Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Why I Love This Little Town of Mine


Because every year, just prior to our little rinky-dink town Christmas parade, Santa flies over downtown in a red helicopter. He flies pretty low, too, and waves to all the delighted kids. I just hope the helicopter never crashes.

Monday, December 1, 2008

My Budding Artist

Corinne has discovered drawing. She had been fond of scribbling, but now she's starting to actually make things that kind of look like things. She even gets frustrated when the thing doesn't come out the way she has pictured it in her mind. Ah, my little protege. As her mom and biggest fan, I think her work is pretty impressive for her age and given her fine-motor limitations. Even better are the stories that she makes up to go along with the sketches. This one is called "Baby in her Bedroom with Turkeys". Unfortunately she created this masterpiece on her magnadoodle, and erased the finished product before I got a chance to take a photo of it, but here is the star of the story:


According to Corinne, this baby was asleep in her bedroom (she went on to draw the bed) but couldn't sleep because of all the turkeys outside her window making so much noise. She drew a window with curtains to muffle the noise a bit. The baby's bedspread also had turkeys all over it. Who says autistic kids lack imagination? I asked if the baby was Apple, and she said it was not, but I still feel like this is a step closer to the acceptance of her future little sister.


This next one is a portrait of Papa in the medium of potpourri. She had spent the better part of the day playing with said potpourri, pretending that it was frogs on lily pads and in houses. She then used a tupperware bowl to make the circle outline for Papa's face, which we all felt was pretty darn clever of her. I love that he kind of looks like Bert from Sesame Street.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm Thankful She Eventually Got Over It...

As my mother is fond of saying each year after a holiday, "Another Thanksgiving shot to hell", which translates to "well, thank God that's over!" I personally love all holidays and have never shared this sentiment, but it has become such a tradition to say it that I felt the need to do the honors.

We had a nice Thanksgiving weekend back at the homefront. Corinne is so totally into the holidays this year. It started with Halloween and looking for decorated houses. As soon as it was over she wanted to know when the next one is, and even though Thanksgiving doesn't really hold a whole lot of appeal for a girl who doesn't really care about eating, she was excited to go to Mimmie's and Papa's (she thinks they live together, which is a subject that deserves its own post someday). She was also very excited about turkeys, having made a number of them in school over the past week or two. I'm not sure if she really gets the connection between the bird and the main course, but if she does it doesn't seem to bother her that we eat the funny little guy that she made a paper bag representation of.

Anyway, our Thanksgiving weekend was full of our usual traditions. Debbie, who I have known since I was 5 and my best friend growing up, came over for "Good Old Fashioned Family Game Playing Fun Night", a tradition that we started last year that involves a bunch of us drinking too much wine and beer and then attempting to play games that are far too complicated for drunk people, while reminiscing about Robinhood Court.

On Black Friday my mother, Erin, Corinne and I went shopping. We don't do the crazy 5 am thing, and it's usually not too crazy, plus there are some great sales. We had Corinne pick out her own gifts this year, since she has gotten so particular about what she will wear or even play with. It was a nice chick-day (Pete and Papa went to a bar and had a nice dude-day).

On Saturday we always go to the same craft fair. It's a big one with tons of people, and my fantasy to actually participate as a vendor one of these years. It's something like $100 to have a table, though, and you need a NY tax license.

I think the most memorable part of this particular Thanksgiving, though, happened on Wednesday night as we were driving to NY. We left around 8 pm because traffic is just ridiculous from about noon on. As is was we got stuck in ten miles of bumper to bumper just outside of Worcester. Pete was driving, despite the fact that he had only gotten 4 hours of sleep the night before and has been known to fall asleep while reading Corinne a bedtime story. For the record, I offered repeatedly to drive, having taken a nap and drank coffee in preparation. But he insisted that he gets bored as a passenger and usually can't sleep. Corinne was just starting to nod off, which was a score because usually she won't sleep in the car, and I was zoning out when I noticed that we did not seem to be slowing down despite the fact that the car in front of us was stopped. At the last minute I finally realized that Pete, too, had nodded off and I exclaimed something to the effect of "What the hell are you doing!?!" Too late. We bumped the car in front of us, who in turn bumped into the car in front of him. Fortunately we were only going 5 -10 mph and there was no damage or even insurance info exchanged. Corinne, however, was somewhat traumatized. I think my yell scared her and it did make a pretty noticeable thud noise. She cried for about 15 minutes and then for the next hour or so she kept asking questions to the effect of "Why Dadda crash the car?". I think she thought he did it on purpose, because she told him that crashing the car was "not good manners" and that she didn't want to go to sleep because "Dadda might crash the car again". Every time she seemed to be over it, after a few minutes of silence she'd suddenly say "I don't want Dadda crash the car again. Why Dadda crash the car?" It was kind of funny. For me anyway. Maybe not so much for Pete, who I'm sure felt extra guilty. I did have to say just one "I told you so", and needless to say I drove from there. I was a little bit worried that Corinne would never want to get into a car again, but she seems to have gotten over it. That in itself is something to be thankful for.



Turkey float, 2007 parade



Same shot, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I Got In Trouble

Just as an addendum to my prior post, Kick Me. I got in trouble with Pete for not sharing my concerns with him. He didn't necessarily find out about it by reading the blog, but I did wait a day before telling him, and I didn't really tell him. It kind of came out when he asked about my OB appointment. I tried to explain that I didn't want to worry him unnecessarily, that I saw no benefit in both of us losing sleep over something that would most likely turn out to be fine. Things always seem so much worse at night. And he's an insomniac as it is. Also, there's something about sharing a fear with someone else that makes it all the more real. I chose to take a wait and see approach. He felt that it was not my right to withhold concerns about our baby.

Just thought I'd mention it. Feel free to weigh in with your opinions.

Monday, November 24, 2008

One down...

The grooming shop murals are done, at least until after the holidays, when she may have me do a few more smaller ones. And Apple's mural is nearing completion. All the background and hard stuff is done. Now I just need to put in all the bugs and fun stuff. I see the light at the end of the tunnel...


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kick Me

OK, I think all moms, at least those who have given birth within their recent memory, will be able to relate to this one.

I love and hate the phenomenon of a baby kicking inside of me. I love it for obvious reasons. It is a strange and amazing thing. It starts as a little flutter, like a goldfish bumping into the sides of its little fish bowl. At first you think you imagined it, or that it was gas or a muscle spasm. But soon enough it becomes an unmistakable and undeniable kicking sensation, until it reaches the point, in your last couple months, where you fear that the baby will kick its way out of your already-stretched taut belly like some sort of alien. Not to mention the kicking at your bladder and other already-compressed organs. It becomes your constant companion and your pleasant little secret (like when your boss is talking to you but you're not paying any attention because all you are thinking is "aw, my baby is kicking right now"). It is, for me anyway, the first real tangible and concrete evidence that you have a living thing inside of you. That is why pregnant women are always rubbing their bellies; because they are already practicing acknowledging their baby's need for attention. After Corinne was born I missed that kicking a lot. I felt kind of empty inside. And all that kicking, many times a day for long stretches of time, now translated to crying. Many times a day. For long stretches of time.

I hate the kicking of a baby inside of me because it becomes an obsession. Around 24 weeks, which is where am now, you are supposed to do something called kick counting, where you set aside time each day to count the number of kicks in an hour. This is supposed to indicate that your baby is thriving in there. When the baby is kicking up a storm you breath a sigh of relief that all is well. But inevitably there will come a period of time where you don't feel any kicking for awhile. Maybe you were just busy and didn't notice one way or another. But then you becomes conscious of the fact that you haven't felt anything all day and you become fixated on feeling something, anything, to assure yourself that your baby has not died on you.

One of my favorite episodes of ER, in a morbid fascination, train wreck kind of way, is the episode where Doctor Carter's girlfriend loses her baby in her seventh month. She doesn't feel kicking for a day or so and goes to her OB, who does an ultrasound and determines that there is no heart beat. The terrible part is that she has to then deliver this stillborn baby. I was always horrified at the prospect of having to go through all the pain and hours of labor to deliver a baby that you know is dead. The whole while she hears the cries of other healthy babies being born. I cry each and every time I see this particular episode, which incidentally I just saw for like the fourth time about two weeks ago. Watching it while pregnant? Not such a good idea.

This brings me to this week, where, as I'm sure you can guess, I had "the scare". On Tuesday night I realized that I hadn't really felt much all day. I had been mural painting and had been on my feet and preoccupied all day, so I couldn't say for sure if I just wasn't paying attention. That night I felt a couple of kicks, which was enough to reassure me. Wednesday was pretty much the same deal. By Wednesday night, in those wee hours of the morning when I can't fall back to sleep after my late night pee, I lay in bed for hours waiting to feel some kicking. Usually if I lay on my side a certain way this seems to make Apple mad and she kicks like crazy. Not so on Wednesday night. I tried every position, I tried getting up, I tried bending over, I tried shaking my belly around. Nothing. In the saner hours of daylight I wouldn't have been as concerned, but in those late-night hours, when one is alone with one's fears, I became convinced that she was dead. I envisioned having to go through labor to deliver a dead baby and what would we do after? Who would tell our family and our friends? Would we bury her? Would I repaint the nursery or just lock the door and never go in there again? Would we ever try again, me being 37 and all, or would we say "game over"? What would we tell Corinne, who is just starting to accept the notion of a baby sister? It was awful. I vowed that I would call my OB as soon as the office opened (even though I had an appointment already scheduled for the day after). At around 4 AM I felt some faint kicks, but nothing like the hardy little wallops she had been giving me the past few weeks. Then I decided that she was not dead yet, but that my water had broken just a little bit, enough that it was trickling out very slowly and she was slowly suffocating or starving or whatever a baby would do without its "bag of waters", as it is called. This happened to one of the moms in Corinne's EI group, and she delivered her baby at 26 weeks (the baby seems to be OK, but only time will tell, developmentally speaking). So then I fretted about what I would do in this situation. I would have to drive to Boston every day for months to spend time with my baby in a Neonatal Intensive Care unit. I wouldn't be able to touch her or hold her and the chances of her having a bunch of health issues and developmental delays would be very high, if she even survived. And what about poor Corinne and her needs? Or what if we caught the problem early enough and the doctor just prescribed bed rest. What would I do with Corinne and school? And the holidays? And all my unfinished painting projects?

Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep. By 9:00, when my OB office opened, I was in a state. It didn't help that three different moms asked me how I was feeling when I dropped Corinne off at school. I just smiled and said fine and dandy, while in my head I was thinking that my unborn baby was dying and I had waited one day too many to tell my doctor and that would make all the difference in the outcome. It didn't help that when I called the office and spoke to the nurse, she instructed me to go to the hospital's labor and delivery to be put on a monitor, not "oh it's nothing to worry about, just wait until your appointment tomorrow". She called back a few minutes later to tell me to eat breakfast (I hadn't, in case they had to do an emergency C- section) and drink water and count kicks for an hour before coming to the regular office, because L&D was very backed up and I would have to wait for hours. This was a little more reassuring. I did as instructed, and to make an already long story a little shorter, the doctor listened to the heart and it was normal, which indicates that everything is probably just fine. He wants me to come in for an ultrasound next week, just to check her growth, but he wasn't concerned, especially this early on. He was very nice and reassuring, but I feel like a hysterical mother, which I normally am not, nonetheless. Like they were all saying after I left, "Ugh, there goes another one, pregnancy hormones all raging. How many more times will we be seeing her with false alarms? Wait until she starts having Braxton-Hicks contractions!" But at least I will sleep better tonight, and for the time being I know we're A-OK. And of course, as I type this, I feel little Apple kicking away. Still not quite as heartily as before, but the doctor thinks she has most likely just changed positions so I don't feel it quite as pronounced. I just wish I could go and get the heart rate checked every day, and maybe an ultrasound every other day. I remember this with Corinne, too. The count down to when she could safely be born prematurely. If I can just keep her in there and keep her alive until, say, 35 weeks or so... Then my worries will be over. Except that then, when they're born, you wish that they could just stay inside of you forever so that you always know where they are and that they're nice and protected.

Sigh.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Two Firsts

This week Corinne had two firsts: her first "real" haircut and her first trip to the dentist.

Let me preface this by saying that these are two events that are notoriously troublesome for autistic kids. Kids on the spectrum do not like having their heads touched and they do not like strangers to get all "up in their grill". For example, Corinne does not like to wear hats and she still cries and carries on whenever we wash her hair. It has only been the past 6 months or so that she will tolerate going to the pediatrician, and that is only because it has been awhile since she had any shots, and there is always the promise of candy. There was a time in her life when I thought for sure that going to the dentist was probably just never going to happen, at least without some serious sedation, and that she would be doomed to a lifetime of momma's bang trimming nightmares. Once again, though, she proved us wrong.

First was the haircut. She had had a trim once before from Auntie E's friend Melissa, who is a hairdresser. But that was in the familiar surroundings of Mimmie's house and she knew Melissa. Other than that it's been momma's home cuts (and it showed!), but her hair had gotten to a point where I couldn't tell what was bags and what was supposed to be long and it was all in her eyes. So this time we went to a new place in town that just does kids cuts. We were the only ones there and she got to watch a dvd. I wouldn't say she loved the experience, but overall it was a success. The place scored big points off the bat for having a fish print smock. She did pretty well, albeit a little tense, up until they did her bangs. I watched her face start to scrunch up in pre-cry mode. She tried so hard to keep it together, which is a big improvement for her (a year ago she would have gone directly to pitch-a-fit mode). I think she got some hair in her eyes, because she said it hurt her eyes. She recovered quickly and seemed very relieved when it was all done (and of course I gave her candy, too).


High on that successful mission, I decided to schedule her for her first teeth cleaning. They just learned about dentists in school as part of their "community helpers" unit, so the timing couldn't be better. The hygienist recommended that I not tell her too much about it ahead of time, which goes contrary to our usual approach of discussing new things until we're blue in the face, sometimes even practicing and playing pretend as well. I trusted the advice and once again Corinne did great. She actually seemed to really like it. The hygienist was great and let Corinne go at her own pace. She got to go up and down in the chair and feel the tools on her fingers first. They counted her teeth (five, according to Corinne) and she learned how to spit. She thought the little sink was funny, as was the "bib like dadda wore for Halloween" (he wore a plastic lobster bib to go with her costume). She liked that there was a picture of hot air balloons on the ceiling light, and that she got a "present bag just like momma's" (I was at the dentist a few days earlier) with "spit out" toothpaste and a new toothbrush. She even tolerated the spinny, noisy brush thing, which I thought would freak her out. She says she wants to go back again, and we play going to the dentist at home now.

So there you have it, two more hurdles crossed, two more mountains climbed, two more notches in our belt. Next up: dealing with a new baby in the house.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bidness

Like the way I snuck those last four posts in there, back-dated so they'd look like they'd been there all along? Yeah, I know, I've been a bit remiss in posting as of late. This is exactly why I was reluctant to start a blog in the first place. It becomes just another thing weighing heavy on your mind, another item on the to-do list. The truth is I've been really busy. Between Halloween stuff and volunteer stuff and just stuff. Also, the "Bouncing Off the Walls" business has been picking up, as it usually does right before Christmas. I've had two craft fairs and another one coming up this weekend. I have a mural pending for a grooming shop, a commissioned chair to paint, two growth charts on deck with the promise of a couple more on the back burner. Part of me is hoping that I don't pick up any new business at this weekend's fair. Don't get me wrong, I love that I'm making some money and I love painting and I won't turn away "bidness". I'm not complaining. I'm just kind of bugging out. Why can't the baby be due in, say May or June? Then I'd be ready. The old nesting instinct is back, stronger than before, and I need things to be done. I need to put some checks on my to-do list. By my calculations I only have November to do the mural for Apple's room because December is crazy with Christmas decorating and shopping and cookie baking and cooking and preparing for a houseful of people. And then it's January and God help me, that's the month before the baby is due (C-section is scheduled for February 23rd, by the way). And watch, this time the baby will come early and I'll end up with a natural birth anyway. And of course there's always the fear that I'll end up on bed rest any day now for some reason and nothing will get done. So I really want to get the mural done, but whenever I work on it I feel like I should be working on the paid projects and it all makes me just want to take a nap. Or eat Halloween candy. On the bright side, I have at least started the baby's room, and so far I'm really pleased with how it looks. This one will be a garden scene, with frog pond and lots of bugs and cutesy-cute and much girlier than Corinne's room. It's part of my sociological experiment called "how much can you shape a kid's personality by surrounding it with a particular genre?" Corinne has a fish room and is obsessed with fish. Will the new baby be a girlie-girl if I give her a girlie room? Will she actually like dolls (which Corinne despises) and doll houses and princesses? Maybe I should paint her room in a "surgeon" theme or a "trial lawyer" theme. But I digress. This post is really just my way of saying I'm still here, I haven't forgotten about my blog or my loyal readers (all 3 of you). Now, I need to stop procrastinating and get back to work!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Gymnastics Party

Today Corinne went to her first classmate birthday party, which was held at a gymnastics place. We weren't sure how this was going to fly for her, especially when it became clear that the parents were supposed to watch from a separate room. Once again we were pleasantly surprised. Corinne followed her classmates into the gym and they started off with the parachute. This has traditionally been one of Corinne's bigger phobias, between the texture and the billowing. But she stood back and watched at first, then held on to it and shook it like everyone else. When everyone went underneath it she hesitated, but then someone took her hand and pulled her in. Pete and I watched, holding our breath. She emerged with everyone else a few minutes later smiling and clearly had enjoyed the experience.

She had trouble keeping up the pace of the obstacle course-like things (at any given time the whole class was backed up behind her), but she did her best to follow what "her new teachers" demonstrated, and she watched her peers as well, which was even more important. She was cautious, as always, but allowed the instructors to help her do somersaults and even rolled around on her own. She jumped on the trampoline, hung from the rings, walked on the balance beam and even got into "the pit", a hole filled with foam blocks. She seemed to have fun (in her squinky, marches to the beat of her own drum, Corinne kind of way) and when asked, said she would like to come back to do it again. She'll never be Mary Lou Rhetton (too much of her mother's uncoordination for that), but to see her joining in with her peers and having fun, even in a new and overstimulating environment... Well, that's something we weren't sure she'd ever be able to do. Another monumental day.

video


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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Festivities, Galore

We've been very busy with all things Halloween. I've always been a big fan of the holiday, but it's even more exciting when you have a kid. And Corinne is even more into it than I am. The mere mention of decorating or ghosts or skeletons gets such an enthusiastic response, you're worried she might pee herself (which isn't really a problem, because she still won't use the potty, but that's a subject for another post). And that's not even mentioning the candy, which has an instant euphoric effect on her, causing her to run around in circles like a complete spazz. It's amazing to me how she still can't identify her letters of the alphabet, but she knows all the names of her favorite candies and can recognize them by their packaging.

So Corinne wanted to be a lobster this year, and, big surprise, I couldn't find a costume in the stores so I made her one based on a craft show I saw years ago. It consisted of red sweat pants and shirt, plastic plates and a lot of red duct tape. It came out pretty good, if I do say so myself, and she got a lot of attention everywhere she went.
First, on Thursday there was the Monster March at school, where all the preschoolers paraded around the court yard for the moms and dads.
Then, that afternoon was the downtown trick-or-treating and Halloween party, which is quite a spectacle. Hundreds of kids turn out and go from store to store. Last year the candy was lame (like starlite mints and hard candies, the kind of stuff restaurants give out at the end of a meal), but this year was much better for chocolate. As the MFA's official Craft Coordinator, I was in charge of the craft for the party. We made jack-o-lanterns out of paper plates. Not very inspired, but you try to come up with a craft for hundreds of kids with a budget of $20 or so. It was windy, too, so all my pumpkin face parts kept blowing away. Corinne was very excited about the party, but wanted to know who's birthday it was and why there was no cake.

Then Friday night was real trick-or-treating night. Not as many kids around this year, so everyone was giving out candy by the handful. Not good for the pregnant lady to have all this chocolate hanging around. Corinne really likes trick-or-treating except for the houses with spooky music playing. We had to skip those.
So all in all it was a great Halloween. Corinne has already told us that she's "so excited for Thanksgiving", even though she doesn't really know what it is. Wait 'til Christmas rolls around...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fall Festival

Today was Corinne's Preschool Fall Festival at school, which was mostly just an open house for parents to come in and have a snack and see what the little 'ens have been up to. Regretfully, I forgot to bring my camera (I wasn't sure if it was that kind of event, and I didn't want to be that mom), so you're just going to have to take my word for it that Corinne has turned into a very different kind of kid than the scared little girl in Early Intervention playgroup six months ago.

When I go there, before I even entered the classroom, I could hear her clear down the hallway exclaiming delightedly that Momma was coming. Upon seeing me she began yelling "I love you Momma!", much to the amusement (and jealousy) of the other parents. She really was quite a spectacle about it, so overwhelming was the thrill of having Momma here, in her classroom.

What struck me the most was just how comfortable she was there. She showed me toys and things that she liked, and moved with ease from one activity table to another. This is the girl who use to be in full blown defensive mode any time there were kids around, her body stiff and ready for flight. Now she was aware of the other kids, but not uneasy with them. She greeted them in response to their hello's and told me the names of many of them when I asked.

The highlight for me was when they sat down for circle time. Corinne sat on her little mat between two other kids and even joined in the songs as best she could (she is a little slower than they are and sometimes needs prompting, but left on her own she watched the teacher's every move intently and followed along, albeit a little after the fact.) I wish her Early Intervention people could have seen her. She is adapting to school better than we ever could have imagined and she really likes going there. We've seen such an improvement in her voice affect, her independent play, and her imagination (some of it quite strange, but that makes it even better, in our book) We couldn't be happier.

Oh, and I made some kick ass Halloween cookies for the party, too. Much better than my fourth of July ones.

Monday, October 13, 2008

End of an Era

Oh, it's a sad time. It is the official end of "The Room". You know, the former play/ guest/den/ adult room. The one that contained all of our treasures and oddities. It's gone, ladies and gentlemen. It has been dismantled and primed over in preparation for Apple's future nursery and mural. She is also getting a nice big closet door, courtesy of Dadda, Uncle David, Grandpa and Mark, which necessitates the removal of all the magnetic paint (sniff).

Many difficult decisions were made regarding the status of books, toys and magnets. We are having a yard sale, but we couldn't bring ourselves to part with much of it (and honestly, who'd want it?). In the end 90% of the room's contents were packed up and stored in the already too full attic. I like to think that someday we will have The Room again, perhaps in the basement or in a new, bigger house. But then, we had asked ourselves many times if we ever thought we'd reach a point where it was just not appropriate to have such a room anymore? Like when we were in our 50's. Or like when Corinne started bringing friends home who'd then wonder what was up with Corinne's weird parents. Corinne's going to have enough trouble finding and keeping friends. Not to mention what their parents would think... So this is probably the end of an era. Much like the selling of Groucho, this marks the end of a certain lifestyle for us. We are parents now, first and foremost. Grown ups. Lame people with a serious house.

Goodbye, life sized creepy mannequin with glowing Roswell alien shirt (although we will bring you out each year at Halloween time). Goodbye Jacques Le Toaster. Goodbye, Baby Kleenex Head (although I will certainly proudly display you on my desk again when I return to the work force some day). Goodbye, Gus Guts. Goodbye Suckie, the four foot stuffed catfish (although you may fit into Corinne's room decor). Goodbye, Senor Rubin, naked blow up guy from our Jorge and Juanita pre-wedding party. We will dearly miss each and every one of you and all that you represented.

But it is going to be a really cool mural in Apple's room.


The closet wall, pre-Apple pregnancy


The closet wall today. The rest of the room was too painful to show.

Friday, October 10, 2008

My 15 Minutes (or Four Paragraphs) of Fame

Well here it is: Bouncing Off the Wall's big debut into the media. Now I just sit back and wait for the jobs to start rolling in...


From the Beacon-Villager (some names have been changed to protect the innocent):

One of the more colorful booths on Main Street was helmed by M--- resident LoserFamily, Inc., owner of Bouncing Off the Walls. Loser,inc. handpaints wall murals, furniture and other things made out of wood for children.

Loser, inc. said she got started helping to paint a jungle-themed wall mural for her friend, who had just had a baby, about four years ago. Once her own daughter was born, and she painted her daughter's bedroom, Loser,inc. said she decided to try her hand at selling her wares for other children.

Loser,inc. had plenty of colorful, cheerful items for sale: a small, child-sized rocking chair with a Noah's Ark; a small pink and green bureau; clothes pegs; and decorative rulers to be used to measure a child's height, with themes from a farm to under the sea to dinosaurs. Almost everything she paints can be personalized with the child's name, said Loser,inc.

Loser,inc. said she also does custom work, on basically anything that is wood. Her web site: http://www.bouncingwallmurals.com/.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Good Ol' Fashioned Family Fun

This Past weekend was our beloved little town's annual street party. I just love the small town New England wholesomeness of it. Everywhere it's smiling faces and balloons and music and cheap toys and fried dough and it's just a nice day. Everyone in town comes turns out for it and every year we know more and more people. During the day is the street fair with vendors, pony rides, paddle boats, food and bouncy rides and tons of free stuff. The evening is "Octoberfest", which is a quote/ unquote beer garden, featuring such exotic brews as Budweiser. Then comes the finale, a fireworks show over the pond, which is a pretty impressive one, given our town is only 5 square miles wide and has a population of about 10,000 people.

Corinne's favorite thing at the Fest is the Happy Wagon, which in our family we call the Crazy Train. It's basically just a guy on a riding tractor pulling a bunch of barrels with kids in it at $3 a pop. The man's a genius. It probably makes 4 or 5 runs an hour, 10+ kids per run for about 8 hours. You do the math. I'm in the wrong business. But the best part about it is the recklessness of it. It runs up and down the very crowded streets, making a series of switch-back turns and blaring an ooga horn. Here are Corinne and I in the coveted front barrel.


And here we are in 2007
and at our first Fest in 2006 (with Dadda and friend Zoe, on the right).

This was the second year that I had a booth to "peddle my wares". I did OK, though not quite as well as last year (damn economy). I sold a few growth charts, gave out a ton of business cards which may or may not turn into future business, and most importantly, gave an interview to our local, once-weekly newspaper. Bouncing Off the Walls is hittin' the big time, Baby! Stay tuned for my big debut.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

My friend Meghan, of http://babycryan.blogspot.com/ , gave Corinne a cute, knitted octopus (OK, actually it was for the new baby, but Corinne quickly claimed it as her own, so Meghan was nice enough to make us a second one). Pete, Corinne and I were driving in the car with said octopus that night and Corinne was trying to think of a name for it. Pete suggested "Pussy" (short for Octopus, but yes, Pete is also a jerk), but Corinne opted for "Wavy", which I feel is actually pretty clever and beats her usual choices like "Puppy" and " Shark". A little while later (we were sitting in traffic), Corinne announced out of the blue: "Pete likes Pussy".

Oh God, please don't tell that to your teacher, Corinne!

Monday, September 29, 2008

It's a.....

We went for our level 2 ultrasound today to make sure the baby seems to be anatomically OK (it is) and find out the gender. And it's a ...


another GIRL :)

Here she is waving Hello.

Corinne, who came with us, says we should name her "don't make a mess" and described the frontal view of the face as "an apple face". So until she is born (sometime in late February), we'll call her Apple. We do have a name picked out this time and we're not telling!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Testing, one, two, three...

If the two's are terrible, then the three's are hell on Earth.

Suddenly my very sweet, rule abiding, eager to please daughter has discovered the power of "no". It's her answer to everything. And oh, are we ever testing our boundaries. Suddenly she has strong opinions about everything. For example, her clothes. She has decided that she will only wear her mushroom shirt (ugly), her whale shirt (too small), her Buzz Lightyear T-shirt or her crayon T-shirt (too cold!). And blue pants (jeans, none of which stay up on her skinny little waist). And this includes bedtime as well. Now that it is starting to turn cold outside our house is always a good ten degrees cooler inside than out. It definitely calls for warm, footie pajamas, especially for the one who doesn't sleep under any covers. But no, every night we battle it out over her right to sleep in whichever short sleeve T-shirt (and no pants) she has on. And there is no logic in what her preferences are. She has two identical pairs of pajamas, except that one has dinosaurs and one has lambs. Well, she loves the dino ones and, in her words, "I hate those sheep ones!". As anyone who has ever tried to reason with a toddler knows, well, you just can't. She even has opinions about my clothes now She disapproves of my grey fleece shirt that I like to wear with my fat pants. She tells me to take it off. She won't even come near you if you have that "stupid princess blankie" on you. She despises it with every fiber of her being, despites how soft it is.

For the first time she is starting to have real temper tantrums. Not the meltdowns that she has always had when something freaks her out or upsets/ scares her. No, these are just seriously pissed off, I'm not getting my own way, temper tantrums. Right now I am still mildly amused by them, if only because they are so unlike her normally sweet, passive disposition and also that this behavior is just so wonderfully normal for a toddler/ preschooler. But I suspect it's going to get old pretty quickly.

And then there's the brazen disregard for rules. Like how I told her to keep her beach sand in the box and try not to get it on the floor, only to find her with a handful of it, slowly letting it trickle out on to the rug not 30 minutes later. I told her that I'm giving her the benefit of the doubt that maybe she just forgot. This time. We know she's testing her boundaries and what she can get away with, and we know that our responses to these situations are really critical to shaping her behaviors down the road. We feel like we're ahead so far, but not by much. And she's gaining. And she may be smarter, or at least more clever and devious than we gave her credit for.

We have never really had to baby proof our house because she never got into things. And even when she did really start to explore, she was still pretty good about respecting the rules of what was off limits. But lately I never know what condition I'm going to find her bedroom in when I go in after a nap. Dresser ransacked, clothes everywhere, dirty laundry put away in its place, dozens of hair "pretties" around the necks of stuffed animals and stuffed into small containers, band aids and diapers scattered all over, sticker tags from new outfits stuck all over furniture... and today a small bottle of (fortunately) clear, sparkle nail polish opened (a month ago she couldn't even open a large jar with a loose lid!) and a quarter sized blob of it stuck on the rug. And an entire vial of fish food gone ("Doggie ate it", Hmm, didn't think Doggie knew how to open jars either). This was supposed to be two year old behavior, and we'd thought we'd gotten off easy.

I've decided that Corinne is basically just 6 months to a year behind her same-aged peers, and that for better or for worse she'll start doing "it" (whether "it" be talking, riding a bike, playing with a certain kind of toy, or just being a brat) soon enough. And while I do long for the return of my "sweet angel girl" at times, I also have a certain degree of respect for the stubborn, strong-willed, playfully mischievous personality that is emerging. Now check with me in a a couple more weeks and we'll see if I still feel that way!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wiley Coyotes

We were abruptly awakened last night by the howling of at least two coyotes down the street from our house. It was the weirdest thing. Kind of eery and ominous. It reminded me of when we drove cross country and parked in the middle of nowhere in Utah to sleep in the back of Groucho (the pickup truck) for the night. We had eaten hamburgers at a take out place and stuck the bag of garbage up on the roof to get it out of the way. We woke up to coyotes just outside the truck howling and carrying on. The next morning their footprints were all around us. Anyway, it was surreal to hear them 20 miles from Boston. Pete was disappointed that both cats were safely in the house at the time.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hurricanes and Lobsters and Sharks, Oh My!

This weekend we went to Maine to visit Gamma and "Old Gampa" (formerly known as Dumma and Dumpa). Despite the hurricane warnings, the weather was actually pretty nice and perfect kite flying weather. Our shark kite was the super coolest kite on the beach.

On Saturday night we picked up some lobsters for dinner (all except poor pregnant me, who can't eat them due to their high mercury content or some fool thing). We had them once before, back in June, and Corinne, despite her love for "Hey Heys", as she called them, was a little bit bugged out by them and freaked out as soon as we took them out of the bag. Not so this time. She approached them cautiously at first, and then touched one carefully. She noticed he was bumpy and had blue on him and had a pointy nose like a rhino. And he smelled like pee yew.

From there all her reservations completely dissipated. Next thing we knew she was picking them up and playing with them. She brought one upstairs to "prise Gampa". She hid one in the dresser drawer in her room to sleep with her. She called them her lobster pets and said they were so cute. Then she put all four into the lobster trap coffee table in the living room, saying it was their nice safe cage. But the absolute best Corinne quote was that they looked like "little mailmen. And they bring mail to yucky people." Ah, Corinne, you are exactly the quirky child that everyone predicted would be the offspring of Pete and I!

We put her to bed before it was time to cook her lobster friends (lest we set her back after making all this progress), although I think some of them were dead by this time already. Poor things. Death by toddler has got to be way worse than death by boiling.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Week Under Her Belt

Well, Corinne has survived her first full week of school with flying colors. We have already added a half hour onto her day because she is doing so well, and seems to want to be involved with what the other kids are doing (as opposed to working separately with her aide). Now she stays for lunch time and sits at a table with her classmates. She also does circle time, and I'm told that she is doing her best to follow along and even stands up to say her name, shakes hands with her friends and sits between two other kids (in the past she always had to be on the end, preferably with an adult next to her). She is learning the name of her teacher, school and the town we live in, as well as her classmates names. We've settled into a nice little routine and she is always very excited when I tell her we're going to school. Everyone is thrilled with how she is doing and I think they are starting to get a taste of her true, silly personality. She has only cried twice. Once was because she got soap in her eyes and once was because she didn't like the plastic gloves that her aide has to wear to change her diaper (she told me they looked like the plastic bags that Momma puts snacks into). Go figure. So all is well and everyone is happy here at Loser Family, Inc. these days. More to come.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Day of School

Well, today was the big day- Corinne's first day of preschool. I'm happy to report that there were no tears (at least not from her. Dadda and I may have teared up a little) and she really seems to like it. She's got her own aide, Mrs. H, who will be with her all the time, except when she's with her OT and speech therapist. That helps a lot, because at no point is she left to fend for herself. For now she's only going half days (2 1/2 hours) 5 days a week, but we will add another hour when she seems like she's ready for it, which I suspect will be sooner rather than later. Eventually she'll be up to 6 hours a day, 4 days a week.

So for today we have managed to get out of her (with the help of her daily notes) that she painted, did circle time, sang "open and shut them" (to which she exclaimed with delight "Steph sings that song every day!", referring to how one of her EI providers taught her that song this summer) and an unidentified song about a bean bag. She ate a pretzel and did a snowman puzzle. One boy cried because probably he missed his momma, but she, Corinne, did not cry. Upon picking her up, her first words to me were "I want to take a nap, momma" (even though it was only 11:00) and some concern that I had forgotten my bag (I dropped off a change of clothes and diapers that morning).

Upon arriving home, Corinne decided that her favorite stuffed animal, Shamu, should be exiled to our front walkway, where she left him until nap time, retrieved him for nap only to return him to the outdoors again after nap. She even left him there while we went to the grocery store, despite my warnings that someone might take him. I wish it could have been her pacifier, the beloved Boobah, instead. I'm sure there's some sort of psychology at work here regarding feelings of abandonment that I'll try not to dwell on.

So there you have it, a nicely uneventful first day of school. Hopefully she will continue to like it. In the meantime I must admit that I'm loving my 2 1/2 hours of freedom!

new classmates (Corinne at far right)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vacation Week

We just finished up our family vacation week. We were originally going to stay in a cabin up in New Hampshire, but then I went and got all pregnant, and we decided that the money was needed more than the "escape". But Pete still took the week off and we had a nice, relaxing time and did a number of half day trips. We went to a barbecue for our playgroup, a birthday party for Corinne's friend Hannah, the drive in, which was a surprising success. We found a great double screen place not too far from our house and loaded up the Family Dorkster with Corinne's mattress, couch cushions, blankets and stuffed animals. Then we got ourselves some Chinese take out and ate in the back of the van while watching Wall-E, which Corinne really liked. She was nice and calm during it, although she proved she isn't quite ready for the regular cinema by talking in a fairly loud voice for the first hour ("Momma, what's this one's name?"; " What's that one called?"; "Hi Dadda!", etc, etc.). Then we turned the van around facing forward and Corinne slept in the back while Pete and I watched Bat Man. We'd definitely do it again.

We also went to the Southwick Zoo, which was way better than Stone Zoo that we went to a couple weeks ago. I liked the monkeys, which were really playful and funny. One kept reaching his arm through the bars to hold people's hands (Herpes B, anyone?!) and would then lick his hand. Pete liked the camels because there was a one hump one who kept biting the humps on the two humpers (we think he had hump envy) and they would make this really loud, pissed off noise.

Corinne liked the turtles, especially the regular, boring old kind that are in every pond in North America. She went back to them again and again and squinked herself silly. Go figure. Nothing else impressed her nearly as much.

Next we went to the Big Bugs exhibit at Garden in the Woods. There were thirteen great big bug sculptures made of organic materials- very cool.

We also went to our old favorite, the DeCordova Sculpture park. Here's Corinne, admiring the pine cone people. As a big fan of pine cones, this exhibit really spoke to her.

So all in all a great week. It was nice having Pete home every day and he really loved being able to spend so much time with Corinne. Today it was back to school shopping for Corinne and I to get ready for the first day on Wednesday. Stay tuned...

(Corinne and Turtle, driving the Family Dorkster after flower picking with Dadda)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Another Jungle Mural

I actually "went to work" this week. I was paid (by someone whom I didn't even know, no less!) to paint a few jungle animals for a nursery. I'm hoping this job will lead to some more, as the woman had a very large extended family with lots of kids, and they asked for some of my cards. I'll need something to keep me busy once Corinne starts school (which is next week, by the way. Eeek!) It took me about 2 days to do this one, which is pretty good for me. I'm getting much faster, and time is money, people. I've got two craft fairs coming up in September and October, so stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fish Party

Corinne had her super terrific fish birthday party, and it was a big success. The weather held out until just as the party was ending, the food and decorations were prepared with minimal stress (thanks and big props go out to Diane for making most of the food, Mom and Nana for help with the clean up, and Erin for the decorations) the games ("Pin the Tail on the Whale" and "Pass the Octopus") went off without any meltdowns, and everyone, including Corinne, seemed to have a good time. She kept saying "I having a fish party!" The only bad thing were my rancid cupcakes (sorry David!), but the Nemo cake was delicious, if I do say so myself!

Corinne was quite smitten with her special present, her very own fish tank. She named them Dory and Nemo.

Opening presents

Nemo cake (two tubs of frosting. Mmmmmm)

A shark ate my baby! (Note the giant mosquito welt under her eye. Again.)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bittersweet

This is my first late night blog post. It's 1:30 in the morning and I just can't sleep.

Little Miss Corinne turns the big 3 on Thursday. We have big plans- lots of family and friends coming for a much anticipated Fish Party (no sushi, sadly. But a fish shaped cake, at least). We're all very excited about the big day, but it is also bittersweet, because in the world of Early Intervention services, turning three is synonymous with the end. Wednesday is the last day our "friends", as we call them, and rightly so, will be coming to our house.

We've been preparing Corinne for this week for awhile. We made a "goodbye book" and talked a lot about it to help her understand that this phase of her life is ending and school is beginning. Gift cards have been purchased and thank you cards have been written. And although I spent a lot of time drafting and personalizing each one, I still don't feel like they quite capture the depth of our gratitude. How do you even begin to thank someone who has given you the gift of a happy, mostly well adjusted child? Corinne is like a typical three year old in every sense of the world. She's active and inquisitive. She runs and jumps and does splits and spins. She asks questions about any and everything. She's silly and clever and makes us laugh every day. She tells us often that she loves us with words and affection. She is the ultimate autism success story, the best case scenario that we ever could have hoped for (there is actually a therapist in her playgroup who is new this summer who thought Corinne was the "community child", the normal kid invited to group to be a sort of role model for the special needs kids. She couldn't believe Corinne is on the spectrum, based on what she was seeing. Can you imagine how much it makes my heart smile to hear something like that?!) How do you ever pay someone back for making that happen? Sure, Corinne is an extraordinary little girl who has overcome a lot. Sure, Pete and I recognized the problem early and got help asap, and have made "fixing" Corinne our number one action item for Loser Family, Inc. But more than anything Corinne is who she is today because of the efforts of these wonderful women who have come into our home and our lives and have loved Corinne and worked tirelessly with her as if she were their own child, not just another kid in a long string of kids that make up their work day. Through what appears on the surface to just be play, they have taught her how to interact with and enjoy the company of others. They have taught her (and us) how to work through her frustrations and fears. They have taught her to be confident in her speech and her movements. She looks forward to their visits and has her favorite games with each of them. We see each of them at least twice a week, in a nice laid out routine that has been familiar and comforting for Corinne. This had been our life for the past year and a half. We have shared with them our success stories, our fears and concerns, and our proud moments. It's so hard for it all to end. On the one hand it feels like this is the natural progression, that it is ending just as Corinne is ready for the next phase, because Corinne really is so ready to start pre-school in a few weeks. But on Thursday morning when we wake up and Corinne asks "Momma, what we doing today?", expecting a list of "well, first Debbie, then Denise's playgroup, then lunch and nap, then Gayle, then Dadda comes home...", it's going to seem so strange to say "I don't know, baby, what would you like to do today?" (thank God Diane and the girls are coming up on Wednesday night for a few days, which will help ease us through this transition. I only wish we could both slosh back a couple bottles of wine!) As hard as it was times to be locked into such a structured schedule, I am going to feel a little bit lost without it, and a lot lost without the people who comprised it . I have become as attached to Corinne's providers as she has. I interacted with them more than my own friends, hell, more than my own husband! It's like having a good friend move away (hint, hint, S@L!). You vow to keep in touch, but it just isn't the same as hanging out with them. You feel an empty spot in your life where they once were. And you all know how I feel about people I care about leaving my life. More "essences" to add to the little jar.

So that's why I'm up and blogging in the wee hours of the morning. It's going to be a difficult and emotional week (not to mention my pregnancy hormones are raging as it is, but that's a topic for another post), but at least I can look forward to what's next. We feel so optimistic about Corinne's future, so for that gift, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you Denise, Debbie, Gayle, Stephanie, Katie, Jamie and Monica (and Laura and Kerry, who moved on a few months ago, but were just as big a part of Corinne's success). We will never forget any of you for all that you have done for Corinne and for our family.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Potty Mouth

This past weekend Pete did us all a favor and took Corinne to a playground for a couple hours. On the way home, in his usual thoughtful way, he stopped at Dunkin's and got me a decaf iced mocha latte, which he then promptly spilled in its entirety all over the floor in the back of the Family Dorkster. When they got home (after buying me a replacement) Pete was out in the garage shop-vaccing the van while Corinne and I had the following conversation:

Me: Did dadda spill coffee in the car?
Corinne (somewhat solemnly): yeah
Me: Was he so mad?
Corinne: yeah
Me: Did he say "grumble grumble mumble fiddle faddle grumble"
Corinne (after thoughtful consideration): No, he said "F**k"

Oh dear.

When asked to repeat it again later to dadda, at least she downgraded it to "God Damn it" (with heavy emphasis on the damn it). And this is the child who never forgets anything. She's going to be such a hit at school.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I've Died and Gone to Heaven

Oh. My. God. This ice cream is so good I have deemed it "Blogworthy". You and I are going to be seeing a lot of each other, Mister Cinnamon Bun Ice Cream.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I Know Something...

Pete and I have struggled with the question of whether or not to have a second child ever since Corinne was diagnosed with PDD. When she was first born, before we even left the hospital, we knew we wanted another one. The experience was so special, we couldn't wait to do it again. And we wanted her to have a sibling, a playmate, to not have to be alone in the world someday when we're gone. When she was diagnosed, though, we slammed on the brakes and said "no more, this gene pool is closed". We had been through a hellish 6 or so months, and still her future was so uncertain. We knew that she could regress at any time and lose skills she had already learned, that this might not even be as bad as it gets. We didn't know if she'd ever talk, if she'd ever be able to learn to cope, if she'd ever be able to be independent and live her own life. We knew we were going to have to devote all our energy into her therapies and interventions, into helping her be as normal as possible.

No one knows for sure what causes autism, but the consensus seems to be that it has a genetic component that may or may not be kicked in by unknown environmental factors. We knew that siblings of autistic kids have a 1 in 10 chance of also being on the spectrum, and we knew of enough families with more than one special needs child to prove the statistic. The thought of us, the Loser Couple, rolling that dice again seemed too risky. We both worked with rodent breeding programs, we understood punett squares and genetics. If a breeding pair produced offspring with undesirable characteristics, you stopped breeding that pair. We talked about it, we debated it with family and friends. We got angry that we were dealt this crappy hand, how unfair it was that we couldn't just go ahead and decide to have another child without all these considerations, and we stood firm on our decision. We were done, and it broke our hearts.

Then sometime last winter our firm resolve began to waiver. The topic got put back on the agenda at Loser Family, Inc. Board meetings. Pete was 100% for having another, he'd just been waiting for me to decide. I wasn't so sure. Could I even enjoy a second baby, or would I be so focused on analyzing its every behavior, noting every milestone met, or not met? Could I possibly go through it all again, the realizing that my child is different, that something isn't right; the evaluations and specialists and Early Intervention and IEP's. And even if the second child was typical, was it fair to that child to have a sibling who was so high maintenance, who took so much of our energy? We shelved the idea for awhile, but it was there, always, in the back of my mind. I struggled with it daily. Try again or just be happy that Corinne seems to be turning out OK? Roll the dice or fold? Would I do it all over again, conceiving Corinne, knowing what I now knew? If the baby ended up with problems, would we still love it? Did I kind of like the idea of being pregnant again, of nursing and bonding and all the joy that comes with a baby? Had I gotten rid of any of Corinne's baby stuff yet? I think the answers, and where this post is headed, are obvious.

We decided to leave it to The Fates. I went off the pill, but used "alternate protection" for a couple months, along with some other steps to ensure that we were producing the healthiest gametes possible.

And..., well, The Fates said let's do this thing, because it happened the very first opportunity. We conceived during our anniversary weekend and now Loser Family, Inc. is adding another employee, start date some time in late February (by scheduled C-section, this I am quite firm on. There will be no "fetal distress" and "heart decelerations" this time around, thank you very much.)

So if you'd been wondering why I haven't posted in awhile, that would be because I've had a lot on my mind (and because we needed to tell the grandparents first). At least I'll have no shortage of blog-worthy material now.

We're excited and terrified. And for you preying folks out there, if you could, say one for us. Because I know I'm going to question if we made the right decision until that baby looks me in the eyes and smiles.




PS- The title refers to the manner in which my college friends and I have always announced some seriously juicy gossip. You say "I know saaam-theeng" in this mexican-like accent and then force everyone to laboriously drag the secret out of you. We're so mature.

PPS- I decided to announce this on my blog to find out who my regular readers are!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

What I Did for my Fourth of July Weekend

Mimmie came to visit.
We went to the playground...
and the beach...and this place...

and Corinne became a tree gnome.
The End

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fourth of July Massacre

This is why I work in the medium of paint and wood.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fun With Phonics

Corinne's speech therapist has a bunch of flash cards depicting a word and a picture that symbolizes the word (for example a ghost for "boo"). Some of the words are a little bit obscure, as they are aimed more at teaching the child a certain sound combination than at the vocabulary itself. Because Corinne is so visual and so bright, I usually try to give her an explanation of what the thing is, and how it relates to her, whenever possible (although I was hard pressed to make "Abe", as in the president, meaningful to her). She is surprisingly good at remembering these explanations and then using the word later on in a completely appropriate context (like when she said "horsie 'nipped' me", or when she yells "Fussy baby" at crying children).

So this week one of the words was "naughty", and the picture was of a puppy chewing on a shoe. Corinne is certainly familiar (and quite delighted) with this word and its meaning, so she spent some extra time studying it thoughtfully. She then said "that doggie maybe ate all his dog food and then ate the shoe". We praised this original thought and then went on with the cards. A few minutes later we came to "noisy", which was represented by a man with a jackhammer. For some reason the man's head was not included in the picture, probably to not detract from the real focus, the noise. Once again Corinne studied the picture for a long time before concluding that "maybe that naughty doggie ate that dadda's head".

Awesome. That girl is 100% her mother's (and father's) daughter.

And then there was today's speech therapy session. The word was "sucker" and the pictorial representation for this rather humorous word was something to this effect:

Corinne got very excited and I expected her to say that she wanted that sucker or that we see those type of suckers at the candy store at "Dumma's beach home". Instead she said that she has a "boo-die sucker" upstairs in her room.

The therapist said, "oh, you have a birthday sucker?" and Corinne adamantly said no to this. She kept repeating "boo-die sucker". A game of 20 questions ensued. "You have something round like this?" ; "you have a birdie?"; "can you go get it and show us?". No, no and no. She began to cry with frustration so we quickly diverted her attention to something else. After the session I asked her about it again, the curiosity killing me at this point, and this time had her take me upstairs to show me. She went straight for her room, looked around for a minute, and then pulled open her dresser drawer but couldn't find what she was looking for. She then said "it's on the door" and "it's light blue". Suddenly I knew. I opened her closet door and retrieved from the bag with all her medicines and supplies, this item:



Her face lit up with excitement and relief that the connection was finally made. A boogie sucker. Jeeze momma, get with the program.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Strawberry rhubarb pie

Five years ago when we moved into this house I got it into my head that we needed to plant rhubarb because I had memories from my childhood (I know, what a shocker) of having a couple plants in our backyard. Pete mocked me for this because, let's face it, rhubarb is kind of a pointless fruit (or I guess technically a vegetable). I swore that I'd make strawberry rhubarb pie with it, and for the next four years it grew and sprouted and rotted in the fall with nary a pie to be had. I'd forgotten about the part where I hate to cook. Well, damn it, this year I cut those stalks and made that strawberry rhubarb pie, and here's a picture to prove it.


Take that, Pete. You nay sayer!