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Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Tooth about Sporns

See. . . missing toof.

When Lily lost her top tooth my friend Bec sent my daughters a present.  It was a book she wrote to promote inclusion and acceptance of special needs kids, and it was (and is) called Jake Learns the Tooth.  It was about losing teeth, and the tooth fairy, and illustrated by kids!  And she thought given Lily’s love for books, and the subject matter, she’d really like it!  (and she did).  What I somehow failed to register was that Bec lives in Australia.  So it was sort of amazing to see it show up complete with book (for Lily) and a calendar of animals down under (for Emma).  Because I was trying to be discrete (First.  Time.  Ever.  It’s totally overrated) I was sort of cryptic with my acknowledgement.  I didn’t want people knowing she’d sent a gift for the kids because then maybe all her fans would be pissed that THEY didn’t get gifts for their kids.  The unfortunate side effect was that it made it look like we were involved in some sort of illicit trade.  The following occurred on her facebook “wall”.  I'll add the . . . "directors comments" in bold.

Jim Walter:  A package was received. . . it was filled with goodies. LOVE it! Also. . . and this is probably going to make me sound a little dull. . . I had no idea this was an international shipment.

Bec: Could that sound more dodgy? I think not :)

Jim Walter: You're all secretive and stuff. . . I didn't want to say too much. BUT. . . it does sound pretty dodgy. What kind of operation are you running here, anyway?

Bec: LOL secretive. Yeah that makes it sound WAY less dodgy.

Jim Walter:  You worry too much. What about "secret package that SOMEhow made it through customs" sounds dodgy?

And then. . . THIS happened.  A woman who had seen my Target post (which explains that I have an autistic daughter, and which has been seen by many many people) decided to peddle autism snake oil to me.  Her name has been changed to protect her. . . um. . . innocence, or whatever.

Shady McShaderson:  Jim please watch the video www.abchealthreport.com. Then message me for more info on autisim. You really need to watch this right now - thank you.

I ignored it.  Bec then sent me an email that night saying I had groupies and that there was a woman who REALLY needed me to watch something and send her a message right away.  She screen capped it. . . and I forgot about it.

Over the course of the next couple days other people approached me.  Shady wasn’t able to leave a message on my page because we weren’t friends, but she sent them the same message she left Bec:  Please have Jim watch the video right away.  Please have him message me. 

I can’t remember what prompted me to return to Bec’s page and look for comment except that I love reading her blog on www.snagglebox.com, and so I’d pimped it out to a few friends and was telling them to read her stuff on autism, which is really cleverly addressed, short, sweet, funny, and really informative.  And I found it again.  And because I was bored and it was lunch time and I had to kill some time, I picked up the thread I’d dropped and decided to have a little fun with it.  I’d visited her page and already knew that what she wanted me to watch was something extolling the virtues of “protandim” and that she was in fact, a direct seller OF protandim.

Jim Walter: why do I need to watch it? And what information do you think I need on autism? This is all very mysterious.

Shady McShaderson:  Have you watched the video I sent you?

Jim Walter: have. . . have you answered the question I asked you?

Shady McShaderson:  Jim go to pubmed.gov. Type in oxidative stress and autism to see studies done. Protandim reduces oxidative stress 40% to 70% in all mammals 100% of the time.

Mammals?  What the . . .

Shady McShaderson:  The reason I sent this is due to your post about autism. 

Jim Walter what's protandim? Is that orange juice?

At this point I had decided to play the sporns card.  For a quick refresher. . .  Flush the Sporns!

Shady McShaderson:  No Jim Protandim is what is talked about in the ABC Prime Time Investigative Report. Please watch the video and go to pubmed.gov

Jim Walter: is it to rid the intestines of sporns? My daughter is already being treated for sporns.

Shady McShaderson:  That I can't tell you, however I can find out some information for you.

Jim Walter:  One treatment at a time, I think. Once we've flushed the sporns, we can look at other treatments, but I think you'll agree, sporns first, diet second, THEN polish it off with some oxidative stress relief!

Shady McShaderson:  Does this mean you watched the video? You can help a lot of people look into this.

And I couldn’t keep her to myself. . . it wouldn’t have been fair.  I invited friends.

Jill Smo: Jim... have you watched the video about sporns that I emailed you?

Jim Walter:  that's how I got on the citric flush treatments, Jill.

Jim Walter:  Shady, how did YOU learn about Protandim? It's not exactly a household name, like sporn flushing.

Jill Smo: If you want, you can message me for information about autism. I happen to know quite a bit about it, what with me having a product to sell and all

Jim Walter: I was reading some of the information I could find about it on the internet and saw that it's used for mammals. My daughter IS a mammal, or at least her doctor has told me as much, so it MAY actually be useful for her!

Bil Hooper: ‎Jim... I am so glad you told me about the Sporns! I have an appointment to get my son sprayed next month, and tomorrow we start the UV HyperD and Vitamin C flush. Like you said, his lucidity and engagement is *markedly* different; plus he's complaining _a lot_ more than usual.

Jill Smo: See, I knew that the "being a mammal causes autism" theory was right

Shady McShaderson:  Yes it will be useful for her!

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: OMG. IM A MAMMAL!!! Cue panic attack in 3...2...1... I blame the evil, evil sporns.

Shady McShaderson:  All of us have oxidative stress and can benefit from Protandim. Watch the video at www.abchealthreport. Com. Then go to pubmed.gov and type in oxidative stress and panic attacks for example and will show studies done.

Jill Smo:  So, Shady, are you aware of how one could purchase said product, which appears to have an amazing ability that I'm sure you're just telling us about out of the goodness of your heart?

Shady McShaderson:  Jim I started on Protandim a year and a half ago due to I have had problems with my lungs since moving from NV desert to the AZ desert. I have been in the hospital twice and on and off steroids to help me breath. In May of this year when doing breathing tests 2 have improved from a year ago and I have stayed out of the hospital and have not been on steroids all the time.

Two of her many lungs have improved by using Protandim!  AMAZING. 

Bil Hooper:  Just a thought-- is it possible to smoke Protandim?

Jill Smo:  Oh, yeah, I would totally smoke it

Bil Hooper:  I heard smoking relieves stress.

Jill Smo I've heard that, too!!! I watched a video about it

Shady McShaderson:  Jill Smo yes you can go to my site to order this. www.LifeVantage. com/ShadyMcShaderson. If you want to purchase a bottle you will want to click on "join LifeVantage" on the green box then the next page you will click "preferred customer". Honestly I'm sharing this information with you cause it is important to let people know about this product and how it will help them!

NOT because she sells it for a living!

Shady McShaderson:  Bill-no smoking Protandim!!! It is a pill!!!

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  Dying.  Just...dying.

Jim Walter:  My daughter has problems with pills. Is it possible to freebase or snort protandim?

It made me actually laugh out loud at myself to type that question.  Nobody is more amused by me than I am.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  Oh look. I'm dead.

Bil Hooper: Even better.

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  Is Shady trying to say if we purchase her product it will "cure" our childrens autism?

Jill Smo: You can crush up a pill and then smoke it. Or so I've heard

Shady McShaderson:  You can crush the pill and put in applesauce or whatever and swipe it that way. Many people do this for their dogs cats and horses.

And that was when Shady compared giving supplements to children with autism to giving pills to their dogs/cats/horses. . . without any understanding of the implication.  And frankly, I don’t think she meant anything by it.

Jim Walter: hmmm. . . can it replace dog/cat/horse food in my daughter's diet, or should I still be feeding her that stuff as well?

Shady McShaderson:  Chariots-- Protandim does not cure or prevent. It is scientifically proven to reduce the oxidative stress that is the root cause of many diseases.

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎^^^^ AHAHAHAHA

Charity seemed unconvinced by Shady . . .

Shady McShaderson:  Charity-/ sorry my fingers spelled your name wrong!!

Stupid fingers. . . do you know if you take Protandim it makes your fingers better spellers?

Jill Smo:  Jim you can't cut out the dog food diet. I saw a video that said it was the BEST thing you could do for your kid

Charity Lyn Bedoy: I push my dogs pills in cheese and toss it in the air and they inhale it!

Shady McShaderson:  Well Jim that's up to you on her diet!!!!

Jim Walter:  yeah, probably better keep the dog food in there at LEAST.

Jill Smo:  Dog food has essential, um... corns

Shady McShaderson:  HAHAHA

I started to suspect she might actually know we were fucking with her. . .

Jim Walter:  plus it keeps my daughter's coat shiny.

Bil Hooper:  ‎Jim, she means that you can obviously freebase/crush/snort a pill OR sneak it into food.

Jim Walter:  Hey, Bec, I want to thank you for emailing me the comment, I might have missed it otherwise.

Because Bec is in Australia. . . she’s sleeping through this entire exchange, all of which is occurring on her Facebook page.

Patty Porch-Hooper: So wait, doesn't this verify the theory that breathing oxygen causes autism????

Shady McShaderson:  You are funny!! Just check out the science behind Protandim! Any questions send to me at my email work2rope@msn.com or message me in f/b

She’s GOT to be onto us at this point.

Linda Kimpton: I have learnt soooo much from this discussion. I'm off to the supermarket for orange juice, and dog food, and we're going to get right on to reducing my son's oxygen so he has less oxidative stress! Cross your fingers, he could be cured by the weekend!

Linda’s also an Aussie. . . but she was awake.  Why so sleepy all the time, Bec?

Bil Hooper:  If that were true, my horse would have autism.

Jim Walter:  if your horse has autism. . . have you seen the video on abchealthreports.com? Also, visit pubmed.gov. . .

Patty Porch-Hooper ‎Bil Hooper, I'm pretty sure ole Sparky DOES have autism. Ever notice how he never makes eye contact?

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎@Shady in 30 alcoholics. woohoo well if it worked on them I'll give it to my boy!! How about you have them pass FDA studies and maybe I'll think about it.

Okay. . . on a more serious note, what Charity is referring to here is the information on Protandim.  Because it is considered a supplement and not a drug, FDA does not need to approve it.  Also, according to what I read, protandim was only ever used in trials on human beings twice.  Nothing more recent than 2006.  In one study, they used it on recovering alcoholics.  From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protandim

“Human clinical studies
Two studies of Protandim have been conducted in human subjects. One of these studies, a non-randomized, non-controlled trial, reported that Protandim increased the levels of the antioxidant enzymes SOD and catalase while reducing TBAR levels.[7][21]
The second study, a double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trial published by McCord and colleagues in 2012, examined the effect of Protandim on pulmonary oxidative stress and alveolar epithelial permeability in 30 recovering alcoholics.[22] Protandim (14 subjects at a dose of 1350 mg/day; double the daily dose recommended by the manufacturer) or placebo (in 16 subjects) were administered for 7 days. Relative to placebo-treatment, Protandim had no significant effects on alveolar epithelial permeability or on oxidative stress, epithelial growth factor, fibroblast growth factor, interleukin-1β, and interleukin-10 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Treatment with placebo, however, produced a significant reduction in plasma levels of TBARS, a marker of oxidative stress (i.e., lipid peroxidation).”

In other words, of the two human trials conducted, one was non-controlled, not randomized reported success (paid for by the manufacturer).  The other reported no significant reduction in oxidative stress, just on a MARKER of oxidative stress. 

Jim Walter: I'm not sure whether my daughter is an alcoholic though. . . even though I AM convinced she's a mammal, or at least has mammalian tendencies. . . will it still work?

Shady McShaderson:  Linda please watch the video and let me know your thoughts!

I tried to return the discussion to what was important. . . getting Bil and Patty’s horse proper treatment for his autism.

Jim Walter: how is he in social situations?

Patty Porch-Hooper: And Linda Kimpton I have heard that plastic bags are good for reducing oxygen levels. Hey! Plastic bags cure autism!

Linda Kimpton: OMG Patty, I was totally going to get free plastic bags when I bought the OJ and the dog food! This works out perfectly!

Shady McShaderson‎:  @Charity Since Protandim is NOT a drug FDA doesn't need to be involved- it is 5 natural ingredients. As far as alchemical the damage done to their cells Protandim will help.

Jim Walter: Thank god we don't need to worry about the FDA interfering with treatment.

Shady McShaderson:  Jim and all others-you need to look at this and the science behind it

Patty Porch-Hooper:  Social situations? Well, he bites people’s fingers and flaps his tail a lot. I'm pretty sure he's stimming.

Jim Walter:  biting is NOT acceptable. Have you done any ABA type stuff with him?

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead Ooh goody! I have plastic bags! Autism beware. By the way I rose

Cynthia was struggling with her cell phone. . . it kept posting to Facebook before she’d finish what she was typing.

Bil Hooper: I'm totally overwhelmed now. I need to smoke.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  From the dead after I bought Shady's product. It works!

Jim Walter:  Try smoking protandim!

Charity Lyn Bedoy: Shady there is no science behind it, that’s why it isn’t sold as anything other than a "supplement" it can’t be sold as a prescription or actually claim to "cure" because it doesn’t. I'd have better luck taking him to a O2 bar daily.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead Protandim: cures death.

Jim Walter: have you TRIED taking him to an O2 bar?

I played my Jenny McCarthy card.  Because frankly, if Charity hasn’t taken her son to an oxygen bar daily in order to cure his oxidative stress (which according to Shady is the cause of MANY diseases) then frankly, she’s not a warrior mother. . . clearly she’s just in this for the attention.  <--sarcasm.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Oxygen causes death.

Shady McShaderson:  Charity you are wrong! Go do some research on it!

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Studies show that 100% of people who inhale oxygen die. True story.

Charity Lyn Bedoy: No Jim but I think I WILL!! Because geez that must be it!! Come on everybody lets go!!!

Bil Hooper:  Flush Sporns!

Jim Walter:  Wait! before we go. . . let's review the science behind it. Have they tried it on mammals or alcoholic humans?

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Umm Chariot? I'll go with you- but only for sporn flushing research.

Shady McShaderson:  Until you do the research on it you don't know what you are talking about. I'm just sharing the information with you.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  No. What you're doing is attempting to sell snake oil. Nice try though. Best laugh I've had in a while. Carry on.

I think this is the point where Cynthia starts to snap. 

Flannery Sullivan: I'm worried about my child's oxidation. Does anyone know if a product that would help that?

That line made me laugh out loud like child.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  Snake oil causes oxidation.

Jim Walter:  wait. . . you want ME to do the research on it? Using my daughter?

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  Flannery- carbon dioxide.

Shady McShaderson:  ‎@ Cynthia. Research it then talk to me.

Dawn Hentrich I...can't...breathe...too much WIN.

Dawn’s oxidative stress started to rise. . .

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Or a tinted shield.

Shady McShaderson:  Jim. Research the sites!

And STILL she bravely fights on!!

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Yes. I'll be sure to do that. I'll ignore my background in health science first.

Flannery Sullivan: What if my son will only eat the dog biscuits, but not the actual kibble? Should I try him on the wet food?

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  ‎@Shady well if of course I'll believe the "research" your company did.  While I am at it I am going to by the Tummy Tuck Belt too!!

Jim Walter:  I can't now. . . I have to go home. As it is, I've stayed 15 minutes past when I'd normally leave. Thank you, Shady. Really.  For everything.

Shady McShaderson:  If you Cynthia have that background you will find the research interesting.

Shady McShaderson:  You ate welcome Jim and send me an email

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Ooh that tummy tuck belt. I was THISCLOSE to ordering that last night but I was too oxidized to get to the phone. Please order two. Thanks. You're a pal.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: I did NOT eat Welcome Jim. I resent that remark. I did however eat all of the Mallomars. Does that count?

Shady McShaderson:  ‎@ charity. Go to the site and you will see the universities that did their own studies

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead:  That's why I need the tummy tuck belt.

Shady McShaderson:  Jim sorry-- you are welcome!

Such a sweet girl.

More lols followed. . .

Flannery Sullivan What if the wet dog food gives him the runs. That's why I stopped giving it to the dog.

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  ‎@Cynthia we can wear them at the O2 bar!!

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: We will be HAWT!  I hope they come in matching colors to coordinate with our nasal cannulas.  I'd hate to clash.

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎@Flannery well you know maybe you'll have to alternate between the cheese and wet dog food

Flannery Sullivan: Wait, Shady. Is your product for dogs also? Because my dog won't make eye contact or chase the ball, he just seems like he's in his own world.

Flannery Sullivan: I love my dog enough to do whatever it takes to make him like the other dogs.

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  ohh mine too!! And he is afraid of the wood floors in my bedroom cries like a lil baby!!

Shady McShaderson:  ‎@Flannery. Many people are giving it to their dogs, cats, horses and it is helping them! What does your dog have?

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: My dog is afraid of everything too! He chases balls though. Maybe he isn't that far gone yet.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: And then my head exploded. Omfg

Uh oh. . . no. . . no THIS is when Cynthia started to get pissed.  I’m almost certain.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: AAAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH

See??

Flannery Sullivan: Shady, he might have worms. I also worry a lot about Rickets.

Shady McShaderson‎:  @ Flannery email me at anythingformoney@msn.com

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Yes Flannery. Get on that, wouldya?

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  ‎@Shady will it cure dumbassness? Because I know people that suffer from that and I think it's caused from a lack of O2 because their heads are up their booties..

Flannery Sullivan: Should I send pictures of my dog for diagnostic purposes?

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎Daniel you MUST purchase this not medication but supplement for your boy.. It's not FDA approved and it works on humans and animals.. HURRY it will cure his oxidative stress!! We have decided to use wet dog food to give it to our kids... what do you think?

Shady McShaderson‎:  @ Flannery if you would like

Then Cynthia lowers the boom on sporn flushing.

Cynthia Anastasia Beaverhausen Beckstead: Shady - Wow. I've gone from amused to pissed the hell off now. Bad move. Bad. You think its ok to peddle your nonsense that has not been tested safely AND you think it's ok to try to manipulate parents into using their children as guinea pigs for your own financial gain. I have no doubt you will sell that crap to some desperate, uninformed parents. You will no doubt make money from those desperate enough to administer bleach enemas to their kids. You make me sick. I don't know how you can look at yourself in the mirror. You are nothing but a bottom dwelling parasite and deserve to be treated that way. You disgust me and you should be ashamed of yourself. don't even bother responding. I'm out.

It probably had to be said. . .

But I SUSPECT Shady extricated herself quickly from the discussion at that point.  I never saw another response.  That didn’t stop the party from continuing in her honor, however.

Flannery Sullivan: Cynthia, I have to cure my dog's Rickets and autism. It's like you don't care about my dog, or his sporns.

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎@Flannery your dog can go to the O2 bar with us and wear a tummy tuck belt!!!

Charity Lyn Bedoy: ‎@Cynthia, she reminds me of Snake oil salesman..

Jim Walter: Wait a minute...I wonder if she's friends with the sporns guy!

Charity Lyn Bedoy: Maybe she IS the sporns guy!!!

Jim Walter: I'll bet if we watch abchealthreports.com it tells us.

Jill Smo: OH GOD. Can't... breathe.... *gasp*

Sporns killed Jill Smo at that point.

Charity Lyn Bedoy: Maybe it will tell us where Hoffa is buried, where the money from D.B. Cooper is buried (I could use it) tell me if Bigfoot is real and if so where I can find him because I'd like to photobomb the bastard, if Elvis and Tupac still alive (I think they must be with Carmen SanDiego and Waldo) settle once and for all the JFK conspiracy, why my cats sleep all day and think my bed is a rave at night...

Jim Walter:  I don't think the science shows that....

At this point, people started sharing the thread and more and more people started reading it. . . and Bec slept on. . . soooo sleepy.  While I hate to leave anyone out, I WILL link to the thread at the end of this post so you can decide to visit if you wish.  There are some really funny lines delivered after the fact, and let’s face it, if you’re reading this, you could use a few laughs at the expense of sporns-flushing salespeople.

And then Bec woke up with some BS about going to bed really late and THAT’s why she didn’t see the post. . .

Bec:  Okay people WTF IS GOING ON??? I was up until 3AM trying to work out why FB is dicking me over and deleting all of September from my timeline and I wake up to this...so confused right now...

Jim Walter:  I um...remembered you told me someone wanted to talk to me...

Charity Lyn Bedoy: Shady is a wonderful lady trying to sell us these amazing pills that will cure any mamal of pretty much anything that ails ya

Bec:  ‎* drags tired ass all the way to top of comments to work out if armageddon has happened due to bacon shortage *

Charity Lyn Bedoy:  umm we are making plans for that.. shhh it's a secret!!

Bec:  OH. MY. GOD. It's like Christmas morning and Santa just brought me the BEST PRESENT EVER!!

Bec:  Thank you Santa Jim.

Kelly Blume Albrecht:  THIS IS THE BEST PARTY I'VE EVER BEEN TO

Bec:  This is the best party I've turned up 5 hours late to when everyone is passed out drunk on my lawn! Oh and there's a chance I may have flagged some of you as spam because I'm half asleep and my brain is playing some serious catch up here, I can't be expected to click in the right place... Or maybe it's the sporns...

Charity Lyn Bedoy: Shady has a pill for that

----

That was a nice natural ending to the post. . . though the discussion continued.  I encourage you to read the rest of it in its entirety at http://www.facebook.com/Snagglebox/posts/501943516501418?notif_t=feed_comment

On that page you’ll see Shady’s real name, so I'm not sure why I bothered protecting it.  And I want to say this:  I have read some information on Protandim.  I can’t tell you whether it will help your child/dog/horse/other mammal’s oxidative stress.  But if you’re interested, look into it.  I am NOT.  This post, despite obvious hilarity, is not meant to say that the product does not work.  

Is it my opinion that it does not?  Absolutely.  Am I qualified to make that sort of judgement?  Meh. . . probably not.  So take my mockery with a grain of salt.

Peddling hope is cutthroat business.  Shady’s fallback position was always “watch the video!”  That’s good.  Because she only ever really said Protandim helped HER, and because she never claimed cures and essentially fell back to “watch the video” and “do the research” I can’t really fault her TOO much.  Her advice is sound.  DO THE RESEARCH.

But. . . don’t come to me with your demands to look into the miracle cure du jour (aka sporn flushing) and expect my prompt obedience and resultant happy dance at the news.  There are too many OTHER miracle cures people are rushing to market that I ALSO need to research. 

And to quote Miracle Max, “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles.”


Monday, September 24, 2012

Unrequited Love


Lily didn't sleep magnificently last night.  She's getting over something that's leaving her a bit stuffy, and mildly uncomfortable, and so she hasn't slept quite like herself for the past three nights.  Last night she woke up at 12:45 a.m., then about 2:00 (Leslie went in to try to get her to sleep for an hour before stumbling blearily back to bed in surrender) , and she stayed awake until about 3:30, when I fell asleep in her room attempting to get her to sleep.  It worked, by the way.  She was asleep when I left.  But at 4:30 a.m. when I stumbled out of her bedroom and back to my own, I was a little punchy.

Today was a different routine.  Leslie called off the bus driver because I went to the school today to drop off Lily's medication with the school nurse.  I wasn't sure whether she'd be in though, so I called the receptionist about a half hour before the "official" drop off time.

Receptionist:  Oh!  she just got here, so you can come in whenever.

Jim:  Great.  One more question, I know it's early, but I was bringing Lily with me.  When do the aides show up?

Receptionist:  They're supposed to be here by 8:30.

Jim:  Okay, so if I want to drop Lily off afterward, 8:30 at the earliest?

Receptionist:  Yeah, or you could just take her to the special ed classroom and stay with her until the aides arrive.

Jim:  Alright, thanks a lot.

Receptionist:  Anything else?

Jim:  No thanks, that about does it.

Receptionist:  Alright, we'll see you when you get here!  Bye!

Jim:  Alright, love you.

Receptionist:  . . . I'm sorry?

Jim:  Um. . . I believe I just told you I love you.

Receptionist:  (laughter)

Jim:  Sorry. . .

Receptionist:  Quite alright (more laughter)

Jim:  See you in a bit.

Receptionist:  bye! (more laughter)

Jim:  *Hangs up*

I was actually blushing over the phone by the end.  I signed in at the desk when I got there and told the receptionist I was there to see the school nurse.  She didn't say anything, and I wasn't positive it was the woman I'd spoken to.  I guess she was being polite and saving me from my embarrassment, but possibly she saw the talent and decided she'd keep her options open for the next sleep deprived father.

Besides, I'm married!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Still Working Out the Kinks

I'll try to make this short and relatively sweet.  We're juggling doctor's appointments and dance classes, homework assignments and softball games, as I'm sure most of you are.  Honestly, I think we've dropped a ball at least once every day this week.  

Emma missed a homework assignment, I failed to include Lily's homework in her backpack, showers are being skipped, homework is being put off. . . we just haven't quite gotten on top of the schedule yet.  We still just haven't worked out all the kinks.

But during the infrequent lulls there are still moments where we can look around us and watch as other parents around us deal with the same sort of stress and disorganization that we do and take some comfort in our solidarity.  Three days ago, waiting for the bus to come pick Lily up I observed this on the neighbors' sidewalk.  Booster seats.  In the rain:
Please ignore how shitty my lawn looks right now.
So I guess it's not just us.  

Lily has had a relatively spectacular first couple weeks at school.  We get a communication log back daily that highlights the various segments of her school day: lunch, recess, specials, circle time, bathroom breaks, etc.  It's been nice to see the good comments coming back.  In the past three weeks she's had a total of two accidents.  Contrast this with kindergarten last year at this time, where you might see two or three per day on a bad day, and none or one on a good day.  

She's attending to task better.  She's better behaved (tenex at work?). . . now we just have to capitalize on that increased attention and get some book learnin' in her!  

I took this picture yesterday before school.  
Continue to ignore the shitty lawn.
Leslie generously commented that perhaps they were drying in the sun from the previous day.

Lily got a note back from school last night.  


S&M today!  YAY! (nice double entendre in the title, right??  RIGHT???  See what I did there?)
Is it just me, or are kids growing up WAY too early these days?  And is this really appropriate?  A friend asked if this is the sort of thing we put on our IEP.  It is not.  

I'm sorry I have the sense of humor of a 12 year old.  But really. . . S&M today!  This sheds new light on the controversy of whether or not restraints have a place in our schools.  Probably I still won't bring it up at our meeting though.

I took this picture today before school.  


I cropped out the shitty grass.  
Heh. . . yeah, it's not just us.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Giveaway!

There are many reasons people choose to get into blogging.  A lot of people find "the process" cathartic; getting your thoughts, your hopes, your fears, down on "paper" is almost like free therapy.  Many people thrive on the attention, collecting comments like esteem currency.  Some people use it hone their 'craft', writing daily to make themselves better writers.  But I think the blogging majority knows what's most important.  Free. Stuff.

I am offering you people free stuff, because I love you most of all.

First, a little background:

My daughter, Lily, is a sensory seeker.  She's hyposensitive, which essentially means that she doesn't feel things as strongly as other kids might.  She rubs her feet, she fidgets with her fingers, she grinds her teeth.  These are all ways that Lily can feel the world around her more strongly and locate "herself" within it.

Lately Lily has been putting her treasured items in a big Princess bag that we have.  It's a school-size bag that we used last year to pack changes of clothes in, and Lily has been taking pictures and toys and stuffing them in the bag, then carrying the bag around the house and unstuffing it. . . then starting over.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  But the bag is huge and slumps over itself and sometimes she has a tough time getting the things out of it that she puts into it, and other times she can't get things into it because she can't find the top, or carries it upside down and her toys dump out because it doesn't have a closure.

I wondered what she might do with a bag that was a little smaller, more hand-size than shoulder bag-size.  And that's when a friend approached me about reviewing Tactile Tote (TM) touchable bags.  I hesitated, because with Lily, you really never know what she'll latch onto and what she won't.  You might THINK it's a great fit for her, but her reaction to it is often a crapshoot.

I'm all for getting free stuff and giving it to Lily to try, but in return I promised to review the product, and you can't really review a product that your kid won't give the time of day.  And there's no rhyme nor reason to it that *I* can tell.  And although this seemed like a pretty good fit, I was worried about whether or not Lily would take a shine to it.  So when I agreed to review it, I requested purple (the purse-style girls' bags come in five different colors), because Lily likes purple stuff.

Alright. . . the suspense is probably killing you.  Did Lily like it?

She did.  Did she get a little TOO stimulated and have to be separated forcibly from it at bedtime that night?  She did.  In the future would I wait until the following morning to introduce something this?  I would.
*contemplating the fuzziness-factor*  Survey says, "IT'S SO FLUFFY!"
She liked the bag.  In her words, "It's soft!"  She carted it all over the house, stuffing pictures and miniature McDonald's Happy Meal toys into it and then pulling them back out.  The bag has a soft fluffy textured piece, a warm flannel piece, and a back that's a cool, smooth leather.  Attached to it are some material fidgets or "tots" with different textures.  The interior is lined.

Lots of choices
The "durability" test
From a parent's perspective there were several things I liked about the bags, and only a few comments or suggestions, that aren't necessarily criticisms, they just might work better for MY particular kiddo.  The bags are well constructed, Lily is pretty rough on her belongings, but there were no rips or tears, neither did I have to trail around behind her picking up stray bits of fuzz.

The top closure is an elastic band that loops around a soft button.  This is either good or bad depending on how you look at it.  Lily's fine motor skills are a little lacking, so she wasn't really able to make the top closure work.  The plus side is that once it was closed, it stayed closed, and her toys weren't constantly falling out all over the place.  The minus side was that she required a little help opening it when she wanted her treasures removed, and closing it when she wanted them replaced.

frontsies
backsies (see the tots?)
The side sipper allows zipping and unzipping, listening to that sound, or feeling the sensation through your fingers. . . but there's nothing under it, i.e.,  it doesn't open into the bag. The positive of this is that Lily isn't constantly unzipping it and having all her toys spill out the side.

The color choices are vibrant and many and offered in enough patterns and shades that boys or girls can find something that will appeal to them.  For example one of the giveaway bags sent to me has brown fur on one side and basketball/baseball/football patterns on the other side, whereas the other has yellow fur on one side and flower print on the other.  You can purchase them with over the shoulder straps, or around-the-waist straps.

The tots are also available for purchase.  Two come on each bag, but you can buy as many as you like, particularly if your son/daughter fixates on them (Lily didn't).  The bags are 6" x 9", so you can fit school supplies in them. . . pencils, crayons, etc, if you had a mind to, and could certainly act as a first purse.

So where could you use the Tactile Tote?

Getting Ready for the bus
Bedtime (results may vary)
"break" time
Lily tried lots of different options. (see above)

But you don't care about that. . . what you care about is free stuff. And I'm here for you.  Take your mind off sporn flushing for a few minutes and just think about free stuff.

The thing that typically scares me away from contest or giveaways is I'm super lazy and hate having to go all over creation trying to fulfill the requirements of the giveaway.  So I'm making it very very easy.  If you feel like your sensory deprived kiddo would benefit from this, or you're looking for a great Christmas present or maybe you like fuzzy bags yourself. . . all you have to do is click this here fancy widget-ma-thingy:

Tactile Tote Giveaway!

When you win. . . and I know it's going to be YOU. . . I'll follow up with you to get name and address to ship out your Tactile Tote.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Flush the Sporns!

I still get notifies every day about the Facebook Target post, and I'll occasionally glance at the 25 or so that it lists at any given time because following/replying to all the comments long ago stopped being practical. So occasionally I'll see what the most recent 25 commenters have said, and reply to a few of them, and like a few of them just so they know that I saw them. Usually there are two or three that say "This is so fake, why are you people so stupid" or whatever and I try to just reassure whoever actually IS still following the thread that, "no, in fact it is not fake."  But mostly it's still "Go Target!" or "My son has autism and this gives me hope!"

Today, I skimmed the comments however and found one that intrigued me; it cried out for a reply.  I know as a caregiver of an autistic stakeholder I should be outraged, or at the very least I should be correcting or educating. . . but sometimes you just have to recognize the futility of the situation and laugh.  At least. . . at first.

Mike Collier (name changed): 

they have found autism can be controld by diet it is not a mental condition tiny sporns (yes like mushroom sporns) that live in the intestine releases a chemical that affects the brain like alcohol does adults in other words youre child is drunk this why they loose balance ect Keep a low starch diet and more protien and watch the diffrence vitamin c or fresh orange juice helps flush the intestine of the sporn that can never be killed off even with the strongest antibiodics
(Tiny autism sporn, yes like mushroom sporn)
I just want to give Mike a hug and a pat on the head and tell him I'll take care of him and teach him to read and spell and keep the horrible sporns (yes, like mushroom sporns) from making him loose his balance. And flush the sporns that even the strongest antibiodics can't kill! But I don't know him, and he wasn't on my friend list, so I couldn't tag a reply to him. Help save youre children! Theyre autism can be controld!!!  He stated this with the conviction of someone who knows his words to be the gospel truth.  I want his sporns to remain flushed. 

 I was talking to a few people about this yesterday before I wrote this post, and really some spectacular effort was put toward explaining the challenging science of sporns more effectively by Dr. Douglas K. Parsons (possibly not a doctor.  Okay. . . NOT a doctor).  I think when you're talking about curing something, people want to know that it's grounded in well-researched double-blind. . . ish. . . science.  Please do yourself a favor and get educated on the science of sporn flushing.  Sciency Sporn Flushing Link

The concept of "Curing" people of their autism is a very tender subject.  It's a subject I don't really want to address, at least not in the context of this particular blog post.  

In this case, Mike's ideas that autism can be "controld by diet" are rendered immediately ridiculous by the way he expresses himself.  Whatever your theories about eugenics, or cures changing the child (or adult), or there not BEING a cure, I think it's immediately apparent that we can all share a laugh about the cure for autism being to "Flush the sporns" with orange juice and then eat some more protein and cut down on starch.  Mike's message simply cannot be taken seriously because he's incapable of expressing it in a manner that suggest he should be TAKEN seriously.  

But "flush the sporns" as cure is a microcosm for the world of autism snake oil.  What makes Mike's statement amusing is that nobody could possibly take it seriously, what makes it so serious is that there are even MORE ridiculous "cures" offered --cures that make "flush the sporns" seem like a reasonable medical response.  

The following are cures offered by sources LESS laughable than our friend Mike.  It's not my intention here to question the judgement of people who feel these cures work, indeed I have friends who swear they've seen the benefits (perhaps not outright "cure") of more than a couple citations. . . I just mean to offer up the sheer number of "cures" available and how, despite these "cures", autism seems more prevalent than ever:

Stop vaccinating children
Bleach enemas
Chelation
Hyperbaric Chamber
Clean Room
GF/CF diet
Cord blood
Exorcism
Spanking
Having children at a younger age.
Homeopathy
Being in better shape when you have children.
Acupressure
Get more emotionally involved with your children.
Vitamin chocolate
Volcano water
Herbal Tea
Epsom salts
Surfing
Horseback Riding
Music
Lavender Bath
Shaman
Urine (drinking it?)
Vitamin D
Fecal Transplants (FECAL TRANSPLANTS!!!)
Omega Fish Oil
Chiropractic Brain Balancing
Reiki spiritual healing
Immersion
Optometric Light Therapy
Electroshock
Dolphins
Flax seeds
Coconut oil

And yes, some of these (though very few actually) I've taken a little liberty with. . . nobody is actually suggesting, for example, that being in better shape when you have children will CURE autism, they're just saying that if the mother is overweight it increases risk.  So my "cure" is that if there were no overweight moms, (or overage dads for that matter), no more autism (for the purposes of this post, not my actual opinion).  But the most frightening thing of all. . . is that MOST of them I haven't taken ANY liberty with.

I found that the more cures I listed the more pissed off I became.  By the end of the list I wanted shout at someone.  The reason these "cures" aren't funny quite apart from whether a cure is desirable or not, is that they are all packaged to people who love someone with autism or people with autism as "hope" or "help" or a "cure".  Because you want to help, you invest your time/money/health in following this 'medical' ignis fatuus until you realize you're hopelessly lost and six months have gone by.  That's when you move on to the next item on list.  And you always feel as if your window to do the most good is closing fast.

If you love someone who has autism, or someone who loves or cares for someone with autism. . . THIS is why they don't greet your latest email about a "Cure" for autism with quite the enthusiasm you thought they might.  THIS is why they might take your pamphlet from "Dr." Jekyll and throw it away before they've even read the first line.  THIS is why they might actually even get pissed off at you.

I won't. . . cause I'm easy breezy.  But they might.

And while someone like Mike can say, "Flush the sporns" and it makes me laugh and want to adopt it as my own personal battle cry, when a celebrity says it. . . people stop and listen.  When a celebrity tells you to "flush the sporns", lots of people start thinking. . . Huh!  If Jenny McCarthy's (just picking random names) kid had sporns. . . maybe MY kid has sporns.  I better get to flushing!  And when a celebrity tells you that you're a bad parent if you don't try sporn flushing. . . well then a bunch of OTHER people tell you you're a bad parent for not sporn flushing, and pretty soon, you've had it up to HERE (*points to top of head*) because what you're REALLY trying to be is the absolute best parent you CAN be.  And you're passionate about it.  And the judgement pisses you off.

Alright. . . so actual sporn flushing itself seems pretty harmless.  Drink some orange juice and your child's sporns are flushed.  But sometimes sporn flushing hurts or even kills people.  Like when sporn flushing takes the form of not vaccinating your child.  Or when sporn flushing is chelation.  Or when sporn flushing is fecal transplant (FECAL TRANSPLANT!) or when sporn flushing is giving bleach enemas or electroshock.  Some of that stuff sounds just as ridiculous and laughable as Mike's suggested treatment. . . BUT THEY'RE DOING IT!!!  

And they're doing it because celebrities and "doctors" are telling them that if they REALLY loved their child, they'd be sporn flushing. . . and that SOME parents don't TRULY love their kids. . . they just love attention.  And they spell things right and use appropriate grammar and have important sounding names like Mercola, McCarthy, Wakefield, Trump, or Rivera depending upon the method described.

I'm adopting "Flush the sporns" as my dismissive agreement to any cure-du-jour from now on.  When Aunt Margaret forwards an email from her friend Betty and asks for my input, I'm just saying, "Yeah, it's the sporns.  Gotta flush them out of her system."  

Too many people on the Facebook post commented, "What is the spectrum?"  Too many people said, "Autistic people are all geniuses."  Too many people said, "Flush the sporns."  

To join my passive aggressive fight against Junk Medicine, Autism Quackery, or just general stupidity, buy this new shirt from zazzle.  Just click "Flush the sporns!" below.  Not only will you look zippy, but you'll also be lining my pockets with untold riches! (well. . . untold to you, but the gubmint will know)  RICHES!!!


Flush the sporns!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Amusement Park

My wife was born in Pittsburgh -- or at least the "Pittsburgh Area".  She grew up going to the local amusement park, Kennywood.  If you live in Pittsburgh, it's as important to your kid's childhood as Disney is to Floridians or Californians. . . or King's Dominion is to Virginians, etc.  Every local school has "Kennywood Day" and many of the local companies have their company picnics there.  Leslie had a job there when she was a teenager, even earning herself dubious local reknown as "The girl whose incompetence led to the redesign of the Steel Phantom's braking system".  When she tells the story it's not "incompetence" though.  It's. . . inattention or something.  The Steel Phantom has since been replaced by Phantom's Revenge (hopefully featuring the same hi-tech braking system that Leslie's pioneering stewardship of its predecessor caused to be invented) and Emma our oldest has already been indoctrinated into the many joys that being in mortal terror have to offer.  

Way back in May, you may remember that we participated in the Highmark Walk for Healthy Living (or some such. . . the name is cumbersome. ).  We called it "Just a Lil Walk".  We made t-shirts and raised about $2,000 for a Pennsylvania Autism Charity, ABOARD. . . which is now Autism Connection of Pennsylvania. ANYWAY. . . they had incentives along the way for earning X. . . then 2X. . . then 3X. . . and, baby, we hit all the X's.  One of the great side benefits of hitting the X's was that we got free tickets to Kennywood.  That brings us to September 3rd.  

Labor Day weekend is traditionally the last weekend that Kennywood is open; the kids are going back to school, the weather starts getting colder, and the crowds thin out.  But we had free tickets.  And if we didn't use them. . . it's not like they'd carry over to next year.  Leslie arranged to take Emma, and my sister and her two kids to the park. . . BUT. . . in typical Leslie fashion, dropped this tiny little innocent suggestion which I was powerless NOT to fixate on until guilt consumed me and I gave in.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

"What if we took Lily?"

What if we took Lily.  I was immediately irritated.  Plans. . . plans were being changed, people!  I like my plans to stay the same!  This is almost EXACTLY how she manipulated me into going to see "Brave" over Father's Day (with fantastic results), and I went through all the same emotions and anxieties and. . . ultimately did the right thing.

FIRST of all, we got the tickets for participating in a fund raiser for autism.  How hard would it be to look at myself in the mirror (mmmm. . . still got it!) if I failed to include my autistic daughter in plans to go to an amusement park that an autism charity provided?  Probably not that hard, but I'd feel really guilty.  

SECONDLY, the tickets were free.  Assuming Lily HATED it. . . what's the worst thing that could happen? I drive her home!  Easy peasy.  

THIRD, as often as I've heard talk about disability passes for Disney and other placed on people's blogs (and I'd link some really great ones here, but I'm afraid there are a zillion, and if I link one and skip another, I'll feel all guilty, and how would I look at myself in the mir-. . . you get the idea) I've never attempted to investigate their use for ourselves.  

FOURTH, and this is probably the least valid of the reasons that swayed me. . . it's great blog fodder.  

Let me sidebar briefly.  When you live your life in full view of others (or mostly full). . . you have more of a tendency to do the "right thing".  When people you know (whether online or in "real life) and respect are doing the right thing, and reading what you put in your blog, able to scrutinize your decisions and think to themselves. . . "he did the wrong thing". . . it gets in your mind, that you should be doing things the right way too.  I flatter myself that regardless of the blog I'd still have done the right thing, but in the back of my mind was a little warm fuzzy that I could point to something that I had done where I could say. . . "that was the right thing to do," and write about it.  And honestly, even if the experience was a nightmare. . . those are some of the best stories.  Win-win!!

By the time we made up our mind it was just after lunch time.  It was supposed to pour rain, leftovers from Hurricane. . . Isaac?  Irving?, but not until the evening.  

Lily was SO EXCITED:
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Okay, so she really had no idea what was going on, but regardless, she was coming.  We drove the minivan, and my sister and her kids took Emma in her car so that we'd have an escape vehicle if things got bad.  Making event plans with your autistic kids almost always involve making escape plans, or contingency plans. Knowing that you can escape if your child has a meltdown and that you can retreat to a happy place really removes a huge amount of stress right off the bat.  Things CAN go wrong, but if they do, you aren't stuck.  

The iconic Kennywood "arrow".  Pittsburgh is filthy with them.
We got to Kennywood a little after 1:00. . . maybe 1:30.  We drove past it and went to McDonald's, because we wanted to set ourselves up for success.  With Lily, McDonald's kid's meal is almost the only thing we can guarantee she'll eat.  And if she's not hungry, that's one less concern that could snowball into a potential meltdown.  We could have tried to feed her something else, sometime more nutritious, but it's an "event", and I think the second thing we've learned about planning for events is, "don't make it any harder than it already could be".  Does that mean caving when you just had nuggets two days before?  In this case. . . sure does.


Once we got to Kennywood, our first stop was guest services.  Leslie had already spoken to someone on the phone about what we needed to do, which I'd highly recommend, and so we stopped in to fill out some paperwork.  We carried this paperwork with us wherever we went.  It was our. . . "bypass the line" pass, but more importantly (because we only used the bypass feature once) it was our "parent is allowed to assist child in getting on and off the rides" pass.  This feature kicked ass, because we didn't have to worry about people getting bit or slapped because Lily was anxious. . . it was her own mother!  Or me. . . but mostly her mother.  And there WAS biting. . . but we'll get to that later.
Uh oh. . . puzzle pieces.  This is bound to piss SOMEONE off.
Just prior to bag check, I stopped off at the rental place and picked up a wagon.  The PLAN was to pull Lily around so that we didn't feel like we had to hold her hand the whole time, but Lily wanted no part of the wagon (at least not for about 5 hours).  Regardless, the wagon was still a good investment ($6 for the day).  

Snacks, toys, change of clothes. . . 
We went en masse to Kiddieland to get Lily accustomed to the park before bidding farewell to the more adventurous "Big Kids" (including my sister. . . more on that later).  We wanted to see how she'd handle the rides and so we all stayed together.  Emma got on the first one or two with her to just help her.  Lily LOVES her big sister, so we figured she'd be a calming presence at least until Lily got the hang of "riding".

You are now entering Kiddie Land!
The FIRST ride we selected was Turtle Chase.  Awwww. . . turtles!  Chasing each other, slowly, non-threateningly.  It was not a hit.  The rollers under the turtles were loud, and it was Lily's first ride, and she did not want to get on it. . . and once on it, she did not settle down and enjoy the ride.
"I'm all done!"
She was upset.  I really thought this whole experience was setting itself up for an early departure.  The SECOND ride was the Dizzy Dynamo.  She was not AS upset.  She wasn't "happy" per se, but she wasn't upset.  She was just sorta. . . experiencing.

She's doing alright.  I'm in mortal terror.
At some point. . . probably sometime after the Dizzy Dynamo, maybe immediately following the Red Baron. . . her anger at being forced to get on rides transitioned into something else. . . anger at being forced to GET OFF rides.  

As her bi-wing airplane flew in lazy loops around the hydraulics of the Red Baron, and we shrilled, "push up on the lever" without effect, Lily started to enjoy the rides.  Leslie, whose childhood memories of Kennywood (and whose expectations of what Kennywood might someday mean to her own children) were so special, even shed a little tear.  This was a milestone she'd always looked forward to sharing with BOTH her children.  

Lily started pointing to the rides she wanted to try.  We started suggesting rides.  She stopped saying "no" and started enjoying herself.  Kiddie Land was busy, but not so busy that she really had to wait in a line any longer than it took for the previous ride to end, and the disability pass allowed us to help her on and off the rides.  I'm not saying it all went spectacularly, but once she started opening up to the experience, she really did prefer being on the rides to being off them.  The horses (mini carousel) that she'd told us flatly "no" to, became her favorite, and she'd ask for a certain color saddle or horse and we'd get her back in line (or in some cases where their really wasn't much of a line, they just let her stay on and she'd wait very patiently for the ride to begin again) and back on a horse.

This isn't probably something you can even DO at a place like Six Flags or Disney. . . the sort of hometown, "yeah, go ahead and let her just stay on it" approach probably doesn't work as well when you have a 15 minute wait between rides, but it was a fantastic day for Lily.


The one experiment we tried with the "bypass the line" was on the turnpike.  It's a ride where you essentially sit in a car on a flat track and it zooms you around (see below. . . "vroom")So let me briefly talk about my feelings on "bypassing".  I feel guilty about it.  I don't like the looks I get when I stand over to the side and show my pass to the attendant and they let me in, past all the people waiting their turns patiently.  BUT. . . There's no other way Lily would get to experience that ride.  She's not capable of waiting like that.  She's not capable of standing in the crush, inching slowly toward the ride entrance.  It's too much for her.  So while I felt a little guilty about it, I also felt like that's exactly what that pass is for. . . to allow kids (in the case of Lily in Kiddieland) who aren't able to stand patiently in the crush of humanity as the line inches slowly forward to experience what all the other kids get to experience.  So I was happy we had it, and guilty or not, I was happy we used it.


Our one bout with terror.  The Pounce Bounce.  "I hate dis!"

Meanwhile. . . the other riders were having a blast doing all their big kid rides while we tooled around Kiddie Land. . . with the main event rapidly approaching. . . The Sky Coaster.  The Sky Coaster is this nylon harness attached to a "launch tower" that pulls you up 180 feet into the air and then drops you when you pull a rip chord, and you fly back and forth like a giant cat toy for about five minutes before someone takes pity on you and reels you in.  It's an a la carte ride, and slots fill up fast.  So we paid our $17.50 per person for a six o'clock slot (and by we, I mean the crazy people.  My niece, Emma, and my sister).  


With great reluctance, Lily agreed to accompany Leslie to the entrance to the Skycoaster while I stood on the bridge to take pictures and video. . . cray cray.  Spoiler alert. . . they do NOT plummet to their deaths.  The way the video goes it sorta looks like they're going to smear across the landing area.  They live.


Ridiculous.
Lily was winding down.  Every ride was a fight to get her off.  There were bites and slaps. . . but despite that she WAS having fun --just a bit overstimulated.  Kennywood's historic carousel is on the way out of the park.  We agreed to get her on the big carousel together with everyone at least once before we headed out.  Once the again the line was quick enough that we just waited for the next ride to start and hopped right on.  I was a little worried that the volume of the music on the carousel would bother her.  It didn't, but if you had a kid with sound issues, it WOULD. 

We rode it twice, and then Lily and I went home. . . but not before stopping off at McDonald's AGAIN. She was upset and whiny, but two nuggets in was chipper and carefree.  We got home around her bedtime.  It was a really good day.  The "riders" (I'm not included in that description, but Leslie is) stayed behind and finished their evening around 9:30 or 10, I can't remember. 

Everyone had fun.  Everyone was included.