We Worship the Familiar

Here is one way Leo survived our holiday road trip: By clinging to the familiar. Through his increasing awareness that, no matter where we go, there will always be things he likes to do (*cough* iPad *cough*), food he likes to eat, and people he likes to see. It helps that we drove the family truckster, which meant that his favorite seat, family, music, books, and other nesting materials came along, too. Other examples of the emerging familiar:

We drove through traffic-stopping rain- and hailstorms on I-15 south of Las Vegas. As we approached Primm, Nevada (formerly Stateline, and a fine town with an interesting history), the flooded desert floor reflected lights from the casinos, malls, and hotels and evoked the bath house from Spirited Away. You'd better believe Leo and our whole family liked that. Quite comforting.

We stopped in Primm and had our very first full-family mall experience at Las Vegas Outlets (we usually avoid malls: I loathe them, Seymour's not a huge fan, Leo and Mali are indifferent, though Iz is desperate). We secured some last minute and quite reasonable holiday gifts, then hit the food court -- where Leelo nommed an entire spinach stromboli! The not-insubstantial serving of greens was encased in pizza dough, and were transformed into the familiar. We just might balance our boy's diet through food on hand rather than with supplements and smoothies!

Nothing beats a swimming an opportunity for our boy (getting his goggles on, with his dad). Can you see The Strip in the background? We are so grateful to Seymour's parents for choosing a house with a pool.

Our stay in Las Vegas was brief but, again, a success. Leo has gotten used to the idea that his beloved grandparents' "new" (as of 2007) house is where they live, and now that welcoming, wonderful home has become the familiar as well. And whenever he became dissatisfied with our arrangements in Phoenix, it was "Grammie and Vavo's house?" that he would request, not our own "New house?"

I am looking forward to our next road trip -- and hope that we can eventually take these children to Yellowstone. That is my ultimate family road trip destination.


Updates from the past week:

Of course I wrote about Andrew Wakefield's fraud, at BlogHer. He is a deluded and dangerous man, and my heart goes out to the families who still can't find solutions to their children's health crises, and so have latched onto the man's lies. Liz Ditz compiled her standard excellent roundup of articles and responses, but if you want to get to the meat of the matter quickly, I'd read Wakefield's Wake, Part 1: Media should help undo damage from vaccine-autism hoax, the BMJ's essential How the Vaccine Crisis Was Meant to Make Money,  and, to round out your understanding of how irrelevant the autism/vaccine argument has become, Why the increase? (No, It's Not the Vaccines) from Stanford Magazine's excellent recent autism series.

I wrote another recent piece for BlogHer, titled Get Over Yourself (this post was supposed to be my 2011 year-opener, but Wakefield's latest public shaming took precedence):
I'm not greeting the new year with resolutions; I'm greeting it with a wish: I want you to get over yourself. Scratch that: I want you to give yourself permission to get over yourself. To put your defensiveness, anxiety, and hesitation aside, so you can engage more honestly and productively with the world around you, and we can all be happier.
Our engagements may not always succeed, our minds may not always meet; but we should always try.

On Tuesday I was interviewed about Blogging! along with NerdyAppleBottom, on Kansas City's NPR station, KCUR.org, as part of the news magazine Central Standard. NerdyAppleBottom's entertaining interview regarding her unexpectedly viral post My Son Is Gay is the first part, I come in at the :40 mark to discuss how blogging has affected my life -- specifically, how all you wonderful positive role models have taught me to stop taking the negative approach of "fighting autism," and the positive approach of supporting my son. Thank you.

One of my paid jobs is reviewing blogs. I have a large weekly rotation of sites, and while I don't identify with the interests of all of the writers (euphemism alert), some of the blogs are a distinct pleasure to read every week. I was shocked to read that one of my favorite bloggers, Ashleigh Burroughs, was shot alongside Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. I adore Ashleigh's humorous, no-nonsense, empathetic approach to life, politics, and her own history. If you have a moment, please leave a supportive comment.

And finally, breaking news: It took the hot social media trends of 2008 almost two years to wear me down but: I now have a public Facebook page. Check it out, baby.

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