Milestone Land

We never leave the land of milestones. That's probably a good thing.
  • First kid to get their driver's permit, and take a driving lesson (Iz)
  • First time one of our cats gets attacked by a bobcat (our TacoCat, she's going to be OK)
  • First time we leave Iz and Mali home together (So I could go to the emergency vet, see above)
  • First time Leelo has a full dental cleaning without anesthesia (thanks to years of hard work on his and his dentist's part)
  • First time our dude learns to run the bleachers (video at bottom)
  • First time Mali gets a yellow belt in Karate
  • First time Leo and his stylist insist on me sitting down rather than hovering while our guy got his lid did
  • First time Leo and I have bit parts in a documentary you can buy (Citizen Autistic)
  • First time Seymour produces a series for PBS Digital (Pygmy Seahorses pilot is great, watch it!)
  • First time I turn 45. That was fun.
And so much more. As usual we have been awash in events and house guests and crises and wonderfulness. I'll list a selection of such things, as a stab at the record this blog is supposed to be.

(Speaking of house guests: If you're one of ours, remember to lock your door. Especially if you and Leo get along. Because he might come looking for you -- might jump into your bed to snuggle with you -- at 3 in the morning.)

Seymour's new series for PBS Digital Studios and our local PBS/NPR affiliate is called Deep Look. The first episode is about this: "Tiny and delicate, pygmy seahorses survive by attaching to vibrant corals where they become nearly invisible to both predators and researchers. Now, biologists at the California Academy of Sciences have successfully bred them in captivity for the first time."

I asked Seymour if regular folks like me could go see the pygmy seahorses at CalAcademy, and he said nope. Which is a fairly standard question-answer sequence between me and the person who constantly text-teases me about the amazing behind-the-scenes things he witnesses at various science-oriented facilities and that I will only get to see by watching his orgs' videos.

Iz getting her permit picture taken
[Image description: teen girl with beige skin and long
curly light brown hair, wearing a blue long-sleeved jacket,
looking away from the camera & partially obscured
by the maroon wall behind her.]
Yes, Iz has her learner's permit. Her driving lessons commenced today. When did high schools stop making driver's ed mandatory, and stop taking their students to big parking lots full of golf carts?

She will be grateful to drive, as she had been in limbo as an Uber user. Though I'm grateful for the ability, when I'm stuck and she's stuck, to tell her "please Uber home." Whew. Of course another solution would have been to live in a home where she could walk places. So think twice about moving with kids-who-would-eventually-be-teenagers to a remote house on a hill. Especially since the very first thing she had to do, as a n00b driver, was drive down the rather terrifying road from our home to the bottom of the hill. If you've been to my house, you get the eep.

She has gotten to that place in teenagerhood where occasional revists to little kids things are amusing rather than mortally embarrassing. Like sitting in a cart at Costco and having her mom push her around. Always happy to oblige silliness, me. She is struggling a bit with competing access needs re: her brother, though. He can be loud, she is loudness-averse. It's not pretty when they set each other off. We're working on helping them co-exist.

Leo Getting a Non-Mom-Hovering Haircut
[Image description: long shot of a cream-colored hair salon
two teen boys with beige skin and dark hair in profile
seated and wearing purple drapes, right hand boy
getting hair cut by a man with light brown skin & a black goatee]
Leo continues to be our out-and-about dude. Though I wonder sometimes at people who openly stare at him or back away from him in public. Do they think he doesn't notice? Do they think I don't notice? Thankfully there are still plenty of cool not-our-friends-yet people in the world, like the teenagers who recently sat down next to Leo at communal Sbux table and asked him about his iPad and were content with his non-verbal responses.

He continues to kick butt. There's that successful dentist visit. Also the first time he was willing to look in the ophthalmologist's eye-measuring devices (no glaucoma!), and get a haircut without me being right there next to him. And his running -- he is doing well, and staying healthy (which is a relief). And sometimes we find him playing DJ in his room, rocking out to CDs of his favorite tunes, with headphones on, dancing. As teenage dudes so often do when they think no one's watching.

Mali is still our source of continuous amusement. Her OWL sex ed class plus an Oatmeal book of mine she found & read has her asking some fairly interesting questions, like "what does motherf***er mean?" Thankfully her love of Greek myths means we could talk about it matter-of-factly using Oedipus; I told her it describes someone who is committing horrible acts, and may not even know it.

Her sex-ed immersion plus her myth-loving ways also result in conversations like this:
Mali: "Is sex the only way to reproduce?"
Me: "No, asexual reproduction is a thing, one kind is called parthenogenesis."
Mali: "That makes sense. The Parthenon is the temple of Athena, and she was the result of asexual reproduction."
Me: "..."
Her general info-sponge tendencies also lead to conversations like this:
Mali: "What is a sex tape?"
Me: [describes in general terms]
Mali: "So it's not bad by itself, it depends on how people use it? Kind of like GMOs?"
Me: "..."
And yes, she has her karate yellow belt. It's the first step in belt-acquiring, and she's ever so proud. My oldest brother, who refers to her as Moriarty, asked if I thought that her having those skills was really the best idea? I asked him how he thought I felt, as the person he frequently hung upside down by the ankles and/or randomly threw in the pool, about him becoming an Army Ranger and learning to dispatch people with his bare hands. He said it was a point well-taken. But I'm enjoying they way Mali now narrates shows like Xena and Agents of Shield, and identifies moves like "Spinning back kick" etc.

I'm also enjoying this very last month of having a single-digit kid in our lives. She still calls me Mommy and holds my hand in public. Cherishing that for as long as it lasts. Cherishing them all.


Speaking of cherishing, I never did say what happened with my birth son, sorry. That's because his story is not mine to tell. But, as far as things on my side go, I am content.