What to Do With Empty Daddy-Free Days

The kids are all out of school. I trust Leelo with very few people, and none of them are available this week except Therapist R, doing her regular MW 4 - 6 shifts. The girls have no camps, no school because I thought I should spend time with my children, damn it.

But I didn't realize that Seymour would be off at a conference, so I couldn't top off these days of excessive mothering by collapsing on the fainting couch the moment he walked in the door, claiming a "spell" and then scurrying off to our room to poach this month's copy of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine.

There is no Seymour. There isn't even FSF. He packed it.

What we have instead are some highly planned days. Reason: there is no such thing as downtime with these kids; Leelo needs 1:1 supervision at all times, e.g., he escaped from our back deck in the time it took me to tweet a message to a friend. My kid can escape in 140 characters or less. Being out of school makes him agitated and unable to self-direct except to eat eat eat, so there is no hanging around the house watching TV as a group or reading the newspaper or even washing any dishes. If the girls are anywhere near Leelo, he will hit them. We need to be doing things that we can do as a group, things that will keep Leelo active yet engaged.

Yesterday we took off on a hike along our favorite Little Butano Creek Trail. Iz did a lovely job guiding her little sister away from creek cliff edges and keeping her on the trail. She was also a good sport about letting Leelo run after her on the flatter stretches. I was wearing Seymour's white fleece pullover. By the time we finished the hike, it was covered in sooty black handprints from Leelo exploring burned out tree "lightening caves" and then smacking me.

Then I took them all to Pamplemousse for a treat. We sat at two different bistro tables, with Leelo and me at one and the girls at the other. Some discussion even took place, about privilege and entitlement and how people who are born with gifts have a moral obligation to use them for good. I used our fearless leader as an example of someone who was born with everything, and cruised his way through life without any understanding of the real costs of his actions, no matter the degree. I told her that it is too easy to be the kind of person who checks off lists, who only does what she should, instead of realizing her potential, instead of doing what she could. She seemed to listen but then we were talking about gems and about what is the name of that harder-than-diamond carbon-based lab creation again blahbitty blah.

We came home to find the charming and patient Liz Ditz sitting on our doorstep. Literally. She had come to see what Leelo thought of Handwriting Without Tears. He thought much of it was pretty cool. He enjoyed learning the recite/trace routines especially. We chatted about communication devices and whether we'd ever considered one for Leelo given the gap between his excellent receptive and less than excellent expressive language. I told her about his picture schedule and how much he loves it, but a device might be something to consider.

[I'm really exhausted. Dispatch-style from here on.]

Then Liz and I watched the kids swim while we chatted. The only relaxing part of the day.

Wonderful Ep came to take Iz to aikido and let Merlin see what he thought of her dojo, saving me four cross-town trips in one hour.

Therapist R arrived, to Leelo's relief, and they played while I made dinner. Ep and Clyde came over for dinner and trampolining.

Bed/bath time. Grouchy Mommy did not read Treasure Island with Iz.

Today: Woke up at 6:30 with a start. Too early! And still exhausted from previous day. But Leelo was up, that meant the world needed to be up with him.

Sleep study person came over to drop off camera and sleep diaries and forms and wristbands and such. She will come back in the morning to retrieve the camera and do some sort of language inventory of Leelo. C-TONI, I think?

Got all those children dressed and cleaned up the house somehow and picked up Iz's friend Emma and took everyone to the cafe for breakfast. Need to rearrange carseats; with Leelo and his flailing fists and kicking feet confined to the five-point throne in the back seat, our seven-seat car only seats five.

Dropped Emma back home with promises of skating and KungFu Panda the next day.

Went to Ep and Merlin's house (our old house) to play play play. Leelo had the best time ever following all his old circuits in the yard. Mali demonstrated good third-child resilience by not making any fuss after several face-plants off the trapeze and into the tan bark, just as she had reacted to one of Leelo's friends' pushing her head underwater in the pool not by crying or screaming, but by telling the boy's mother matter-of-factly, "He pushed my head under water!" Not all is perfect with her, though; she does not compute the "we don't hit" as her brother hits people all day long and gets away with it; why shouldn't she? Proud mother, that's me.

Took Merlin so Ep could get some work done, as she has clients breathing down her neck and her partner is out of town, too.

First order: pizza! Went to this place called "Papa Murphy's" where they said it would take them ten minutes to assemble a pizza. So we went next door (with all four kids) and got ourselves some Vietnamese smoothies from wonderful Pho Hoa Binh where they use fresh mango and boba and where Merlin was in ecstasy over his (boba-free) strawberry shake.

Retrieved pizza. Went home. Excellent discussion with kids on way about the pejorative terms 'ho' vs 'homo.' Got home, kids went NOM NOM NOM NOM. Leelo tried to steal a lot of food from the cabinet where we now keep all happy ready-to-eat Leelo foods (he did this yesterday, too). But as he'd already had a sandwich and a croissant and a banana, I said no. He was not pleased. Lots of hitting himself, and me.

Shut garage can drawer and it broke right off the cabinet. Called handyman in panic, as that is where Leelo throws stuff away and would not be pleased to find it broken or to have to change his routine and use a different trash bin.

Into the pool! For a loong time. Arranged for expectant friend to come pick up last pile of baby crap in the house (changing pad, etc.).

Hauled kids out of pool. Expectant friend showed up and retrieved goods. Handymen arrived and fixed drawer in five minutes. Durr.

Merlin and Iz off to watch Raiders on DVD. Leelo wanting more food. What has Mali been doing all this time, anyhow? Poor thirdling. Mostly she's been playing with toys and games, because, unlike my other children, she can do imaginary play and/or amuse herself.

Ep arrives to retrieve her son.

Iz's Spanish tutor arrives.

Tired grumpy Mali gets plonked in front of a video. Leelo and I play with Thomas tracks and trains. Mali joins us eventually.

Iz's tutor leaves. We leave for Iz's San Mateo appointment.

Back home for dinner. I so heart leftovers on nights like these.


That's all dull, but what is exciting is that tomorrow morning we're going to take the kids riding bikes and rollerblading down at the end of Seaport, and then take Leelo to his first movie ever: Kung Fu Panda! Emma, who like Iz has already seen it will come with us, and Merlin and Ep will meet us there. I am really hoping that, with enough food reinforcements, Leelo will be willing to sit still-ish and we won't get kicked out. Wish us luck!


  1. i wasn't sure on which post to comment.

    whoa girl. i am procrasti-packing and just reading this made me tired.

  2. Yar, I blog via Ecto and it has been acting very funky lately. But I don't have to be online to write, which I prefer.

    Good luck and have fun on your trip!

  3. YAY! for Leelo getting through Panda. Truly a watershed moment!


Respectful disagreement encouraged.