31 December, 2008

quick year in review

jake likes consistency and fish tanks
lucy talks a lot and doesn't sleep much
our house has bad plumbing
Descartes and I still love each other after all of these years.
we have great family
we have terrific friends
we are blessed beyond measure
we have a lot to do

15 December, 2008

Notes to Self

  • buy more liquid band-aid and put it on those cracks on my fingers before they open...and bleed, leaving little red drops on my children's socks in the morning and making it difficult to do things like pull up my pants, put on my kid's swimsuit or move the laundry from the washer to the dryer.
  • have Iz over every Monday, or any afternoon when I do not have Jake's aide here. She keeps Lucy entertained, follows direction easily and fills a little space that is hollow from not having a third kid.
  • go to the flea-bag motel in San Francisco and beat up whomever used that address and my husband's identity to try to secure three credit cards in the last week. 
  • finish decorating the Christmas tree before Christmas.
  • fold the laundry
  • get over the fact that it has taken a year for the school district to purchase a "talker" for Jake...they are working on it now.
  • stop feeling stooopid for trusting someone else with my child's happiness. I could have purchased those talkers a year ago and had him feeling this happy the whole time, and it would not even register in the amount of money we've lost in the market.
  • fill out the paperwork for my respite hours.
  • plan an extra date night this week.. and maybe next week, and maybe the week after that.
  • clean up the guest room for my sister and the boys as they pass through on their way to Southern California.
  • Use up more food from the pantry. Buy only onion, celery, carrots, milk, butter, eggs and cheese. and beer.
  • get to bed earlier than midnight at least 3 nights a week.
  • make the mailing labels for the Holiday postcards, which may arrive before the holidays are over!
  • be thankful that truly my biggest problem today was my daughter pooping in a diaper, leaving it in a corner and wiping her butt with an inflatable giraffe. okay that and the whole identity theft thing, oh and finding out that Jake's talkers still haven't been ordered, but really that's it. Yes, it was a deflated inflatable giraffe. 
  • take my boots in to be re-soled. again.
  • make an appointment to have that strange freckle/mole/oddity on my forehead checked out by a professional. One that has an M.D. and not just a M.G. (Mastery of Google).
  • go to the gym at least twice this week, and try not to be so scared of the treadmill. 
  • find our copy of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas..before it is actually.....

10 December, 2008

This Really Happened

Wednesday 10:30am annual IHSS meeting with Ruth. Jake is at school, Descartes is at work and Lucy is with me. 

Ruth is a kind, late 50's ish woman who speaks carefully and calmly. She listens well, offers words of encouragement and admits easily that my life is harder than she can imagine. She has been a social worker almost as long as I have been alive.

Lucy is cranky, getting molars, not sleeping well, and figuring out toilet training on her own, insistent that she does not want any help, and is therefore often found without pants, having used  said pants to wipe herself. She places dirty clothes and diaper in a nice pile and simply walks away, leaving pee pee diapers, and sadly poopy diapers behind. She seems to be in need of an increasing amount food, and when that won't make her happy, candy, especially PEZ delivered via Santa head. She has 9am swim lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays, so her hunger, whininess and need for a nap are generally at their peak at about 10:15 on those days.

I am tired. Lucy woke me up at 4:45am. I get a nervous stomach when I know a social worker is coming to my house because I know the power these people have.  They control money for services and they can take my children away. I never forget this part. So even though I have no reason for someone to take away my kids, I fret until the meeting is at least halfway over.

And so, at 10:15am, Lucy is crying for candy, with no pants on,  and she has left her shoes and socks and pants spread out across the entire living room floor. The pee-pee diaper? She has hidden it somewhere. This is really no big deal. I got Lucy back together, got her a snack of wheat pretzels, cheddar cheese and orange juice and have set her up at her little table with her "math" book (Jake's workbook from last year) and several twistable crayons, and blank paper on her easel as well.

Ruth arrives at 10:29am, with calm, and a sweet smile and a non-judgemental look at my dirty dishes in the sink. I offer her coffee. She says she has just finished a Starbucks and declines. We sit.

I get Lucy more snack. Ruth and I talk a bit more. I explain the rough autumn we've had with Jake's never-ending episode, and change of aides. She is empathetic. Lucy crawls up onto the couch and into my lap laying in my arms like a baby. She says "Momma. Momma." over and over again. She says, "I'm a baby. I need milk from my momma." and tries to lift up my shirt.

Lucy takes off her shoes and sticks her cold feet up the back of my shirt.

Lucy asks for more candy.

then more snack.

then more crayons. 

She plays tea party with Ruth, then Lucy goes to her little table and quietly plays for a minute. Ruth and I begin to wrap it up. I am signing papers now when all of a sudden Lucy comes back and sits down on the ottoman and says:

Lucy: "I think we should talk about it."
Ruth: (enamored with Lucy) "Oh Lucy what would you like to talk about?"
Lucy: "Hitting."
Me: "That's right Lucy we don't hit. We have gentle hands. Hitting isn't kind."
and then--

Lucy: "Mommy hits me."

Ruth: silent
Me: "Lucy, that's not nice to say."
Lucy: "Mommy hits me."
Me: (now slightly irritated) "I hit you? Really?"
Lucy: "Mommy hits Lucy."
Me: "Oh really? Where did I hit you?"
Lucy: "In the face."

Ruth: still silent

Me: (now slightly worried) "Lucy, Are you telling the truth or are you telling a fib?"
Lucy: "Mommy hits Lucy in the face."
Me: "Lucy, okay, Lucy, are you telling the truth or are you telling a fib?"
Lucy: (laughing and smiling) "I telling a FIB." 
Me: (head in hands.) "I cannot wait to tell my social worker brother what Lucy just said in front of you."
Ruth: "I didn't believe her for a minute."
Me: "And I appreciate that because I know it's your job to believe her."
Ruth: (to Lucy) "Your mom is never going to let you forget that you just told me that story."

and so, my daughter's first big whopper was about me hitting her.. in the face, and she told the story to... a social worker. 

fantastic. 


We finished signing papers and had a lovely conversation about how I was never hit as a child, so I never had to think about whether this was a particular strategy I would use with my own children, since it was not part of my family's repertoire, nor was it part of my husband's discipline growing up. We talked about understanding that if someone did not have  my particular resources: great husband, food in the pantry, running car, money to pay the mortgage on the house we own (at least for now!), healthy children, a reliable babysitter, these things make my life easier, and that someone else who didn't have these supports might feel like they were at their wit's end with a child like Jake (or LUCY!) and not have any other resource to rely on.  

And so for now, no one has come to take my children away. 


08 December, 2008

Sneaky Daughter , I Am

When we went to Southern California for Thanksgiving we stayed at the home of one set of my parents, and dined with them on T-day at my brother Gerard's house..then on Black Friday, the day we left to come back home we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with my other set of parents (with the same Brother).

As breakfast turned into lunchtime we were all relaxing in the den and decided to make the grandparents' life easier by helping them purchase the actual gifts that their grandchildren really, really want. In Lucy's case this is a Fisher-Price Loving Family Grand Dollhouse.

So I found the best price online and placed the order for them. When it came time to create the "gift message" I just couldn't resist helping my parents just a little bit more. The gift just arrived today... and I will keep this forever.
Posted by Picasa

07 December, 2008

It's Beginning to look a lot like

a disaster around here. There are Sunday fliers everywhere and little kid scissors and craft projects and fairy princess dresses. There are snacks and cameras and blankets and pillows and stuffed animals thrown in family "pillow" fights. There are half-drunk cups of coffee and Dutch baby pancake remnants with powdered sugar stickiness all over the counter and a little boy snuggled into the couch watching a show on paleontology...it's a grown up Discovery Channel show, and he is riveted.

There are some tears about glue, and a little girl who already needs a nap, and the last piece of bacon sitting lonely on the platter, one piece too many for this mommy to eat, and a little bit too small to just put away in the fridge. There are plans being hatched and presents to be wrapped, and two dogs that really need to be brushed. We have emails to be answered and bills to be paid and dishes, always more dishes to be washed...and there is more stuffing to be eaten, of course. There are thirty bazillion coupons which, having been cut, will probably begin wasting away in a drawer, providing me opportunity to scold myself at a later date for having forgotten them when I approach the checkstand at Safeway. There is reasearch to be done, on computer screens, dough ornaments, photo collage software, Internet security, property taxes for Modoc county and proper storage for 8 foot blow up snowmen.  We need to sweep, lest we be visted by varmin. All of the chargers for all of the electronics have left their usual places and stored themselves elsewhere, so there are search parties to organize. And where exactly is the iPod anyway? 
We are all full up on tickle fights, Christmas stop-motion children's specials and shoes that are too small for the children, but we are out of triple sec and PfeffernΓΌsse. We have high hopes for sending out a holiday card with family newsletter, but a reasonable expectation that it will turn into a New Year's hello postcard.. and that will be okay... 
because we are happy today.

04 December, 2008

One Little Sign That We are Doing It Right

Descartes had an early meeting today so I am running around with the kiddos, proving once again that he really does his fair share every morning...

As I was gathering up all of the school clothes, belts, gym bag, tennis shoes etc. from the bedrooms, Jake ran upstairs for breakfast with little Lucy in hot pursuit.

Then Lucy stepped back down the stairs a little, peeked her head over the stairwell at me and said,
"Mom, is there anything I can help you?"

03 December, 2008

Attack

I came upstairs this morning and saw that Descartes has moved "Christmas" outside onto the front deck.

An eerie glowing being with beady eyes, he frightens me a little, and I had to immediately remind myself that while I might think that an 8-foot tall snowman on my front deck is horrific, my daughter, who is at least as enamored with this holiday season as a Home Shopping Network little Christmas village collector, has a reaction to that same creepy glowing-innards beast that is more like this:

"Lookmommyaren'tweluckyhe'sbeautifulandhimssparklyinsidehiswholebodythankyoudaddy
IlovemyChristmassomuchlookJakedon'tyoujustloveChristmaslook
JakeMommaJakelikesChristmastoo.ThisisaMAZING!MERRYCHRISTMASMERRYCHRISTMAS."

And no there are no breaks for breath, because as Descartes tells me all the time, she is just like I am and we are fast talkers and there is no time for breathing.

We can breathe while we sleep.

29 November, 2008

Lucy!


<
at Mali's birthday party.. I believe the caption should read "Do I have any organic spinach stuck in my teeth?"

28 November, 2008

Fog at the Grapevine

Entering the bank of fog on the way home from Southern California... it is so thick they have been doing CHP escorts


22 November, 2008

Sistow

I've had a migraine for days, and I'm finally alive again. My sister is here which means we have 4 dogs, two husbands, three boys, three boys, three toddlers, 1 child with autism, 1 preacher-man, one puppy, 4 adults, 1 full-time 60+hour a week worker, 2 stay at home moms, one editor, one photographer, 1 precocious little girl, 3 native Americans, 1 MBA, 1 MA Divinity, 1 BA English, 2 wives, 2 husbands, 4 children, 1 dishwasher and a lot of wildflowers.

19 November, 2008

News!

Jake has a new aide.. she does not yet have a pseudonym, so let's just go with BB. She is young and fresh and engaging, and Jake seems to love her already. She told me this morning that she felt like she needed to be firm with him. I told her he was a punk, and she laughed and said "Yeah, I can see that."

His teacher, Janet, came up after Jake and BB had walked away and told me that yesterday Jake had dropped to the ground (mild tantrum) on the way to lunch. BB stopped and said "I know you're hungry, so if you want lunch you should get up and walk. I'll wait." and he stood up and walked with her... AMEN!

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18 November, 2008

Flashback

My little Jake September 2002. He smiled a lot when he was little. He was always laughing. I think it's because he couldn't walk until he was two... just 5 weeks or so after this picture was taken. Before that he was always in our arms, cuddling, wrestling, being held.

He's been crawling into our bed in the mornings lately. Not every day, and not in a quiet way at all. It is that same laughing boy, hugging us and wrestling and trying to hug his baby sister. It is my favorite thing... my FAVORITE thing in the world..morning and the sheets still smell like fabric softener and we have way too many pillows, of all sizes and squishiness, and everyone has messy hair and we are all there; all four of us laughing and tickling and kissing and hugging. It never lasts for long. There are jobs to get to and school bells will ring and the private swimming lessons we will pay for whether we make it to class or not. There's always a shower to be taken or a diaper to be changed.

It lasts just long enough to remind me that I have a wonderful life, a terrific husband and two precious children... so it is enough for me.

17 November, 2008

California Academy of Science

Look what a 2 year old can convince 2 men in their seventies to do!

16 November, 2008

Far Away

Home is so far away. I'm in Pajaro Dunes with friends, so my home with Descartes and Lucy and Jake seems forever away with this quiet sunrise before me, but even farther away are my parents in Southern California who do not live far from the Yorba Linda fire.
They are fine. I'm sure I would received a phone call last night if they had been asked to evacuate. It's so strange for me because I never really lived in the house where they live now because the bought it while I was in college, so I don't really know how far away the fire is. I mean I can tell from Google maps, but I can't tell how "emotionally close" those flames are. Is that where they grocery shop? buy their books? Is that where their friends live? I have been away a long time now.

I can't sleep, so I am going to head back to my home now, to get ready for the day with the other two sets of parents I have (Descartes family is meeting us this afternoon also.)

The sunrise is beautiful here. I imagine it looks the same color orange as the flames on the ridge near my parent's house this morning.

15 November, 2008

Experience

just ran naked into the Pacific ocean as the sunset faded into the water.

Damn. I have a great life. Thanks for watching the kids Descartes!

14 November, 2008

Inner Dialog

Take care of yourself. Take care of your friends. Wash your car. Wash the dishes. Clean the keyboard. Clean the handles of the shopping cart they are covered in fecal matter. What if everyone else cleans the bar? I'm probably safe right? Ha. When do good things happen? Wear a yellow gown. Don't smother him with kisses. Cover your mouth when you cough, but not with your hands. Wave to the veteran, homeless on the center divide. Divide your time between the things you want to do and the things you should really be doing. Isn't that what your mother always said? Why do I have two baskets filled with unmatched socks? Seriously. Should you really be eating that? Probably not. I can't imagine that Pringles are on any best health diet, but who really wants to eat that extra fiber bread. Maybe with butter.. a LOT of butter. I give my kids too much butter. I am setting them up for failure by teaching them to love butter, salt, olives, blue cheese, nachos, bacon. Damn we eat a lot of bacon. Life is too short not to eat bacon.. I mean we're all terminal. God isn't there something we can do to help that boy? There must be something. How can I help him? I'll make fudge. I'll take fudge with me to the city too. I'll make a lot of fudge. No nuts. Don't want to kill any body. Is there any one who doesn't like fudge? Fudge makes people happy. Am I happy? I am so tired. I think I'm happy. Why is she crying? Does she whine too much? Am I over-indulging her? I'm not spending enough time with her. Where is my son? Did he get enough to eat? He's so skinny... he's so skinny. And I need to trim his nails. ANd he needs new shoes. Those shoes smell bad. Smell bad! What kind of a mother am I? I need to read more.... set an example of peace in my home... I need to unload the dishwasher and make some soup and call.. Oh I can't believe I haven't called her and she had the baby weeks ago.

bath time.

13 November, 2008

New Large Scale Genetic Analyses- More Autism Reasearch

from Thescientist.com

Two large-scale genetic analyses have turned up a trio of new sites associated with autism, including a large-effect allele that seems to reduce the risk of developing the debilitating brain disorder, researchers reported today (Nov. 12) at the American Society of Human Genetics meeting in Philadelphia.
Last year, the Autism Genome Project Consortium performed the largest genome-wide linkage scan to date with around 10,000 SNPs in 1,181 families with at least two affected individuals. The group flagged a handful of genomic regions harboring autism susceptibility genes, although none of the linkage results were statistically significant (/Nat Genet/, 39:319-328, 2007).

Now, a team led by Dan Arking, a geneticist at Johns Hopkins University, has ramped up the SNP count to include around 500,000 markers in 802 affected pairs of siblings. They then eliminated all the error-prone or uninformative SNPs to amass a collection of 180,000high-quality markers for their analysis. "It's the cleanest best set of markers you can imagine," Arking said at a press conference.

This enhanced genome-wide scan proved effective. Arking's team discovered two regions of significant linkage that had not been implicated before with the disease -- one at the tip of chromosome 20's short arm, and one at the end of chromosome 6's long arm.

Arking, together with Lauren Weiss, a molecular geneticist at the University of California, San Francisco, also used the SNP dataset to perform familial association mapping in 1,594 parent-offspring trios to hunt for common variants of major effect linked to the disorder. At first, they did not find any genome-wide significant results. Additional assays, however, revealed a hitherto unidentified site on chromosome 5 where one particular allele was transmitted less often than expected to autistic individuals whose parents carried the allele. Thus, this allele, although only found in 4% of the population as a whole, likely confers some protection against autism, Arking and Weiss argued.

This "protective allele" fell near the semaphorin 5A (/SEMA5A/) gene, which is involved in axonal guidance during neural development. The researchers compared brain slices of 20 autistic individuals with 10 controls and found that /SEMA5A/ had much lower expression levels in the autistic brains, further implicating this novel locus with autism.

Arking and Weiss will present their findings in a talk on Saturday (Nov. 15) and in a poster on Friday (Nov. 14).

12 November, 2008

AAAACKKKK

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thanks lulu.com


11 November, 2008

Long Day

Returns to IKEA mad house and Home Depot. Jake was precious  and amiable and helful getting in and out of car and wheelchair. He just seems so much more present lately. We picked out gigantic plastic "Christmas ornaments" for the tree in the front yard. A tradition I almost decided not to continue after last year's ornaments blew off the tree in a windstorm and I found them two blocks away... having rolled all the way down the hill, through an interesection and around the corner.

Lucy got a chance to thank a veteran for his service, which was very cool. He got a little teary when she said in her little pixie voice "Thank you for serving our country." I love that she is still a little bit my puppet mixed inwith all of her own expressions like "Hmm. I'mm gonna go check it out mom." and "Hi LittleMiss, I love your outfit."

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I figured out that my posts have been variably posting on another (secret) blog that I have.. whoops I should make sure I know which window is up before I start posting eh?

10 November, 2008

Lookin' Good

My niece is sick, and when Lucy heard this sad news, she decided that Bubsy would be cheered up by a "giant elmo, and green teddy bear and my furry baby" Here's the photo we just sent little Bubsy.




Next we sat down to see if there were any more photos in the computer we should send. My wallet is sitting in the table, and Lucy was looking at my driver license. She said "It's a nice picture of my mama." Fishing for a further compliment I said "Oh do you think Mama looks pretty?" I meant in the photo...



My daughter thinks I am asking about right now, in the flesh, do I look pretty? So she sits there a moment, shuffles some things in her hands and says sweetly with a cocked head to the side, "Well, Mommy. Your hair is just a little bit wiggly."

Which indeed is true.



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Evening update:
after seeing my balding head in this photo I actually took two (of the FOUR) vitamins I am supposed to take everyday. These are very fancy (read:expensive) vitamins that my mother bought for me.  For the record.. .I actually just took my second set of two. This is the first time I have managed to get all four into my body in the same day. Of course I washed the second two down with a swill of beer. How's THAT  for taking care of myself!

09 November, 2008

Sunday Morning

Morning

  • Jake yelled and kicked and dropped to the ground until I figured out that he wanted to play outside, where he has now been for 30 minutes using all of his happy sounds.
  • Lucy woke up at some ungodly hour again. I do not even bother to look at the clock until I decide to make coffee. I try not to make the coffee more than an hour before I think Descartes will get up.
  • Lucy tried to pull out my (screw-back) earring while I was sleeping. I had dozed off on her bed while she was playing. When I woke up at the pain and tried to shoo her off she hit me in the eye. I have decided that this is a sucky way to wake up.
  • Lucy marched herself upstairs for her own time out. More crisis ensued because she could not find the chair she wanted for time out.
  • Lucy can now butter her own bread (nearly) and it is great fun for her to make "sprinkle toast". It was a treat for me to have cinnamon sugar toast when I was a kid too.
  • Lucy peed on the living room floor.

08 November, 2008

Arghh

I am not sure what's happening, maybe because I have been pulling drafts out and trying to post them, but nothing is posting when I tell it to on the correct day (nor is it staying in the month/year of its original draft?!)

Ohwell. I've been saying that a lot lately, part of my "letting go of things I can't control" strategy.

I have sent my husband out for the evening to have fun...without me. He needs to get out and have friends and I am happy to oblige (especially since I spent half the day in SF getting a hair cut.

The hairstyle is working so far. I have been wrestling with children for 40 minutes and have yet to have my hair completely entangled in kiddie fingers. Jake and Lucy were playing together just now. She was pretending to be a monster, and when I suggested that Jake and I hide under the covers nothing happened.. until Lucy charged back into the room, which made Jake DIVE into the pillows face down and pull the covers over both of us! He was laughing and smiling. I love it when it all connects.

I am now being called on to read a Pirate book

Ahoy matey.

07 November, 2008

Yearbook Yourself

Lazy leftover drafts filling in for NaBloPoMo

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Yearbook Yourself... genius time sink. I had so much fun!

It didn't quite work in the first photo because my modern day photo had bangs
me in 1958:



1960 worked a little better


and 1964


and 1966


and 1968


and 1970


and 1972




and 1976



and I'm pretty sure this was me in 1990


and 1992 no no no.. the soft focus touch





Here I am in 1994 love that perm:


And 1996:










06 November, 2008

Tired in a Good Way

I watched a gaggle of girls yesterday afternoon. There were really only three of them, but you know how it goes, which was my reason for offering to watch the third one when I already knew I had the second.. If I am in charge of just mine I don't get anything "done", so I may as well be on and just parent the whole time.

They were precious and silly and whiny and giggled and screamed and cried and ran and wow. Wow! They were amazing to watch. They are all so strong and feminine and willing to get dirty all at the same time. Neat to watch the next generation have no concept of what things are okay and not okay for girls to do. They cuddled their babies then made a catapult to launch their stuffed bears. My kind of kids.

I just shoveled a pile of leaves and dirt and moved big heavy logs to rearrange a bunch of logs/railroad ties that some Halloween jesters messed up behind our house. It felt good to use my body. In general I hate exercise just for the sake of it, but using my body to do something always feels great which is why I love cross country skiing, snow shoeing, swimming, hiking and bike riding (to a destination). You know.. I am getting somewhere when I get my heart rate up.

I am in need of a quick shower before I pack up Jake so we can go pick up Lucy. No babysitter again today. I'm feeling okay today though. Descartes and I have date night, so that is always something to look forward to.

05 November, 2008

Just ask Lucy She'll Tell You

hey only due to some glitch did this not post on the actual day so I am still claiming NaBloPoMo...

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The next President of the United States o-Ba-Ma!

  • how to watch the returns at our house:
  • run the children ragged
  • feed them a lot of food
  • send them to bed with "The Lion King" on repeat on their television.
  • open a bottle of champagne
  • open another bottle of champagne
  • cry watching defeated candidate
  • cry watching Next President
  • make hubbins play Facebook after second bottle of champage
  • call Republican family in Orange County to make sure they are okay.

04 November, 2008

Jake said Blue

Perhaps he was leaning Obama? He was choosing between crayons and his teacher said "Jake you have only two more to choose from. Which color do you want, brown or blue?" and he answered: "Blue!" and grabbed the crayon and dropped it in front of his teacher.

Go Blue (states!)

03 November, 2008

Grocery Shopping with Coupons

Takes about an hour longer than  it would otherwise. Luckily  we were fortified by a bagel  which we procured during a morning visit with Leila and her mom Pollyanna. Here are our cute kids at the table.

02 November, 2008

We Voted!

Yesterday actually, but it was really exciting this time.. and made slightly more complicated by the fact that we vote by mail and therefore had to fend off small Halloween-candied grubby fingers from ruining our ballots while we voted.

We dropped our ballots off downtown. We are the County Seat, so there was actually an early voter area open as well. It was so great to see all of those people in line to vote. Hundreds of people in line. Will it be record turn out this year? Wouldn't that be great if every American who is eligible to vote, actually voted? I cannot imagine not voting. I feel like it is one of those things that reminds me of how lucky I am to live in the United States. Did you watch the John Adams series on HBO? I cried when they they voted on the resolution to declare independence. The bravery! The courage! And then there's the women's suffrage movement How could you be a woman and NOT vote? It took until 1920? jeesh. 
 
Political discussion is generally interesting in my family (especially with my family of origin). We are an opinionated lot, mostly the type that pays attention to the news, the price of oil, the DJI We are admittedly, rather homogoneous: white Californians who own homes and can read, but the differences start after that: private school, public school, GED or college, Christian or Jewish or Uncertain, Pro or Anti Choice, and obviously different generations are in different places in our lives. We are in the midst of health care costs for a disabled child, and wondering about school vouchers, and saving for our children's college education. Perhaps we overlap on capital gains for home sales, and each have an interest in the estate taxes for different reasons. The conversations have finally become a respectful acknowledgement of differences. I *think* that my parents are starting to see that I am not  "crazy hippy" from Berkeley who is so liberal I want to live in a socialist country. It's possible that they are starting to treat me as if I am merely an adult with a different opinion which has been thought out just as thoroughly as their opinions. I am more liberal than any of my parents, but I laugh because most of the things I think? I  thought them before I even went to college, which means that they influenced me (and for a longer period of time)  than four and a half years at Berkeley ever did... it's their own fault for raising me to think (how's that for spin).

--------------------

I am sort of feeling like all of the talk from the candidates is just rhetoric. The country is sort of broken right now. We all believe that we are resource depleted or going there, so we are tightening our belts and not spending, which makes stores go out of business which puts factories at a slow down so there are more unemployed people with less money to spend on things. It is a cycle, and in my odd mind it is a cycle that is fixed one person at a time (with some bank bailouts along the way probably). If we believe that things are looking better? Then that little "Consumer Confidence Index" will look great and the traders will trade on that news. I know it's not as simple as that, and certainly Descartes is trying to ensure that I do not "do my part" by buying everything at Target, but I am trying to stay positive. It will NOT be years and years of depression. I cannot bear the idea that the peak of my husband's career will be during the longest economic depression the country has ever seen. I cannot be consumed by the idea that (the collective) we may be the first generation which is less successful than the previous generation, and less financially secure.  I refuse. I will remain optimistic (is this sounding like more Jack Handy?)

and I will remain hopeful. 

01 November, 2008

NaBloPoMo

It's National Blog Posting Month again. I toyed with the idea of joining the National Novel Writing Month game, but decided that working on CISWY (www.canisitwithyou.org) is enough for now. I am already behind (right Squid?)

Halloween went off fairly well, considering the rain we were expected to have, the disabled kid we have and the crazy week Descartes has had at work. I still don't really like the holiday. I don't like watching children be picky when a kind neighbor offers a bowl of treats, and it equally annoys me when someone opens the door with a bowl of candy the size of New Jersey and gives each child a dum dum lollipop and says she needs to save some for the next (non-existent in these hills) children. That sounds awful doesn't it? I guess the adult part is secondary, mostly it's the chances for children to be greedy that makes me a bit crazy. The kids we were with though were for the most part really very nice, and always said thank you and/or have a good night. They also had interesting costumes and stuck together and used flashlights, and were sweet with the little ones. 

It's fine. I don't need to like every celebration right? I like New Year's day. Yeah. 

But Jake loved it. He laughed. He did a great job, and Descartes got Jake's wheelchair and wheeled him up and down the hills. I swear it looked like a flat street when we parked. Descartes passed out on the couch when we got home,and the children fell sound asleep within 15 minutes. 

Long day. long week. 

Happy Halloween. Happy first blo of the mo


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I just re-read this post this morning and I sound like a curmudgeon! Our entire family had a great time last night...the children were fantastic, the costumes were great, the food was delicious, and perhaps I just needed some sleep to better appreciate all of it. Thanks friends.

31 October, 2008

All Treats

Jake and Lucy are home today... no school. We may head to the Cal Academy of Sciences
if we can get it together. It's chillier this morning and it's rainy and overcast.. and Californians are bad drivers who cannot figure out how to drive in the rain after all these years, so I am always loathe to get on a highway but this is all beside the point...

Jake said "Trick or Treat".

Jake SAID "TRICK OR TREAT"!


His bus driver told me that he said it on the bus yesterday afternoon. His teacher was talking with all of the kids as they were being pinned down. buckled in.

She asked the kids "Who's going to say Trick or Treat?" and they were answering, and Jake at the front of the bus said "I say trick or treat."
and from the back of the bus his driver, who speaks English as a second language, said "Jake! I heard you say trick or treat." and ran up and hugged him.

She told me all about it when they arrived in front of our house, and I mostly believed her, and wanted to encourage Jake so I asked him if he had said it... and he smiled and giggled!

then
this morning I asked him, when it was just the two of us lounging on my bed, "When we go out to night to get candy, what do you say?"

and he said "trick or treat" and he smiled.

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appropriate language, answering a question, responding to a general query put out to a group, 
timely responses 
what's happening? is he talking more often? will there be more?

hope is such a painful wonderful emotion.

29 October, 2008

Jack Handy by Jennyalice

Tonight I talked for a very long time with my dear friend DB (Descartes did too.. which is impressive because Descartes probably doesn't even know where the phone hangs up in the house he uses it so infrequently). DB is in a place few of us ever thought she would be. She's probably going down the path to being a "divorcee". Phew. Wow. 

So a whole new chapter of life, and so we talked through what it means to be this "new person". Actually we talked a lot about deciding who exactly we are in this life, any life. I am trying to be the same person wherever I am, with the same moral code, a similar disposition; dynamic but stable. Somehow I want to recognize that I am this person now because of all that I have encountered; the fabric of my life makes me who I am but doesn't dictate my future entirely. I know  I am not going to wake up and be someone new, and neither is she, but I can make changes, make choices.

While we were talking she said please just email me some of these things we've been talking about. They don't encompass our entire conversation, nor is it my new mantra, but here are my "Jack Handy" thoughts for the evening

I am trying to be a woman first who has a husband and children. I need to be me first. I need to figure out what it means to walk a mile in my own shoes. If I do not know who I am  I cannot effectively be much to anyone else, not my spouse or my children. 

I spend time with people I respect and admire. I want to cultivate relationships with those people who have attributes which I want to emulate. I do not waste my time with people or in places that do not add to my heart or spirit. I start fresh every morning. I wash my regrets away at night when I wash my face.

I do my best. 

I choose the right thing whenever I possibly can. 

I love.

28 October, 2008

Time Slows Down

Today, twice I double checked my phone for its clock... it seems that I gained extra time in this Peet's Coffee shop. That almost never happens to me. It could be that this is the first true alone time I have had in weeks. 

I worked on the book for a bit. I need to use my bigger screen at home to get the paragraph spacing right, and see the layout.. and try to get the pagination right ( and trimmed so Squid doesn't cil me.) It is exciting to work on it. I know we don't have an agent.. that there's no flashy book tour, but I feel good knowing that the proceeds all go to SEPTAR and there are kids who might read the words on those pages and feel just a little bit better, a little less alone. God willing and the creek don't rise, the book should be available mid-November.

Jake and I went to urgent care yesterday. He does not have a broken meta-tarsal, as was feared. After a few x-rays we discovered he had only chipped a little tiny bit off of a little bitty bone. Given that one quarter of all the bones in the human body are in the feet, it is not surprising that he would break something. We are having the convergence I think of a few things:
  • Jake has profound disabilities. He is unable to effectively communicate when he is in danger or injured. 
  • Jake does have cerebral palsy. We forget this sometimes because he is so physical, and he eats by mouth and he has no tubes or crutches, and mostly does not use a wheelchair. Most of the kids we know with CP, they are more stereotypical. 
  • Jake is an eight year old boy. He loves to climb and jump and explore and race around and feel the dirt between his toes. 
  • Jake likes being in bare feet.
I had not actually prepared for weekly urgent care/hospital visits. I did not break any bones until I was 11 I think. By his age I had chipped a tooth,  and had stitches (once), but I'm pretty sure I didn't break anything until the roller skating incident. They used to have speed skate/a race at least once during each skate night. I was pretty fast, but not that fast, and was especially not in the winner category when I tripped over my own slates and landed on my right wrist. I also broke my left wrist falling off of someone's back in a game of horse (now who the hell was I ever smaller than? Perhaps that's why I fell?), and the third break, on my right arm again was from? I have no idea. I just remember that I had a wrist brace on both arms for three days during a period of time when one was healing and the other had been fractured.

Anywhoooo. I guess I forgot that Jake would get injured from normal playing too. I read a lot. I played some sports and rode my bike, but for the most part, Jake's play life is much more physical than mine ever was. I am trying to find a balance between keeping him safe and keeping him from being bored. 

Jake's bus is coming soon. I must swill my coffee and head back home to pick him up from the bus. It's been a nice little vortex here, full of time, no children,  many business conversations going on around me. I am well caffeinated now, and thus fortified against what this afternoon may bring. Hopefully no injuries. These co-pays are killing me.

26 October, 2008

23 October, 2008

Chit Chat

Sometimes in this little Special Needs community I have become a part of, we joke that the "apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Meaning that it is not always surprising to meet the parents of a special needs kid and discover they are just as odd if not more quirky than their child.

I have noticed lately that little Lucy is a rather chatty little girl. She came out ready to go. At 2 hours old she had her eyes wide open and her mouth poised to speak. She has a LOT to say. She says it well, very well even, for a not yet 2.5 year old in big long sentences sometimes. She is remarkable, and people, friends, find it amusing to note that she "talks almost as much as her mother."

That's the other thing about these quirky kids, and more often their parents... we don't aways get social cues. This was one area that I had always thought myself rather savvy, the social cues part, but I am thinking lately that I have really, really, not heard all of the subtle and not so subtle ways people have been letting me know that I talk too much; too much, too often, over people, through people, dominating conversations and dictating when others speak. This trait I had always put on my assets side, the side with thin ankles and a college education, when it's looking more like this trait falls, apparently much more solidly on the side with thinning hair and my inability to remember people's names. I am ashamed.

I have always filled the space. Ask my sister, my dad. It's a family joke right? Actually I think I AM the family joke, and now with a bunch of people I really admire, I am starting to feel that way too.

How does it happen that something I thought was a skill, something I actually liked about myself, has become something that has gotten away from me and has ultimately turned into a flaw? Does this happen to other people? Are there things you thought you were good at that end up being something everyone else hates about you? Something you never thought of as a problem that once it comes to light makes you toss and turn?

We are loathe to label our children because we are afraid it will define them, limit them, make it so it's hard for people to look past their disability. What if they change or develop past that label? Will anyone notice, or will they look at what was decided about them years before and just prejudge them? What about when I am introduced as someone who talks "more than anyone else on the entire planet"? What chance do I have to learn new tricks there? Or will I also disappoint if I am tired and just don't feel like holding up both ends of the conversation? I used to love, love, sharing something funny that happened in my life, but I am realizing that I am so self conscious lately that I almost found myself unable to speak in front of a crowd the other night when I was on a panel. I've been speaking, or singing, in front of audiences since I was in the third grade. It's something I have done hundreds of times and enjoyed every single time without butterflies, and the last several times? well...

It's good to face your flaws. It's good to have people care enough to point them out to you. It gives you a chance to right them. Better now before I'm 40 so maybe I have a chance at the second half of my life of being a little less ego centric and little less selfish. Maybe I can ask more questions. I can hold my tongue and not share my opinion, because Lord knows I have one on every subject. I have already tried the not calling people thing; I don't need to be that phone call that people dread answering.

Although, and I'll be honest, I can have this sick feeling in my stomach and vow every night that tomorrow I will keep my mouth closed, but in the moment.. I don't know how. I don't know how to keep a story inside. I don't know how to give the short response. I don't understand how to keep the phone on the table when I want to share something. I don't know what it's like to walk past other people in the grocery store or on the street and not say hello, or chat with the checker or the person behind me in line. I've been teaching Lucy that we do not stare. I've been teaching that when we make eye contact with someone we say "Hello" or "Good morning" or "How are you?" I've been teaching her because people are going to be staring at my family a lot over her lifetime and I want her to be armed with words so she can make the situation of having a brother with special needs less awkward.. for herself, for others.

Lately I'm feeling like it's just one more thing I am doing wrong in the parenting department because clearly it's not working out for me to have learned to be a "Chatty Kathy".

20 October, 2008

Clean Not-So-Mini Van, Friends and Art


I cleaned out my car. This means I now have at least 2 Costco-sized, and 3 Trader Joe's bags filled with krap in my kitchen and guest room. That's the bad part. The good part is that I was able to pile friends in my car yesterday and wind our way all over the Bay Area.

Emerald Hills at Ep's house is a peaceful way to start an October morning. There are quail and deer and birds and had we stayed even a few moments longer we would have heard the bees buzzing in her lavender bushes. It is a slice of country just blocks from my own home. It is one of my new favorite places, which makes sense to me as this is now the second woman that I really like who has owned the house.

280 North is always a beautiful drive. The lanes are wide and the road sweeps in gentle curves back and forth... and people drive fast. I love to drive fast. From the back seat I am asked by Captain Blog "Are you a lead foot?" I ease off the pedal as Squid reminds the carload of potential San Bruno area drivers that this particular area is a happy hangout for the Po-lice. I ease our way into a pack of cars who have slowed to 70 and realize that I rarely relax.

The Golden Gate Bridge shed its fog for the morning and a necessary potty break landed us in the Vista Point parking lot with clear visibility all the way back to the San Francisco peninsula. I take a short walk around the parking lot and returnto my seat behind the wheel thinking, "Wow. We sure are lucky aren't we?"

Sebastopol is farther away than I remember, but not so far that my coffee cup still has some warm caffeine when we hit some sort of magical coffee hut/hip people mash-up. I enjoy a Lattacino, which is perfect for me unsweetened with less milk than a latte and more than a cappuccino. There are lots of children with striped tights and layers of clothing.

We head into downtown and unleash ourselves on the farmer's market. DT and I debate whether we need to create a makeshift icepack so we can enjoy tasty cheese later at home. We meander about. I eat a peach the size of my daughter's head and buy award winning honey and a loaf of bread which I share a bit of, but mostly I hold it and nibble on it as if it is a lollipop in my hand.

Do I have this out of order already? probably. It was the Sebastopol Art Trails, and at Squid's invitation we (mostly) follow a schedule of bliss which also includes time for amazing artists, lunch on a patio, a visit to a nursery and because we still had time a new tea house. One of my favorite stops was Patrick Amiot and Brigitte Laurent Their work is fantastic. It is whimsical and interesting and charming and edgy and beautifully painted and I want a sculpture in my front yard. I buy my sister a calendar, and hope that she will know that I wanted to buy her half the art in the place when she opens up the calendar for her birthday (which is today).

The countryside was beautiful, and while Squid is the most perfect navigator, I almost think she let me meander a bit on those winding roads purely because I was enjoying the scenery. The grape vines are all turning and the apple trees...the apple trees! Everywhere and loaded, and dropping their fruit. It would have been a good day to be a drifting horse, munching gravensteins here and Mcintosh there.

In Graton we viited two artists who share a space, and, I believe a life together, Lisa Beerntsen and Tony Spiers They also had a beautiful garden. They have been a part some incredible group art (Art Farm) which has been at Burning Man. It was neat to see the art in the studio, because my current life path does not indicate an adventure to Burning Man is going to happen. Lisa's art was very beautiful. In some of the current pieces she had incorporated vintage fabric. I love mixed media in general, and I love fabric even if I will probably never win any prizes for my sewing skills. I'm certain I will always have a pile of fabric in a box. Perhaps someday it will be vintage and I will make a mixed media art piece when I retire to Sebastopol.

We also visited Helen Caswell, a beautiful woman with a precious husband. (How many times have I said beautiful?) I would love to be the new renters on their expansive property. I wish she could be in my family, and in an eerie sense I feel like she is. My grandmother was an artist. She was many other things professionally, but I think had she been born in a different time or circumstance she could have made her life as an artist, as Helen has. Sifting through her prints I was amazed to see just so many portraits; so many faces she's painted over the years. I can't imagine having the ability to distinguish each face and render each one so accurately. Don't tell Descartes, but I bought two small prints. They are not originals of course, but I will love them as if they are.

Our last art stop of the day was Rik Olson. A charming man who manages to create beautiful and witty art in so many ways. He is one of the few masters of wood engraving left. It is painstaking work, and making color prints takes layers of art. Ep and I discussed the idea of thinking backwards and in steps and decided it will not be my next career. Rik also participated in this really cool benefit thing where they made prints using a steamroller.

After breathing in a little bitmore apple-scented air at the Olson studio we went back to downtown Sebastapol and tried Infusions The tea selection is amazing here.

Hmm funny here I am getting tired writing, just about the same time I got tired in real life.

The end of my story is that I enjoyed a really lovely day with some very lovely people and came home to my son sound asleep, my daughter awake for a potty break and my sweet husband tired, but just happy to see me, and not cranky at all about having watched the kids for more than 12 hours (of nearly all awake time). I got to read Lucy a story then pass out asleep on the couch before Descartes nudged me to go downstairs to bed.

Clean car, good friends, interesting art and a happy family. Now that's a pile of luck.

Love Notes

New Story posted on Can I Sit With You? Love Notes by Tanya Foubert.

One girl's foray into shop class, and the inevitable gender bias that greets her.

16 October, 2008

Turning Corners in a Round House

last night as Jake settles into bed:

He is kicking the bed frame which then bangs against the wall and shudders the house, making it sound like he is thrashing about when really he is criss-crossing his legs, practicing really a new skill of making one side of his body cooperate with the other. His toes cling to the bed post as he creeps them up and down lying on his back looking at the very dimmed light fixture. I crawl in next to him for a moment, because I miss him, this calm him, because I want relationship with my own son who won't can't make eye contact with me. I want to at least feel close to him, and since he isn't flailing about I think I can. So I lay on the twin bed. He is nearly as long as I am, but he is all bones and muscle and joints. Even his frame is hard to hold because he is angular against my motherly roundness. I hug him and he rolls into me, his face next to mine on the pillow.

me: "Jake, I love you so much. I'm so glad you're feeling better."
Jake: "Mmph" said with a smile
me: "Jake I love you. Can you tell mommy 'I love you?' Can you say 'love'?"
Jake: clearly "Love."


He is happy this morning, lots of happy sounds and running up and down the stairs , jumping and smiling at the sight of a fresh cup of milk or more cheerios. Maybe he is back from where ever he goes when he is so upset in his own body. He's back and he may have learned more new skills again. It was hard this time. Physical injuries and a baby sister who felt abandoned. Descartes and I only fought one time, and only for a moment, so we are better at this, but we're still learning.

There's no rulebook for our child, or this life. There's only slowly moving forward, hoping that the next time we come more prepared, with a more fortified army of caretakers, medications and resources. Because no matter how far we've come, no matter that this morning it feels like it is over, I know another episode is coming; my calendar says next week.

15 October, 2008

Fall Break Week One Update

No California Academy of Sciences today.. my great plan to entertain both of my children. Today is "Free Wednesday", and while I think that is just fantastic for everyone else, those kind of crowds do not make navigation easy, so we will skip that.

Jake is feeling a little bit better in terms of episode...I think... He was able to lunch yesterday at a restaurant. Sage met us at the local Indian buffet and he was well behaved and was even following some directions. Jake and I "rolled" around the shopping area from 10:30-2pm waiting for our car to get new run flat tires, then new front and rear brakes... ouch to the wallet. Run fat tires are a great idea, but they cost at least twice as much as most tires and last half as long.

Anywhoo, Jake went into his wheelchair happily... he has a cold so he was a bit lethargic, which after the past however many weeks of spazzing and throwing, I'll admit I was a little bit okay seeing. We went to a discount store where he picked out his costume.. a skeleton. He laughed when I told him it was perfect because he was skin and bones already.

I don't think Lucy is going to be thrilled with Jake's choice of costume. She is prety convinced that she is going to be a penguin, Jake is going to be a puppy, Daddy is going to be a pumpkin and I am going to be a bee. Just ask her. SHe's been saying this for at least a month now. How quirky she is!

Wish us luck we are off to Lucy's swimming lesson. Jake hates it there... lovely.

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Swimming update... Jake did very well at the enclosed noisy swim school that Lucy loves so much. Half way through the lesson my dear Squid came to entertain Jake so I could help the teacher Faith, remind Lucy to use "big arms". Jake even gave Squid a little low five in the car and smiled when she asked whether he was going to come over to her house soon. Yay for friends! Yay for Jake feeling better! Yay for giant coloring book purchased for Lucy at Costco which may keep her entertained for the next 15 minutes!

13 October, 2008

Just Another Monday

Social worker comes in two hours.
Jake has a nasty cold
Lucy got up too early and is so cranky. 
Descartes had an early meeting so he is long gone.


Lucy has just asked for a baby sister.


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Social worker meeting went well. Looks like it might be possible to get a new "trail-friendly" wheelchair for Jake, which would open up a lot more trails for our family. Wouldn't that be terrific? 

11 October, 2008

Trees and Lopsided Cakes

I tried to have a little normal this morning by baking a cake for my dear friend Squid. It is her birthday tomorrow.. so hop on over and wish her a good one. 

Jake went cuckoo again this morning...just so upset so Descartes packed him into the car as I was frosting the cake with my favorite terribly sweet seven minute frosting. I finished the cake and packed a quick picnic lunch.

Then Lucy and I got dressed and Descartes picked us up and 
off we drove down the road 
towards the coast. Our destination: Portola Redwood State Park. It was a little risky given that Jake was so upset, but  driving on windy roads in the car, a change of venue and trees generally are all things which make Jake happy.
 We chose a path that looked somewhat wheelchair-able.. Ha HA! Half way in we left the chair at the side of the trail and Jake
 walked holding Daddy's hand. He did very well.


We told Jake that if he got tired he could let us know and we would
 just turn around and head back. We walked another 500 yards and he turned Descartes around by the hand and headed back down the trail. He was calm and happy the whole time on the trail. Lucy loved "camping". We chose another trail (which was really a service access road, and therefore paved) and walked another mile or so up and down hills with Jake in his wheelchair. Lucy wanted to keep going down the road, but soon she was walking with her eyes closed she was so tired. We packed it up and headed home. 

Happy Jake played in our backyard, Descartes worked (of course), and I finished up the cake. Lucy slept in the car, and it's a good thing she rested because we went over to Squid's house and Lucy and Mali played like crazy wild creatures, Descartes and I got to talk with grownups (athough Descartes did quite a bit of active parenting) and Jake got to play in the new rock garden that I am fairly certain was 'planted' exclusively for my child. My children are always happy at the Rosenbergs. Note the picture of Lucy here sporting a hairstyle a la Iz and 1/2 bottle of mousse..and face paint. We thought she looked like the joker.

We had a great time, and apparently all of the change was good for Jake who managed to NOT cry at all from 5:30-8:30 today. Sorry Squid we will be dropping Jake off every day at 5:15pm. 

Both children came home and went to bed within 10 minutes of going into their rooms. I just went to check on Jake and he sounds a bit sniffly, but it could be that he played in Squid's backyard for 4 hours in 56 degree weather. 

I am calling it a successful day. 


10 October, 2008

Out on the Town

Descartes has just taken Jake out in the car again. Jake was screaming and crying. Throwing himself around on the kitchen floor. I gave him 1 mg of Atavin at 3:45 as recommended by his psychiatrist. It has done nothing to relieve whatever "this" is. 

Every day 5:30-8:45 Jake screams and cries. Have you heard of sundowning? It is a term most often used in describing symptoms which occur in those afflicted with Alzheimer's. Maybe that's what is going on for Jake. 

I still managed to clean out the toys upstairs and get a flank steak marinated which Descartes grilled when he got home. Had I actually gotten a hold of Descartes at 4:15pm when I tried texting him I would have begged him to come home because Jake was so out of control. Then I made the kids dinner and half way through, Jake started smiling and laughing. Then he played in the back yard happily... and then he lost it again.

I am so tired. Emotionally drained really. and poor Lucy..all potty training has stopped. She is telling me she is a baby. 

The only way things feel sane is to have someone come to help us every day. The fact is we just cannot afford to have that much help. Yes we get respite hours, but the reimbursement rate does not cover what an aide actually costs.  We never have help over the weekend Friday through Sunday we are on our own, because **really** shouldn't we be able to take care of our own children? 

I just want my arm to be healed a little more before we start cutting hours. I know this episode won't last forever, but it better end before it breaks the bank.

09 October, 2008

Upside Down

Jake was a happy kid this morning, and then I found myself typing this entry into my phone in the school parking lot. Windows are rolled up and I can still hear him screaming as he thrashes his way down the hall. 
He started crying two blocks before we even got to school. Jake has always loved school,and now he cries, and cries, and cries...with tears as we near the intersection that dictates that there is no other end point beside school. 
I sent a scathing letter to the district yesterday in regards to Jake's 1:1 aide. She is not a bad person at all. she just isn't cut out to be an aide in a Special Ed. class. or at least not Jake's aide. Not many of us are. I sure as hell don't feel like I have the right skills and energy to do this job on many days.. but I didn't CHOOSE this as a profession. At her young age I am hoping she can find the right career.somewhere else. We should, if all goes well for us, have a new aide when we return from fall break in two weeks.

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I forgot Jake's bus vest and had to go back to school... and his nose is running clear, so that means it is allergy time again.. Lovely. As if we weren't throwing a whole bunch of drugs in him already this week, let's add Clairitin

********************************
Jake arrived home (early day) happy happy kid. SO happy that I asked him if he wanted to go get ice cream for a date. Even with my recovering arm, I was thinking that he looked so happy it just might work. Sure enough he said "eye-ce creammm" so yeah.. Jake got ice cream. Three scoops of cookies and cream with chocolate sauce and marshmallow topping. And he sat nicely and even looked at the employee who said she was glad to seem him after all these weeks.

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I still gave Jake an Atavin. I don't yet trust that at 5:30 he will be this happy child, and I cannot have any more bloodshed in this house for at least another week.  

08 October, 2008

Time for Sleep

and I know this because:
  1. my children are both actually sleeping in beds and no one is bleeding.
  2. my husband has gone to bed
  3. my glass of wine is empty
  4. my eyes hurt
and the number one reason I need to go to bed...

I just started thinking about the possibility of training for marathons or better yet triathlons.

ha HA! this friggin LIFE is a more than a triathlon.  

we are on day forever of whatever is going on with Jake. We have been trying to find the right combination of drugs for him. Listening to Sage's advice I am trying to track everything on a spreadsheet to see if there is a "good" combination in this mess somewhere. 

It's been a lot like when Jake was little and had that long episode where he didn't sleep for over a month.. only now he is 8 and big, and it is harder to keep him safe.

He seems to be coming out of it...slowly. 

This morning he said "Mom" and at school yesterday he said "Teacher". 

always looking for those small victories.

07 October, 2008

Yearbook Yourself

Lazy leftover drafts filling in for NaBloPoMo


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Yearbook Yourself... genius time sink. I had so much fun!

It didn't quite work in the first photo because my modern day photo had bangs
me in 1958:



1960 worked a little better


and 1964


and 1966


and 1968


and 1970


and 1972




and 1976



and I'm pretty sure this was me in 1990


and 1992 no no no.. the soft focus touch





Here I am in 1994 love that perm:


And 1996:










05 October, 2008

Just not That Funny

So I can't remember where I was, perhaps it was the CBS 5 Blogger Mixer? (which was great by the way) and someone told me I was funny. And then they asked, "Is your blog funny?" and as I contemplated a witty answer, my dear friend Squid volunteered

"No. It's about her life." And then the conversation moved on.

Yeah. It's about my life, which lately is just not that funny. I mean I can make most things sort of sound funny...

like this one, ready?

Beware of Safeway meatloaf, it nearly killed me. It was so tough I almost took off my left index finger a few weeks ago and had to go to the local emergency room to get four stitches to staunch the bleeding. The wait wasn't very long. I asked them to triage me last so I could actually get a nap. As I see it that visit will end up being 40 bucks a stitch and $200 an hour for a bed to nap in.

What really happened?
Jake was so upset, as he has been for weeks and weeks and weeks now that I was hurrying and watching him thrash at the counter with his aide and I stopped looking at what I was cutting and sliced my finger. It bled through a kitchen towel and I still finished making his dinner so I could feel comfortable that I was leaving the aide with as little else to manage as possible. At the hospital I fell asleep on the gurney so hard that they were a little worried about me, as it seems they would leave the room for 20 seconds and I would fall sound asleep before they returned.

and then here's another good funny story:
My younger brother Gerard came up for the weekend. He arrived just in time on Thursday to go out for drinks with all of my mama friends from SEPTAR, scaring them with his amazing white teeth and strong beach body builder physique. On Friday night we decided to eat dinner at home because Jake was having such a hard time. He yelled for me after he went to check on Jake who had gone to bed early. I ran down the stairs only to find my brother with blood all over his hands and when Jake slid a bit to the side, trying to wriggle away from Gerard, blood all over the floor. Dude.. welcome to my home.

okay I can't even make that story funny.

After we put Jake to bed he continued to thrash about. I gave him the max on the benzodiazepine that was recently prescribed by the Psychiatrist. Apparently, this stronger and "smoother" drug takes more time to kick in and more time to wear off, than the other one we had used sporadically to control extremely out-of-control, dangerous, thrashing. We kept checking on him, but Gerard was the one who found him covered in blood, coming from an unidentified head wound.

Head wounds bleed a lot, and after carrying Jake upstairs and putting him in his 5 point car seat in the car, which the only place we can truly hold him down without hurting ourselves, we cleaned up the wound and decided not to go to the ER. Staples that would probably get pulled out by Jake would inevitably be harder to deal with than waiting until the swelling in the little know went down and the 1cm would closed up. It wasn't long before the bleeding stopped, but it was several more hours until we felt comfortable that Jake wasn't going to bash his head into another wall downstairs, so he sat in the living room with us, belted into his thank-God-we-have-this wheelchair. It was awesome. Jake's car seat still has Descartes' shirt over it covered in dried blood.(which Descartes stripped on and held against Jake's head as soon as he saw the blood.. God I love that man who knows how to react...)


okay so you can see...not that funny.

I also have an injured shoulder from Jake ripping my arm out of the socket (practically) which, while it is healing, and I am going to PT, makes me incapable of doing many household tasks well or at all... and my house was not looking good to begin with. And then I had an IEP for Jake, which led to the need to have another one (those went very well, just took a long time).

And I had a really emotional day after getting Jake into Camp. You would think that it would just make me happy, but it is a really bad process to sign kids up for 1:1 aides. I know I must be first my son's advocate, but it makes me cry (while driving friends on the highway in my Not-so-mini van at 75mph.. not good)

and did I tell you about the 2 inch nail Jake stepped on last week? I don't think I did. Went into and back out of his foot. His high pain tolerance meant that he did it while I was 12 feet away from him, and did not know expect for a strange drawing-in of breath that he took loudly. It was an odd enough sound that I watched him for a minute noticed a slight limo and asked Descartes to check out his foot as he passed by. He just scooped Jake up and said we are going to the hospital. I called Sage and she came for Lucy without waiting for me to tell her why I needed last-minute babysitting. The ER was great. They "got" Jake, and didn't insist on numbing his foot all up with a bunch of needles before we took out the nail. It came out as it had gone in quickly. Jake only cried when they washed his foot, and I am guessing it is only because we held him too still. We were able to spend the entire next day focused on Jake because Squid took Lucy home with her to play with Mali.

I haven't been laughing a lot lately.

I am okay. Good things have been happening too. I know they have. We decided on the list of contributors for the next Can I Sit With You? book due out in November. Jake continues to say more words at school-- "No! Applesauce!" when offered yogurt. Lucy is starting to sleep a little better. My closet is clean. I have amazing friends who jump at the chance to help us. We went to the new California Academy of Sciences which the kids loved.

Those things aren't funny either, but it is my life.

This is all just one part of my life, which will pass. Hopefully I am in a learning phase right now so that the next part is really really easy, and less physically painful, and funny. Maybe it will be funny.
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