27 December, 2007

Christmas 2007 Part Three


We stopped at home long enough to repack our bags, make a mess and pick up the dogs. We arrived in Tahoe at 10:30 this morning. Descartes got to work in the car on his new cell phone the Samsung SCH-i760 yeah I got one too... so so sosososososoooooooooooooo cool!

My other parents are here Walter and Momster. The house is crowded but it is beautiful and cozy at my sister's house. It keeps snowing on and off. Everything is set up so Jake and Lucy are comfortable, my dad will keep us all well-fed, and having a mom around to help is always a relief.

I play Santa and hand out all of the silly little things I have found for Demanda, Jaster and the boys. The Backyardigans guitar is a hit. (Descartes and I get it right most of the time... we sent his sister's girls a karaoke machine with High School Musical tracks... oh yeah!)

Lucy loves playing with her cousins and Jake is being very careful not to step on any babies.
Once again.. I am the luckiest person in the whole world.

25 December, 2007

Christmas 2007 Part Two


What a beautiful morning. The sun is shining the palm trees are actually swaying in front of my hotel room balcony. We are the luckiest people in the entire world.

My daughter likes to eat jelly straight out of the jar...and run around nekkid.

My son could live all day in the shower here. It is 5 feet by 7 feet with a soft-toned but well placed light imbuing the entire shower enclosure in a warm, cozy hue.

************************************
There is nothing open on Christmas day. Not in Newport Beach. We know this. We knew this, and yet somehow we still decided to "go grab lunch" instead of ordering room service again. I'm not sure why I was so price-resistant. I couldn't bear to spend 60 more dollars.. which is kind of silly because a) my parents are treating us and b) that's just about what lunch for four costs no matter where you go around here.

We found a Chinese restaurant open on Balboa Island RiceLand. Lucy slept while Jake and Descartes and I ate Chinese food in the car. The we drove to the park near my mom's house to let Jake run around before he would be required not to.

When we got to the park, Lucy was still sleeping so Descartes slept in the car too while Jake and I went over to the play area and scared all of the other parents there. I swear they were afraid their kids would "catch" whatever Jake had. I don't think we get as many stares in Deadwood City. Maybe I am used to my neighbors, or more confident, or Jake is more comfortable in his own zone so he looks more "normal", but these people were a little afraid I think of the gigantic 7 year old who was on the kiddie play structure in a little ball with his head twisted upside down (so he could look 'directly' at everything) making crazy cookoo noises. Don't forget that every once in a while he would hop up, make a big noise and run, hands at half staff flapping just a bit, and the sand from the top of his head flying everywhere. Got to overhear a great conversation about how none of them could live without their nannies and television to occupy their children. I am so looking forward to finding new help for Jake in the new year.

***************************
My mom and dad's house looked beautiful, as it always does. It would be a beautiful house without anything in it, but they have exquisite taste and they both love Christmas so there are little Christmasy things everywhere and a gorgeous tree and bless them, a tent outside where the china and glassware gets set up and the door closed so the kids can still play in the family room.
Descartes and I had already discussed asking my parents if Jake could open his presents before everyone else got there, and they were happy to accommodate. It was great. Lovely new flannel sheets, and a million other things, and the best present... from my step sister Sarsaparilla and James... three wind-up tops that you place on the ground, smack with your hand then they spin and light up with great colors. We all thought they were cool, and of course Jake loved them. She is always so thoughtful. You can tell she really searched for something age appropriate that he would enjoy. It is such a great feeling when people embrace your kids.

Dinner was fantastic, Gerard made smoked tri-tip, we had a ham and scalloped potatoes and and sundry yums, and, of course, my favorite beverage--champagne. Jake went to sleep in the back bedroom, Lucy was precious and did NOT have the first melt-down of the evening... an all-around success for our little family.

**************************
Late tonight I got to thinking about Bubsy putting out carrots for reindeer and milk and cookies for Santa last night. It was so precious and so painful to watch. Of course we have never had a kid who asked to do those things, and we never offered... we never offered. Wow. That alone was enough to bring me to tears tonight, but let's add the fact that we have never spent a Christmas in our own house. Every Christmas of Jake's life we have been in Southern California. I am a firm believer that it should never matter where you are, but who you are with on any given day. My home is where Descartes and my kids are...but we never had a kid say "How will Santa find me?" or "Can't we sleep at our house for Christmas?"I think we may be at our own home next year. We can go to SoCal the weekend before Christmas and have that time with my family... or who knows, by this time next year I will have forgotten my tears on the balcony and just have memories of this beautiful view.

24 December, 2007

Christmas 2007 Part One Day Three


  • Christmas EveDinner at Gerard and Pinky's house.
  • Pizzas on the grill YUM.
  • Lota and lots of prezzies for the kids.
  • Jake goes to bed before we get a chance to really open presents.
  • Descartes and I are sad because Jake can't handle any more social time, but he is also not really asleep. So basically it feels like we have locked him in a room.
  • Lucy and Bubsy open their Christmas presents while wearing Disney Princess costumes. Bubsy is Sleeping Beauty, Lucy is Tinkerbell. At some point they convince an adult to open a box of 12 different princess shoes. Girls go clacking through the hallways on the Terrazzo floors.
  • My brother Gerard spends most of the evening in the garage working on a car.. a Barbie Pink Esclade for Bubsy.. one of those electric things.

23 December, 2007

Update


seriously we are staying at the Balboa Bay Club...there is a party in the suite above ours right now...and can I just say... I am pretty sure they think it is 1990 and they are partying "like it's 1999." They are spitting chew tobacco over the rail where it lands on the deck which extends beyond my rail...and I just heard conversation between two guys about who could swim across the channel faster...and could they make it into the swimming pool if they jumped...I hope they don't try 'cause they SO won't make it...

image from www.welcometosocal.com

Christmas 2007 Part One Day Two


The Happiest Place on Earth? I'm not so sure about that, but I do know that Jake and Lucy smiled and loved just about every moment from 8am to 3pm. Seven hours of eating and waiting and walking and the Nemo Ride, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, a roller coaster for Jake and some It's a Bugs Life worm thing. So the price per hour or per ride is really very high (like fifty to seventy bucks), my kids really had a good time. Lucy and Bubsy are a riot together, copying each other, sharing. Gerard and Pinky are raising a very sweet girl. It's such an odd thing to watch my brother be a parent. Especially to watch how similar our tolerances are, and where we each respond. Apparently neither of us have any patience for whining.
We tried to go to dinner at Sabatino's with the whole family. Ha! We just did too much today and we were all too hungry to have it be successful. Uhm. yeah we arrived first, wheeled Jake in and he promptly pulled the tablecloth half way off of the table, bringing four place settings crashing to the ground and the lovely candle hurtling, flame burning brightly towards his lap. I saved candle, and none of the plates broke so just cleared our half of the table, folded the tablecloth in half and reset the table keeping everything out of Jake's gargantua-reach. Gerard and Pinky were so helpful that nearly had it together before my parents arrived.
Have to go watch Elmo's Christmas Countdown with my family...all snuggled into one big 700+ threadcount bed.

22 December, 2007

Christmas part one 2007

We're here. nine hours, or nearly nine hours after we departed we were parked in the parking lot of the Balboa Bay Club. Now we are settled into a glorius sweet...I mean suite courtesy of my parents. Our children were amazing on the trip down.
They watched Muppets Take Manhattan, Alladin, and, the clear winner...Charlotte's Web. I sort of thought Lucy would enjoy a talking pig who is friends with a spider.
Tomorrow is Disneyland. We're going with my brother and his daughter Bubsy. It will be exhausting, but it is one of those places where Jake is still kooky but he goes unnoticed, and more importantly-he is so happy.
By the way my happy boy is currently running around the hotel room NOT sleeping .Lucy is talking with a dolly,trying to make the doll go "night night". Let's hope they go to sleep soon because mommy and daddy are all done.
oh hey...I'm using my new cell phone to make this entry. My Christmas present from Descartes...I think I am sooooo cool now.

20 December, 2007

Aside from the Dragging Foot and the MRI

On Tuesday at school, Janet, Jake's teacher decided that instead of Pierre waiting for all of the other children to get settled in on the bus, he, for once, would be able to get on first.

Pierre is in a wheelchair. Wheelchairs always go last. Pierre always waits, patiently and with a smile, but Janet decided that maybe the other kids could wait just a couple of times a week so Pierre could be first to load on to the bus.

You cannot load walking kids at the same time the wheelchair bay is open.. it is a four foot drop if someone makes a break for that back door, and besides, the wheelchair responsibilities occupy all of the bus driver's attention for those few moments.

After explaining to the class that Pierre was going to go first and that they would all wait for their friend, Anna tried to get a head start and put Jake on the bus anyway while Pierre was getting loaded on. She was going to just buckle him in to save some time I suppose.

Anna walked Jake to the door of the bus. He took a step forward, then turned around,

looked Anna in the eyes

and said,

"No. Wait."

He refused to get on the bus until Pierre was strapped in.

19 December, 2007

I'm Almost Back

Jake's MRI went well today. He is such a good boy. We had a very very hard time waking him up... I think he was finally relaxed and just wanted to sleep.

I figure we won't get any news for a bit.. unless the problem, as Descartes suspects, is a squirrel infestation. In that case I am quite certain we will get a call tomorrow.

Jake is still dragging his foot. He is still crying every day after school. He is still randomly waking up at 3:30 in the morning and only rarely going back to sleep.

We are exhausted. Descartes is sound asleep on the couch..has been for a few hours. I folded laundry for 45 minutes just now, trying to get everything washed an packed by tomorrow night, since we are gong to a holiday party on Friday evening, then leaving early on Saturday for SoCal.

Things I did this week because I am so worried about Jake:
  1. be in serious denial
  2. ate candy
  3. poured myself a cup of Southern Comfort and Amaretto (don't knock it till you try it) last night at 11:30pm
  4. highlighted my hair, at home, after a cup of SoCo and Amaretto, when it didn't really need to be highlighted, since my hair is fairly blonde naturally.
  5. completely forgot to thank profusely everyone who volunteered to help me last weekend when I went away, and this morning when we needed to go to hospital ("go to hospital"? what am I a Brit?)
  6. neglected every single task for Can I Sit With You? Please go visit the site..please submit your own stories. We are fast approaching a commitment to do a second book. If you submit your story it could be in there!
  7. fixed my lame overly processed clearly highlighted-while-drinking hair with "low lights"
  8. ate pasta four times.
  9. made dough for Pfeffernüsse ,
  10. ate some lasagna.
  11. talked to my sister for several hours.
  12. bought hundreds of dollars worth of new cell phones..the kind that I can really use to do email. Merry Christmas.
  13. left our Holiday card unfinished.
  14. went to Target three times and bought, and bought and bought.
  15. neglected to write anything worth reading by any one.

18 December, 2007

MRI tomorrrow

in denial...
haven't been posting because I would need to say something about it..
Jake has had at least four MRIs but this time I am worried, so it s different..before I was just working as the Lead Investigator on Jake's case. I was a researcher...detached. I also thought we would find something that would tell us that he would be "okay"

this time I am worried we will find something that will tell us he's not

12 December, 2007

MRI Magically Moved Up!

Next Wednesday. Early. Have decided to hold off on the EEG as it is probably just going to suck so badly that we won't get any results.

Jake cried with tears from 3-6pm and is now sound asleep at 6:11pm. Lucy has a happy spirit and some bad butt which will hopefull resolve before tomorrow morning.

my computer keeps crashing.

Sage asked me today "Why does it feel like we try so hard and we never, ever get a break?"

I don't know friend. I just don't know.

Must de-bug my laptop now.

Why Can't I get Any Help Around Here?

Just got a call from school.

Jake may have had a seizure..probably it was weird yawn (since he has been awake since 3 am), but they called and told me that he arched his back and his eyes rolled a little bit, so having not seen it myself.. the Doc will get a call.

in other news from school:

Each morning kids in Jake's class have circle time. They walk to the board, select their name from the field of names and hand it to the teacher. Everyone cheers and says "Yay! You are at school!" or something like that. Jake does it too, and apparently chooses the correct name many times and is generally compliant and follows along and does it independently (his aide, Anna, stays in her seat).

This morning:
"Okay it's Jake's turn"
Jake gets up, walks halfway to the board (maybe a foot and a half). He stops and turns back around to his aide and SAYS
"Gubba,waging pho ewe ANNA!".

the 'Anna' was VERY, very clear.

So they talked a bit about how Jake needs to be independent, and while Anna is his 1:1 aide she cannot do everything for him etc.

Jake walks to the board, picks out his name, hands it to teacher Janice.

The class cheered for him.

He turns, walks back to his chair but does not sit down. Instead he stands in front of Anna and says:

"Iba goma AGHHY art Nog Mutton" (no one could decipher this one) in an angry tone, stomped his foot, threw his arms up and down a few times then

sat down quietly.

The kid has a few opinions apparently.

11 December, 2007

10 December, 2007

Jake is Awake

and wandering the halls right now.

Upstairs for a snack
Down and back into cozy bed
Back up for a search for a toy.

Welcome to My World

 

Lucy will be 18 months tomorrow. We've had her that long already. She still seems so new.. and yet I feel like I've known her my whole life.

Lucy noticed the PEZ dispenser display at the local stationers... she spent quite a bit of time looking at all of them.

I asked her to choose two, one for Jake and one for Lucy. This photo shows what she picked.
Jake was Mr. Incredible for Halloween.
pretty cool eh?
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Wow. Can I Sit With You?

Beth Kanter has just listed Can I Sit With You? on a list of "nonprofit organizations or causes that BlogHer readers may consider making a donation to as part of their year-end giving." Uhm wow.

I am actually going to the BlogHer social meet up thingy on Thursday evening.

04 December, 2007

Sweet

I just opened my refrigerator, took out the can of whipped cream and squirted it into my mouth.

It was so much fun in such a small amount of time that I just wanted to encourage anyone out there who has a can of whipped cream in their fridge to go do the same.

Really. It will make you feel like you got away with something.

Hmmmm.. Let's Take A Look

this was a post from the other day.. I am a bit in denial right now about Jake.. I am so worried that I am afraid to write anything because I will need to think about it.


******************************************************
December 4, 2007
So we are going to get an MRI. He probably does not have a brain tumor. Most people don't. But I realized yesterday that just because Jake has global issues, seemingly impacting every aspect of his physical being.. even though he is all that and a bag of chips... this does not preclude Jake from afflictions which hit other "typical" kids...like cancer, and tumors and broken arms and acne. It is possible that something else could happen to him.

great.

I have decided not to worry until there is something to worry about. I have told everyone what to look for in terms of seizures, and double checked his room to make sure there is nothing sharp he could land on should he fall. He went to the neurologist. School is aware. There is nothing else we can do except wait for the MRI or wait for the symptoms to go away


went to school today and had no apparent problems. His foot is still dragging, but no apparent seizures.

03 December, 2007

Now What?

I am so glad we already had that neurology appointment set up for today.

Jake fell asleep at school. at the lunch table. during lunch.

He has not taken a nap that was not induced by anesthesia for nearly three years..maybe longer. Not only did he fall asleep, but Anna, his aide, was able to carry him all the way back to the classroom (wow! she's strong!) without him waking up.

There is a possibility that Jake had a seizure. Great! We've never had those before. I am so, so exhausted.

****************

In other news...please, buy a copy of Can I Sit With You?


****************

and also.. Jake's afternoon aide? Yesh, she will be going back to school next semester. So we are now looking for new afternoon help starting in January. Fantastic!

02 December, 2007

Yeah, I Guess I'll Keep 'em

I had the nicest times with my children today.

with Lucy at a birthday party, a woman actually said to me "I want a daughter just like yours." I'm not sure there is a compliment that could be better than that..

Then this afternoon we, as a family, went to dinner, and Jake was such a good kid, and ate everything I gave him...then was the most precious child at Home Depot, where we decided to get our Christmas Tree.

He was SUPER spaz, but there was a chainsaw sound and three hundred people vying for the perfect tree.

We had so much fun, Lucy in Descartes' arms, Jake and I running into the near empty corrals meant for smaller-sized Noble firs.

We took home a tree that had clearly been discarded by another family. We did not wait in the 50 person line to have the end sawn off and the branches gently bagged. We just bought it and threw it on top of the Not-so-mini-van

We now have a tree WITH LIGHTS in our house.

I put on the birds of peace, pairs of them with ribbon tied between their beaks.

I wish hope and mostly peace on this world... and more locally I wish for hope and peace in my family.

great party Squid.

01 December, 2007

Without Really Saying Anything

I had an experience today which made me realize (again!) how much I love my husband... the one who does dishes only when asked, doesn't ever wake up when a baby cries, and needs to be reminded to get a haircut...that husband.

I love him because he knows, that even though his first instinct is to mind his own business and stay out of other families' messes, he knows the right thing to do and always, always steps up to the plate to lend a hand to someone in trouble. He puts flares down. He paints before the landlord comes. He moves your stuff, or someone else's at the last minute. He waits until you are safely inside with the door locked. And he shows up with the flares, the paint, the truck or a flashlight.

I love him because, even when it seems like he has no idea what really matters to me, he does. He knows what is important to me and my heart and without complaint or hesitation, jumps in, or out, whichever is necessary.

and i love him because my only real complaints about him are really, for the most part, the most superficial of things.

tonight I am happy to do the dishes.

30 November, 2007

Dr. Sarah Cheyette

In case I have neglected to properly toot this doctor's horn.. I must tell you that customer service has returned.. in the form of Dr. Cheyette.

We first saw her at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. She is a pediatric neurologist who actively read Jake's gigantic 1 inch plus thick medical chart, and promptly suggested a medicine that may actually work during his episodes. (We think Maxalt may extinguish his possible migraines.) Dr. Cheyette is personable, efficient, whole-child focused.. and guess what folks.. The lady returns phone calls.. promptly. She called me after my initial call yesterday morning within two hours. When I returned her call this afternoon? She got back to me in less than two hours.. and she had some ideas on what we would look for to discover what the heck is up with his little foot weirdness. I am still worried, she can't take that away, but her quick response is so helpful

We now have an appointment for Monday. I am still hoping it resolves before we get there.

29 November, 2007

28 November, 2007

am feeling rather blue about Jake right now. His teacher, aide and Cookie (Descartes' mom ) all noticed his right foot "being favored" I finally saw it today.. when I really looked. He is not favoring his leg.

His foot is actually dropping and dragging. His right foot. is dragging and turned in.

is it nerve damage? from a fall in the back yard or some other time? He had a lump below his kneecap the size of a golf ball a while ago...

is it something worse, like a de-myelinating disorder?

do we need to get another MRI?

is he in pain?

my poor boy.

just now, I almost thought "poor me", or "why me?" I just want to celebrate our book right now.. I want to have that feeling like things are on track. I really hardly ever, nearest to never do that poor me crap.. because if it has to be someone.. I would NEVER wish this on someone else, so "why not me?" is where my mind rests.

27 November, 2007

Final Copy for the First Edition! Gulp!

Looks like Shan and I are going to let it go and start promoting this book.

Can I Sit With You?

I have a hard copy next to me and it is making me a bit giddy and a bit shy and a lot tired, knowing that the work of selling it will probably be more than the work of making it.

26 November, 2007

Snot head


She still looks pretty cute..even covered in snot.
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Still Coughing After all These Days

Poor Jake, he coughs in his sleep.
Descartes coughs and he can't sleep.
Lucy coughs so hard she throws up.
I am a little worried that this cough and cold are not related to the laryngitis and cough I had last week.

We are a tired, sort of grey family.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jake went to school today. I called to check on him and I guess he was "not himself".

I feel very disconnected from him right now. I'm not sure I know what "himself" looks like. He just seems so non-compliant and irritated with me. Which of course makes me tired and try as I might, I'm sure I have less patience than I usually do with him.

We haven't finished the backyard. It will be winter soon anyway. How will I entertain him after school? I don't want to force him to sit down and do more work, and that's what anything seems like when he doesn't want to sit still (after sitting all day at school).

I am going to check out some ABA in action.. see if something might be good for Jake.

Always behind. Always feeling like I am not doing enough for him, or doing right by him.

25 November, 2007

Friday Night.

Okay, so we got a babysitter for our four monkeys on Friday and decided to go to Dory's Oar, Fremont Bistro Tudor pub...whatever you want to call it.

We tried no less than four different tables when we arrived and went upstairs. We really couldn't get comfortable for some reason (is this foreshadowing?). It's a Tudor style building with a fancy pants new California cuisine restaurant downstairs and an"English" pub upstairs. The two parts of the restaurant do not mesh well at all, but we had had an okay time there recently and decided to try their tapas style dining one more time before calling the place a bust.

We sat down and promptly drank an entire pitcher of Newcastle Ale. We ordered six small plates. We got another pitcher. The six small plates arrives and of the six, perhaps two were correct. The fried sweet potatoes turned out to be red new potatoes sliced and sauteed in a nasty red, vaguely spicy sauce. The artichoke dip in a bread bowl turned out to be a Mediterranean artichoke salad in a vinaigrette. The "Spanish" olives were straight from Costco.

We tried to re-order. The waiter took the corrections and disappeared. The beer was gone. The food was dismal. I went to the bathroom. Down the front stairs, past the only exit, and through the white table cloth dining room. Just after I left the table, Descartes went down the back stairs to the men's room. Jaster and Demanda were upstairs at the table waiting for something, a beer, some decent food, anything.

On my way out of the restroom I decided to go back up the front stairs instead of taking the much closer back stairwell...because I smelled something funny. I have a "pregnancy" nose. Even when I am not pregnant I can smell sour milk through a closed refrigerator door, poopy pants from the second floor of the house, a hint of almond in a cake before it hits my step-father's very allergic mouth. I can just smell stuff.

I went past the pretentious bar, around the corner towards those front stairs and saw a billow of dark nasty smoke. A woman on a cell phone was standing near it

"Oh, Hmm It looks like there is, like, a fire or something." and she continued talking.

I threw open the front (and only) door of the building and lifted the new organza and other man-made material flammable curtains away from the fire and threw them over the door, both to prop it open and to keep them from catching fire. I revealed a newly varnished and highly-attractive wooden booth aflame. When they did the recent remodel it appears that they built this booth INTO the wall atop of an actually *not* defunct wall heater. It was, as my sister calls it, "butt-ass cold" on Friday night, so the wall heater, in its forgotten, half-covered state decided to try to heat the damn place, and kicked on...and set fire to the booth and the wall in doing so.

I paused for a millisecond. The flames were starting to leap up the wall a bit (and would have been in the curtains had Inot moved them). I yelled, "There's a fire. Call 911. Get me some water."

I turned around and grabbed a glass of water out of some one's hand and doused the base of the flames (I did try to avoid the heating element itself). I asked for more water. No one else was doing anything. I went to the bar and yelled "Get me some water, or call 911. It's your choice!"
A little whisper of a girl ran down the length of the bar (she was the bartender ?) and handed me a giant glass pitcher with about 20 ounces of water in it. I hip-checked some idget, a stocky, stump of a man who was standing there drinking chardonnay, to move him out of my way, then I did my best to strategically throw it at the base of the remaining flames. It was smoldering now.

I stuck my head in the kitchen window (right next to where I was standing).
The men inside were still cooking. I said, as nicely as possible "I know you're busy, and it's probably not your job, but there's a fire out here, and if you could please fill up that bin with water and hand it to me it would be very helpful." He did it without smiling or making eye contact, placed it on the other window and called out like it was an order up, "water".
I threw that on it too.

At some point during this, and between me tossing water, Descartes went back up the back stairs and found my sister who was letting everyone know that something smelled like fire, and probably they should all get out. Jaster, Descartes and Demanda gathered up all of our coats and hats and bags and covered their faces and made their way down the front stairs through the thick smoke and out the door. Demanda put her hand out to me, but I was still putting out the fire.

Descartes thought I was right behind him, realized I wasn't then came back in the door and said. "Jennyalice. We are leaving. C'mon."

As it turns out, he was a bit irritated with me for standing there in the midst of the chaos... he didn't realize I had a purpose. He grabbed my hand and we went out into the parking lot and into the car. I told Descartes why I had been "standing" there.

We drove off, hungry and reeking of chemical smoke. (The first person to our table thought we had been camping we smelled so bad!) We ended up at Edgewood Golf Club. A beautiful space with friendly service and amazing delicious food. We spent probably the same amount of money we would have at the pub, but drank champagne and had lobster bisque instead.


The strangest part of the evening for me.. and the part I can't really get over...

We skipped out on our bill. I have never skipped out on a bill in my life... even when abandoned by wait staff, we have always figured out about how much we owe.

Isn't that silly?

24 November, 2007

Still Laughing

Still laughing too hard to relay the "I put the fire out at the bar" story. But do you know how stooopid the average person is?

I never thought I would need to hip-check someone to get them out of the way so I could put out a fire.... or BEG the kitchen staff for some freakin' water!

The Lake is cold tonight...feels like snow, but there's no water around. The lagoon froze last night behind the house. This year it wasn't windy when it froze, so it will be smooth ice skating. Lat year there was a wind storm and there were huge scary ripples in the frozen slough.

Jake was such a nice boy today. He played with Lucy, pushing her swing. She wasn't very appreciative, but he was gentle and smiled the whole time. And he didn't run over any small children today at all!

23 November, 2007

Hey! Can Someone Put Out That Fire?

So, uhm, in case you're wondering..... if there's a fire in the pub where you are trying your hardest to order the next round of beer... I can put it out. Really. I might need to borrow your glass of water, but if you are apparently incapable of calling 911.... I'll just put out that fire with any water I can find. No problem.

More later.

Yes, I did put out a fire tonight.

and yes, we skipped out on the bill.

Cookies!

Descartes and Lucy making cookies on Thanksgiving day.
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22 November, 2007

Thankful, In No particular Order

  • Can I Sit With You? already has a beautiful review...from someone we don't even know.
  • Everyone I know and love is safe and where they should be.
  • All of my parents are alive and I got to speak with each of them today.
  • My daughter figured out how to use a cookie cutter in 18 seconds flat.
  • My son, even though he stayed awake until 3:30 am last night.. was so precious and even held my hand after he crawled into bed next to me.
  • We had plenty to eat on our table today.. and yesterday too, and probably tomorrow and for the foreseeable future.
  • I have a lot of family....they all love us, and our crazy kids, and they all want us to be with them on Thanksgiving.
  • I have a husband who loves his mom and dad.
  • My not-so-mini-van has a television in it. and seat warmers.
  • The sunset from the deck of my in-law's home is unbeatable. Three bridges, San Francisco skyline, campanile, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate
  • My sister and brother-in-law are flexible and love us even though we bailed on them for Turkey day.
  • Sage and family take care of our dogs just about every single time we leave town (which seems to be often).
  • Elections are coming so we can have some change and a feeling of hope in the country.
  • I have amazing friends.
  • I have just finished a bottle of champagne.

21 November, 2007

Is THAT what sleep looks like?

I went to bed.. got into my bed and turned off the television at 11:15pm last night. I did not get up until 5:30am. That is the most uninterrupted hours of sleep I have had since before I was pregnant with Lucy ('cause once you are preggers you get up to pee 9 times a night!) Of course I did need to gate Jake into a small area of the house downstairs since he has been wandering until midnight the past couple of days, but once I made sure he was safe and happy, I was actually able to fall asleep while he was still awake.

I have only had one cup of coffee today. No "Stay Awake" pills, no RockSt*r drinks, no RedBull.

and I have managed to make 2 different kinds of quiche and a pumpkin pie, all with home made crusts. I have toasted all of the bread for stuffing (chopped and put on trays in the oven) and made some whole cranberry sauce. I also made some pumpkin custard with the left over pumpkin from the can (I did not bake my own pumpkins this year sorry Martha)

And I did the dishes and I washed three loads of laundry (so far).

AND I made my kids nutritious lunch WHICH THEY ATE!

AND I took a twenty minute nap with my little girl while Jake played in his room.

AND I changed 17 thousand crap ass diapers

AND I wiped those two baby nosed about 800 times.

AND, AND , AND I played with my kids!

and it's only 1:48!

I may still be able to shower and pack before Descartes gets home!

20 November, 2007

I'm Pretty Sure We Just published a Book

and Squid and I are currently celebrating the moment by....

me:taking a shower, then going to bed

Squid:folding laundry, packing, then hopefully going to bed


more self-promotion when tomorrow is really here and not just 1:20am

19 November, 2007

Bad Words Bad Words

Lucy is a parrot:

My sister Demanda said, "Shitty pants."

Lucy said, "Sitty, Sit Sit Sit Sit."

When I thought I had lost all of our Can I Sit With You? files and was going to need to start from a much earlier point...
good thing she was asleep already...

18 November, 2007

Can it Get Any Cooler?

Talk about someone I'd like to sit with!

deviant
Art has featured Lea Hernandez!


The cover artwork for Can I Sit With You? has been named one of today's Daily Deviations at deviantART.com!

Congratulations Lea..and thank you for your amazing contribution to our book!

17 November, 2007

Happy Birthday Little Wolf!

Today is my nephew Wolf's birthday. It is wonderful to be here with him in these beautiful mountains. Of course it would have been a better morning had Jake not decided ***for the first time*** to not be careful as he ran through the living room...Jake knocked down both boys this morning one right after the other.
Jake and his Daddy are now driving around the mountains ringing The Lake looking for roads that head to nearly nowhere.

16 November, 2007

It's Been A Loooong Day

Some days are longer than others.

Lucy cried nearly all day long. She would not nap. Demanda and I finally went to the grocery store with one of the four kids, leaving Lucy to scream in the kids' playroom and Jake playing on the deck, and Little Hawk scurrying around.

We bought some beautiful steaks. I asked Descartes what he wanted for dinner and he said, without even looking up from his laptop..."Something marbled." So we bought rib eye steak. Descartes worked from "home" here at The Lake, and was so good about really working all day long.

We had a glorious dinner...made extra lovely by the fact that we got all four children down for bed before we started. We opened champagne. I actually ate something. Everyone helped make the dinner.

I should live in a commune. Life is so much easier when there's more than one mommy.

15 November, 2007

Conference Time

I had Jake's parent teacher conference today. I nearly cried. Janet is such a grea teacher, and Anna his 1:1 aide, she loves him like he is her own.

Jake's IEP was just a few short weeks ago.. I think October 4th?. Since then there have been several minimum days and a whole week of school off (actually a week and one day). And wouldn't you know it, Jake has shown significant progress in nearly all of his goals.

We have always known/suspected that Jake knew colors, body parts, letters, numbers. He always looks liek he is "in there", but we have not done a very good job of clearly documenting what he knows...and when some of those "experts" come in to view him for school evals or whatever, it looks like his is a not-so-little boy who has no awareness, and no understanding of his environment.

Making clear goals...and a notebook to document.. and PECS cards, we have been able to nearly 'clean house' on colors (choosing the desired color out of a field of two, switching left or right for placement of desired color-- get it?). It was stunning to look at the little journal they have created and see how diligent the note taking has been and how excited both teacher and aide are about his progress. Calling it progress is sort of silly. Poor guy. He has known most of these things for years now I am sure, but this is really the first time we are really documenting what he knows. I think it will give us a better foundation to set expectations... and it will provide more continuity between class and home.

We are going to Tahoe tonight after my PTA board meeting. Traffic is lighter at 9pm right? Oi I am tired already.

13 November, 2007

A Nearly Daily "Back" Regimen

I open the kitchen cupboard and fiddle with all of the little bottles, then take:

2 Naproxen for my aching back.
2 super vitamins to get my mom off my back.
1 Wellbutrin XL so as not to get all over someone else's back.
1 "Stay Awake" (generic No-Doz) to keep from lying down on my back.


I swig this down with a sip of water with a Coffee back.

12 November, 2007

Losing It

Just found myself on the tailgate of my Not-So-Mini Van crying.

On the tailgate of my Not-So-Mini Van crying in the Costco parking lot.

On the tailgate of my Not-So-Mini Van crying in the Costco parking lot so much that the Cart Guy comes over to see if I am okay.

On the tailgate of my Not-So-Mini Van crying in the Costco parking lot so much that the Cart Guy comes over to see if I am okay, and offers to go back into the store and get the raspberries that flew off of our cart after we paid for them and were racing for the door because Jake could not keep his crazy ass in the big part of the cart and Lucy was screaming to get out of the kiddie seat part.

Veterans Day

I am someone who has a deep respect for Veterans and those who serve to protect our country. I think that the minute you say that in the US today, people assume you love George Bush and the current wars. The Republicans have also hijacked the American Flag.

and just because I went to Berkeley doesn't mean I am always PC, believe in giving SAT tests based on the color of your skin or believe all government is corrupt.

I am somewhere in there amongst all of those ideas, a moderate with a lot of opinions.

and one thing I really strongly think is this: I am thankful that there are people who would choose to wear a US uniform and would choose to protect our country. I am thankful to my grandfather who battled on the beaches of Normandy on D-day... and I pray that we might be able to end the part in Iraq that keeps our brave soldiers there, away from their families and friends for way too many months at a time.

Elections are only 11 months and 3 weeks away.

11 November, 2007

Being Present

We went up to SF today to see my family for the day before they head out of town on Monday morning. We sat through 40 minutes of traffic to go three blocks then we narrowly escaped being caught in the Veteran's Day Parade (thank you men and women for your courage and self-sacrifice).

We ate at one of the Ferry building restaurants and for some crazy reason I thought Descartes and I could walk with both kids to the Aquarium at Pier 39 and meet the rest of my family who would take the trolley car. Do you know that the Ferry Building is actually not even Pier One? It was 1.3 miles to our destination. Not actually that difficult, except for these reasons:
  • Lucy hates her stroller
  • Descartes and I walk at two completely different paces. I do the fast "retail" walk, and Descartes? Uhm he has a smooth well-paced "lumber". Believe me, in an emergency Descartes could walk the 50 miles to save our family, but everyday walking together has been first a "ha ha" joke between us, then a problem, and now something we 'manage'... in this case I walked ahead with Lucy.
  • Lucy hates her stroller.
  • I wore my awesome black boots with a heel, which can generally be worn all day long.
  • Lucy's stroller is broken and no longer has the ability to buckle anything to anything.
  • Lucy is only 17 months (today) and therefore cannot walk 1.3 miles in the wind along a busy street without at least having her hand held.
Okay so blah blah blah.. Lucy rode on my shoulders for 1.3 miles, then we did the whole touristy thing... then we walked back! I felt like I was doing that Avon walk again.

I have blisters on the bottoms of both of my feet from wear my socks rubbed. Descartes hurt his back somewhere along the way yesterday.

The point of all of this is that we did stuff that my kids enjoyed yesterday... with my parents. We went to a little Mexican restaurant that did not even have table service... we went to an aquarium...we sat outside by the water and drank smoothies. I think everyone enjoyed themselves too. It felt like we really were all present in the moment and there wasn't a lot of pretense or stress (aside from that initial traffic), or high highfalutin' something or other for me to panic over (you can dress us all up appropriately, but I have a kid with a disability and a toddler.. those two creatures don't exactly blend in at the club). It still wasn't a "natural" environment to show off my kids, but at this point what would that even look like? And it is hard to rest when you are fighting for a table at the wharf, but it was closer, sort of, to my parents spending time with Jake and Lucy that looks like Jake and Lucy being who they are.

I don't believe we should live our lives around our children. I think parents coddle their kids, and give in way too easily/early. I think parents lose themselves in parenting, sacrificing their marriages and neglecting their minds. I think that removing all sense of winning and losing so kids can have "great self esteem" is wrong and going to seriously back-fire on our nation in the next twenty years. Kids should learn to sit nicely at the table, and have great manners and deal with itchy ties and stiff shoes, and be able to "not speak unless spoken too" if necessary.

but...

I do think that kids are only small once. I am never having another baby. My parents are never having any more grandkids...okay , maybe one more? But not from me. It will be from my step-sister who we never see anyway. So this is it. Everyone's chance to make silly faces and read books to tiny people with little fingers who can't turn the pages well. This is it to see wonder and the world through the eyes of someone who has never seen it before. Lucy can already walk and talk. They only saw her twice before she could walk, so the 'baby' part is done. That's it.

So I guess I'm glad we all went to the aquarium yesterday so they could see Lucy touch a sea star for the first time, and see Jake watch the anchovies swim 'round and around (they still may have a chance to see this in the future though, eh?). I'm glad we spent more time sitting and drinking smoothies in the California fall sunshine than we did gazing over menus at a beautiful high-end-hotel brunch.

There will always be time for poached salmon and eggs Florentine...but Lucy is already done with her stroller.

10 November, 2007

Holy Wow!

Have you even been over to Can I Sit With You?

Lea Hernandez has just completed the cover for our book. This is very exciting. If I get on this and help Squid we will actually complete this project and get this book published!

I have been a huge flake.. okay actually my computers are all infected and crashing and making me extremely frustrated, but it makes me feel flaky when I am not doing more than everyone else.

Yeah, you read that right. I must do more than everyone else or I am a flake. Kind of hard to do when you have very capable friends.

09 November, 2007

Old Skool

Lucy and I just drove to San Francisco to join my parents (the PJ and Gloria set) for lunch at an Old Skool fish house. Been in business since 1849.. clearly they must have had different waiters in the past, because with the level of customer service we just had they would have been out of business in two months max.

Lucy was precious for quite awhile which is always good so people are more patient when she starts to lose it.

We left lunch a bit before everyone else was done, and a full hour and a half after we had arrived. She was sound asleep in her stroller by the time we were two blocks away.

Valerie is coming to watch the kiddos tonight so Descartes and I can eat a nice dinner with my parents and all of their lovely friends.. I mean that. They really have lovely friends these days. I even forgive them for being scary die-hard USC fans. My Lovely Step Sister Sarsaparilla and her fiancé, James will be there too. They too follow the football games when they can. It is always fun to see them since James is very, very good with my children and they both have so much joy on their faces when they see my kids. Descartes and I also had a rip-roarin' good time with them when we were in Maui. I think we laugh a lot when we are with them.

*************
Thinking about it, it gives me great comfort to know my momma has someone to go to the movies with. Life is hard ya know? and I would not make it without my girlfriends.

08 November, 2007

Envy This!

Okay. I did it. I went to a massage parlor.. no not that kind... my back has been buzzing and I had this random memory of a little place called Massage Envy..and a deal for $39 for a massage.. and I just went.

and I feel so much better. When I came out of the room the front office person said "Wow. You look really relaxed. Wow! You really look so relaxed. Wow!"

and I kind of thought she was just trying to get me to make another appointment..but you know what. I got into the car and looked into the rear view mirror, and I was shocked!

I actually looked my age. I looked 35 instead of 45. I felt, and still feel so good. It is shocking how little I need to get myself back on top of everything. I just need not to ache. I just need to rest every now and then.

I made a full dinner tonight. I think that is at least the second time since Monday. It makes me feel like a rockstar to give my family real food.

Jake had an early day today while Lucy was happily and Nanny Kidwell's house, so Jake and I went for ice cream. It was great to spend time with just Jake.. and a happy Jake at that. The little pixie of a girl who served Jake his Oreo Sundae is only 16...and expecting a baby in February.

and I thought my life was hard. jeesh... she seems very happy about the whole thing, but phew I am so glad that, while Jake having autism was not planned... at least we knew he was coming...and Lucy too. I was so busy when I was 16 I just can't imagine

07 November, 2007

One Flush or Two?

I know this is crazy...but I am so excited about the new toilets we just had installed today. Of course they were free. That is always kind of exciting... doing the "right" thing and being rewarded for it is so rare these days.

My city is giving away free toilets to homeowners on city property, if those homeowners are willing to give up their many-gallon-consuming toilets...up to three per household!
So we have new Caroma toilets with an awesome not one-size-fits-all flush system. With a choice between a lot and a little water per flush (and the "a lot" of water still being way less than previous toilets) we will be saving a bundle on water.. and happily not wasting a precious commodity on poop. I would much rather use my water share on the flowers in my front yard.

We even got an elongated bowl and ADA height

06 November, 2007

What is the Deal?

Jake had such a hard time yesterday afternoon that his therapist walked us across the playground to go in to therapy..then right back to the car. Jake flailed the entire time. My arms hurt, my knees hurt. I am so saddened by his outbursts.

Is this the all new and improved episode?

05 November, 2007

Back to School!

Whoooooooooooooo HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo!

Jake went to school this morning.

Of course next week.. every day is a minimum day for parent teacher conferences. ugh

04 November, 2007

And Much Later, after the Jungle party

As it happens sometimes after a public melt down, Descartes and I got into a ridiculous fight much later when we got home from the birthday party yesterday. I think it came from Descartes not realizing that it has been a very, very long week for me, or if he did realize it, he did not appear to be thankful enough. Apparently I wanted him to thank me effusively, possibly give me a raise hahahahah and say out loud many, many, many times what a lucky man he is to have me for a wife and mother to his precious children.

He dropped us off and went to Home Depot to get things for our remodel(s) and while I know he was doing things for our family, and not just for himself, leaving me with both kids again for 2 + hours was just exhausting for me. I think Descartes forgot that I nearly quit my job on Thursday afternoon.

When I used to work in retail I remember several employees that would go on their 10 minutes breaks.. and just...never...come...back...


We need to start having some help on the weekends I think.

03 November, 2007

Jungle Party

Went to fantastic party for Leelo today at an oh-so-cool place for children to run amok. In our case Jake was not happy when we go there, eventually got okay, then LOST HIS SH*T when we sat down for pizza later. It was really very, very sad for me.

(some of the following is from an email I sent to a friend about the incident)


I don't think anyone at the party had ever seen Jake lose it in such a big way.. and we really should have skipped the whole sit down in a small room part, since he had only just gotten it together in the play area.

Surprisingly, after all these years, I still have embarrassment and resentment when he acts out.. see, even there I think of it as acting-out instead of part of a disability. I always think that since he can get it together he should be able to when I need him to. I actually told him he was "being rude." I guess we have pretty high expectations in some areas for Jake. Somehow it is okay (in my head) if he never does math, but he must be able to sit at the table with friends and family.

Clearly I am still trying to figure this whole "Mothering a Special Needs Child" thing.

We don't do a lot of things because we like to set Jake up for success..

and probably, more than that, we do not like to not feel like we did at the end of the party.

02 November, 2007

We're Going to the Zoo, zoo, zooo. How 'bout you?

Hurrah! I took both kids to the zoo today. Yeah don't think I am quite so brave. I went with Squid and her girlie munchkins and one of Iz's precious friends. The older girls helped a LOT with Lucy, and Jake was mostly entertained by the ramblings-on of all of us motor-mouths.

Jake went on the carousel without a seat belt, on an uppy-down horse with me only standing next to him. First time a grown up didn't need to help him stay on. He held on with both hands and everything.

We really had a lovely time. Perfect weather. Well-mannered children. Not too crowded. Howler monkey SUPER LOUD, and no one lost any shoes. Stayed a perfect number of hours. Lucy did get mean and grabby with Mali at the end of the day, but she was just tired. They sat next to each other in a stroller all day long with no problem.

We said our good byes then took the Great Highway and Skyline home, watching the waves roll against the amazing California coastline....and I had a diet coke in the car with some ice left in it...perfect!

then we had to go to Comcast...which is sort of like saying we had to visit hell..and that story is so painful to tell right now that I simply cannot

highlights of Comcast visit:
  • Jake screaming/whining/crying the entire time in line with 10 people in front of us.
  • No one opening or holding the door for me in spite of having a wheelchair-screamy kid and a wriggly little girl in my arms...oh and a DVR. Seriously a guy walked in and let the door shut behind him without even looking. Does anyone have manners? I don't want special treatment, I just want courtesy.
  • All three of us crying in the car on the way home.
  • Jake being so worn out that he sobbed himself to sleep on the floor of his room when we got home...at 4pm...he is still asleep in the clothes he wore to the zoo...with no dinner, no new diaper.
i have opened a bottle of red wine. please do not disturb the momma

01 November, 2007

Rats!

Jake and I had an all day long date today.

Pizza
Ice Cream
Movies!

will fill in later.. but it was so, so lovely.

of course this was after a HORRIBLE morning with tears and tantrums and non-compliance.


****************
by the way I have just come back to this post nearly a week later... the reason the title of this post is "Rats!" is because we saw Ratatouille which is something I neglected to write earlier.. uhm der.

In it For the LoOOOOOOOOOng Haul

this is the longest week in the history of all time.

Valerie asked for the day off, she already doesn't work on Wednesdays or Fridays...so that makes Monday and Tuesday that she was here helping with Jake (total of 5 hours). Thank GOD Lucy goes to Nanny Tidwell's house for a bit on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Jake goes back to school on Monday. By 9am this morning I was already done. I hate that feeling. Probably doesn't help that I COULD NOT sleep last night. Too many things on my mind. I was making lists.. this insomnia and mild panic could possibly be explained by....oh wait uhm yeah....

did I tell you the best part? I got a call from the pharmacy during which I was informed that there is no known date for the delivery of more Wellbutrin. The country is out of Wellbutrin? Holy Crap there are going to be a LOT of cranky awful people out there. I tried taking a generic yesterday and it just made me feel crazy. I know it is supposed to be the same but it is worse than not taking anything. It makes me feel like my brain is soupy and my emotions are all twisted up. So luckily I keep a stock pile which should get me through an extra two weeks past when I should have refilled the Rx.

As if being cookooo wasn't hard enough they gotta make my crazy pills scarce too? Yikes!

31 October, 2007

Mr. Incredible



My Mr. Incredible. Jake did a pretty good job tonight. Once he figured out what we were doing he used that happy voice and was practically dragging Descartes around...then he got very tired. He was ready for bed before we left the house.. and we forget the kid has a touch of CP and gets exhausted with that much walking. We cut out from the very very nice group of people we had glommed onto and headed on home, covered in chocolate.
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Gremlins

Daddy and Lucy the Gremlin
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3.7 Quake!

Okay, Okay! I will now go buy the rest of the supplies for our earthquake kit!

Flashlights that plug in then go on when there is a power outage number one on the list.

More " Normal" Than One Might Think

Jake is a bit restless this morning...probably something to do with waking up a lot earlier than normal...

how it's going down around here number #1:
Lucy--quietly sitting in a little chair eating her breakfast and watching "a show". Then she gets up to dance.

Jake steals her chair.

Lucy yells "Momma!"

how it's going down around here number #2:

Lucy is back in her chair watching "a show."

Lucy is laughing and singing.

Jake walks in to the living room and proceeds to walk in front of the television three or four times, garnering more and more protest from Lucy.

Jake throws himself at the television screen, covering the entire picture with his body.

Lucy yells "NooooooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Jake laughs and jumps on the couch.


These interactions make me so happy. Who knew I'd be happy to see my kids bickering?

Lucy Sleeps! Jake Wanders.

So is there a conspiracy? Lucy has slept through the entire night two days in a row (hmmm perhaps the Motrin at bed to go along with all of those teeth coming in is heloing? derrrr)

Jake has been up and either upset about wet pants (reasonable) or threatening to go out the doggy door (so uncool).

Did they get togethero the other day while I was in the shower and decide that Jake was going to take the early shift for awhile? Make sure Mommy never gets a full night sleep.

Good thing they are cute!

Happy Halloween. Not my favorite holiday....I am thankful that I have little ones to take 'round the neighborhood and we will not be on any major roads dealing with any drunk drivers.

Be safe everyone. Tinkerbell, Mr Incredible and I will be spending the day going from park to park I think.

30 October, 2007

5.6 Earthquake!

We just had an earthquake a bit ago and what do you know, our first response, after determining that we didn't need to go save any children, was to go to the usgs.gov and check out its stats! Nerd Alert!

If you felt it please log in your details... helps the USGS make better shake maps.

oh and go visit Can I Sit With You? while you are at it!

29 October, 2007

Hiding

I am hiding in the guest room. You see, Sage and I traded "desks". I gave her this pretty awesome Singer sewing machine table (old treadle kind) and I am borrowing a nifty fits-diagonally-into-the-corner type desk. It was a brilliant swap since her daughter is enjoying the Singer table immensely, and I can actually sit in an office chair again while on the computer for the first time since before Lucy was born.

So I am in here reading my daily dose of blogs, and can hear everything Lucy and Jake are doing (Jake playing cars!!!!!!!) and Lucy laughing at the "Grouch News Network" sketch on Sesame Street.

It is gong to be a long week, so I must escape when I can.

I do love my children. I am just not quite nice enough to hang out with those particular children 24 hours a day for 7 days with only 8 hours of childcare.

Hey Jake just found me. He is tapping on the door and saying something.. and has now tossed his sippy cup (empty) against the door.

I am off to be a good mom. Wish me luck.

28 October, 2007

Data Download

  • Helped Descartes finish the planter in the back yard. (We poured the concrete and set the posts last weekend.) Bought the lumber for the borders. Redwood is very expensive.
  • Spent Friday night playing "Did Jake go out the dog door?" ALL NIGHT LONG. The answer most times was "no." Spent a good portion of this morning researching very expensive (like 500 smackaroos) radio collar unlocking dog doors so dogs can go in and out but children cannot (unless they steal a dog collar..which would, at this point, not surprise me.)
  • Celebrated BQ's 40th birthday last night. Dinner, then fun conversation and staying late at the English Pub near Stanfurd. Good times. Cab fare home only 25 bucks. Cabbie almost drove into a wall near my house.. not good
  • My back is so screwed up that it is "buzzing" in my thoracic spine area. Kind of scary. It is burning right now.. thinking that is not a good thing.
  • My children made it through a most delightful Halloween party, managing not to particularly set-off my dear friends' children. Jake has a unique ability to ruffle feathers with his lack of following directions and all. At one point Jake was surrounded by little girls in Disney Princess costumes. Lucy ate three rice crispy treats...at least. So apparently Tinkerbell is a pig.
  • Remembered at 5:08pm that the flu shot clinic ends at 6pm at our doctor's office... raced the 12 miles and made it in time, with no line...and, get this:my kids didn't cry! Well, Jake did try to bite the nurse, but only because she was holding him down, and that does not fit into his happy place.
  • Discovered through much mind melting research that perhaps the reason the guest room computer is slow is because one of the applications, or the OS itself has a memory leak. Fixing said leak requires much more work. We have had the computer for nearly 4 years and i have managed to just open it up and swap out parts etc. I hate terrorizing the environment with all of my technology upgrades, (I would rather place my carbon footprint elsewhere!) but it may be time to get a new system.
  • Jake has NO school this week. None. Not a drop. Hoping for lots of nice days at the park since we can't even escape to Papa and Cookie's house because they are de-constructing walls to put an ELEVATOR into their house. Jake is not happy to be in a wheelchair lately ( and I don't blame him since he can walk...) but it does mean I need to come up with a better idea so that we can safely venture out of the house without him running off. My wrist is rotten from being twisted around when Jake does his famous spin move in an attempt to break free.
  • Can I Sit With You? submissions keep coming in. So exciting. Please share your story. I would love to publish it, and the deadline for publishing is coming up.
  • Must go to bed

24 October, 2007

You Can Just Tell

So I took both kids to the park this afternoon. They had a great time. Better yet, I had a great time, which means we are getting better at all of this. I am less fearful, and more playful.

I also figured out why Jake squats down in the middle of the water play area whether or not there is water on. He loves to squat and he is very good at it. Being very flexible helps. I can do it too. Hyperflexability sort of runs in my family. But here's the reason: when you are in the center of the water play area there is a sort of a focal point where all of the sound comes together. When he sits in that one spot he can hear the children playing in the sand box, in the water play area and on the swings all at the same time.
I never noticed before because I normally give Jake his space in the park, allowing him to roam safely away from me; for once not holding hands while outside.

Today I went over to him and bent down and covered him with myself, enveloping him in a hug, sort of just thankful for him, and I heard all of the sounds when I bent down. I never would have guessed a focal point would be there because there is only a half circle of cement around the water play area, and the wall is very low. This has been Jake's favorite place in the park since he could walk. It has taken me 5 years to figure out why. It makes me wonder what other amazing things he knows, and makes me want to run through every single one of his "odd" behaviors and figure out if there is a "reason" he does them.

The other part of our park story, aside from the little Gremlin Lucy enchanting a precious 3 year old boy and encouraging him to chase her all over the park, is that Lucy sat down next to a little boy and his nanny and asked nicely with a signed please for some of their snack. Thankfully they were more than happy to have her there.

When I joined them on the bench, the nanny asked "Does Jake like to sing?" (I had been using his name quite a bit encouraging Lucy to go hug her brother etc.).

I said, "Well, yes. When he is happy he makes singing noises."

and she said, "Yes, I cared for a boy just like him in the Philippines. I never understood the words, but he loved to sing."

I queried, "A boy 'like him'?"

and she said very plainly, "Yes, a boy with autism just like him."

"So you can just tell?"

"Yes."

23 October, 2007

The Sex Change of Zyax II

You have got to go read Liz Henry's story on Can I Sit With You? She is always an interesting read due to the ginormousness of her thoughts, and her ability to speak about them. If you haven't been going over at CISWY. get there right now and read what you have missed this past week or so. The stories are really rather amazing. It surprises me what we have all been through... what we do and say to each other throughout this life.

22 October, 2007

Spider Baby








spiderBaby plays peek-a-boo
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21 October, 2007

Rockin' Daddy


While I was at brunch today with a most wonderful group of women, my darling hoseband took both of my children to a pumpkin patch (which they had to abandon because the line was too long to pay for the over-priced squash) then proceeded to Safeway where he purchased 4 pumpkins.

We just carved our two (mine is on the left, Descartes' is in the middle). Lucy drew on hers..that girl is dangerous enough without a sharp object in her little fist, and Jake, well, he circled about, but seems to be just fine having his pumpkin remain un-scarred; his is on the right.

Who are we to say what a pumpkin "should" look like at Halloween? Jake's the smart one.. He's probably hoping I make pie with his unblemished pumpkin.
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19 October, 2007

How to be a Bad Parent Lesson #6347

...let your kids play in dog shit....


You may think that your kids are safely playing on the secured, no-way-out deck watching the street scene from the front of your house. You might think, "Hey. I bet my kids are getting hungry for dinner. I'll just run upstairs and make them something and have it all set when they come up. Wow, I am such a genius."

I thought all of those things. And then, just as I was setting cute little trays onto the counter with home made shredded barbecue chicken, persimmons and raspberries for Jake, and a little perfectly cut chicken salad and cheddar cheese sandwich for Lucy, paired with strawberry yogurt, persimmons and grapes... chocolate milk for the girl, whole white milk for the boy... happy mommy chair between the two to facilitate more consistent eating....just as I was all set. I realized it was too quiet. I had been upstairs for 7 minutes.

There is a reason Jake has protective supervision.

Jake had climbed OVER the baby gate and gone into the side yard. The side yard is a point of contention in my marriage because this is where our TWO golden retrievers relieve themselves. It is also where Descartes very, very, rarely and only with considerable nudging picks up said "relief packages." I clean it up once a month if Descartes doesn't; this is one of "his jobs" in our divided labor household. He has not cleaned it up, and I did it two weeks ago. (It has since been cleaned and sanitized mom...so no comments on that please!)

So there is Lucy hanging on the baby gate pointing at her big brother who is standing squarely between 15 gigantic piles of poo. There is none on him, none on his shoes, none on his hands. He is in the middle of it just standing there.

AGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

This is one of those moments in parenting where I had to **really** think hard as to how to fix this situation. No one was really in danger.. those situations I have down, no problem... but when there are moments like these it is harder for my tired mind.. maybe it's because my adrenaline doesn't kick in. Moments like these.. I need a Double Strength Diet Rockstar.

So I put Lucy upstairs and gated her in and locked the dogs with her then I went around the back of the house and down to the side yard and plucked Jake out of the poo. It was only on his way out of the area, with mommy having startled him, that Jake stepped into a big old stooopid stinky pile of it.

I closed the gate behind us, stripped Jake down and marched him straight into the tub inside the house, shutting the door behind us so Lucy would not think that it was family bath time.

I used the rest of the Hibiclens and a bottle of dial soap. I trimmed Jake's nails and emptied the water a few times.... and there was never any poo on his body at all.. just his shoes.

Then I bleached the tub, and walked out of the bathroom with Jake.. only to find Lucy had fed her dinner to the dogs, and had started to eat Jake's dinner. Lovely.

I have now left my children unattended and let them play in poo and after all of that I still found myself trying to make [more] dinner while the kids are whining and ready to eat "right this very second."

Somehow we managed.

By the time Descartes got home I had both children fed, bathed, jammied and in bed.

Phew

16 October, 2007

Bullseye!

So Target got to me today. Yuh, ah, Target. The store with the big red, uhm Target, got me right smack in the center of my chest and made me cry.

I didn't know where to find coloring books. You know why? 'Cause Jake doesn't like to color. So I have never had any reason to purchase coloring books before Lucy, who love, love, loves to color. And in case I thought I had to? In the past I have purchased plain paper apparently because for the life of me.. I had no idea how much a coloring book should even cost (for the record I did not have a lot of coloring books growing up.. my parents did not see that I needed some one else's creative genius to figure out my own, and if I really needed help, my grandmother, Char was the amazing artist ever, and could really draw anything, then teach me how to draw it.)

So I found them, and I stood there with tears in my eyes because Lucy was pointing at what she wanted and I find my self in uncharted territory.

I wonder what is harder? Starting out with a kid like Jake who does not fit the norm, then being thrown for a loop with a more typical child, or starting out with one who does everything on schedule and with ease and following it with a kid who doesn't come close to the norm?

I guess I am lucky I had it this way because now every damn thing Lucy does is a miracle, and I also already know where the emergency room is.

12 October, 2007

i hate when this happens

I just yelled at my kids. I know we will all live. I didn't hit them or "smack" them or push or shove, and I only yelled once but I did it.

Descartes and I decided when we were first engaged that we would not yell in our home. I grew up with a family you could hear down the street. All passion and loud and then it was done, no hard feelings (mostly) Descartes grew up in a family where there was slow simmer for years, then someone would blow up into little pieces.

Somewhere along our dating way we got into an argument and I raised my voice, as I was taught to do, to make my point. He very calmly said "You don't need to yell at me. I will not participate in this conversation if you are yelling."
Well there is no better way to get me to be quiet, than to threaten me that you won't talk to me anymore. I am a talker... but it hit me then.. I actually didn't have to have a home where any one yelled. Ever. (emergencies excepted.. and since we rarely have a week without some sort of crisis, don't worry our house is till plenty noisy.)

But tonight I did. Lucy and Jake were whiny at 3:15, hungry and whiny, so in between throwing snacks at them I started to make dinner, as fast as I could. It was a quick meal, burgers (no buns), strawberries, bananas and home made sweet potato fries. Any whooo. they both rejected the meal, eating strawberries only. Then Jake got squirrelly in his chair and when I went to get something on the floor (his cup?) he smacked me in the head so hard my contact went to the back of my brain. Lucy stood up in her high chair to get out on her own .

I yelled. Not even sure what exactly I yelled.

Then I took them both out of their eating spaces and cleared the plates and said that was it.

then I took ten minutes to get my contact to the front of my head.

Mommy all done.

11 October, 2007

That's All I need Folks

So Lucy went to Nanny Kidwell's house again today and played nearly all day long... happily!
I think it's going to work out. Jake stayed at school all day (though it was a minimum day).. so guess what? I got to complete my errands...like this one:

Went to Barns Ignoble to buy a present for a friend (Squid actually.. her birthday is soon, uhm, now, actually, so go wish her a happy day!) and I went in, read the backs or jackets of several books, read a few more, selected two, went to the counter, waited in line, paid and went back to my car and pulled out of the space,,, and exactly 8 minutes has passed.. What? Seriously? I can do all of that in 8 minutes? Amazing.

When I went back to Nanny's house she asked me if I had taken a nap, "You look so well -rested. What did you do?"

In no particular order, here are the things I completed while I had "alone time" for the first time since August:
  • went to the grocery store
  • returned my rental car
  • picked up my Not-so-mini Van from the shop
  • went to the library to select books for home-bound patrons
  • went to the book store
  • folded (at least) two loads of laundry
  • put away at least 50 board books scattered across the floor
  • vacuumed under the cushions of both couches
  • vacuumed the entire upstairs of my house
  • polished a section of the hardwood floor
  • emptied a very full dishwasher
  • loaded it again to the max
  • curled my hair
  • brushed all of my teeth
  • put on makeup
  • changed my clothing
  • talked to the gardener
  • pulled some weeds
  • went to the bathroom by myself
  • cleaned out the fridge
  • got the mail
  • took out the trash
  • paid some bills
  • put medicine in the dog's ear
  • checked my email
  • checked every one's blogs
  • visited with Sage and Ki
  • read more submissions for Canisitwithyou.blogspot.com
  • talked to my sister, my mom and someone from Sears.
I did all of these things from 10:55-2:08.

three hours and thirteen minutes?
That's all I need folks.

08 October, 2007

Hey Lookie!

Our little Can I Sit With You? is so cool they linked to us at Tolerance.org!

Don't forget to submit your story! ciswysubmissions@gmail.com

07 October, 2007

Get Me A Gun

If one more f*cking person asks me what I think of Jenny McCarthy I am going to kill someone, possibly myself.

Okay that is extreme.

I am still growing and learning, as we all are, and I believe each family has their own journey.... as long as your journey doesn't hurt me (or your child), you can travel whatever road you want, and I will do my best to support you. So here is kind of what I think about a few things.. and I am so fired up right now listening to Larry King Live that I may throw up.

  • I believe that Jenny McCarthy saying her son has been "cured" is lame. I think we learn to live with autism, you provide your child with every opportunity to engage in the world and offer as many different ways to communicate as possible so the child can be heard. But fine, her kid is healed, or cured..not going to happen for every child with autism...not going to happen...so re-frame it Jenny...like "here is my personal story of hope that will probably not work for you, but buy my book and you can buy a piece of that hope." [To be fair, she does appear to have some sense that not all children will respond as her child did.]
  • I do not believe that vaccines cause autism. Jake didn't have thimerosal in his vaccines, most of the kids born after 2000 didn't either, so all of the new diagnosis? Maybe vaccines trigger autism in kids with a genetic predisposition? Maybe. We do know that measles, mumps and rubella can kill children, as can polio.
  • I do not think that every child with autism benefits from a Gluten Free Casein Free diet (GFCF). I do think that some children may benefit from diet change. Almost any child on the planet eating a healthy, preservative-free diet, carefully monitored by an adult who ensures that all dietary needs are being met.. most kids are going to be more focused, healthier and have better bowel movements. Paying attention to your child's diet is a good idea. Being righteous because you can bake bread with rice flour is not cool.
  • I think that actors/porno stars/whatever/entertainers are not scientists, doctors, or researchers...anecdotal evidence does not mean a cure. Ugh. I also do not believe that doctors are Gods or always right.. so there.
  • I do think that people correlate all sorts of things (good and bad) that should not be correlated : In the U.S. most people in car accidents have had french fries within two weeks of the accident. French fries cause car accidents. Also most people who win the California Lottery have been in a liquor store within one week of winning the lottery, possibly purchasing alcohol. Drinking can therefore help you win the lottery.
  • My child is never going to have Hyperbaric Oxygen therapy...unless he has the bends.
  • Any doctor Board Certified, DAN! TACA, Holistic, or working unlawfully and without credentials who tells you that they can cure autism, and all allergies, and ADD, and ADHD, and bad breath, and sleep disorders and corns and eczema with their wonder pill/magic formula is full of crap. However, if you want to take your kid to someone who believes that they can cure your child...go for it... unless you are harming your child, I support you in your effort.
  • NAET® is crap crap crap "NAET clears an allergy by rebalancing your body's energy when you are in contact with the energy of the offending substance." and my favorite "If you are unable to be tested yourself because you are a child, pregnant, disabled, or too weak, you will be tested through a surrogate. " Allergy testing by proxy? CRAP CRAP CRAP.
okay I am tired.. I think a lot of other things too.

I do know that I have lost relationship with a person who is very, very important to me because we did not try NAET. She thought that I was not doing every single thing possible to "cure my child."

I wasn't willing to throw money away holding vials of wheat flour and water in my hand while a chiropractor gave me some acupressure...maybe that does make me a bad mother.

I already knew that.

The Stein is Sometimes Half Full.


It was Oktober Fest in Tahoe this weekend. Each year we go with my sister and her husband and now there are four children who tag along. It is very hard to push strollers and wheelchairs over pine needles, but the sausages are good, we all love sauerkraut and the beer selection is just lovely.

So last year, and the year before we just bought the giant mugs. .It is one of those deals where if you pay a little bit more you get the souvenir mug and all of your refills are more beer for much less money. It is the way to go if you are going to have more than one beer. Which we may or may not have done in the past. I am guessing we had more than one in years past.

This is the first year that I actually stood in line and thought about my purchase. I wanted to buy four mugs. I wanted to think that we were going to stay and hear the ooompa band and the yodeling competition and have several beers each and relax in the crisp air, soaking up September sun. I wanted to be optimistic. I want to be those people.

The reality is that the chances of any one of the adults finishing even one beer without needing to deal with a kid-related crisis is pretty slim. Jaster and Demanda have "twins" (the boys are 7 weeks apart from two different wombs) and we have our independent sprite Lucy and our unpredictable elf Jake. We are not the kind of crew that gets to sit still, be patient or relax.

So I compromised. We bought two mugs and two cups. I feel like this every day. In nearly every decision I make. I want to think that I can take my two children to the park, a park with no gates...uhm no. I want to think that the kids and I can stop in and get some milk at the grocery store and have it take only ten minutes. I want to go to the movies, go on vacations and go out to dinner with my children.

I struggle to find the balance; sometimes the optimist wins and I buy four souvenir mugs...sometimes we drink out of paper cups.
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