort it takes simply to be his parent.

But there were nice parts. Got to meet Elsewhere of Travels in Booland, and eat a lot of really good food. Everyone went all-out to help us despite the craziness of a Rosenberg Xmas (Seymour's brother and Dad basically staged Iron Chef Amerika in several nights--weren't we the lucky tasting audience). Everyone, especially my sister-in-law Bree, was so thoughtful about Leelo and our having hit and then left behind the bandwidth wall.

Short version: we won't be traveling with Leelo again any time soon, at least not to any place wihtout a pool. But we enjoyed the family parts.
Merry Miss Mali

Mali turned 13 months old on Monday the 26th.

God damn but if she isn't the cutest thing ever. Seriously. Who wouldn't be a sucker for a baby who, when she sees you, starts squealing and motoring towards you, grinning so hard it looks like her head is going to split at the hinges.

She imitates me brushing my hair. Will demand my brush and then do it herself.

She holds full-on conversations in her own private language. Especially when you're holding something she wants to eat. Then she nods nods nods at the food item while enthusiastically describing exactly what you are holding and exactly how much she'd like to eat it. I will try to record and post this as it is hilarious.

Loves to look at herself in the mirror, repeating her name.

Most often used words are "up," "apple" (meaning food in general), "yogurt" (meaning food in general), and "cracker" (meaning food in general).

There are only so many times you can ask yourself "Did she really just do that?" (for instance, hitting her head and saying "ow," thanks Leelo.)

I love watching her think, seeing her scan things and the variety of expressions on her face as she considers that which she's examining.

She has different waves, for hi, bye, even for come here. Sometimes she says "Hi, bye," as well.

The other day she placed all the toy pianos in a circle around her, so she could alternate between them without having to move.

It is easier to grocery shop with her and Leelo if he is in the cart seat and she is in the bin. Or it used to be until she started going into the fruit- or vegetable- bags and extracting anything she liked to eat (it never occurred to me that she would do this until I found her partway through an apple).

She is doing basic shape sorters. If she sees me take a piece out of her sorter she will watch where I put it, go get it, and then put it back in the right slot. (Her formal MYND Institute 12 month report arrived while we were gone, stating that she is above age level in visual problem-solving and at age level in all other things.) It may be that other babies do this at 6 months, but I am still quite impressed.

She is finally allowing us to read books to her instead of merely regarding them as fun objects to tear apart (finally!). She will even insist on reading them again, anticipating favorite parts and starting to laugh as they approach; She then goes through the books on her own and verbally approximates favorite passages.

Though she prefers to hold the books upside down. Oookay...

Baby food is all done. She gets whatever we're eating; she's fine with almost all of it (At Japanese restaurants, she eats: Miso soup including mushrooms, tofu, seaweed. Seaweed salad, including chili flakes. All tempura vegetables, including asparagus. Nori. Masago. Edamame. Inari.) She likes lamb, but likes chewing on lamb bones even more. Guess this one won't be a vegetarian. Eggs still get spit out, though. Iz and Merlin were also good eaters at this age, so I'm going to enjoy it while we can.

Loves to climb into any drawer. Likes to empty any drawer.

Overall she is a cheerful happy girl, too cute for words.

Hair is still wispy and see through in the front, but is getting fuller. Barrettes don't work really well yet as her hair is too thin and silky for them to stay stuck.

She is still not that into walking. She will do demonstrations for applause, but doesn't yet buy into it as a valid method of locomotion. Which is fine by me as our top-of-stairs gate is still in the garage.

She is still miserable to dress. Twisting and shouting the entire time, despite my singing, despite an arsenal of changing-table-side "distractors."

Still chokes and sputters a lot when drinking from anything that is not me. But is getting better.

Still nursing far too much for my tolerance. It is no longer all that enjoyable to me; I want my fucking body back, or at least for the rack to do its usual post-nursing three cup sizes deflation). I am trying to cut her off during the day but not having much luck. When she's overtired she does aerobics while nursing yet does not release me from her iron jaw clamp. Ow.

Bittersweetly, she's already ahead of Leelo with the pointing and waving, and comprehending how to take a bite of food.

Sweet girl.
(Autism) Knowledge Is Power

For those of us autism parents no longer hung up on recovery, and who are instead looking for tools to help us better parent our autistic children:

Tiny Tim Time

Susan Senator's book Making Peace With Autism

(I found both of these via www.autismdiva.org, also a worthy site though not a soothing one.)


One Smart Fucking Boy

Leelo just had a really fantastic conceptual breakthrough. I've never seen or heard him do anything like it before! Witness:

Leelo: "mumble mumble mumble animal..."

Seymour (going with it): "That's right, Leelo. A dog is an animal. A cat is an animal. A pig is an animal..."

Leelo: "A cow is an animal! A duck is an animal! A fish is an animal! A frog is an animal! An owl is an animal! A tiger is an animal!"

Seymour, in total shock, almost faints.

That is a fairly fantastic demonstration of comprehension and extrapolation for our boy.

This is so great coming on the heels of a therapist-free day in which I spent seeming hours trying to help Leo recognize that the counter has its own name, which is not "floor" (it still hasn't stuck); in which I realized that, even though no stranger has ever said anything to me, his behavior has deteriorated to the point now where no one is ever going to mistake him for a typical kid (constant verbal, oral, and or fidget stims, with occasional just plain odd behavioral outbursts, and...um...occasional please-god-let-it-be-a-passing-phase doglike leg humping); in which I continued working with him on saying/shaking his head for no, and saying/nodding yes, only to realize that while Leelo was having occasional success (he bobs his head like an obsequious Cockney), Mali was imitating me perfectly. Sigh.

So, yay Leelo. Thank you for reminding me how awesome you are.
Who Needs Plastic Surgery When You've Got Photoshop?

This site
is astounding. And fun to play with, too!

Here's the site's stated agenda:

"The media world is becoming increasingly fixated on appearances. And the number of tricks used to achieve the increasingly exaggerated ideals is growing. Many models have plastic surgery and even more are retouched so they appear to have bigger breasts, smaller stomachs or fuller lips.

"We wanted to show how easy it is to change someone’s appearance in this campaign.

Thank you, Sweden. First Volvos, then ABBA and Lingonberries, now this.

Via Sa1on Magazine's excellent Br0adsheet.

Therapist L just called in sick. I guess we'll go to the Cafe instead, where they will tolerate Leelo's shenanigans. Also, I will remind myself not to crow about my good fortune and the glorious alignment of The Fates until such things have already passed.


The Happiest Place in the World Is My Own Bed

Back! So fucking happy to be back! Will write details tomorrow! (Cha! Scoffs anyone who reads here regularly.)

Teaser detail: Do not teach your autistic son to use his grandparents' elevator. Otherwise, the moment your back is turned, he will dash into the elevator, slam the door shut, and set it in motion--and you will have no option but to pray like hell that he will choose to open the elevator door when he reaches the other floor. Which, thankfully he will do. No need to tell your spouse about this incident until your blood thaws enough for your heart to restart beating, which will take about 24 hours.

Tomorrow morning, Thursday morning, Friday morning, I have absolutely free! Leelo will be in session at home (my Gods is he happy to be home). No stupid fucking baby music classes, no reading with Iz's charming but monosyllabic classmates, NOTHING. Except hanging out with Mali, of course (Iz is still in Seattle with her gparents). I may even have tomorrow and Thursday afternoons free, with no Iz- or Leelo-picking up to suck all the air and energy out of me. Friday afternoon may be similarly boundless as well, though Iz will be back by then.

So many possibilities. One thing I know for damn sure, though, is that I am getting me an egg breakfast at Bucket's tomorrow. 9 A.M. Who's with me?
Oh! Oh! Oh!

We held a welcoming ceremony for Mali last February. At that point, three of my friends who had been trying to get pregnant for good long whiles, still weren't. All three of them were on my mind that day, as we celebrated our bonus baby.

As of today, all three of them have gotten lucky. Rah!



Seymour shaved off his moustache! Gaaaaah!

I haven't seen his upper lip in eleven years. I thought that perhaps his clean-shaveness was a drunken mis-remembering after Ms. Jane's rollicky party of last night (Seymour hung out with Godmother Stacy instead, upon her and my request), but no--he just stumbled all blinky out of our room to see if it was Leelo who was up at this early hour, and there it was--his naked face.

He did keep the bottom lip caterpillar. Which I feel is moot--might as well let it all go, and have total baby-butt face.

Iz is off to the Dickenz fest today with Anya and Carys and their daughter India. Rah! The better for me to go totally crazy with the packing and holiday prepping before we leave for Seattle in the A.M.

Thanks again to Ms. Jane for last night's party, and for Ep's Clyde's driving me home afterwards.
Ha Ha Holidays

I am currently pounding out our holiday newsletter. You may wonder why we bother, but I must say that I really enjoy reading other people's letters and hope that a small fraction of the folks we're avalanching with ours feel the same way. However as I have been a bit sour lately (going so far as to shriek righteous profanities at unsuspecting sexist Anglo pigs in local taquerias), my version was a bit pissy. Seymour has since cleaned it up.



I am now shutting the fuck up about my whiny busy overloadedness. Pooooooor me. Right! I wonder what this local gentleman would say if he read my blog. Because, unlike him, I am not a single, recently homeless parent on disability with seven children including two sets of twins under five (one of the four-year-olds being autistic).

Please click on the link and donate generously if you can.

(Thanks to Sage for the link.)


Leelo Pick-Me-Up

Leelo had me giggling this afternoon with an unexpected language burst (again, he's been a nutter lately, and interaction has not been great).

I said, "Hey, Leelo, how about some Cheeeri0s?"
Leelo said, "How about some croissant?"

In addition to being very funny if you know Leelo (he will do aaaaanything for a croissant), it shows great verbal integration and synthesis. Go Leelo!

We are having more naturalistic verbal exchanges lately, simple and brief though they are. For instance, if I ask, "Leelo, what do you want?", his ABA training would have him robot back: "I want the chewie." But now, he says "I want the chewie, Mommy," or simply answers: "The chewie." Excellent!
Off to the Great Catbox in the Sky

The vet thinks Scabby has spinal lymphoma. She and I agreed that, given Scabby's age (14), and her general decline in health over the last year, it's time to let her go. I will put Cat Heaven in my bag, pick up Iz from school, and we will give her a snuggle and say goodbye.

Here is our stinky neurotic but ever so sweet kitty, as photographed by Iz last year:


Head Sinking Onto the Keyboard As I Wait for the Vet to Call

The vet is supposed to call any minute now. To some it might sound harsh, but if they do not think Scabby will be capable of self-care for the rest of her life then I think we should deliver her from her misery. But I prefer not to think about it at all.

How do people function in medical school? Grinding continuously, not sleeping, yet expected to function not only normally, but at peak? How How How? This is the question I keep asking myself. Not that I would be capable of that type of performance, but it still sizzles my wizzles that I work so fucking hard all day, every day, but very little gets done, judging by the sizes of the piles of laundry, housework, and bills/correspondence I've yet to attend to. Plus there is filling out the paperwork for Leelo's admission to the Deadwood School District: Special Needs Edition, comments requested by tomorrow on the latest design for the new house (we staked out its footprint in the yard last Friday). A few holiday decorations are up but practically nothing, and every time I get something organized and put away Miss Mali comes around and undoes it:

Bonus points if you can guess which author she's about to desecrate.

That baby is fortunate to have such a winning disposition. It keeps me from leaving her on peoples' doorsteps after yet another night in which I am up working until 1 A.M., crawl into bed and read for 15 minutes, turn off the light and roll over with a luxurious sigh, only to hear "Ba ba ba? Itch gwAIII doh ma ma ma!"

The nursing will somehow knock my awake switch back to on, and I will stay up fretting about whether or not we can actually afford to build a new house, whether it is morally questionable to do so when that money would be best put towards Leelo's program so Seymour's parents don't have to foot 90% of the bill, whether we could be just as happy in a larger house down the hill, where it's cheaper. Away from this yard that feeds my soul. Sigh.

Basically I have been operating on three to six hours of sleep a night for several weeks now and I am so tired I can no longer smile.

Where the fuck is that vet? She said she'd call 77 minutes ago.

I am not a squeamish person, generally. I don't like to read about or see images of trepanning, but otherwise I usually remain calm when encountering things ooky or icky.

However, last night the neighbors got to hear me one-up that rat hollering significantly when I pulled what I thought was a twig off of my backpack, put it right up to my nose to see what kind of twig it was, and discovered instead that it was a mummified ensatina. I don't think I've ever screamed like that in my life. Everyone upstairs thought I'd accidentally chopped off a body part. I wish! Poor critter.

Speaking of poor critters, Iz, Mali, and I went to visit Scabby at the hospital yesterday. She still looked like absolute crap, still couldn't stand, was barely able to track us visually or move her head, and smelled like pee because I'm sure she's peeing on herself all the time because kitty bedpans don't work so great.

They don't know what's wrong with her. They've done all sorts of tests. She's not diabetic; she was dehydrated but her sodium was low, not high; her heart is racing even when she's asleep but they did a cardiac ultrasound and there's nothing visibly wrong there either. They think she might have eaten some toxic foliage, but we don't have house plants. I am going to go in and see the doctor this morning. I have to say that she looks as bad or worse than her companion Diamond did during her last days. Not feeling optimistic.


If You Absolutely Must Shop

Buy B1ue's Xmas 2005 List.

This morning as I was rotating our lovely organic compost bin, a RAT poked its head up mid-churn (through a hole in the cover that it had chewed for itself and I hadn't noticed). Being a big suck I yelled my head off not because I'm afraid of rats but because I might have shredded poor defenseless rat pups.

I suspect we will have to thoroughly clean the bin and then dispose of what was two years' worth of really great compost. Sigh. And rotate the new batch more frequently!
How It Could Be

Sometimes Leelo turns into a completely normal kid for a split second, just long enough for me to see the boy he might have been. Thank heavens for when this happens, because I have been feeling a bit down about him and his behavior--even though I know his tailspinning has to do with illness rather than a decline in abilities. My outlook is not helped when darling but neurotypical little boys in restaurants who look almost exactly like Leelo and are obviously the same age come up and ask to play with him.

Thankfully Leelo gave me a pick-me-up this morning. When I came up from behind him and said, "Good morning, Leelo," he turned around, gave me full eye contact, raised up his hand in a typical good morning salute, and said "Good morning, Mommy"--with perfect articulation! Therapist L and I went into squealling fits of praise and hugs. It was so cool. Especially since he's been sick for a month now and so things have been shitty indeed, behaviorally.

Of course, Mali can not only salute, but wave hi and bye spontaneously and upon only overhearing someone say "wave." Plus she has two distinct hand gestures for "pick me up" and "come here." Sigh.

Mali also has been sick, for more than five weeks now. I thought she was getting better last night, but this morning her eyes and nose are streaming lovely green mucus trails. I hope they both improve by the time we leave for Seattle/Vancouver on Monday.


Think Good Cat-Speak Thoughts for Scabby

Scabby is in the hospital as I write this. We awoke thie morning to find her laying in front of the bathroom door, not blinking, breathing harshly, and unable to stand up. Poor kitty!

I took her to the vet accompanied by Leelo and Mali, as Therapist Y twisted his ankle and had to cancel this A.M. I thought our kitty might have had a stroke, but they haven't yet found anything obviously or definitively wrong with her.

I know I complain about her bed shitting and scabbiness a lot, but she really is a sweetheart as well as the world's best purry pillow and lap warmer. So think good thoughts for her, please.


Girl Babies Everywhere

Dee had her wee baby girl Teli (a.k.a. C3PO) almost two weeks ago. Yet her family's Christmas cards--custom photo cards featuring new baby and big sister Artoo--are already arriving on peoples' doorsteps! It ain't fittin'... it ain't fittin'. It jes' ain't fittin'... It ain't fittin'. I would say Dee's still high from the labor drugs, but she had a natural birth (ow!). Plus I suspect her spouse had a hand in all that dastardly timeliness.

Congratulations to the entire family, anyhoo. Hurrah! Two girls. Fun.

Seymour, Iz, Mali, and I finally got to meet Godmother Stacy's two-month-old twins Ella and Millie last week end (sick Leelo stayed with Babysitter A so as to keep his germs away from susceptible infants). The girls are a matched pair of buttons, too cute. And Stacy and partner are so calm, it floored me. Of course--as Stacy pointed out--they do have a lot of help, but so do I and my house still looks like some giant thought it was a snowglobe. Theirs is museum-perfect.

To me, anyhow. Apparently Stacy's mom found a crumb and a hair in one of Stacy's utensil drawers and got sniffy, saying some unkind things about Stacy's (immaculate!) housekeeping. (As if Stacy is the only adult in the house! I'm just going to keep sputtering.) The worst was that, after Stacy protested that she'd just had twins, her mom scoffed and said "Yeah, two months ago." I do love Stacy's mom, but had I been there I would have torn out her liver. Grrrr.

My cousin Guggs (Japan resident) and his Japanese girlfriend had a girl of their own in October. They named her Audrey. Guggs's sister Andie almost died from spontaneous combustion upon hearing her new niece's name, as she was expecting a girl herself before Christmas, and she and her husband had long been set on that same name, in honor of a family member. Guess they never told Guggs, though. And they truly were set, because Audrey II arrived last week. First cousins, same name, both girls, less than six weeks apart, one half Japanese, one half Filipino (my cousins are caucasoidal).

Too funny.



Finally got our Grinch letter sent out via email, so we could properly spit in the face of the kind people who usually send us gifts:

Hello Family and Friends,

Way back in the optimistic haze of November, Seymour and I started working on this year's original holiday letter, below. We really did think we'd be lobbing holiday love-bombs in a timely fashion. (Stop laughing!) Here goes:

The Holiday season is upon us. Seymour and I are thrilled at the thought of spending time with family and friends.

If you've already found the perfect gift for us, read no further. We love opening presents! [Seymour does, anyhow.]

But if you had planned on purchasing a gift for us and have not yet done so, this year we humbly ask you to direct your good will towards a charitable cause of your choosing. We are truly blessed and have more possessions than we could possibly ever need.

We'd also be honored if you chose to donate something in our name. We've set up a Giving Registry through an organization called GlobalGiving. They connect donors directly to social, economic development, and environmental projects around the world. The projects we selected are doing vital work in India, Brazil, South Africa, Pakistan and the world's oceans.

Seymour has had the great privilege of meeting the leadership of all these projects through his work at The Wack Showcase of Widgetry. They all apply technology in innovative ways to address some of humanity's most difficult problems: hunger, illiteracy, sanitation, poverty, and sustainable fisheries.

To access this GlobalGiving registry, please visit: http://www.globalgiving.com/registry/ and type our last name in the search box.

Much love and best wishes for the holidays. We love you and hope to see you soon.

Squid, Seymour, Isobel, Leelo, and Mali
Black Hole of Aural Ecstasy

Oh geez Louise. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Via Karin, who professed innocence at the time. Right.
No No. 2

Iz, from the back seat:

"Mommy, why isn't food more efficient? Why aren't our bodies more efficient? I mean, if our small intestines could just absorb all the food, then we wouldn't need our large intestines at all! We wouldn't need to have anuses! That would be a lot more convenient."

Me (what's there to discuss?): "Yup, you're right. And I'm all for convenience."
Didn't Go

Last night was WWD up in San Francisco. I'd been looking forward to it for months, but then at the last minute opted to send Seymour without me. Which apparently worried some of my friends. So, know that simply:

1) I am tired.
2) I blew it with the babysitting arrival times last night, and that was my fault, not Seymour's, so I told him to go.
3) I realized upon the babysitters' arrival (not C. S., but rather her daughter and Marroqui) that they were not quite experienced enough to deal with putting all three kids to bed, and that I didn't feel comfortable leaving the city limits lest they should need me.
4) The social arrangements were getting complicated, the bar was going to be crowded, some of Badger's friends are snippy to me, all of which make for a three-pronged introvert nightmare.

So I opted out. Had a perfectly lovely dinner all by myself, with my book. Yeah!
Not Sleeping Well

"...by studying videos of children taken a year apart, observers blinded to a child's diagnosis and regression history found evidence that infants who were later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders with regression appeared to have similar interpersonal skills and advanced communication abilities compared with typical kids at 12 months of age, only to lose those abilities by 24 months."



Iz got her ears pierced last night. She asked Seymour and me about it the night before, we said sure she could, and so after a provisions run we then scoped the local tattoo/piercing/head/altwear shop to see if they could accommodate her.

Not only were they totally cool and nice and professional, but we were in and out in less than ten minutes. She was brave and steadfast.

She couldn't wait to get home so she could phone her grandparents with the news. Which she did thusly:

"Grandma! It's Izzy! Guess what I got pierced!"



You know what improves my mood? Music. Except I've no time to search out new stuff. Ideally a mix from Skip would magically appear in my mailbox, but until then perhaps y'all could recommend some downloadable mood lifters? Sal0n had a great one the other day but I couldn't figure out how to get it onto my Nan0.


Storm Clouds

Things have been far too stressful for far too long and I don't know what to do about it. Recent events with a friend and her partner have left me worried that I don't know how to get my partner a break so that he doesn't crack. One of us has to remain hinged. Yet we've less than two weeks in which to do all that needs to be done for the holidays--on top of taming our usual chaos--before we go to Seattle. Once we get there the stress-o-meter will stay at eleven for eight days straight.

How stressful are things? Stressful enough that I screamed at my six year old daughter last night, to shut up and stop whining. Result? She spent this afternoon on her best behavior, doing everything I asked in a timely fashion. Not because that is her natural inclination, but rather because I scared the shit out of her and now she's afraid of making me angry. That's some fine parenting, hooo dawgie. Give me a medal!

Every night as I go to sleep, I tell myself that at least the next day will be better. Who the fuck am I kidding? Here is my today, and it is not atypical:

  • -Therapist L calls to cancel for today (morning: therapy at home, afternoon: Iron Gate aide) as she had a medical emergency.
  • -Exit house at 7:30 to take Leelo to Occupational Therapy in Deadwood Shores
  • -Slip on ice-slick exterior wood stairs, fall flat on back and see former sleeping babe-in-arms hit cold hard stair. Thankfully she only rolled off my shoulder, but that is sure as hell not how she would choose to wake up.
  • -Go inside, check out baby, calm down baby
  • -Re-exit house, gingerly
  • -Walk by our only piece of nice luggage, which is airing in front of the garage as Scabby pissed on it.
  • -Call Pediatrician on way to OT as Mali has been sick for four weeks now, and things have become crusty (eyes and nose). Also cough is really chesty and looks like it hurts. Leave message.
  • -Arrive 7 minutes late for OT. Which costs $2/minute.
  • -Go to Satan's Coffee, congratulating myself for at least remembering to bring my own cup. Too bad I brought the wrong lid. Exit store bearing paper cup.
  • -Pick up Leelo, who had a tolerable session with some good coloring and scissor work. Yay Leelo!
  • -Run errands on way home. Advice nurse calls while I am in check out line. I try to move to the side so as to delay checking out but clerk pointedly starts scanning my items while I am on phone talking about my very sick baby while also Mali whines on my hip and Leelo tries to escape my hold on his wrist. Mali needs to come in and see a doctor.
  • -Dash home. Frantically prepare Leelo's and Mali's backpacks for Iron Gate. Spaz over preparing snack for Iron Gate kids and parents.
  • -Team meeting at home, with Supervisor M, Therapist S, and (yay!) Sage. Good but long discussion. Leelo has been having a shitty three weeks since we returned from Phoenix, and we are concentrating on removing stressors from his environment. However he is not losing any skills, not regressing. No point in adding anything new to program as we're traveling again, soon.
  • -Leelo drops glass cup on tile floor, mid-meeting. It shatters all around his feet and he cuts his finger, which I do not notice until Supervisor M points it out--Mother of the Year! Cut is small and stops bleeding quickly, which is good as Leelo will not tolerate band aids.
  • -Supervisor M brings a selection of books for kids about autism and suggests that most are insufficient and that I should write a better one. YEAH. Maybe in 2010.
  • -Run Leelo and Mali to Iron Gate. Saintly Supervisor M takes over first part of Therapist L's shift with Leelo.
  • -Arrive in Iron Gate kitchen. Realize that previous kitcheneer declined to put away clean dishes from dish rack and dishwasher. Nark on said person to Iron Gate president. Feel smaller blood vessels popping inside cranium, as working Kitchen/snack is stressful enough without even the slightest additional demands.
  • -Sage arrives to say hi and puts away all the dishes! Goddess!
  • -Realize after prepping snack and giving several people breaks that snack time has not been called and it is getting late.
  • -Leelo is handed to me by Supervisor M as she needs to leave to pick up her own kids (saint!). Hip-load Leelo as I finish up a teaching lesson. Leelo then helps me wheel the snack cart down to snack area.
  • -Children are snarling little demons, wrestling over banana muffins and deserving to have tiny horns branded on the sides of their foreheads. I resolve to never have children.
  • -Leelo, now free-range, dashes through my field of vision from time to time.
  • -Snack ends late late late. I sprint back to the kitchen to start cleaning up, as I'd intended to clean up early so as to be Leelo's bedrock during circle time (he cannot attend unaided).
  • -Saintly JL comes on Teacher P's orders to take over clean up so I can help Leelo.
  • -I help Leelo for five minutes (he does so well!) but then Mali starts howling from the nursery and I'm told to take her, too.
  • -The shift from hell finally ends
  • -As I am dropping of Sage's Ki (Leelo's carpooly classmate) at home I remember that I never retrieved the snack tray from the nursery (where Mali and all the micro-Gaters are penned while their parents toil). Go me!
  • -Retrieve Iz from Badger's popcorn-and-cranberry string fest. Am so implosive that I yell at Iz again--in front of everyone--this time for forgetting her coat at school. Make no eye contact with anyone (more on that later) and leave quickly.
  • -Come home to find ants invading entire home, specifically kitchen. Sweep them all outside and leave more deadly forms of warfare to Seymour.
  • -Seymour calls at time he usually arrives home to tell me that he's just leaving his office 30 minutes away.
  • -Realize that that same body of mine that took a pratfall on the stairs this A.M. is now very sore.
  • -Finally remember to call back Pediatrician to make appointment for Mali. However the office is closed for the day.
  • -Mali takes forever to go to sleep.
  • -And here I am.
I must say that I love my friends dearly, but that I simply cannot tolerate being around them right now. And yes these would be the same friends who picked up Iz from school this afternoon (Jo), hosted her all afternoon (Badger), and had her over to play all day on Saturday (Ep). I am having a hard time articulating why but it's mostly rooted in jealousy over their large slots of child-free time, so I'll just trust that you can understand and avoid me for now.

I am not always the very worst mom in the entire world. Granted, my baby hasn't had her nails trimmed in several weeks, I just realized that my son hasn't been taking his calcium supplements for oh, a YEAR now, and my husband had to pick up tooth fairy slack this past week when I spaced not only on Iz's first front tooth-losing and all related subterfuge and follow-up, but on the second as well (the second is more understandable as she swallowed it).

But I don't always entirely suck. Witness the below: a code with which to track down all the clues in her advent box. (A code which does suck as I whipped out in five minutes, but as she's six she doesn't care.) I wrote it out the evening of Dec. 1st after she started wondering why Santa hadn't put out her advent box yet. Said box has a wee giftie drawer for each of the twenty-four days leading up to Christmas. The next morning she found this key, a clue, and had herself a short hunt leading to her very own egg separator.

I think it would be very funny if people were to write her short letters in her code. It would lend weight to my line that Santa created it, not me, and that he's distributed it to certain types of parents (i.e., that slim cross section containing both cool cats and Santaphiles). Let me know if you need her snail mail address.


Two Teef

Iz has lost both front teeth. The timing is good--she was very excited to ask for them back on her letter to Santa (in whom she still believes, believe it or don't).

Our poor girl has a lot of big teeth in a small jaw. We have taken to calling her "Flukie" behind her back:


Traveling Blues

Two nights ago Seymour and I were watching the Tour de Faso (Burkina Faso, that is; we have been there) and I was getting depressed because it's been far too long since we've been to Africa, and it will be far too long again until we get to go anywhere that isn't special needs family friendly.

(Aside: I am only going to write this once more and then never bring it up again, though I might put it on the about page: Yes, only a privileged sort can whine about missing trips to Africa. I should and do count my blessings. That doesn't mean I can't complain about things in my life that are not going as expected. Fuck off.)

Last night I was chatting about my traveling blues with Armada, Violet's mom (who was just in Zamb1a for three weeks, sometimes I HATE HER but only out of pure green envy) because she of all people understands the need to see what other parts of the world are like. She mentioned that some of her friends were going to the Dog0n region of Mali in the near future. I mentioned that a friend of mine is a guide there. I contacted him to see how he's doing, and to ask if he could help her friends out, and...check it out! He's got his own web site. How cool is that.