Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Greatest Blog Ever Posted - (Tribute)

I don't want to oversell it, but I'm currently working on "The Greatest Blog Ever Posted"*.  It is so epic that it may cause divorce and jail time before it's completed.

*by me

This morning, because no time ever seems to be any less inconvenient, (boy was I wrong about that) I attempted to transfer some video that Leslie took of the kids playing with me over to my phone (so I could load it onto blogger).  It's a big video. . . like three minutes. . . so it was taking "longer than it should".  "Longer than it should" is code for, "I'm starting to get pissed off and stressed out. " 

Let me elaborate on that.  Any time I leave the room or occupy myself doing some stupid simple little thing, I do it without telling anyone what I'm doing.  Why would I tell them?  It's just this stupid little thing and it will take no time at all, and plus, they are not the boss of me.  

So I walk out of the room, let's just say for example, to start downloading an audiobook to my phone.  The downloading takes quite a while, but I'll only be gone for a second.  In the example, the library has sent me an email notifying me that the book is ready.  All I have to do is log in, download the zipped file to the PC (which is 30 seconds max) then let it unpack into Overdrive.  I walk away during the unpacking process because it takes a half hour.

Invariably, though, the universe tosses some ridiculous curve ball at me.  I log into the library's page and click the button to download, but when I open Overdrive, I have overdue books (meaning it tells me they're being deleted). . . so it deletes them.  Then it informs me of an update.  I sweat a little at this. . . it's going to take a TINY bit more time, but click the button.  It downloads. . . installs. . . perhaps a little slower than I'd like.  I start glancing at my watch, then back at the little progress bar, then back at my watch.  It's only a matter of time now before I hear "The Voice".  It's a ticking time bomb really. . . I go to open the file, but the new update has changed my default location so I can't find the downloaded book.  Shit shit shit. . . 

"Jiiiiiiiim?  What are you doing?" comes The Voice from the other room.

This almost always stresses me out, because I recognize that while I'm in the office fucking around on the stupid Overdrive interface, Leslie is "handling" something solo.  Maybe I even hear it start to escalate in the other room and start involuntarily drumming my fingers on the desktop muttering, "come on. . . come on. . . " under my breath, praying for things to calm down.

And I don't want to have to answer The Voice, because, goddamnit, you're not the boss of me, Voice!  I'm free!!!  But it's not fair that she's handling something without me, ignorant of when or if I'll be there to help her and this whole fucking problem wouldn't even have existed in the first place if this 30 second process wasn't taking "Longer Than it Should".

So stress happens and then I snap, because it's easier to yell back, "ugh!  I'm on the computer, I'll be there in a second!" dripping with attitude that would make an angst-ridden adolescent proud, than it is to just give it up as a bad job and do it when we're not "handling something".

Alright, so you get the context in theory.  This morning I was trying for the third time to do something that shouldn't have taken any time at all and failing, because the stupid message with the video attachment kept timing out even though I was only sending the video in parts (so that it was message-able).  And so I had an epiphany. . . upload to my youtube account.  Except that I forgot my login and password and while I was trying to remember them, typing variations on a repeating theme, the time bomb tick tick ticked itself down to "Jiiiiim? What are you doing?" and then I got all pissy.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"Ugh, I'm trying to upload a video so I can use it in a blog!" 

"I need your help here.  I need you to engage."

*whithering glare*  "Engage what?  You're feeding Lily, Emma's feeding herself."

"Isn't there some other time you could be doing this?"

*Incredulous glare*  "Like when?  Like when I should be doing the taxes?  Like when I should be putting kids to sleep or packing lunches?  When is a good time?"

Happier days. . . soooooo long ago.  I KID!!!
Things escalated to the raised voice stage, at which point Emma started getting weepy and I realized I was really in a fight about nothing, and calmed myself and told Emma everything was fine.  And Emma (god bless her. . . REALLY. . . ) said, "I don't like when you talk to Daddy that way, Mommy, and Daddy, I don't like when you talk to Mommy that way." 

And so we gave each other perfunctory apologies** and Emma went to brush her teeth.

** sidebar. . . here are some examples of perfunctory apologies:
"I'm sorry your feelings got hurt."
"I'm sorry you got angry at that."
"I'm sorry if you were offended."

Essentially you're "apologizing" that the other person is such a sensitive wussy and throwing a meaningless tantrum.  

So we finished our perfunctory apologies, then got into a brief fight about what a dodge perfunctory apologies are, then exchanged actual apologies***

***sidebar. . . her are some examples of actual apologies:
"I'm sorry I chose this moment to try to do this.  I'll try to find a better time when we're not so busy."
"I'm sorry I keep harping on you about trying to transfer this file, I know it's frustrating to you."

And we kissed and made up, so totally averted the divorce crisis.   The jail time crisis thing was just a natural extrapolation of the whole over-dramatization of "not having any good time to do it" because I used the example of doing the file transfer instead of the taxes, and in my mind, the IRS would come and haul me away in chains for tax evasion and I'd shake my fist at Leslie while she stood with our crying children and rage over my shoulder as they stuffed me into the police cruiser, "DO YOU SEE???  THIS is what happens when you don't let me transfer the files while we're getting ready for daycare!!!!  CURSE YOUuuuuuu!!" And the police cruiser would drive away and the neighbor wives would be out on the stoop in their curlers and bathrobes (because it's totally the 60's) mouthing "oh my" and covering their shock with a demure hand to to their lips.

So no jail time, and no divorce. . . but I also didn't get the file transferred.  

I asked Twitter. . . how the hell do you transfer pics and videos to your hard-drive from your iPhone and after several responses, got a great suggestion from Insatiable Booksluts, which was a program that allows your PC to look at your iPhone as if it's a removable hard drive.  (which, frankly, your PC should be able to do ANYWAY)

Okay. . . 1) understand that the only reason I want to know how to transfer files to the PC is because I want to upgrade my wife's iPhone to Cloud (essentially IOS 5.0).  If she was on Cloud then I'd already HAVE the damn video, but also because I have more than a thousand pictures on my phone and A)  It's really hard to find stuff because of all the stuff I have to wade through to get to it, and B)  I want to clear up some of my memory.

Now I have a game plan.  Tonight. . . sometime after the taxes, laundry, lunches packed, kids put to bed, etc, I will backup my wifes pics and videos to the PC, then upgrade her to IOS 5, then upload the video to the Greatest Blog Ever Posted*, and then sometime in the next day or so I'll hit "publish".  

*by me

And then. . . unless I'm greatly overselling this. . . you will read The Greatest Blog Ever Posted*

*by me

Friday, February 24, 2012

Purple Dress

Lily's obsession du jour (where du jour is french for "of the last month or so" not "of the day") is 'purple dress'.  Purple dress is a purple pajama top with a pink owl on it.  Every night about the time Lily gets home from daycare she begins saying, "I want purple dress," or "I want purple."  

"What does an owl say, Lily?" we prompt.  
"Hoo hoo," she replies.

When we play in her room she grabs it from her dresser and holds it like a blanket, shoving it into my arms when I'm not paying attention, surprising me into grabbing hold of it.  Once it's in my hands she says, "I want to put purple dress on."

Purple gets washed and dried during the day so that she can wear it every night.  

They see me rollin', they hatin'.  Chillin' in "purple dress".
Lily isn't prone to meltdowns, but there's very little she's passionate about, so we often cave to those few things that she takes a shine to.  So purple is laundered pretty religiously and I have no doubt will prematurely decay to lacy transparency in a few months, though probably some of its luster will have faded by then.

Okay, so what does it matter that Lily is obsessed with purple?  A couple things. . . 

1)  She's taking an interest in the clothes she wears.  The other day we put a pretty blue striped hooded long sleeve t-shirt on her before realizing that it was "heart awareness" day and changing her into a little red "Sweetheart" shirt with white long sleeve shirt underneath.  After changing her, she kept telling us she wanted "blue stripe shirt on".  I like that.  I like that she thinks some things she wears are prettier or cooler or whatever than some of her other clothes.  

Last night Leslie tied a long ornate pink silk scarf around her neck and she just stared at it and observed how it draped from her neck, picking up the knot and examining it before letting it fall back against her, twirling around the room and watching it flow.  When it would loosen and fall from around her neck, she'd ask for pink "back on" until one of us would redo the knot once more.

2)  Very little is motivating to Lily.  We really latch onto those things that we find Lily likes or is passionate about.  The iPad, for example, can be used to motivate her.  Certain TV programs. . . and now 'purple'.  When it's time for bed we say, "Let's go put on purple dress, Lily" in place of "time for bed, Lily." 

Her reaction to the prospect of putting on her favorite jammy shirt is to lead us happily to the stairs, bouncing as she walks, saying "OK!"  Her reaction to the prospect of bedtime is invariably either, "I don't want to go to bed" or "I not tired."  And she gets that when purple gets put on it's time for bed. . . but putting on purple is somehow awesome even if it means she's going to bed, whereas telling her she's going to bed without making mention of purple elicits a protest.

The obsessions can sometimes be a bit of a pain in the ass, for sure.  Having to continually make sure purple is always washed and ready isn't always particularly convenient for us, but her obsessions are very motivating for her, and she can be enticed to behave almost angelically when her obsession du jour is the carrot dangling from the motivational stick. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Little Celebrations

Work has been more. . . "worky" lately, and that has me busier than usual.  That's not a bad thing, because my days slide swiftly by and I'm not looking for filler, but the drawback is I don't really have much time to kill either reading blogs or writing them.

And nothing super noteworthy has happened since my last non-noteworthy blog, except that we had a great weekend where we celebrated 24 hours without a potty accident for Lily, which (since supplements started) has become something of a rarity, and one morning Lily spent about 30 minutes sitting on my lap giggling and hanging out, and that too is something of a rarity.

"I want more tickle" (morning hair)
I plopped Lily on my lap facing me one morning and we hung out that way for a while, with her scripting questions at me, and me answering, while we watched Victorious or some other Nick show.  And then my wife came down and joined the fun, and at one point Lily decided she was thirsty and said, "I want a drink of water."

"Your cup is on the table, Lil," I said, untangling myself from her so she could hop down and walk to the table to get her cup.

"I want to stay here," she replied from my lap.  And so my wife, knowing as well as I do that time spent holding Lily, who is normally so greased-piglet-squirmy and elusive, is precious, got up and brought Lily's cup to her so she could drink it before returning it to the table so I could resume tickling Lily, who giggled her ass off, sighing with relief as I stopped to let her breathe, before saying, "I want more tickle," and starting the whole process again.

She seems more accepting and appreciative of touch and affection.  Not that she ever really screamed about it or anything, but she had a way of wriggling free to let us know when enough was too much.

A few days later, Leslie was sitting on the couch or chair, I can't remember which, staring at me.  I looked around a little guiltily, wondering what new thing she'd said that I'd ignored or forgotten.  Her eyes kept glancing toward Lily and I kept not understanding what the hell it was I was supposed to be seeing, and finally with a disgusted sigh and rolled eyes she said under her breath, "She's holding my hand."  

And sure enough, Lily had walked over and was clutching Leslie's finger in her little fist while she just sort of hung out in our family room, scripting and gesturing with her free hand.  And we both got really quiet and really still. . . afraid to change anything lest we frighten the moment away like maidens approaching a sleeping unicorn.  

It didn't last long, maybe not even two minutes, but Lily initiated it.  Usually we have to corral her and insert our fingers into her fist. . . but she wanted it.

Just something we've noticed. . . 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Road Trip

I don't exactly have anything urgent burning a hole in my blog-writing pocket, but I did want to mention a couple things, and also, since I haven't posted for a while, to let you know we're all still alive.

We're still having some weird back-and-forth with the daycare, but it's being handled, and we got a different attorney through the pre-paid legal service that is a benefit from my wife's office (because she complained that last person sucked legal ass, so they've been busting their butts on our behalf ever since).  So that's in the background, and not really what I wanted to talk about.

We're also doing a wine-tasting this weekend at our house.  It's something we do every year around Valentine's Day.  This year we're adding a (REDACTED) theme to it, so it won't be all hearts and flowers, cause Valentine's Day is already over anyway, but it'll still be fun (the theme is TOP SECRET according to my boss wife, so I removed it from the post).  Last year we did Australian wines and did a random drawing of the specific type for each couple/participant to bring.  They then are responsible for preparing a brief presentation (sometimes they are elaborate, sometimes just a little blurb, read prior to the first drink) and pairing the wine with something appropriate.  This year we're doing South American wines.  It's fun.  We actually considered doing them every six months, but for some reason we got busy last August or just forgot or both.  Maybe this year.  And that's also not what I wanted to talk about.

I left town for a couple days this week.  That's what I wanted to talk about.  I rarely travel.  Since I started here at Company X (no, that's not the actual name) I have had exactly two road trips in almost four years.  That suits me juuuuuuust fine.  1)  I'm a reluctant flyer, 2)  I sleep like shit in hotel rooms, and 3)  (and most importantly) I hate being away from my family. 

This trip was via land, but required I drive (and ride alternately, since I was going with the Engineering Department Manager) six hours to Syracuse the night before a meeting, spend the night away, then drive back the following afternoon when the meeting was over.

I hate leaving my family.  I don't know how people with busy travel schedules do it, but I'm glad I don't have to learn.  I think I could probably make more money if I took a job in sales, but the trade off is that I'd have to travel a lot more frequently, and I just don't want to be away.  

I don't want to imply that people who travel more somehow love their families less (because I don't believe that), but I do think that when you get used to being on the road a lot, you get used to being away from your family too.  Because I've never really had to get used to it, I don't want to have to get used to it.  The more I'm around my family the more I want to be around my family.  It's hard for me to leave.    Not only is there guilt associated with leaving Leslie to deal with whatever issues come up (dance class, OT, middle of the night potty accidents and their associated bed-changings) but there's also the knowledge that my kids (at least one of them) are genuinely are sad to see me go.  Maybe even Leslie. . . she claims she sleeps poorly when I'm not there.  And sleep is really important to her.

Everything was fine in my absence, of course, and Leslie was (and always is) very supportive and encouraging about my need to leave town when work requires, but it still kind of sucked, and I still was very anxious to get home on Thursday.

Before I left, I tried to do absolutely as much as I could to make Leslie's night and morning with the kids as easy as possible.  I dropped both kids off at their schools instead of daycare that morning, then I made lunches, I set the coffee pot to auto brew, put away laundry, double-made Lily's bed (so if there was an accident, she could just strip off everything and there was a mattress pad, fitted sheet, sheet and comforter underneath ready to go), I wrote a note giving Emma a list of chores so Leslie didn't have to bark at her all night, and I told them all I loved them and missed them and would be home the next day.  And then I drove away.  I felt a little better that I'd done as much as I felt I could to make my absence least felt.

Something that I loved while I was away. . . I was able to Facetime (for the few of you not up to apple-speed. . . it's apple's video camera chat feature on the iphone/itouch/ipad) with them from my hotel room.  When I got to the hotel I texted Leslie and asked if they were available for it, then I called them up and was able to chat face to face with all three of them.  It was my first time trying it while away and it was awesome.  I felt a lot less homesick after I disconnected and I think it cheered Emma too.   After dinner with the customer later that night I was able to do it again, saying goodnight to Emma and Leslie, since Lily was already asleep.  It somehow made me feel more like I was still at home and less like I was far far away.

Anyway, if you noticed a decrease in the frequency and volume of my blog commenting. . . that's why.  It's good to be home.

Random "it's great to be home" picture.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Something's Missing

The theme of today's blog post is:  What's missing?

Food goes here. . . but also, hey, where'd that toof go?

SOMETHING is amiss.  And if you can't spot it, you can perhaps be forgiven.  Over the course of two days, this picture (to your right) represents the absolute best picture I was able to capture to show it.  Or . . . not show it. . . depending upon how you look at it.  I added an arrow in case it still wasn't obvious.

Two days after the Super Bowl, while at school, my baby lost her first toof.  I say toof because it's way cuter sounding than tooth, and six is a cute age.

So she lost her toof, and that leads to a fantastic new lie to tell her, namely the the Tooth Fairy, but let's face it, if I can't even really get the concept of Santa Claus to take root in her mind, I'm sure as hell not bending over backward to insert this lie.

Complicating matters further. . . neither the school nor the daycare had any idea where the toof was.  In fact, when I picked my angel up from daycare, I enthusiastically observed, "She lost her tooth!"

The daycare worker (washing Lily's hands at the time) said, "I noticed that."

There was a pause that stretched uncomfortably long before I asked, "And. . . do you know where it might be?"  She did not.

I went through her book bag and lunch box and pockets and clothing bags. . . nothing.

When we got home I poured over the details of Lily's day as faithfully chronicled by her dedicated school aide.  There was no mention of a toof.

Really?  Because that seems like the kind of thing you'd note in your log book.  "Lily had a good day today and sat attentively in Mr. R's class.  In the afternoon we ate a hotpocket and . . . she lost her tooth."  (for example) Something like that.  But there was no mention.

The following day I asked the daycare if they had any ideas.  The morning daycare worker swears she left the daycare with all her teeth.  The afternoon daycare worker swears she arrived without one of them.  The school acknowledged that they noticed at some point during the day that it was no longer in evidence in her mouth-al area.

*Sigh*.  It made me sad in an ironic sort of way.  I have bitched about "What are we doing with all these damned teeth?" in the past.  But those were Emma's teeth.  Each blessed bloody enameled treasure of which is tucked in my wife's jewelry box in our room.  "Why are we keeping these?"  There is no good answer to this question.  And yet I find myself ironically sad because I don't have another useless bloody tooth to collect and store and bitch about unnecessarily keeping that represents Lily's contribution.  I guess it feels a bit like a tiny betrayal. . . cared enough to save all of Emma's, but didn't even get Lily's first?  Bad parents!  Bad!

Ultimately, it's probably nobody's fault.  We'd told the daycare and school that the tooth was loose, very loose, and to be on the lookout, but it would not surprise me in the slightest if Lily swallowed it at some point during the course of the day.

That night, Emma wrote a letter to the Tooth Fairy on Lily's behalf, explaining about the tooth being lost, and where it might be found, and apologizing for the inconvenience, and in the morning the Tooth Fairy had responded with a five dollar bill and reassurances that all was well written in glittering ink.

I held off writing this post thinking perhaps someone would find the tooth the next day, or the next, giving me a happy ending, but if it went where I THINK it went, it's probably just as well that nobody has.  I've had a few days to make my peace with it, and I'm not sad anymore.  My little girl is growing up.  

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Experience and Adaptation

Okay, experience teaches that there's a "right" way and a "wrong" way to mount a toilet paper roll on the spool.  The right way is, of course, configured such that the paper lies over the top, not behind the roll.  It just is.  I've seen the pros and cons in ridiculous detail, but over the top is "correct."  70% of those polled (on some apocryphal internet site I read) agree and if I've learned nothing else in my 42 years, it is that if 70% of the people polled think it's so. . . who am I to argue with those geniuses?

It bothers me that my wife seems to hang the toilet paper indiscriminately, like it somehow doesn't matter; like it's somehow not the huge deal that it so totally is.  When I do happen to spy the roll incorrectly mounted, I change it without comment, however, because when I do bitch about it, she says things like, "If you'd have bothered to put the new roll on yourself when you finished the old roll I wouldn't have had to put the new roll on incorrectly!" which just distracts from the point, (which is that she's doing it wrong) and redirects it to something irrelevant (that at least someone is doing it).

Despite knowing the "right" way to mount the rolls, Lily receives an 'adapted' roll.  It's not in her IEP or anything, but like other adaptations and therapies we've implemented for Lily, it allows us to give her some amount of privacy while she sits on the potty while simultaneously preventing this:

From turning into. . .


Because you can't do that if you roll it from underneath.  

Experience is the best teacher.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Celebrating Misery - With Leslie's Comments

Leslie has reviewed and added her two cents.  I'll add her comments/our discussion in bold, red italics.  It's worth seeing just how little I retain two days after the event, and also how I damage control when I'm being a lazy parent by glossing over it in the post. . . 

I was sitting with Lily in her bedroom.  Leslie had taken Emma to dance class, leaving us to our own devices.  Lily was doing this thing. . .I don't exactly know what she was up to, but she was holding her stuffed puppy in her left hand.  She would walk over to the door and open it with her right hand, then push the other hand (the one holding Poopers (the puppy) through the door, closing it (softly) on her hand.  Effectively, Poopers was outside the room, dangling from the hand that was closed in the door.  Then she'd open the door up, bring Poopers inside and close the door.  Repeat x 100.  Occasionally she'd change things up by tossing Poopers outside the door, closing the door on him, remarking that "Poopers is outside", then opening it back up, retrieving him, and returning to the room, closing the door behind her.

She started getting stir crazy and whiny.  She didn't want to stay in the room, but when prompted to leave she'd scream, "Noooooo!" at the top of her lungs into my face, which I'm not in love with.  Usually when this happens I just pick her up or hold her hand and take her to some new fresh venue and she's fine with it despite screamed protests to the contrary, but when I tried to hold her hand she resisted, flopping slackly to the floor in limp protest.

"Fine," I said, and sat back down on her bed.  Sitting on the bed is no particular hardship for me.

She got back up off the floor, fidgeting with her ear, before resuming her repetitive puppy ingress/egress routine.  I looked curiously at her.  She'd been fighting a runny nose for two weeks, but mostly she seemed healthy.  I had mentioned to Leslie a day or two prior that I wondered whether she might have an ear infection.

She held one hand over her eye.  I'd never seen that before.  "What are you doing, Lil?"  She didn't reply.  

She continued to play, but the hand drifted back over to cover her eye again.  I wondered if it might be the light in the room.  She'd never really shown any kind of overt problem with conventional lighting, but she'd been shutting off the lights in her room off and on for a few days.  She likes the switch.  

She shut off the light.  I said,"Awwwww," in a disappointed tone, and she giggled, turning the lights back on.

I said, "Yay!  The lights are back on!" 

She immediately turned them back off and I said "Awww" again to more giggles.  We play that game sometimes.  Really, we play any game that gets her giggling as much as we absolutely can.

She covered her eye again with her hand.

"Lily, does your head hurt?"  I never really expect a response to questions like this.  Or if I get one, it's "yeah" or "yes" followed in rapid succession by "no", and I'm left just as confused as I was before I asked.

"My head hurts," she said.  "My ear hurts," she continued.

I looked at her, surprised.  "Your ear hurts?"

"Yeah.  It scary.  It hurt a lot."  

"Awww, baby, I'm sorry!" I picked her up and held her, looking in her eyes.  Her hand covered her ear now.

"My ear hurts.  I broke it.  I'm sick.  I don't feel good at all."

Where.  The.  Hell.  Did she come up with all this language?  Did she pick it up from school?  Was there a kid at school who was sick?  Was this echolalia?  Or did she legitimately have an ear ache?

I remember when Emma was sick as a baby.  I remember being conflicted about not wanting her to grow up too fast (I consciously contradicted myself in my head any time I "wished" for her to develop some new skill that would make parenting easier. . . potty training, talking, walking, whatever, because I'd been told, and already could see that it goes by sooo fast) but wishing that she could tell me what was wrong.  Where does it hurt?  Is your tummy upset?  These were questions I wished she'd been able to answer so that I could make her feel better.

Lily, at six, has been sick many times, but has never put into language what she was feeling inside her own body.  Was that what she was doing?

I honestly wasn't convinced.  I even fought it a little, my innate protective skepticism keeping me from getting too excited about the possibility that she might really be communicating this feeling she was having.  She continued to tell me her ear hurt.  

Leslie came home about 15 minutes later.  Lily and I had migrated downstairs.  Lily was playing good naturedly as the TV played in the background.  We were switching off.  I was picking Emma up from softball practice, and she was on Lily duty.  I explained what Lily had said.  She didn't doubt.  

Leslie, upon reading this post, said, "You got a few things wrong in this one."  

"Pfft.  Like what?"

"Like, for example, when I came home, you didn't tell me what she said, she said it to me before you mentioned it."

That IS actually what happened.  I sorta forgot.

"I'm taking her to Med Express," she said.  I had been torn, but Leslie's decisiveness about the situation felt right.  I had been toying with the idea of going to the doctor, but I knew what a pain in the ass it was going to be, and hadn't been convinced it wouldn't have been a wild goose chase.  Med Express was the perfect solution I hadn't considered, and Leslie's opinion, that this was not echolalia immediately tipped the balance.  

"Um, also, when I got home, you were sitting on the floor with a blanket on top of you, and when i said we needed to take her to Med Express, you just sorta sat there and pulled the blanket up over your face and tried to hide from me."

"Oh yeah.  But I DID intend to tell you.  And I DID think taking her to Med Express was a good idea.  But I sorta didn't really want to have to do it.  You're right."

"Yeah. . . I have no doubt that you meant to tell me, I'm just saying, when I got home and she told me her ear hurt. . . you hid under the blanket."

She headed to Med Express and I went to pick up Emma.  We exchanged a few texts before Emma and I gathered her equipment and headed to the car.  I decided to meet them at Med Express.  They were still in the waiting room when we left, but got a room as I drove.  

We arrived and I texted Leslie that we were in the waiting room.  

A few minutes later I heard Lily's voice behind the doors, and Leslie joined us.

"She has an ear infection," she said, "The doctor said it is definitely hurting her, it's bulging.  The other ear is fine."

I was so excited!  My daughter had an ear infection! 

Leslie and I had run through the scenarios out loud before we parted ways.  She either didn't have an ear infection, in which case this was just a clever and novel new bit of echolalia memorized from school. . . or she did have an ear infection, and she felt it.  And it felt wrong.  And she told us about it.  

I think that unless you have special needs, are raising a child with special needs, or love someone who has special needs, it's difficult to really understand the "little" milestones and "trivial" victories that people with special needs and their parents and loved ones celebrate.

This "little" milestone seemed so huge to us over the weekend; this "trivial" victory so monumental.  I told her how proud I was of her for telling us what was wrong, and Leslie took her home and gave her Motrin.  I drove to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for antibiotic.  Leslie took that time to call every living relative within a 500 mile radius, like we were announcing a wedding engagement or something. . . that's how big this felt to us; how big it still feels.   

And when I got home, Lily had taken her medication and when Leslie asked if her ear hurt, instead of saying "it broken," and "my ear is scary" she said, "it hurt a little bit".  And later still at bedtime when asked if her ear felt better, she said, "my ear feel better now".

The following morning she told me again that her ear hurt.  I gave her more Motrin, and although she still told me her ear hurt an hour later, after that she said it only hurt a little bit.  We continue to give her antibiotics, and since Sunday she's no longer tugging her ear or saying that anything hurts.

I know it probably seems a little weird how excited I am that my daughter has an ear infection. . . at least taken out of context, but this ear infection was the confirmation that my daughter felt sick, and was able to communicate it to us.  And that is cause for celebration.
Random Cuteness

Thursday, February 2, 2012

You Gotta Give Her Credit

Part 1:

I want to give a little credit to the primary school Lily attends, and a little more to Lily's special needs (SN) Kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Ingrams (name changed).  If you're unfamiliar with the appellation "primary" school, then you're not alone.  Until a couple years ago, the elementary schools in our area taught children from K - 4.  After 4th grade, the kids went to a middle school from 5 - 7, then an intermediate school from 8 - 9, and finally high school, 10 - 12.  I don't know why I'm drilling into these details (some of which I may actually have slightly wrong) but I just wanted to explain what I meant by "primary" school.  They changed that breakdown to something I personally like more, adding "primary schools" to the mix:

Primary School:  K - 3
Elementary School:  4 - 6
Middle School:  7 - 8
High School:  9 - 12

I like it better because it keeps the little kids with the little kids and the bigger kids with the bigger kids.  

Anyway. . . I want to give a little credit to the school, but more to the teacher.  

First of all, it is more or less acknowledged locally that if you have a child with special needs, specifically autism, this primary school, our primary school is the place to be.  How did we end up there?  Clever management?  String pulling?  No.  Blind luck.  What's the old saying?  "It's better to be lucky than good."  I've never understood that saying, but let's go with it because it applies here.

Since we started Lily in this primary school we've really had no problems.  The IEP process, while not flawless, essentially provided us with everything thought might be necessary for Lily, and the school in general seems to genuinely care about Lily and her learning.  And for the most part, when we ask about things that might be added to help Lily at school, they are provided, without our having to reconvene over a table, haggle, threaten or sign documents.

Lily's Kindergarten teacher is Mrs. Ingrams.  Lily calls her simply, "Ingrams."  I've mentioned Mrs. Ingrams before in a blog post about parent/teacher conferences >>Here<<, and mentioned in another blog how Lily once included her in her nightly prayers.  

In the midst of a series of bad days for us with Lily, and a mounting feeling of overwhelming stress and cumulative gloom (excessive potty accidents with Lily, lots of spitting, a couple sleepless nights, planning a birthday party, attending an orchestra recital, doctor's appointments, illnesses, and an ominous email from the daycare implying impending expulsion for Lily. . . overall just a lot of shit to deal with simultaneously), my wife mentioned Lily's daycare troubles to Mrs. Ingrams during a morning dropoff, and how freaked out it was making us, and how, "We were always worried that Lily's school was going to be the problem.  Everyone always seems to have issues dealing with their school and their IEP, and you guys have been the easiest to work with."

And Mrs. Ingrams said, "We love Lily.  As long as Lily is in our building, you won't need to worry about her," and that story, even told to me by my wife after the fact, even written down a week later, gets me right here *thumps chest* and makes me misty-eyed just to type out.  And I know Leslie feels the same.  We love us some Mrs. Ingrams.  

Part 2:

Leslie and I. . . that feels wrong.  Leslie (I did nothing) set up an after-the-fact birthday party for Lily.  We invited a few of the girls from her typically developing classroom and one boy from her SN classroom.  Lily is the only girl in her SN classroom, but this particular little boy is also in her typically developing classroom with her, and is the same age as Lily, and it hurt our hearts not to extend the invitation to him.  We chose "Jump Zone" because it had a proven track record of giving Lily joy, and really, what kid doesn't like to bounce?

I'd provide more details as to the party itself (though that's not why I bring it up) but I. . . didn't go.  Yeah, I know. . . to my own kid's birthday party.  I was sooooo sick that day.  While Leslie handled Lily, Lily's friends, Emma, Emma's friends, our family, and the families of the guests. . . I was in bed with my head under a pillow praying to the God, Immodium.  Let us speak nor more of it, except to say that Leslie deserved a lot of credit for handling that (the party, not my issues) "on her own" (our parents helped, of course, as did our friends, but it's not really the same thing as having your spouse there to help do something as little as pay the bill while the other watches Lily).

At this party, all guests were informed that they were not to bring presents.  A couple of the parents I talked to directly, explaining that Lily had already gotten her birthday presents in December, and that this was just to give her a chance to have a party.  This was universally ignored and Lily came home with a bunch of presents.

Recently Lily started playing with some of her presents.  This is, in and of itself, reason to celebrate, since she's not much of a "playa" (the "yo" is implied).  Whether she's shaking music makers or examining dolls, she's probably taken more to presents over this birthday/holiday season then she ever has previously.  

This is new.  This is positive.

This will all come together, I swear. . . 

Part 3:

Kids actually do say the darnedest things, and Lily's speech has always been one area that both Leslie and I never seem to be able to capture and appropriately share after the fact.  She'll say some adorable thing, and I'll think, "I have to remember to tell Leslie that when she gets home." And when Leslie gets home I'll say, "Oh!  Lily said the cutest thing and it was totally appropriate.  She said. . . um. . . she said. . . " and I'll trail off in silence, the anecdote lost to my dotage.  She does the same thing.  

But the other day Leslie came to me and said, "Lily said the cutest thing!"  And shared. . .  

The resemblance *is* uncanny
Lily was in the bath, playing with one of her presents from the holiday/birthday extravaganza above-referenced.  It was a mermaid doll.  Lily does seem to latch onto mermaids for whatever reason, and this mermaid (given to her last month) had not yet gotten much of her attention.  

Leslie was in the room with her. 

"Mommy, what her name be," she asked?  

Lily's naming conventions are typically related to the description or identity of the toy in question.  In the case of a recognizable doll, (e.g. a Disney Princess (TM)) she will give the doll her appropriate name. . . Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, etc.  In the case of her dog, "Poopers" it's because she mangled "puppy" into "poopy" and then "pooper" and he sort of devolved himself into Poopers.  Having said that, she has never brought up the process of "naming" something.  It's just something that sort of happens over time.  Most of the time we reference it, and she accepts our label and adopts it.  This was something new; something positive.

"Mommy, what her name be," she asked?  And Leslie thought about it.  Lily is fascinated by colors, and will describe "red" balloon, or "purple" iCarly DVD, and she wondered whether a name that described all the pretty colors in the mermaid's hair (it changes when it's wet) would be something appropriate for the doll, but she temporized instead.

"What do you want to name her?"  She didn't expect an answer.

"Ingrams," she said.

"You want to name your mermaid, Ingrams," she asked, amused.


"Alright baby, I think that's a good name."

"Yeah," she replied happily and played with her mermaid.