Sunday, November 30, 2008


I am sorry to say that this month's content has not been - in any way - equal to the emotional (or at times even rational) content in my Nablopomo participation of previous years.

I wish I could say there was some resolution to the haunting by a local tortured soul, alas there is none, and I find myself desperate to seek some rationale, some motive, in the world of her insanity.
There is not: there is only more turbulence.

A few friends ventured to ask me: Why do you do such things? Why do you harken to the flocke and commit thineself?
And I said: Why do you talk such proper nonsensical bullshittinous accuracy back at me, fool?

And therily, Nablopomo was over.
Yet again.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Nablopomo: Is it over yet? Pumpkin Cake!!

While I was whipping up my pumpkin chiffon pies (my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner, as I really hate sticking my hand up a turkey's ass, and pretty much refuse to do so), I was left with too many whipped egg whites. Can you imagine? And in the fridge, I had some yolks.
And about 3/4 can of pumpkin left.
So I made up a little layer cake, whipped up some delicious vanilla swiss meringue buttercream, and took it all with me to our friends' three hours north.
The cake was great - moist, firm but light, dense enough to hold up to a perfect petit four, but light enough to taste more cake-y than muffin-y. Since I was working with leftover ingredients, I made two round layers which were a bit thin, but the cake would do well as a single layer cake as well.

Pumpkin Cake
3 eggs, separated (this step is not necessary; I was working with leftover eggwhites)
3/4 can pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup canola oil
1 & 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

  1. Mix egg yolks with pumpkin, sugar, butter and oil
  2. Add combined dry ingredients, mix well
  3. Fold in egg whites
  4. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes for 2 round layers.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Beach Friday - Still Thankful

Find the child:

Dune rompers:

Surf Dance:


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Yes, I have plenty to say about roller coasters.

Yes, I am thankful for some people and stuff.

And yes, I was up all night thinking about that little satanic bottom-feeder, Marla.

She won't shut up.
She continues to spew, even after the phone call from the BOS, and she called Nina back to clarify how right she was.
"You didn't know her then!" she defended her accusations repeatedly.
She now has a friend of hers calling Nina to defend her (copycat).

I have tried to let this go. I know that she is C*R*A*Z*Y and that most people will not believe her. But this is not like someone accusing me of flirting with someone's husband, this is not like accusing me of stealing a car:
That bitch is calling me a baby killer.

I am having a hard time letting that one go.

I have many reactions to this, some of them petty.

Petty reaction#1: I want to call her and point out that if she had bothered to reciprocate one-tenth of the favors I had offered her, if she had just one time helped us out when we took Elijah for testing (at Useless Childrens Hospital) or therapy, she would have had a glimpse into reality and seen what was going on for my child. She never could have fabricated or spread this insanity. For the past five years.

Petty reaction#2: Our friendship was over when I could no longer help her. When I was pregnant with Elijah while mothering a one year old, I was not available to help her. She did not know me then. How dare she claim that she was my friend.

Petty reaction #3: This woman claims to be a Christian, and a virtuous one at that. Hmmm.

Petty reaction #4: I hate her. HATE. HER.

Petty reaction #5: is a novel. I will spare you.

Non-petty reaction:

This needs to stop.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Apraxia in Action

One of the interesting things about a child having Apraxia, is that he can repeat things as accurately as he may hear them each time, but rarely do they come out sounding the same way each time.
Also, since it is in reality, a neurological processing disorder, what he wants to say may differ completely from his ability to name an object presented to him for labeling.

To be able to understand a neurological disorder such as Apraxia (not exclusive to Bubbles'), one has to understand how the brain is capable of working independently (and, at times 'against itself') from its own desires.
Because If you want a spoon, you can ask for a spoon. If Bubbles wants a spoon, he can now ask for a spoon.
If you have a neuro-processing disorder (such as Apraxia), someone can hold up a picture of a spoon, or even worse, hold up a real spoon, and you might not be able to say that it was, in fact, a spoon. The part of your brain that can request a spoon and the part of your brain that can label a spoon are two completely different parts of your brain.

So, the other day, Bubbles wanted to go in the car. He yelled, "I go HOUSE! I go HOUSE!"
Until I totally bit the bait, "WHO'S HOUSE??? WHERE do you want to go??"

And he said, "I wan go Nina's house."
And I said, "I think Nina and Joe are coming over here soon. We don't have to go there."
And he seemed satisfied with that.

Of course, when Nina and Joe arrived, there was much a-flurry! Bubbles ran about and hugged his beloved Nina, whose home he had just begged to visit.
I asked him to say her name, "Who is here, Bubbs? Who is this?"
He looked right at her, looked back over at her husband (Joe), grinned his rabbit tooth grin, pointed straight at Nina, and said, "Thas JOE!"

That? That, is Apraxia in action.

Another funny thing about having a child with Apraxia is that you can hear them say something perfectly sometimes. So perfectly that you wonder if your older child is somehow home from school. And that perfect utterance may or may not be repeated.
We are starting to hear more of these 'perfect utterances' in Bubbles' speech, and this has caused a bit of stir.

Yesterday as we were driving home from the guru (his speech therapist), we narrowly missed a metal-bending crash with a car that blindly crossed over three lanes of traffic. It was closer than inches; it was centimeters. My hands were shaking in that 'OMG THAT WAS SO CLOSE' way, and I yelled out something like, "HOLY SHIT!" and Bubbles, from the back seat, piped up,
"What happen?"
Without regaining composure, I muttered, "DUMBASS!" and from the back seat, I heard,
"Dumbass!" echoed with just the right amount of disgust, and spoken with the most perfect articulation you ever did hear.

You would never have guessed it was spoken by a child with severe Apraxia. A child who, just three months ago, could barely say any two syllable words.

Which is why today is the day I stop swearing in front of Bubbles.

(will someone please motherfucking hold me?)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Gwendomama Has A Big Mouth

This thing, while keeping your child's carseat from rocking, ROCKS!

New post up at Big Mouth Reviews.

Zen Wedding

Remember the wedding we went to about a month ago?

Soak up some pictures while I busy myself compiling the fabulousness that was our day at The Big Fun. Unsolicited reviews don't write themselves, you know.

The cast of children present with the only requirement that they be silent adorable.

Lex and Supergirl, the ring bearers, and Sophie Fig.

And the stars of the day:

The beautiful brides, and the zen priest who married them.

Yes, Bubbles was there too, and looking quite dapper, but I cannot find a picture of him to prove it. He was a star attendee for a three year old. He wowed his seatmates with the ability to behave and entertain himself quietly with a small offering of new 'guys' for nearly an hour. He was so enthralled with his new 'guys' and their teeny tiny accessories and hats and helmets, that he kept going up to the zen priest after the wedding and asking him what happened to his hat. Didn't he know he was supposed to have some accessories on that bare head?

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I got home from a long day spent having The Big Fun here, (as immediately documented by QuicksilverCindy; stay tuned for the complaint and follow-up details!))where we were joined by the female members of the Fig Family, to a message that 'Marla' had been 'dealt with'.

The BOS did her thing and called Marla, on my behalf, telling her to essentially back the fuck off, she wouldn't want her reputation on this small mountain to reflect only the the small-minded and transparent lies she was offering, and she was sure she would not want people to think that she could continue to spread untrue and unkind lies about someone, let alone add to their pain.

Marla replied with a series of 'uh-huh's' and 'okay's', and the BOS reminded her that what she was spreading was indeed 'actionable' and would be addressed as such.

The Bos, against her inherent judgment, believes that 'Marla' will not be mentioning this story.
Ever again.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Me vs. Grief: Version 4.6

In Elijah's lifetime, there were a finite number of pictures taken of him.
There were quite a few pictures, but he lived for thirteen months and eleven days.
So there are thirteen months and eleven days worth of pictures. Considering not many pictures were taken of him at the end, when he was sick. It never occurred to us that it could or would be the end.

There was also video taken of him. This was before we had a digital video camera, so we have some tapes.
I have never, ever watched any of that footage. Not one second.
I have thought about it, I think I will do it, I think I am ready.
Then I conveniently forget.
Until the next time.

Right after Elijah died, I was incapable of even looking at his pictures. The day that he died, I came home to pictures of him all around my house - pictures of him alive. Pictures that taunted and mocked me, reminding me only of the fact that he was - gone.
A photo of his shining blue eyes reminded me that they were closed and unshining. A picture of his chubby smile reminded me of giving him mouth-to-mouth CPR for 45 minutes. A picture of his platinum hair reminded me of cutting a lock to drop into an envelope (which, to this day, remains 'lost') just hours after he took his last breath.
A picture of his life reminded me only of his death; of his expressions in death, of the panic, of the failure to revive him, of the fact that it was all over. Forever.

And then, as I would reach to turn the picture face-down, I would sob with guilt. What kind of mother looks at her child's smile and is reminded only of his death? What kind of mother could cradle him in astonishment as he took his last breath, cradle him just hours later while the shock overcame her that he was just an empty shell, and then, just a few hours later, be unable to look at his face?
Grief of this magnitude is difficult to navigate, it is suffocating - it is breathing in thick mud, it is impossible for the beholder to comprehend, and it is overwhelming (think catatonic) to feel. It is pretty much like a head-on collision with a large truck that doesn't kill you.
Sadness that runs so deep, it carries its own albatross of grief.

It has been four years and six months since Elijah died. That itself, seems unimaginable.
Not once have I been courageous enough to view any of that video. I know it exists.

I imagine what it might be like - to watch him wave his hands around again, to see him reach for his favorite toys, to watch his bright eyes dart between us and the fairies, and oh! to hear him coo and sing...
...but not be able to reach for him, kiss him, hold him...

I don't know. If I cannot write those memories without tearing up, perhaps I am not ready to see him.
I wish I could say I was strong.

But you can see, that really, I am not.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Pleasant Distraction

I am deep in thought about the situation.

Meanwhile, here is my 'TOUCHE!' of the month:

You know about the Mormons Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' practice of baptizing dead souls, thus converting them to their one true religion?

Well, those liars went back on their agreement to stop posthumously baptizing Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

My dear friends over at DailyKos have come up with a great backlash to this offense:

Converting dead Mormons into homosexuals, starting with Joseph Smith.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Because Humor is What Spares Her Right Now

A friend of mine has a serious illness and was talking about the looming possibility of having her colon removed.
I offered to go rip Marla a new one and donate her colon to my friend.

My friend declined.
"Bad juju!" she said.

I had to agree.

Seriously, if she ended up with Marla's colon, she would probably start talking out her asshole.
And that would just be hard to explain.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What Would You Do?

This one has been rolling around in my head - and heart - for a few days. I keep imagining that I have written about it already; then I find nothing on the computer and realize that I had just thought about it. Again. Over and over. And then again some more.

I have picked up the phone and not made the call. I have gathered the words to confront honestly, the other version in which I belittle, and then the one in which I threaten.

There is a person who lives here in my small community with whom I was friends for many years. (I resisted the urge to insert the word 'stupidly' between 'was' and 'friends'.)
Too many years.
Friends with the community Gossip Queen.
Too many years.
Who would never talk about me that way, right?
Too many years.
For years before I had my own children, I would step in to help Marla with almost anything - firewood in a lean winter, wine on a rough day, emergency childcare for her three children, overnight care for her children to assist her 'on-the-rocks' marriage (now, long over), waived preschool tuition bills, offered my shoulder and sleeve for her name a few.
Some of these favors continued after I started my own family; the requests were unfailing, but my availability was more limited.
The addition of Elijah to our family brought along a new direction and uncharted territory, involving hours of OT, PT, and testing. With a two year old in tow. I remember calling Marla a few times to ask her to watch Supergirl while I took Elijah to some appointment. By this time, she was going through a dramatic divorce, and her response was always 'This is my alone time - I don't have the kids then, so I need that time to myself'.
Whatever; I didn't really have the time to feel jilted back then.
Then, just four months after Elijah died, I had a surprise pregnancy and an even more surprising miscarriage. Marla's commentary on this event was the wake-up call I had been ignoring for years to call it quits in this give and take relationship (I gave, she took).

"If you were taking better care of yourself and sleeping better and living a more spiritual life, this wouldn't have happened."

I remember walking her to her car and suggesting she get the hell outta my yard that instant.

At that moment, I was free. I was free to resume and maintain healthy friendships with supportive friends and be left with only the residual sheepishness of having been her friend for so damn long. For ten years I had listened to her gossip about every single person she knew, watched her take what she could from her friends, and flirt with every single friend's husband she could get near. Those memories are my cross to bear.
It was over.

Not too long ago, a good friend of mine who is one of the kindest, most patient and forgiving souls you have ever met, had a momentary lapse of reason invited Marla over for dinner out of pity after an impromptu playdate involving their daughters. During this time, Marla proved that she was still quite the chatterbox. She appalled my friend by insulting her husband, and then clawing her way through a list of common friends and their failings. Nina, who has little tolerance for such things, called her on her gossiping, and Marla admitted she 'had a problem'.
Nina then asked her about a specific situation which Marla herself had incited years ago, creating a deep rift between myself and another local woman.
A situation which, even at the time, I knew had to be somehow exaggerated considering the source, but I was so hurt and angered by it that I never explored the source or extent of the malady.
The situation?

The short version is that this woman was a friend of Marla's and threatened to call CPS on us because we lied about Elijah's age in an elevator in Hawaii.

The longer and more detailed backstory is here, and highly recommended if you wish to follow along.

So, Nina asks Marla about this situation in particular, and Marla agrees, "I probably said too much."
Nina presses on and says, "You think so? I know so."

And then, Marla tells Nina something she is sure she didn't already know.
"I know how Elijah died. I had told her too much."


"You know what?"

"Well, you know that Gwendomama was in the hospital [on too many pre-term labor drugs to count] for six weeks when she was pregnant?"
"Yes, I knew about the pre-term labor."

"Well, the reason she was in the hospital was because she was anorexic and starving herself and then...well...the know...."

It was at this point that my friend Nina ended the conversation, then sat on it for two weeks before she could even tell me. I appreciate that she did.
But I am beyond angry. Beyond hurt.

To take the knowledge of someone's past - a painful past which took years of effort to work beyond - and then use it to form some crackerjackass diagnosis for not only me but for MY CHILD -


Wait. They are coming.

And then? Then to spread that diagnosis around the mountain like poison oak, because that is what Marla does -

I think of the hatred I have carried around for this woman, and now I feel horrible! I can understand why she freaked out if she had believed Marla's backstory.
I don't entirely forgive her for being so fucking superior and ignorant at the same time, but I this whole story is different now.

I think of all the people up here who have looked at me and wondered if her story was true...I want to kill her.


I have not called Marla, I have not shown up at her door (which itself shows incredible restraint since I do know where she lives), I have not exposed her real name, and I have not even sent her a letter insisting that she cease and desist defamation of character.

I don't currently trust myself, so I am giving myself some time to calm down.
Just a little.

So......What would YOU do?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Free Advice

You need to be very very careful when your speech therapist suggests that you need to buy a vibrating oral motor tool for your son.

Very careful.

Look very carefully when you are ordering - even if you googled exactly the words she told you.

Because, how embarrassing would it be if you were trying to order this , but UPS delivered this?


Monday, November 17, 2008

Instead of the Phone Call I Feel Like Making

Dear Parent of twin first graders;

That kid you almost hit this morning in a head-on collision? The little girl on the bike who you ran straight into without swerving even an inch away from our path at the side of the road? The one who ran her own bike down the gulch into the brambles and poison oak so she wouldn't be hit by your car?



Try coffee - it's a wonder drug.

Lucky for you, I am not a violent person, so even when I see your little rugrats dangling dangerously off of the jungle gym, you can rest assured that I will not kick them off so they get a mouthful of sand. I would never do that. I just want you to remember that next time you come right for my daughter with your CAR and I have a ROCK in my hand.

Supergirl's Mother

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Link Love

I am a huge fan of Sara Benincasa - don't miss the final Sarah Palin Vlog - and a huge fan of her Democracy Porn. Cindy and I would like her to convince her that she is on the wrong coast, and she should come on out and Join Us.

If you toss your roasted pumpkin seeds in a little maple syrup and then put them in the oven on 'warm' until they are dry, they are....awesome. (And they will disappear.)

I've been waiting for this woman to call me or come visit for hours. Does anyone know where she is? We may get tired of waiting and head to the beach. Tell her to meet us there.

How many of you have a therapy cupboard? With all of our recent transition travails, I have started one for Bubbles. Which is why Kelley made me cry real earnest-like tears of joy for her when she wrote about her therapy cupboard. (Which, I assume, is now full of shoes and chocolate.)

I just found this craft and can't wait to try it! I am sending my children out this instant to harvest acorns!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Magic of Where We Live

The temperature in our part of California today was in the mid-eighties.
In mid-November.
Even on the coast.

(For those of you who spent a weekend in July freezing your arses off in San Francisco, this should be of notable record.)

We did what everyone else within sixty miles of the beach did today - we (drove the six miles down the hill to the coast and) headed to our favorite beach.

We went to Elijah's beach:

Bubbles enjoyed the tide pools and.......the rays of....... magic.....(?)

There was much rejoicing:

We tumbled, ran, splashed, swooped, stumbled, squawked, scooped, gawked, chased, lounged, basked...until the sun set.

And then we went home.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Update on the Plank

We were offered an extended visit on the ship -the plank was out of order.

Took the Bubbles down to favorable ABA education office to see Amazing Teacher S, and it appeared that the little peer friend who was supposed to be there for his session was home sick. This last session was supposed to be a two hour peer session, in which Bubbles and one other child will be guided by Teacher S in a mock play group or preschool setting; taking turns, joining in songs, playing together. But since the other little guy didn't show up, we were granted a one hour session (GIFT!) and will re-schedule for next week.

Bubbles announced to me when we got there today, "I NO CRY!" and I walked him in to hug Amazing Teacher S.
No cry, indeed.

You are beginning to see just how difficult this is, aren't you?

I feel like I was just given a few deep breaths.


Wish Us The Good Luck, Mateys

Yesterday I took Bubbles to the guru, after keeping him home from preschool so that he would have the energy for his one hour of speech therapy. He had been sick all week, but was well enough on Thursday to get back into action; residual cough like his sister. He had missed his first two appointments of the week, and when we showed up yesterday, he was still pissed off at being woken up from his nap. He cried, "NoNONONONONO!" and I asked him to please quiet down as we entered the office.
We were met on the stairs by the guru. "He's too sick to be here!" she said.
I was embarrassed- did she really think I would bring a sick kid? Apparently, she did.
"He's all flushed from his nap - he's just not himself yet and doesn't want to be here."
"No. He's too sick. You need to take him home."
We had some awkward and quick mumblings about scheduling for next week and off we went. To drive the 45 minutes back home.
When I got back in the car, after Bubbles was buckled in, I felt the heat crawl up my face, the chin start to quiver....and I lost it. The floodgates opened and I just sobbed, saying things to nobody in particular like 'OHMYGAWD he totally SNOWED HER!' and 'WAHHHH WAHHHH - I miss the other therapist - the ones who GOT HIM TO TALK' and a few other choice words that we may hear popping up in someone's increasing vocabulary soon but let's hope not.

After this, I went to Costco, and he ran around like a maniac; totally fine and full of energy, and completely stoked that he got out of working.

Seriously. I am losing my peaceful and trusting nature through this process.


Bubbles was progressing every single week, if not day, for the last few months under the instruction of his ABA speech therapist. He was in a huge developmental leap - one which we were afraid would be affected by a drastic change in therapists and approaches. The school district, convinced that Bubbles would transition just fine (based on nothing), refused to pay for any ABA therapy at all, stating that his issue was solely speech and language based, being apraxia, and they would not pay for a therapist who was not a licensed SLP. So, we paid for two weeks' transition time, and allowed him one session/week during (what was supposed to be) his first two weeks with the new SLP (formerly and possibly still referred to as guru; stay tuned) but then he got sick and missed all of this week. Even yesterday, when he was well.
During this time he has continued to talk and increase his communication skills, but his language has not improved. He has not progressed at the rate we were seeing last month. He has started to tantrum again when asked to do something he resists, hit people, and just yesterday he used his newly discovered vocabulary to yell back at Daddy (who had just asked him to come get his diaper changed), "I GONNA KICK YOU!"
Holyhellsangels people!
Is this what BOYS SAY?
I say hell no you are NOT gonna even say that you are gonna kick me!

So....did I mention that I am a bit afraid right now?
Today is Bubbles' last day with Amazing Teacher S (which can stand for Super), and I am having a very hard time with this.
I knew this would be harder on me than Bubbles, because he does not understand that he won't see her again.

But I thought - I hoped - that, by this point, we would be making progress comfortably with the guru.

I had hoped that taking him to Amazing Teacher S this last time would not feel like making him walk the plank.

I am totally jumping off with him.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Final Word on Prop 8 (Unless I change my mind)

Okay, I lied. Not my word.

But watch it. Watch it all.

Thanks, Tricia.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Live and Let Live

I recently got a comment about my reaction to Prop 8/Hate from someone whose name I actually can remember, but I will save her the embarrassment and refer to her as:
Angry Stupid Shrew With Ignorant Persona Edified.

A.S.S.W.I.P.E.'s was one of the few comments I have ever deleted, but it bordered on defamation and libel and I am seriously doubting she wants the trouble, so it had to be done - out of respect for her future.
A.S.S.W.I.P.E. was very offended by my bird. You remember? The bluebirds for bigots?
If the shoe fits, wear it, right?
If not, walk away. There are plenty of other shoe stores out there.

Apparently, A.S.S.W.I.P.E. was so offended by my bird (even though she did admit that she found me attractive!) that it evoked the following strong words from her:
Live and let live.

At first I was livid! Poke fun at human rights, would she? How could she be so blatantly, so stupidly, hypocritical to condemn me for my reaction to hatred and bigotry and three giant steps back for humankind? Surely she was living in a hole if she thought that the words 'live and let live' did not apply to Prop 8/Hate- or even to her beliefs!

(By the way, dear readers; When you think of word for 'bangs fist against forehead in attempts to come up with a word that means the agony which I feel when I encounter such stupidity!', please let me know. I could use a word like that now.)

Think about it.
Let live.

(I guess if you read between the lines somewhere there may be the message 'go out there and vote to make sure that some certain people are not going to have the same rights as yours just cause they're different from you!' but I had a hard time finding that at first.)

But then, what I finally realized, was that A.S.S.W.I.P.E. was not echoing her own ill-thought credo to me, rather, she was finally coming to accept what was so horrendously ugly about her original decision to vote Hate.

Live and let live.

I am glad that I could help educate her.

It makes me feel all warm - in that 'scotch going down slowly' way.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Special Education (Or, My year as a fourth grade fagtard)

I published my pain for you.

Squid and Jennyalice have collaborated on the Can I Sit With You project and books - and my pain was not exempt from their gain.
All proceeds from this brilliantly clever fundraising and awareness-raising project go to SEPTAR, their local special needs PTA.

Did you know what a french kiss was in fourth grade?

Did you know what a retard was?

Did you know if you were one of the weirdos?

Did you know that your whole peer community - your entire class and your classmates - could turn on you in one second for being kind to the wrong people?

I found out the hard way

A Special Education

Monday, November 10, 2008

Will I Go To THE BAD PLACE For This One?

Supergirl has wanted a puppy/I know it grows into a/dog/ eventually/ since...... forever.
For. Ever.

In our household we have been paying close attention to the election this year, especially focused on...the president and Prop Eight/ 8 Hate.

Supergirl, however, is paying close attention to the Obama girls, Malia and Sasha.

Supergirl, my sweet-faced blonde-haired and blue-eyed daughter, wishes that she 'looked just like Malia, because 'Look Mama! She is so pretty!'.

(Can I have a hi-five here?)

"Mama!" she cried, most envious in her tone, "Malia and Sasha are going to get a puppy!!"

"A puppy?" I replied, incredulously, "They get a puppy??"

"Their daddy is the PREZZIDENT!" she yelled, "So, when can we get a puppy?"

"We can get a puppy," I replied quickly, "When your daddy becomes president and we get to move into The Whitehouse."

"NO WAY! I can't wait!!!!!" she squealed.

I was caught up in the moment.
"If your daddy becomes president and we move into The Whitehouse, I will get you five puppies!!"


I love you too baby, I love you too..................

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Link Love: When Children Die (Dammit!) Everyone Loses

I know that many of you who read this blog have experienced great loss.

I know that some of you have been touched by or appreciative of advice or personal suggestions I have offered in the wake of someone's death.

I know that many of you know more than I do, and can help my friend right now.

Her daughter's friend and schoolmate died yesterday.

Please stop by and offer some words.

Gross Factor: High

Before I headed down to SLO this weekend, I told my friend Joanne (who hates when I give her a 'boring' pseudonym like 'Jan') that I would take a picture of bubble gum alley for her.

My friend, the BOS, grew up in SLO and when she moved there as a teenager, the gum was just up at the highest reachable row. Then the film crew from That's Incredible showed up in town to cover the gum alley, and pretty soon stores downtown all had bubblegum machines and the walls got covered.

I think Joanne sort of believed me when I told her about it, but the fear factor of imagining your four year old walking down an alley and plucking a piece of gum off the wall to pop into his mouth creates such a gag reflex that her imagination really couldn't take her any farther.

"It's pretty gross," I told her, "It smells kind of like minty juicy fruit and spit."

She responded by throwing up.

Both walls of the alley, ground to top, are covered with gum.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Transitions are Hard

Guru, shmuru.

Okay, I realize that is a reactionary response.
Sometimes I have those.

Week One with the new (and not necessarily improved) speech therapist did not go as well as we had hoped.
Which translates into:
Going from two hour sessions to one hour sessions means that there is less time to waste, but Bubbles is fooling around and not working, thus wasting more time.
Bubbles does not like to have speech therapy during his naptime, as evidenced by him sleeping through his entire one hour appointment.
Bubbles does like the guru and guru's office full of new toys. Bubbles likes to play with all the toys. This one, that one, the other one, and on to the next one! (While mama looks on in disapproval.)

The boy is running the show!

After two sessions in which Bubbles was asked to say the words 'push' and 'put in', and repeat the sounds on about twenty cards, and I was unimpressed with the decelerations of the tempo of his therapy, we had our third session of the week.

I walked in with a sleeping Bubbles draped over my shoulder, close to tears because this time frame clearly was not going to work and I had just driven 45 minutes to illustrate that.
"Don't worry," said the guru, "Just lay him down on the couch and we can do parent ed."
I mentioned that I had found some of the $120 worth of plastic straws and whistles and horns she had asked that I purchase. Still waiting to see what I will do with $120 worth of silly straws and party blowers, but all in due time, I suppose.
I looked dubiously over at Bubbles, snoring away on the couch.
"He'll never make progress at this rate! He is being allowed to slack off!"

"You worry a lot about what Bubbles has; just let him be who he is."


"Umm, I think that yes, we worry about what could be, but you don't know what it is like to not know....having apraxia is something we can address....because we know what it is. I am just afraid he is slacking off here - you need to make your expectations clear to him so that he won't try and get out of the demands placed on him in therapy."

"I don't like to demand things from children. I coax them into success."

(aahhh...another Santa Cruz me now) (reactionary again)

"Well, I don't think you know who Bubbles really is. I wonder if you have been going easy on him for my benefit. I can watch him be frustrated, it's okay. He needs clear demands. He has been working with clear expectations - he has been working with ABA and I really don't want to see regression in his behaviors or compliance."

This led to a forty minute parent ed session which began with, "I would never judge a parent for what you have done to help your child," and then a gentle and carefully worded, subjectively judgmental lecture about how we have 'lost time' with the 'wrong therapies' and 'could have diagnosed him earlier' and how 'Bubbles has had demands made of him that he is incapable of fulfilling', but 'not to worry because he can still learn to talk!' etc.

And I was left nearly speechless. Because it feels like, to accept the new type of speech therapy that (someday soon I hope) we will all be using with Bubbles, I am being asked to 'switch camps' and reject the form of therapy (ABA) that has actually worked with him.
That was my 'parent ed' session.
Get on board.
Why can there not be a happy little bridge to cross from one to the other? Why does one have to become 'wrong' for the other one to be 'right' for him now?

And how do you get on board with something you don't yet trust? How do you trust something that has not yet shown you any results?

I am not a 'blind faith' sort of person.

I know it has only been one week. I know that, and this is what I keep telling myself.

But - waaaaaaaahhhhhhhh - I miss our ABA/ECI people already. Bubbles got to see SuperECI yesterday, and he didn't stop talking for nearly two hours after his session. Sadly, he only has one more with her.


Truthfully, I hope that my post on this subject in two more weeks will be more positive.
(See? That right there? Proves I am capable of optimism!)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Haters Are All Around Us

To those of you who have asked how I can 'spew hatred' at haters, I say to you this:

This was not a choice about anything other than hate.
People were offered a choice to hate or not to hate. We in California, got to vote for hate or against it.
We were offered the opportunity to vote for discrimination or against it.
Sadly, the vote for discrimination (or fear?) won.

HOW does prohibiting any deserving person from appreciating the same rights as are afforded to you, NOT promote hate?
I CAN accept that others have different viewpoints, but the irony seems to weigh in heavily on the fact that proposition 8 was all about hating, promoting hatred, and promoting homophobia. And it was all justified under the fallacy of 'protection' for a sacred institution of love.

HOW does disallowing two people in love to be sanctioned and or become a family protect your own veil of superiority?

How can the Mormon church - how can any church - propagate such a movement behind hatred when their own beliefs and doctrine of polygamists' superiority were only reformed when their statehood was at stake?

I don't understand.

You who voted yes on 8 deserve every flipping bird and look of disgust that the internet dishes out to you. You, who went out of your way to hurt others, to promote separatism and bigotry?

I promise you that you are deserving.

Actually, have another one.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

This is Dedicated to The Ones Who Hate

I am happy to call Barack Obama my president.
I am looking forward to a day when patriotic means something positive again.

With all sweet victory comes a bitter edge.....

But to those of my fellow Californians who voted YES on Prop 8.......this is for you.

You are ignorant, petty, bigoted, joyless, spiteful, angry, misinformed, desperate, and possess none of the qualities which makes a person a Christian or just a decent human being.

Thanks, Jen, for the inspiration.

I tag 8 bloggers to offer their own angry face response to this result:

  1. Jen
  2. Grace
  3. Lin
  4. Denise
  5. Cindy
  6. Tricia
  7. Deb
  8. Badger

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Voted for the Big Cage

Election Day Highlights:
  • Our polling place was at my daughter's school; the only community center up here on this mountain. They had a special table set up for children to vote. My friend's four year old went over to the table to cast his ballot. He noticed a twelve year old girl checking off the box under John McCain, and leaned over to help her out, "You voted for the wrong guy!" he yelled. She glared at him, but he was four. So she left him alone.
  • When my friend J, the host of our election night potluck, was the first one to hear the great news and interrupted our quiet glasses of wine by screaming and jumping up and down and then we started screaming and jumping up and down and then she stopped screaming and jumping up and down and yelled, "I just peed my pants!!" And we all howled and almost peed our pants - in solidarity.
  • Opening the bottle of year 2000 champagne almost made up for the last eight years. Okay, not really. But it was a fleeting moment of satisfaction.
  • When I asked my four year old friend if he liked voting, he yelled, "I voted for the BIG cages for chickens!"
  • The stop and start tears that happened all night because, let's face it, this was a very emotional election.
  • The feeling I have today. I think it's called hope.

Election Day Lowlight:
  • Prop 8. Seriously? WTF?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Guess Which Parent Will be Handling the Birds and Bees Talk?

Me: Did you open that package from Amazon?

Dh: No. What package?

Me: The one right here which is opened. This one.

Dh: What is it?

Me: This book for Supergirl.


Me: Well, when I was in first grade, Trina Brown told me that to have a baby, the dad has to pee inside the mom.

Dh: Trina Brown was a precocious, misinformed slut.

Me: Well, I don't want Supergirl to think that is true.

Dh: You seem to have come around. How did you figure it out?

Me: I came home and asked my mom if it was true. She gave me a book and we read it together.


Me: Look, just because your parents were from the dark ages doesn't mean that's the right way to do it. She asked about sex.


Me: Well, not you. I don't think she'd ask you. Just last week. So I ordered the book.

Dh(thumbing through book): But there are just so many pictures in this book. But they are all so hairy in this book.

Me: Look, that's because it is from 1977. Do you want Supergirl to think she has to have a Brazilian?


Me: Well, get over it. Here look at this. Just read the book.


Me: Why?

(I grab the book from him and see what page put him over the edge.)

Yes, this was it.
I think it might be time for me to have The Talk...with him.

(Sorry honey, it's Nablopomo, when anything you say, can and will be used for blogging.)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Signs That Your IEP Will Suck

When you start out your (FIRST)(transitional) IEP meeting and the principal greets you with, "Don't think there will be this many people here for Bubbles' IEP ever again!", it is probably not a good sign and your bad omen feeling of walking into an antagonistic situation is correct.
Run away.

Because in a moment, it may come up that you did in fact, ask for a copy of the IEP to be viewed 48 hours before the meeting, and why didn't you get it, the principal will look at everyone who was present at the IFSP meeting (in which she made this agreement), glare at them, and blatantly lie as she says to you, "I never agreed to that. I said I would try to get you a copy."

And your lip may quiver a bit, because you know she is wrong and already being intimidating and the meeting just started, so why do you have such a bad feeling about what is about to happen?
And then you will remind her that you asked for this copy five whole weeks ago, and why wasn't five weeks enough time, and she will get very angry with you for mentioning this in front of the nine other people there and raise her voice just enough to toss a hint of derision in, "No, it was actually THREE WEEKS ago." and then when you try and correct her, you will realize that she is loudly calling you a liar and you are wondering why you have such a bad feeling about this.
Traditionally, the IEP is the time for negotiation, but this truly is a grey area. They may negotiate, or you may be faced with a principal (like ours) who refuses to negotiate solely because there is an audience of nine other professionals, and she has a 'precedence' to maintain.
When you suggest to the someone on the IEP team that you don't like to negotiate and can't you just tell them what your son needs so you don't have to play games, and they insist that IEP meetings are for negotiating, you may believe them.

So you may be surprised at the meeting, when the principal says to you, "What we are prepared to offer you is this." And what she really means is, this is it. There will be no negotiating.
And then proceeds to refuse to listen to anything you have to say because she will not negotiate, and what they are prepared to offer you is ONLY this and nothing more, so don't ask.

If you, in your misguided attempts to negotiate, suggest that you know something about the funding allocations of your school district and you notice your principal begin to turn red and sputtery and her mouth opens and she begins spewing out unconnected phrases about funding and precedence, remind yourself that she is not supposed to be talking about why they can not afford to pay for your child, and you should RUN AWAY.

When you become tearfully intimidated and realize that everyone is staring at you because you just said you did not wish to sign the IEP, your friend who came along to offer her support and her stellar negotiating skills may notice that you are upset and scribble a note to you. You may scribble a note back to her, because you are, after all, both caught unaware and at the disadvantage since you did not receive a copy of the IEP before the meeting and it is not going very well at all. When you scribble your reply to her, if your principal interrupts the person talking at that moment to address you by saying, "Excuse me ladies, would you like us all to take a break so that you two can continue to have your little communication over there that is apparently so important that it cannot wait?"
...And you are speechless as you look up in horror at what she just did...this would be a great opportunity to RUN AWAY.

When the facilitator of the meeting, the school psychologist, begins spewing and spitting and turning red as he challenges the credentials of the behavioral psychologist who has been working (successfully!) with your son for a year, this is a good sign that it is time to RUN AWAY.

When you state again that it is not an acceptable package and you do not wish to sign it, and your principal threatens that your child will suffer if you do not sign it, this is the moment at which you must get up and leave the meeting.

When you walk out of the meeting, trembling and angry and smacked down and overhear the school psychologist saying something to another professional which proves that he lied to you about the 'special school' he sent you to a few weeks ago (yes, it really is a school for children with autism, and he knew that when he answered 'no' to that specific question when you asked it), it is time to cut your losses.
Go home, and write down all the facts. Fire the school psychologist.

Fire whomever you need from your team.
You have to work with the principal, but she will be dealt with too.
Especially since you know now that two separate people have filed a formal complaint about her performance, intimidation tactics, and all around glaring lack of professionalism at your meeting.

Go back the next day and SUCK IT UP for your kid.

Bubbles will receive three hours per week of 1:1 speech therapy with the guru.
We will pay for the transition time from ABA therapy to traditional SLP, since the school district categorically refuses to pay one penny of it. NOT based on my son's need, but to quote the principal, "If we did it for you, then every one would expect it!"

Such trendsetters are we.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Supergirl's Medicine

A few weeks ago, I explained to Supergirl that my Uncle Bill was dying. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer about a year ago, and sadly, we knew the end was coming soon. She wanted to make him a card, and I said that was a great idea, so she headed up to her desk to start on it right away. Suddenly, I was overcome with the reality that I had always been quite frank with her and she has a different understanding of death than most people.
"Supergirl!" I 'calmly' called up to her, "Uhhhh....honey....I don't think you should....aahhhhh....please don't....Don't say anything about him dying. You know. Write something cheery."
"Mommy," she said, disgustedly, "I would not write something uncheery!"

So, she drew a picture of our family, inserting him right in the middle:

And then she wrote a very cheery message inside. It was so cheery, it even surprised us! I asked dh, what did he think of that? He said that he thought it would accomplish its intended purpose: The Cheering.

When my uncle received the card (and the book we sent along), he loved it so much that he shared it with everyone who came to visit. It definitely did cheer him up, and did so repeatedly, as each guest would get to chuckle over it again.

Uncle Bill died peacefully this morning.

We are all sad to lose him

He was soooooo special to us.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

What I Don't Want to Forget About You on Your Third Birthday or Ever

  • The way you follow me into the bathroom, ask me if I am pooping, and then say, "Good job!" if I am.
  • How Pingu and bagel sound the same when you say them and every time I think it is bagel, even though you don't even like bagels.
  • You climb into bed every morning and shove your downy little head under my nose to make me sneeze and then you say "Oh, sorry! Wanna mursh?"
  • Your incredible indelible word associations, which can take you from seeing a picture of a fish to asking for a gummy swedish fish in 2 seconds flat.
  • How you will try to sing along with any song - even if it's the first time you have heard it.
  • When you say, "I SKEERED!" and make that face to show me that you were REALLY SKEERED!
  • When you have a treat you have to make sure everyone around you has one as well. If there are not enough, you will go without. It's no fun eating a lollipop alone.
  • The other night, when you had that mysterious fever and hallucinated fire trucks and puppies in the air and threw up the juice I had coaxed you to drink, you kept saying, "I spilled my mouf. I sorry. I spilled. I sorry." And it made me cry, because really, you are too kind for a small boy.
  • Your consistent obsession with: trains, helicopters, rockets, and fire trucks.
  • When you saw the cake come out of the oven this morning and I told you it was your cake, you said, "YAY! EAT CAKE! ANKTHOU!"
  • That all your friends at preschool love you because you are so happy and so freaking fun.
  • The way that you would rather snuggle with me while we 'watch trains' than sit alone and fondle your trains.
  • How you suddenly, just last week, stopped calling me 'Mama', and now have a very distinct, 'Mommmeeee', when you have something important to share.
  • The way you make me laugh every single day. I am not kidding. Every. Single. Day.
  • The sounds that you Buzz and Alien make when they are arguing (pure comedy).
  • The way you recently reminded us all how smart you really are, how unstoppable you really are, and how lucky we really are.
  • How hard you have worked for everyone, most of all yourself, over the past year.
  • Your limitless capacity to show, give, and receive love.
  • The expressions on your face as you received your VIP birthday tour of the local fire station. Thanks to Muncle Firetruck and his wife, Cha-Trains (yes, that is what he calls them).

Happy Birthday, my little man.

We love you so very much.