Help TLF, Seattleites, You're Her Only Hope

Help TLF, Seattleites, You're Her Only Hope

Turns out TLF and Floyd are relocating. To the general Seattle area, to be specific. To, erm, Auburn, to be even more specific, as that is where Floyd got coddled and cajoled into taking a new job. I am thinking that an urban-leaning couple like those two should consider living in town rather than in the 'burbs. Here are my reasons:

  • Auburn is the same distance from Seattle as Deadwood City is from San Francisco. Seymour does that commute every day. And Seattle to Auburn is a reverse commute.

  • Seattle is a much more livable city than overcrowded, no-parking SF. Excepting the downtown core, Seattleites often live in detached houses near walkable neighborhoods.

  • When we go to Seattle, we don't visit people who live far away. By "far away" I mean I haven't seen two very good friends since they moved to Sammamish and Newburg, respectively.

  • Mercer Island and Bellevue might be closer but they are dull. Last time we stayed with my in-laws on Mercer Island, the big deal in town was the opening of a Pho restaurant. They're still getting used to Thai food, those wacky Islanders.

  • Kirkland might be okay. I heard that there are lots of hippies there.

Anyhow, I would appreciate it if those in the know could chime in with reasons why my friends cannot live in fucking Auburn. And perhaps where might be a good place for a hip couple (well, TLF's hip, anyhow) with a new baby, hard core (bi)cycling needs, and a commute to Auburn to dwell.

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Autism and Supplements: When to Say, "Fuck it"

I am on a local autism biomedical/DAN email list because even though Leelo is mostly off those protocols, I still learn a lot from the other parents on the list. Many fierce and fabulous minds write in, frequently.

And then there's me! I recently sent this message out, in response to a parent who was getting overwhelmed by her child's supplement regimen. I hope they don't kick me off the list:

Any decision regarding supplements can be brutal, at least in my experience, because there are so many possible factors that can affect our children's behavior. As careful and methodical as my partner and I tried to be, we were rarely certain when changes in our son's behavior were due to changes in his supplement regimen.

Having written that, it has been 3.5 years since we started a biomed/DAN protocol and we have cut back quite a bit after several trials of what had noticeable effects and what did not. Our son now takes only an autism-specific mega vitamin, probiotics, calcium, and cod liver oil. Probably only the first one qualifies as biomed/DAN due to its high B6/magnesium content. Probiotics help him not get sick so much, calcium is because his limited diet is practically vegan, and cod liver oil is because he's dual diagnosis autism/ADHD. I would like to get glutathione cream and B12 shots back in rotation, but right now they get him too agitated.

We also stopped vaccinating him and maintain a mostly-organic home and diet. He is no longer GFCF either, but then he was never really a candidate according to our DAN doctor's tests. We tried the diet for a year anyhow because there's no harm in doing so.

Another thing that has been helpful is appreciating my son as he is now rather than who he could or might be. I will still fight like hell for him and will investigate every new theory about helping him develop better communication and social skills, but I no longer think that recovery is a realistic goal for him, and that's okay. He's a great kid. Everyone else, continue the fight!

Finally, it is important for you to take care of yourself, so that you can be/even though you are an autism parent. It takes enormous resources and it sounds like yours are being stretched thin. I hope that this list provides you with some of the support you need, but also hope that you are getting breaks in real life (i.e., respite).

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Two: The Age of Turn Your Back on Me at Your Peril

Two: The Age of "Turn Your Back on Me at Your Peril"

Mali earned her Warning: I Am Two t-shirt less than 24 hours after reaching the 24 month milestone. While I was helping Leelo with his toilette, she silently emptied half of her bathwater onto the bathroom floor. Iz and I filled Mali's bath back up and then looked away from our not-baby for a moment; when our heads swiveled back we found Mali proffering two huge turd sections to us, one in each hand. Aiiigh.

In other news, we are all sick. Me so much so and with such a sore throat that I didn't sleep the night before Mali's birthday party--every time I swallowed, the pain woke me up. Thank heavens for good friends like Ep, who came over with one hour's notice to help make all the party food since I didn't want to be Typhoid Mary, and for good husbands like Seymour, who did all the rest of the party prep and cleanup despite not feeling so well himself. I am also grateful to Babysitter A (whom Iz thinks we should rename CoffeeHawk) for looking after an ill and obstinate Leelo during the party even though she also felt like shit.

--And I am going to fucking VAPORISE Ecto if it doesn't start letting me post. I've been trying to post this entry since 10 this morning.

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Mali Will Be TWO Tomorrow (11.26.06)

Mali Will Be TWO Tomorrow (11.26.06)

Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

How that is even possible, no one will explain to me.


Two Ways to Make a Doctor's Jaw Drop

Two Ways to Make a Doctor's Jaw Drop

Wednesday was yearly checkup day for both Leelo and Mali. Their appointments were back-to-back because I figured a double dose of concentrated HELL was more tolerable than two round trips to that same inferno.

Leelo fretted and fussed, but was a good boy for Dr. M. He even opened his mouth for her ("lots of post-nasal drip") and allowed her to look in his ears. Both tasks were an impossibility even six months ago. Mali was slightly less compliant than her brother, but got poked and prodded to Dr. M's satisfaction even so. Results:

Leelo: 54 pounds (85th percentile) and 44 inches (30th percentile)

Mali: 25 pounds (40th percentile) and 32 inches (10th percentile)

Our children will be good candidates for soccer, speed skating, and surviving in Antarctica. Very compact and solid, low centers of gravity. Those Rosenberg genes are quite overbearing (not that I'm a willow myself).

At the end of the appointments, Dr. M asked me how Mali was doing cognitively and socially. I told the doctor that Mali's last MYND Institute developmental work up was a few days ago, and that they pronouced her a smart social cookie. The doctor asked me if Mali was starting to recognize any letters or shapes. I pointed at a poster and said, "Mali, what is that?"

Mali said, "That's a green 'S'."

Doctor jaw drop #1!

Meanwhile Leelo was still fairly agitated. He expressed his anxiety at being in The Place Where They Burn Off Plantar Warts by asking to go to the potty, several times. This is something he NEVER does, so his need to escape was pronounced. So much so that when we finally did exit the exam room, he bolted down the hall in search of said potty room. The only problem was he didn't remember which room contained the toilet, and so burst into someone else's exam--in progress.

Doctor jaw drop #2!

I offered profuse apologies to both doctor and patient, and skulked away. As skulkily as a backpack- and toddler-loaded woman dragging a flailing autistic six-year-old can, anyhow. And then we got Leelo some french fries, and he was happy. We gave some to Mali, and she was happy, too. And I was surprisingly okay. Three plus years of these hijinks have made me a more mellow person when it comes to public humiliation. I guess that's something I can be thankful for.

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Busy Being Busy

Busy Being Busy

Tuesday is our BUSY BUSY day. Seymour drives Leelo to school so that I can drive Iz and Marys to Big Noggin, which lies in the opposite direction.

Then I come home and put all the cram-energy I can summon into tidying the house, except this morning I had a meeting down at the district in which the SpEd department and I are still trying to figure out how to get Leelo's home program (i.e., Supervisor M and Therapist L) funded without a lawsuit. So the house isn't really clean yet and I had to take care of a number of Leelo meeting-related calls and email.

At 11:30 I pick up Leelo and he and Mali and I do our grocery shopping. Which today will consist of finding out how many russet potatoes we can cram into the grocery cart without burying Mali (she sits in the basket while Leo mans the seat).

12:30 is Speech Therapy with Sage.

1:00 is Leelo's home program with Therapist L.

1:45 is picking up Iz and Marys for early release day, with a possible donuts detour for poor Marys--she got the shit scared out of her this morning on our driveway as she walked over, when our neighbors' big friendly dog hopped the fence and wanted to play, not knowing that Marys has a large dog phobia. Her screams were what her announced her arrival, poor dear.

3:30 is when Therapist L leaves.

4:00 is Marroqui's arrival, at which time she will attempt to clean our home. The place will get put in order before then, somehow.

5:30 is Sushi Tuesday, with Jo and girls. Right? Seymour should be joining us at 6:30.

7:00 is an Iron Gate meeting. I think I might have worn out my laptop's welcome, and perhaps will palm a copy of Castle Waiting instead. Maybe I'll bring a flask, too.

10:00 All done!

P.S. I am hating Ecto right now (notice lack of tags). Almost every time I try to publish I get a "secure connection failed" error. Anyone else seen this happen?


Needed: Special Ed Lawyer To Kick Some Ass, Texas-Style

Needed: Special Ed Lawyer To Kick Some Ass, Texas-Style

Does anyone know a special ed lawyer who might be willing to take on a pro bono case in San Antonio, Texas?

My friend was already having a hell of a time with her school district and her two kids (one Asperger's, one PDD-NOS), and then her house burned down. They escaped with their lives but lost everything and are now living in a rental. Her kids are still in PTSD land, but for some reason the school officials are not cutting them any slack and are even being punitive towards them while also defying their IEPs. My friend is, understandably, beyond done with playing nicely--but she also can't afford to hire a legal advocate.

Please let me know if you know anyone who could possibly help: aba_help YAT yahoo DAWT com. Or contact her directly: divalea YAT gmail DAWT com.


An Autism Mom Who Should Have Known Better

An Autism Mom Who Should Have Known Better

That would be me.

I tried to take Leelo to Iz's Unitarian Rite of Passage ceremony today. I can't stand the thought of excluding my son from our family milestone events, plus I was feeling optimistic as our boy has been behaving so well lately. We have even been going to restaurants and parties with him again. I figured the importance of the event made it worth the gamble.

The ceremony was a lovely, slightly goofy Unitarian version of a first communion--minus the host and transubstantiation. The fifteen third and fourth-graders got to light candles and recite credos they had written themselves. Then we parents approached and placed a string of beads the kids had made around their necks--one bead for every of the seven UU principles (very rosary-like, though I doubt my Catholic mother would approve). Then the congregation congratulated the children on reaching their Age of Reason.

At least, that's what I heard happened. Leelo got increasingly agitated and vocal as the ceremony progressed, and--right before Iz's turn to recite--he hauled off and slugged me in the nose. Hard.

I scooped him up and ran down the hall to the bathroom, locked us in, and started sobbing. Not because of my throbbing nose, but because I was so angry with myself. It was selfish and stupid to put Leelo in that position. I should have asked Babysitter A to come with us to the ceremony, so that Leelo would have an out. I should have taken him out of the sanctuary as soon as he started getting upset. I should never had expected him to "calm down" just because we were at a special event.

Thankfully, Godfather M came down for the ceremony, and brought his brand new camera. Hopefully I'll get to see what it looked like when Seymour placed the beads around our daughter's neck, and the expression on her face as the entire congregation welcomed her.

While I wait for the photos to arrive, I will start fucking dealing with the fact that Leelo won't always be able to go everywhere with us. It's not his fault, nor is it mine. Nor is it fair.

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My Principles May Actually Cover My Ass

My Principles May Actually Cover My Ass

As promised, I tracked down my activist feminist Unitarian friend and asked her why she goes to Curves. She said:

  • The franchise owner is local and does not agree with the company founder's politics

  • The franchise owner pays a flat fee. The amount of money sent to the head office would not increase, were I to join.

  • The atmosphere is friendly and non-judgmental

Three good points. However DoubleTrouble gave me a free pass to her locally-owned woman-centric gym, and I might try it instead. I still don't feel right patronizing an establishment with ties--however convoluted--to the pro-life movement.

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Leelo Thanks the Blogsphere; in Particular Suzanne, Mary Beth, and Giddy

You did it! You tender-hearted and phenomenally generous denizens of the Blogosphere got Leelo and his local friends their scooter ramp, and you did it less than four days. I am so, so, so, so grateful for all your help, and will have no compunctions about shoving my Doc Martens-booted foot up the butt of the next person who makes a derogatory comment about bloggers.

But Oh My Goddess, thanks so much to everyone who helped with Leelo's Campaign, especially the last three people to donate over $20: Suzanne, Giddy, and Mary Beth. Leelo thanks you from the prompted bottom of his cuddly little heart:



The Wondrous Achievements of Izzy's Godparents

The Wondrous Achievements of Izzy's Godparents

Iz's own Godfather M is now an officially sanctioned (i.e., the bastard gets paid) food blogger! You can read his entries every Friday morning.

Iz's own Godmother Stacy birthed a 9 lb 2 oz baby boy last night. Parents and baby are doing fine. The little guy joins 13-month old big sisters Victoria and Elizabeth. Wow is not really a big enough word. Best wishes to them all.

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Leelo Rules Too, Just Like His Friends Do

Leelo Rules Too, Just Like His Friends Do

Leelo's been a busy man this week. Busy barfing (eating too fast; hasn't done that in months), hitting at school (fuck!) and having two potty accidents (still none at school, though. Whew.). He is occasionally hitting/pushing his four family members as well. He usually targets Mali since she is easy pickings, but he also slugged Seymour in the face--knuckles first, which is good form but really hurt.

Normally all this would have me freaking right off of my seat. But Leelo has had such a great week otherwise that everything is balancing towards the positive.

He has learned to independently buckle himself into his five-point harness car seat. THIS IS HUGE. Seymour and I have been working with him on buckling for months, and all of the sudden Leelo Got It. In fact I didn't even realize he'd made the leap until I trundled over to his side of the minivan after securing Mali, and found him all buckled up and ready to go. Again, this is huge; this means four or five fewer circuits around the car each day and even though it is not an enormous time investment, I am grateful for anything that simplifies my life.

He is also doing so well with getting dressed: shirt, underwear/pullup, pants, socks, shoes (slip-ons only, but hey) all go on without assistance, and quite quickly, too. He is so good at it and so proud of himself. I should take a video.

These self-care milestones fill me with the kind of joy that is usually reserved for a baby's first steps, because it was not clear to me that Leelo would ever reach them. Sure, I hoped and wished and suspected that he could, but--unlike typical kids--there is no standard trajectory for autistic children. You simply cannot predict what they will and will not be capable of.

What I really appreciate about Leelo's progress is the how it reminds me that we can only be hopeful and optimistic about our boy's future abilities. When we had our YouCSF consult with Dr. G. E., he mentioned that kids who don't potty train by age 6 usually don't ever really get it. But Leelo has been working on potty training for more than two years now, and his biggest leaps have come in the past few months. He has been working on self-dressing for even longer. I think Leelo's going to figure it out, I really do.

And despite his misbehavior--which I attribute to his being allowed to eat all the forbidden dairy and sugar he wanted over his birthday weekend--he has really been seeking us out for attention and hugs and kisses. He is with us, he is participating, he is taking care of himself, he is kicking ass. Once again, our battle cry: Go Leelo go!

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Leelo's Friends Approach the Summit!

Leelo's Friends Approach the Summit!

Leelo's campaign is at 81%! OMFG!

Who's going to push it towards that last 19%? Hmm? Last-push people donating $20 or more will get videos of Leelo thanking them personally, posted on this site.

To those who have already given: thank you thank you thank you yet again, this time to Erin M., Kristen M., Douglas K., plus an extra HOLY SHIT thank you to Julie M. of NoFancyName.

Those of you who have spread the word: my thanks to you as well.

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Leelo's Friends RULE!

Leelo's Friends RULE!

Our campaign to get Leelo's local friends a scooter board ramp has hit 62% in only three days. Beyond amazing, just like everyone who has helped out.

The latest (prompted) thank you from Leelo goes to Jenijen, Carol, Alsuin, and Jeremy!

And many, many thanks also to Blaize, Whump, Kari, Mary Tsao, Brianna, Lara, Minnie, Sage, Jill, Amy F., Lisa B., TLF, JP, Jo Spanglemonkey, Dee, and J-L K.

Signora Blog and Gwendomama have also promised funds, so really we're closer to 70%. Wow.

reH nay'meylIjyIn Dujablu'jaj!

(That is Klingon for "May your dishes always be served alive.")

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No More Shopping at Goodwill for Me

No More Shopping at Goodwill for Me

I have been a thrift store shopper since high school, since before Molly Ringwald went public (bitch!) and set off a flock of vintage vultures who carried the top pickings back to their pricey lairs. Even so, Dee and I spent many hours in the local Salvation Army, where we always found more than enough with which to outfit whatever ska or mod or boho personas we were sporting at the time.

I still really enjoy those Eureka! moments of finding great clothes for reasonable prices, such as last month when I found Mali two brand new Carter's footed fleece pajamas for $2.99 each. They were exactly what she needed, and I felt extra proud of myself for not feeding into the retail machine.

But should I feel proud? I no longer have to shop in thrift stores; should I even be there? Shouldn't Mali's jammies have gone to someone who could not otherwise afford them?

I think so. I think that my responsibility is to ensure that my family's clothing comes not only from responsible retailers, but is of good enough quality that it can either last us for a long time or be passed on. We also need to consume less, but that is another, longer post.

As usual, I am interested in reading other peoples' comments on the matter. In the mean time, here are some decent resources for fair trade/responsibly made clothing, as well as holiday shopping:



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Mali vs. The MYND Institute

Mali vs. The MYND Institute

Mali had a 24-month developmental checkup today at The MYND Institute, as she is an ongoing participant in their Infant Siblings of Autistic Children study. They said--as usual--that she is as typical and darling as can be, and is even ahead of the curve in many ways.

I was surprised that these declarations were made despite Mali's refusal to demonstrate her knack for turning any object into a jaunty chapeau, her mastery of the gerund, or her ability to count cheerios as she drops them into her beverage. In fact many of their trials were not representative of her actual skills set as she was playing too much, or focusing too much. Both of which were fine by me--her siblings aren't too adept at either concept.

Truly, though, these sessions are wonderfully reassuring for me. I recommend them to any autism family with a new baby living within 150 miles of Sacramento.

I especially recommend the MYND Institute research studies for families having a difficult time getting additional developmental evaluations for already-diagnosed autistic children. Many studies, such as the Imitation & Regressi0n study in which Leelo participated, contain the exact same evaluations (Vineland Social Maturity Scale, etc.) that were used in my guy's initial diagnosis at Staffnord. And unlike its impenetrable diagnosis clinic, The MYND Institute's research clinics are eager to bring families in. It is not as though you would be fleecing them--they want to evaluate your child. When you consider that you will also be helping with autism research and so helping the autism community in general, it really is win-win. They'll even give you a small stipend.

I am going to go sleep a little more soundly than usual. Have a good night.

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Ecto vs. Blogger = Frakked up Fundraising

Ecto vs. Blogger = Frakked up Fundraising

I do not know why Ecto and Blogger have chosen the Leelo fundraising post as the one in which to alternately refuse to post and then delete each other's posts. I don't know why they couldn't have gone buggy on ANY OTHER POST.


If you got here somehow and are looking to contribute to Leelo's campaign, please click on the Helping Leelo's Local Friends "donate now" link in the Dropcash badge in the left hand sidebar. Or go directly to the campaign.

And many, many thanks to Blaize, Whump, Kari, Mary Tsao, and Brianna for being so quick to drop that cash and help Leelo's friends!

Update: More thanks to Lara, Minnie, Sage, and Jill! We are more than 25% of the way there.

Update again: I am astounded by your generosity! Amy F. Lisa B., TLF, and JP--thank you all so much. We're almost halfway there in less than a day!

Update YET again: On bended knee: Jo Spanglemonkey, Dee, J-L K, my deepest gratitude. We've hit 50%.

11/16/06 Leelo's Friends RULE! We're at 62% in less than three days. A (prompted) thank you from Leelo to Jenijen, Carol, Alsuin, and Jeremy!

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Help Leelo's Local Friends

Leelo's special ed department/occupational therapy department (i.e., special needs motor work) has no money to buy the kind of equipment they'd like; the kind that would really make a difference not only for autistic kids like Leelo but for all the kids in our city who rely on school district--i.e., public--support for their sensory and occupational therapy needs. Specifically the department would like to buy a scooter ramp as it will perform about fifty different functions in one compact space.

I said that I'd help. I said that if I invoked the power of the blogosphere, and got enough people to skip a latte or two (or five), there would be no way we couldn't raise enough money to get those kids their ramp.

So, feel like doing some good during this upcoming holiday season? I am trying to raise $757.90, which includes the ramp's purchase price and shipping. If we can raise the money by 12/20/06, it will be a lovely holiday gift for the special ed department. In fact you can even print out this page and tell your friends that you made a donation in their name instead of getting them a cluttery, tangible gift. A skipped latte's $2.50 is more than welcome.

Straight donations are great, of course, but I am also selling handmade Leelo coloring books at $20 each. The books feature the bold lines and simple rhymes that Leelo and his friends enjoy, plus scenes that will make any parent--but especially parents of autistic children--chuckle (or sigh) in recognition. All proceeds will go towards the ramp.

If you want a coloring book, go to the donation page, and click on the "contribute" button. You'll be redirected to PayPal. Put "coloring book" in your PayPal subject line, and don't forget to include your shipping address.

You can also help by ordering Leelo shirts and gear. A $10 donation is part of their purchase price. You can get Leelo gear at GoodStorm (t-shirts only) or CafePress (t-shirts, stickers, mugs).

I will add a further $10 donation from my own pocket if you send a picture featuring your Leelo gear to me at aba_help AT yahoo D0T com.

Here is the scooter ramp's description:

"This ramp incorporates a climbing feature with the addition of bilateral hand rails in addition to the rope attachment for hand-over-hand climbing. The ramp can be adjusted to 2 different inclines. Both ends of the ramp are beveled where the ramp meets the base and floor to give a smooth ride. Assembly consists of 4 wooden pieces held together with wing knobs. No tools ever needed. Easily disassembled and compactly stored."

Again, our deadline is 12/20/06. Leelo and his friends say Thank You! And please feel free to spread the word.


My Principles vs. My Ass

My Principles vs. My Ass

The incomparable photographer (and Bad-Ass Dad) Barak Yedidia came by yesterday to take our family's annual holiday photo. Being nimble and deft, he managed to capture many excellent shots including the flighty and unpredictable youngest members of the Rosenberg quintet. My husband looks gorgeous, Iz and Leelo look typically button-cute, Mali looks as funny yet darling as she always does, and I look like a dumpling.

No fault of Barak's. Several years of inattention have left me rounder than I'd imagined. I don't consider this to be a moral failing, nor do I have a complex about being skinny, or being able to fit into my pre-Iz wardrobe. When I look at the models on magazine covers, I often think that it would be nice to look like them, in the same way that I think it would be nice if my children were put in statis to avoid puberty, or if I could ride a wooly mammoth. But I do like the profile of my neck and chin to resemble the legs of a right triangle more than its hypotenuse.

The solution is straight-forward: eat less and exercise more. Eating less is generally a matter of paying attention when food is around, and specifically of keeping the cocaine-laced brand of kettle corn out of the house. Simple, if not necessarily easy.

The exercise one is a doozy. I despise exercise for its own sake. I enjoy hiking and cycling, but the opportunities are limited for the former as I've still not yet found a toddler-carrying backpack that fits my torso, and the latter involves too much gear and too much training before I can even think about riding the hills around my house without walking half the time and exposing myself to the jeers of my neighbors (not that they would--I just don't want my friends to see me walking my bike).

But guess what is right around the corner, next to our brand new fancy local grocery store? A Curves. It is on my way to everywhere. And it is supposed to take only 30 minutes. It seems lame, but is also seems like a convenient opportunity to get healthier. I could always wear a mask so my friends don't see me geeking out on the equipment.

Workout anonymity is not my real concern with Curves, though. The real issue is that the company's founder is an ardent pro-lifer, and funder of such efforts. However the franchise owner is not. I see many of the most fiery local liberals I know exercising there. I will ask them how they came to decide to join, but in the mean time I am interested in hearing opinions from anyone else on this matter, or indeed from anyone who has any experience with Curves at all. Thanks.

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Goodbye, Five-Year-Old Boy. Hello, Six-Year-Old Boy.

Goodbye, Five-Year-Old Boy. Hello, Six-Year-Old Boy.

Yesterday our sweet sweet Leelo turned six years old. Unimaginable.

We were to celebrate with cupcakes at school, then lunch at Sewerage, and then a park afternoon with a bunch of friends. But Leelo got barfy and so none of that happened. Instead Mali and I stayed home and played Doing Laundry while waiting on/for him to feel better and vomit less.

Today we partially made up for yesterday's lack of festivities by taking Leelo to dinner at Sewerage. We were joined by JP and family (including my Auntie Cranky, JP's MIL, who is visiting). There Leelo got to have a Lassi and all the naan bread he wanted, and we sang him Happy Birthday twice--which was insufficient according to the boy being feted but would have to do as the restaurant was very busy. But I love that Leelo loves for us to sing to him. Tomorrow at his for real birthday party we will all sing him Happy Birthday as many times as he wants.

I am so impressed by all the many ways he is becoming a big boy and taking care of himself. He can now get slip-on shoes on without help, and his putting on underwear-pants-shirt routine is a slick one.

His language is improving, too. Not so much in length of sentences; more in naturalistic voice tones and affects, and in language use. He has a nice, bright, LOUD, "Hi, Daddy!" (or whomever he's greeting) that was frequently absent during the whispery Adderupp stage. If you ask him what song he wants you to sing, he'll reply with the song title, e.g., "Frosty!" (AIIIGH) instead of saying, "I want you to go sing Frosty, Mommy." Also general requests are met with, "Yes, Mommy," instead of "I want to XX on the XX, Mommy."

His potty training has been going really well, too. He hadn't had an accident for weeks until today when I was sitting with Dr. S in her office telling her how great Leelo has been on the Fukalin XR, how one example was how he hadn't "...had an accident in...OH FUCK, he's peeing on your chair, I am so sorry!" No matter, I am still going to keep him in underwear from waking until 3:30 daily, and when we have breaks from routine such as spending all morning at Sage's son Big A's birthday party in a jumpy house, we will decrease his potty interval from 90 to 60 minutes (his accident happened at about 70 minutes).

I am zonked but the point is that Leelo is a sweet dear spaceman who is trying very hard to adapt to our Earthling ways but doesn't always understand why but even so is doing so very well. It has been 3+ years since we realized that our theoretical Leelo and our resident Leelo are two very different boys. But I no longer care. I love who he is, not who he could be. He demonstrates frequently that he loves us as much as we love him. We are all in very different places than we were at that time. I like this place better.

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I Lied

I Lied

Power went out and the kids went nutso and refused to entertain themselves. Will try to post for real tonight.

Keep Watching This Space

Keep Watching This Space

I will post something meaty this afternoon when I have more than five minutes to gather myself together. I don't know why, but for some reason I am crying at the least provocation, which then makes me furious, which then makes me depressed and uninterested in writing. But today the kids are off and as a result we've fifteen fewer errands, which should help.

I either need more coffee, or less of it.

And, Veterans, I am thinking of you in gratitude and awe.

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Happy Birthday Leelo!

Happy Birthday Leelo!

Whoever could have possibly imagined that our boy would turn six years old?

Sweet snuggly boy, Happy birthday to you.


Addenudum: Barfy Birthday to You! Seymour just called to say that he's coming back home from school with Leelo as our birthday boy just barfed all over his car.

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Vote or Die

Vote or Die

Why should you vote? Because I will ban your IP address if you don't. Because you're an asshole if you don't.

KQED's Democracy project for kids has a simple write up on why voting is so important, summarized in a way that is not entirely inappropriate for many adults I know. Do not take your right for granted. Even if you disagree with me and my politics.

Here are some sites that helped me make decisions:




Our own dear Badger

If you haven't had time to do the research, then all you have to do is go through my list of propositions below (read the links, too), and then vote Democrat on everything else.

Here is my opinion on the California State Propositions. (The titles and some of the links were swiped from Pete.)

  • 1A NO Gasoline sales tax (Sales taxes go to the GENERAL fund. They shouldn't be earmarked. This is a bad bad precendent.)

  • 1B YES Transportation bonds

  • 1C YES Housing Bonds so people can actually live in California ($2.85 billion)

  • 1D YES School & University Construction Bonds ($10 billion)

  • 1E YES Flood Control Bonds ($4 billion) Prevention is expensive, but much less costly than disaster relief and reconstruction. Just ask the people of the Gulf Coast states.

  • 83 NO Increasing Punishment of Sex Offenders. Even Orange County conservatives oppose this one.

  • 84 YES Drinking Water & Flood Control Bonds ($5.4 billion) While I am conflicted because of some overlap with IE, 84 is backed by almost everyone I respect.

  • 85 NO Parental Notification for Minors Getting Abortions. NO. Let's not further fuck up the lives of at-risk teen girls.

  • 86 YES Cigarette Tax Hike to Fund Health Services. Sure.

  • 87 YES Oil Production Tax to Fund Alternative Energy.

  • 88 YES $50-per-Parcel Tax for K-12 Education. Undo some of the damage of Prop 13, with respect to education.

  • 89 YES Public Financing of Political Campaigns. Duh. Not even bothering with a link.

  • 90 NO Limiting Regulation of Private Property. Complicated, but basically Prop 90 "...will make land use regulation in California so expensive that it will simply cease." Please read the whole link.

And of course, if you live in this area, please vote for Iz's hero Ira Ruskin for state assembly. He is pro-environment, pro-choice, and seems to actually have principles.

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Watch Long and Prosper

Watch Long and Prosper

It is time to start Iz's Star Trek indoctrination campaign. I figured the best way would be to start at the beginning--pre-Kirk, even--and then progress through ST and ST:TNG chronologically (as produced, not the actual chronology). Local video store, here we come, right?

No, not right. The local video store doesn't really stock videos anymore. They are a DVD emporium, and they refuse to stock the astronomically expensive original series DVD's in their fancy communicator-style box sets.

I guess I can see if the library has the videos. But this is irritating, this blatant milking of the fan base.


11/9 Update: TVLand is showing all the episodes in order, starting this Saturday 11/11! Thanks for the heads-up, Nevermind!

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Well Now, Hit Me Over the Head With a Roll of Toilet Paper

Well Now, Hit Me Over the Head With a Roll of Toilet Paper

Mali declined tonight's bath with an imperious, "Go pee pee and poo poo in the potty, Mama." (!?)

So Seymour tossed the potty seat downstairs, said insert was placed upon the throne, and Mali ascended. She didn't actually produce anything, but she sat there for a good long time chattering about her theoretical output and also demonstrating that she has observed exactly what TP is for and how it is used:

Originally uploaded by Squid Rosenberg.

I must admit that I am not exactly thrilled about the thought of potty training her right now. Leelo is just getting into a good groove with his own toileting efforts (he spends 7:30 to 3:30 daily in underwear--weekends too, now--with no accidents for weeks), and I don't want to jinx him by having his little sister edge into the potty spotlight.

Not much we can do, though. If Mali wants to start using the toilet, it's best for us to go along with it. And I will just have to hope that this was a one-off effort, and that she'll forget about it for another six months. At which time she will train herself within 24 hours. That I can take.

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Serious Sleep Snafus

Serious Sleep Snafus

I am starting to realize that Miss Mali has absolutely no idea how to put herself to sleep without the assistance of a car ride, stroller, boob, or utter exhaustion. She is only getting about 8 hours total (naps included) of sleep per day. This seems not only undesirable but unhealthy.

What we need to do is not just transition but totally retrain her. Anyone with experience in post-weaning sleep training of a strong-willed insomniac toddler who still sleeps in her parents' bed because there's no place else to put her--or indeed anyone with half an idea of what might help--please chime in. Please!

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Friends Helping Leelo Learn

Friends Helping Leelo Learn

My parents are staying with us for the weekend, so they can pick up their scrumptious and wiggly and hopefully not too incontinent puppy.

My mom is outright astounded by Leelo's progress, and I have to admit that I'm seeing big changes, too. He is calling peoples' names to get their attention--spontaneously--and asking them to do things for him: "Grandma! Time to do the bears!" (translation: "Please sing that song about the bears for the sixteenth time.") He hung out with my mom for at least half an hour, singing songs with her, snuggling on her bed, and being calmly social. He also had an eye lock on her the entire time. I spent much of that same time misty-eyed.

Though such lovely, fluid, facilitating social behaviors are increasingly spontaneous, his achieving them was not. He and his team and (to a lesser but still very enthusiastic extent) his family have been working extra hard on this specific skills set, and that effort is paying off. But he could still use more practice.

To that effect, my dear darling Jersey Girl has suggested that we set up a Generalization for Friends and Family training party:

I've been thinking about Leelo and know he has a
talented team that thinks of everything, but since I
am 3000 miles away and have no clue about the real
details of the daily goings on with the Rosenbergs I wanted
to throw in my thoughts. Is it time for a pizza party
(Sewerage/The Hole) with your closest adult friends only
that's a training by Supervisor M on how to facilitate

You have such close friends in your
life who spend (or at least I think they do) lots of
time with Leelo who might need a "booster shot"/initial
education on how to sustain a social interacion. It
surprises me for example, that people don't know what
to do next after Hello or a hug. Your friends love you
and him and would love to know! And see him a lot.

Some of your friends might think they are bugging him
by doing this, or stepping over the line, or feel
uncomfortable with themselves for not knowing what to
do etc ... But all that can be discussed and I'm
guessing you already have.
[Erm, no I don't think so.]

Perhaps a big part of the "training PARTY" with
Supervisor M at this time is to get it on the minds of
your friends as a priority. Back on the front burner.
Like me taking my kid in for her 7 yr check up finally and
now trying to get in 3 servings of calcium a day.

My logic here is a) go for the gusto NOW while he is
in a spurt!, b) you are blessed, for obvious reasons,
with lots of friends, and c) my heart says go Leelo, go.
(okay no logic there -- all heart -- Izzy would

All thoughts for Leelo's sake and the Rosenbergs.
Again, from too many miles away. In other words, you
may have all this covered. But I owe it to Leelo to let
you know my thoughts. And in this case it's so easy.
Love to you and yes, it's time to send you pics of my

JG, I love you right back.

Supervisor M is on board. Locals, let me know if you'd be interested. Did you see where JG said that we had to buy you pizza?

Anyhow, I am with JG. Go, Leelo, go!

P.S. Leelo put on his own shirt today; it was his first time ever without me helping in some way. The t-shirt ended up backwards, but I'll be fucked if that is anywhere close to the point.

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The Joy of Weaning

The Joy of Weaning

Reader, it is with great delight that I share the following news: in one scant week, my bosoms have already shrunk to the point where my bras resemble four-day-old latex party balloons. My back and my profile are ever so relieved. The girls themselves still seem more bouncy than droopy.

I have turned over my copy of Mothering magazine as I write this so that the nursing mom on the cover cannot reproach me--but FUCK YEAH, I am so happy to have weaned my toddler! Our bond of love, latching, and lactation was loverly while it was loverly, but after almost three years of sharing myself with Mali, I am grateful to be reclaiming my body. Here are some of the reasons why, feel free to add your own:

  • I can dye the holy hell out of my hair. (Not sure what colors are left though, as turquoise = Iz, purple = Badger, scarlet = SJ, and pink = Lea H.)
  • Batik! All those carcinogenic fabric dyes in the garage are just longing to come out and play.
  • That long-awaited Brad Pitt tattoo is mine!
  • Marijuana. Not that I would, right? But I could. Ahem.
  • Nipples. Repierce or not? I think my body looked glorious with gold rings hanging from the tips of the twins, but that was the body of almost ten years ago. Plus I would have to repossess the ring hanging from Badger's ear. Hmm. I'll revisit this in a few months.
  • Time to start swatting salmon from the nearest river with my bear friends, and sharing in their bounty. Fish fish fish, oysters oysters oysters, raw raw raw.
  • I can leave for as long as Seymour will hold the fort. Once he starts accruing vacation at his new job, that is.
  • Mali's beloved, nasty, tatty boppy can be disposed of. Eww.
  • My doctor will finally consent to do a cardio workup on me so I can gauge the extent to which I need to overhaul my feeding and exercise habits.
  • Nice bras! With fewer than four hooks in the back, with straps thinner than my wrist, without access panels.
  • Oh, wait, now I have to clean the cat's litter box again. Fuck. Well, the rest of it is all good.

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Death and Kids and Honesty

Death and Kids and Honesty

A friend called this morning to let me know that his father had taken his own life, two days earlier. It was absolutely unexpected, and my friend is shattered. I am so glad he has a tightly-woven net of family and friends, and that they can all take turns catching each during this horrible time.

He called during our frantic before-school shuffle, so Iz got to witness my reaction (more stoic than it would have been had she not been there, but still dramatic). I told her only that our friend's father had died quite suddenly, and that the whole family was in shock. I did not give her any additional details. I normally try to be honest with my kids, but I think that death is terrible enough without exposing them to suicide's additional layer of inexplicable sorrow. In this case, I am going to keep them under my wing.

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Halloween: I Win!

Halloween: I Win!

Please witness that I got all four kids and myself costumed, made up, and out the door for Halloween. Almost in time*.

Many thanks to Ep, Clyde, Badger, Rook, Minnie, Jo, and Manny and of course Seymour for helping with Mali and Leelo once we arrived at Ep's house for the festivities.

All the kids looked great! However I didn't have the energy to take pictures once we left our house. Hopefully Badger or Jo or Ep will post some soon.

I am going to go lie down now. Oh, wait, the architects will be here in ten minutes to determine my fate, or at least the color scheme and materials amongst which I will live out my days...

*This includes tidying the entire house by 4:30 (a frantic affair, no matter how weekly); cleaning up Leelo's potty accident of shit-in-the-hair proportions by 4:45; getting Leelo's dinner together since he wouldn't be able to eat anything at Ep's by 5:00; being really rude to my Mom, Signora Blog, and Armada, all of whom called to discuss important matters by 5:15; finishing getting the kids and myself ready by 5:30; finally picking up the pizzas I was supposed to retrieve half an hour earlier by 5:45, and getting to Ep's 30 minutes later than the pizza-craving hordes had been told to expect me--by 6:00.

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