Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Blizzard" Driving..

Well, of course we did get caught in the winter storm... It started snowing shortly after we arrived at the Lindamood-Bell center, and by 10 am it was coming down HARD. By 11.30 am, a severe weather warning came in, and a decision was made to end Salamander's sessions at noon time (instead of 1 pm), so we (kids, parents AND instructors) could all leave and make it home safely. We ended up leaving at 12.25 pm, and we finally got home at 2.10 pm. Oh yes, well over 1.5 hour of slippery, slushy, hardly any visibility ('white out conditions') driving...

Boys did great though. Salamander got very anxious shortly after we started driving, but turning on the radio and singing songs helped a lot. Potatey fell asleep for about 15 minutes about 45 minutes into us crawling along on the highway.

Potatey had a BLAST at the Lindamood-Bell center (incidentally, no beasty-ness the whole time we were there, nor was there any beasty-ness during the long car ride home. Beasty-ness, however, returned full force within 10 minutes after being back in his dad's presence.. Coincidence???). Because of the weather conditions we didn't get a chance to go explore the surrounding shops, so we found things to do at the center (we played legos, read books, made drawings, cooked lunch, did some "Lindamood Bell reading and math games").
The staff fell head over heels in love with him on the spot!!!

I may take Potatey along with me and Salamander again on Friday. We decided to tack the hour that Salamander didn't get today on to Friday afternoon's session, so we will be there from 1 pm till 4 pm. We'll see...

I may not be able to blog more before 2008 turns into 2009 - so here goes:

Happy New Year!!!!

Boys want to stay up.. I'll probably let them for a bit, but my goal is to have them both in bed and asleep by 10 pm latest, as staying up late doesn't mean sleeping longer the next morning...
I know I won't be staying up until midnight; as really, tomorrow is going to be a day like any other day for me, and (sorry to be a bit of a downer here) as I really cannot yet envision 2009 to be much different from the daily grind of 2008, I may as well get some sleep...

Catch ya all on the other end...

I Must Be...

Out of my mind....

I am taking Potatey with me and Salamander today to the Lindamood Bell Center. I think that will be best for Potatey...

Of course as we'll be at the Lindamood Bell Center from about 8.50 am until 1 pm, I am packing half my house to make sure I have enough stuff to keep Potatey entertained. The center itself is pretty close to all kinds of neat shops, Potatey and I will venture out too while Salamander is having his sessions, to do some 'window shopping.' [we'll have to make sure we're back at the center for break times, as Salamander gets quite agitated and nervous if I'm not there.. he is in a flair-up of his fears around 'being left behind'...]

We DO have another winter storm rolling in, so potentially our drive back home could get messy (and long).

Ah well.. I'd rather to things this way than the alternative (aka leaving Potatey with his dad for another day). Sad, in a way....

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Is It January 11th Yet???

Breath in....
Breath out...
Breath in....
Breath out....
Do NOT let the passive aggressive b.. s... get under your skin....
Visualize yourself inside a nice, serene bubble that bounces off all negative crap...

Boys are good.
Salamander started math tutoring at Lindamood Bell yesterday (taking a temporary break from reading tutoring as he's done so well there and has remediated most of his gaps quite rapidly), and it is HARD for him (heck, that's why we're doing this). So he got snarly and moody and "I can't do this" yesterday. Today the light bulb went off, and things were a bit easier. He got more confident, realized that making mistakes is OK, and that, yes indeed, practice does help.

Potatey was a little beastie yesterday (oh, those UTMs of his.. they make me cry, as the amount of metals pouring out of this kid are quite high.. where the $!#$!# is all this crap coming from? TG it is coming OUT of him...), and he's off today too. Since I have been driving Salamander back and forth to Lindamood Bell both yesterday and today while Potatey spent most of the day alone with his dad, I am sure THAT is a contributing factor to his beasty-ness too...

Me? I am just trying to stay in my 'non reactive' zone.. but it's hard.. as the passive aggressive stuff is being piled on quite high (got a load of passive aggressive crap yesterday about spending money on a new mattress for Salamander - the kid has sleep issues and his current mattress is 15+ years old!!!! He NEEDS a new one... There is more to this particular story, which I will get into on my other blog...)

P.S... If you have any tips or suggestions on how to better fortify oneself to the negatve emotions projected by a person who goes through life with the big cloud of 'my life is a disappointment to me, my kids are a disappointment to me, my children's mother is a HUGE disappointment to me' hanging over his head.. .BRING IT ON!!! I can use all the help I can get, as these projections are wearing me down...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Confessions of a Searching Soul....

Sunday, December 28, 2008

To My Sisters of the Soul...

[and to the few, oh so very few, brothers of the soul I have found, too]

Many of you I have never met in person,
Many of you I have never even heard your voice,
Many of you who don't know me from Eve have given me your unconditional support, friendship and even love.
All of you, you are my sisters of the soul.

Here's to you all.
Thanks for making this crazy roller coaster ride from hell a little easier to bear..

Time passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Children grow up.

Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men don't do what they're supposed to do.
Hearts break.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favors.
Careers end.

Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you.
A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach.

When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the valley's end.
Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you...Or come in and carry you out.
Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters,
daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers,
Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended family, all bless our life!

The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would I.
When we began this adventure called womanhood
[and as an extension.. motherhood],
we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead.
Nor did we know how much we would need each other.
Every day, we need each other still.
[Author Unknown]

It Feels Good To Operate at (only) DEFCON 3....

Calm, even keeled, comfortable, low stress....

The boyos had a pretty good day yesterday and so far, a really good day, today. They have been playing together, with their legos, since 10.30 am or so. Great imaginative play.. lots of pirate, GI Joe, Indiana Jones, Star Wars missions being thought out and executed upon. I've been quietly listening in (while mucking around in my kitchen, which is within ear shot and sprinting distance from where they are.. a momma's gotta be prepared.. LOL) to the conversations flowing back and forth, only having to give some very gentle coaching and guidance when conflicts come up (as the guys are doing a bang up job sorting out their differences of opinion).

I never ever thought 2 years ago that this situation, this 'calm and comfortable feeling' would ever be possible, let alone become a reality.

And words fail to describe how that all makes me feel - happy, happy, happy, happy, happy.....

Now I will never be able to get complacent and too comfortable, the boyos and I have gone through too much together and we're not 'there' yet. I will always be vigilant, I will always be and stay on top of 'things'..

It -is- nice though to just 'go with the flow' for a bit.. to know, in my heart and soul, that things will be OK, to chuck that 'walking on egg shells feeling' for a bit...

Will we make trips back into HELL? Guaranteed. Will that make me mad, sad, angry, discouraged, will it even make me, temporarily, loose hope? Absolutely.

But we will prevail.. and we'll crawl back out of whatever HELL life may push us back into.

We are strong, we are smart, we love each other above everything and anything, and we WILL overcome...

To both my old and new readers - this has been a hard won peace (or respite). It's been a very difficult 8+ years (blessed with a 'high functioning' diagnosis? My ass...), and especially the years from when Salamander was 3 until he was about 8.5 were pure HELL. And the past 2 years too, have been anything BUT easy (but looking back there was absolutely a turn of events in August of 2006). It's been 'ovaries to the wall' for a long time, there have been no quick fixes, there will never be quick fixes. Achieving healing (and it continues to be work in progress) for Salamander, and for Potatey too, is a long laborious process. Salamander is definitely a 'tortoise' in this marathon. But as we say here, at least once a day: "Slow and steady wins the race."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

"Santa" Delivered..

Salamander's bow to the archery range, so he picked it up this morning when he went there for class. He is so excited and happy.....

Friday, December 26, 2008

To Thine Own Self Be True... CONTINUED


Not sure how much time I will have to actually write this post....

Something is shifting.. for me, and thereby for my boys and others in my environment.
First half of this week was rough, Wednesday was rough too.. but then I got talking with a few folks.. and while I didn't specifically discuss what was eating away at me, enough was spoken (and left unspoken) to help me get out of my funk.

Snippets for now... I need to have this all stew in my head, heart and soul before a cohesive whole will start to emerge.

"I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing, exactly when I am supposed to be doing it. And I am feeling exactly what I am supposed to be feeling."

[read on another blog earlier today, am paraphrasing here]; Insanity personified is keep doing the exact same thing over and over again, and expecting the results to change.

Karma - What Goes Around Comes Around.

[read in an email this morning, again I am paraphrasing}:
Whatever it is that you want in life, find a way to GIVE it to others.
If you want more support, BE more supportive...
If you want more help, BE more helpful...
If you want more friends, BE more friendly...
If you want more love in your life, be more loving (and help others to get more love in their life!).
Whatever it is that you want, you gotta BRING it FIRST.

Now where the HELL is all of this coming from? Well, for the first time in the past 8+ years (as Salamander's challenges WELL preceded the time point of his official diagnosis) I find myself NOT operating at DEFCON 1 every single day. In fact, the last several months, most days I've operated at a, comfortable, DEFCON 3 (while maintaining the ability to go to DEFCON 2 or 1 at a nano seconds notice). Some days I've even been able to 'step down' to DEFCON 4.

So for the first time in a long time I have time to think, time to process, time to feel (and combine that with the fact that I am turning, GULP, 40 this upcoming April), time to make sense out of all that has happened, time to find the purpose, time to figure out what I am supposed to learn from all of this. I am getting to a point that I can spend some time on ME.. think about ME.. think about what -I- need and want.

I have been reading about Eastern Vedic astrology a lot as of late. Western Astrology NEVER made sense to me. Western Astrology is determined by one's SUN sign, and mine supposedly is Taurus. It has never ever fit. NEVER. Indian, or Vedic, Astrology puts much more weight on a person's Ascendant (or Rising Sign - the constellation that appeared at the horizon at the TIME and PLACE of one's birth) and Moon sign (the constellation in which the MOON resided at the time and PLACE of one's birth).

Now at the risk of making you all think I've gone completely off my rocker.. but just stay with me here...
My Ascendant is the constellation Jyeshtha. Jyeshthafalls within the Sign Scorpio. So that would, and this is incredibly oversimplified, make my Rising Sign Scorpio (and Scorpio's ruling planet Mars falls in the sign Scorpio at the time and place of my birth).

My Moon is in the constellation Magha, which falls within the sign Leo. So that make (and again, I am oversimplifying) my Moon Sign the Leo.

OMG.. all I can say is that the descriptions of the Scorpio Ascendant and Leo Moon so fit....the good and the 'bad' parts....Ouch....ouch... ouch..

And then there are 'The Cycles of Saturn' (Sadi Sati - I'll add good descriptive link later), which the most challenging cycle being the period that Saturn is traveling through the sign of your moon (again, I am grossly oversimplifying...) This particular cycle started for me Late May of 2005 (yes, that time frame DOES have incredible significance for me..)

I can hear you all think: "OK, the years of sleep deprivation and a touch of PTSD have finally done her in."

Maybe, maybe not...I'm just going to 'stick' with all of the above for a bit....You're welcome to come along on the ride..

We're having a little touch of 'the morning after' here.. Boyos are incredibly wound up, and have trouble calming themselves down ENOUGH to actually be able to play with their new toys (as opposed to running through the house screaming, hooting, hollering, crashing into furniture and jumping on and off everything).

I have a few things to get done and then we'll come up with a plan for the rest of the day - we need to find something fun AND structured to do...

(here's where I DO miss the European approach to Christmas, the second Christmas Day (Boxing Day for the Brits) - here you have all the excitement of Christmas crammed into one day, setting the stage for a 'let down/crash' the next. The European approach slows the pace down considerably...)

Off to peel one kid of a chandelier and tell the other one to stop pretending that the couch is a trampoline....


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning...

6:50 pm Update
We are winding down.. the boyos have had a good day, a really GOOD day.....Things have been even keeled, smooth running, uneventful for pretty much the entire day.
My Christmas wish was heard and granted .....


Boys are having a BLAST. They did and are doing great with the whole unwrapping thing.

Salamander is handling the "MIA Bow" situation really, really well. Yes, he is disappointed, but he got a tremendous kick out of getting a personal letter from Santa. Here's what Santa wrote:

North Pole

December 24, 2008

My Dearest [name],

Santa knows how much you enjoy archery and how much you want your own bow. So I instructed my elves to make you your own 48” bow.

And then you started growing, and growing and growing!! And I realized that a 48” bow would not do. Oh no, it would NOT.

So at work I once again put my elves, this time on a 62” bow. And the elves worked hard – day and night, day and night, day and night.

But so sorry, my poor elves ran out of time!!!

They are still working on that bow for you, dear [name]. And as soon as it is finished, it will be shipped directly to the archery range where you practice. If all goes well, you should be able to pick it up this Saturday (December 27, 2008).

My elves and I are truly sorry. Hope you will forgive us...

Ho, ho, ho

[We’ve been watching you practice!!! You are one incredible shooter!!]

For now, all is well.....

[time for me to get off the web, and start working on Christmas dinner.. No 'time off for good behavior' out here.. LOL]

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Well, all presents are wrapped.... Phew!!!! (I do not like wrapping presents, I do not, I do not).
Momma DID have a pretty tight budget this year, so presents for the boyos only.. that may raise some questions tomorrow.. we'll see.

Unfortunately, Salamander's main present, his own bow, is MIA. Somebody 'forgot' to place the order (hmm, he DID manage to get his OWN bow), and somebody 'forgot' to tell me before he left the country for 3 weeks, so I didn't find out about the mishap until last Saturday when I asked when I could pick up Salamander's bow (yup, smack dab in the middle of all the snow storms). Rush order WAS placed this past Monday, but of course, there was no way to get the bow here in time for Christmas. If all goes well (cross your fingers, toes, and whatever other body parts you can cross), Salamander's bow should get to the archery range on Saturday.

So off I must go now.. to compose a letter from Santa to Salamander explaining that his bow is on its way...

(also, cross your fingers, toes, and whatever other body parts you can cross that Salamander's disappointment does not turn into a huge screaming, crying meltdown....)

Merry Christmas!!!!

'T was the night before Christmas,
And all through the house,
Creatures were going nutters,
Yes, even that mouse.
Mom tried the GABA
and epsom salt baths,
but nothing was working,
so mom hit the 'sauce'....

Wishing you all an uneventful and quiet Christmas!!!!! (Santa, are you listenin'?)



Adding a note I just sent out over email:

Well, the Wild Boys have finally settled down for the nite, and I am gathering my energy to start the annual present wrapping chore...

This upcoming February, it'll be 5 years since my oldest child officially became a card carrying member of the '1 in 150' club and I, kicking and screaming all the way, was forced to take up arms and joined the ranks of warrior moms and dads. It's been a loooooooong 5 years....

To those of you that have (an) affected child(ren), thank you for riding this crazy 'eff-ed' up roller coaster ride from hell with me. Thank you for being there, to celebrate my oldest child's accomplishments, and for picking me up and helping me continue on this ride when I thought I no longer could.

Thank you for sharing your stories, for sharing your children's stories, for teaching me, for guiding me. You all played an enormous part in saving my youngest child from falling into the abyss. You will forever have a place in my heart, your children's stories will forever be etched in my soul. And thank you, thank you, thank you - for helping me heal my oldest child. I can now confidently say that there is light at the end of the tunnel for him, that slowly but surely he is clawing his way out. He has come so so far (and yes, I am very aware of how lucky he/I are.. what is happening for him is not happening for all affected kids)

To those of you whose (grand)children are not affected, my thanks for, somewhere along the way, showing my boys and me, in word or deed, that you cared, that you 'got it' (and some of you are actually, voluntarily, playing an enormous part in our daily lives). May you NEVER have to join 'our club'. Cherish your (grand)kids, celebrate their accomplishments, no matter how 'small' or 'insignificant'.

May all of you find yourself this holiday season surrounded by your loved ones, and may there be some 'calm' in the holiday emotions storm.

Hope, Faith, Believe, and continued healing for all of our kids.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

To Thine Own Self Be True...

I have to share this gem....

Thank you, Daharja, thank you....

And along these lines.. I think I am figuring out what it is about this particular season that is 'rubbing me wrong' somehow. It's all those d@mn expectations. This is the 'holly, jolly' season, so everybody MUST be 'holly, jolly', whether you feel that way or not. And inevitably, no matter how often you explain to 'outsiders' (those that don't operate in the special needs universe - I will say that I am eternally grateful for the fact that there are several 'outsiders' in my life who DO get it) that you don't do certain things, can't participate in certain traditions, need accommodations of a certain kind, they just don't get it. They expect 'holiday best' behavior, so inevitably there are going to be hurt feelings due to not meeting (unrealistic?) expectations.

I am far, far away from all of my immediate family. And this year, I experience that as an acute loss. I think because overall Salamander (and Potatey too) are doing so much better that I think they really would get a tremendous kick out of a big, noisy, family oriented Christmas bash. Other years, the distance has been a blessing in disguise (no offense, dear family members that visit my blog), as it meant that Salamander could pitch a fit of magnificent proportions without additional spectators; it meant that if the kids wanted cereal for Christmas dinner that was OK; it meant that if the entire Christmas Eve night was spent trying to get two super anxious/terrified boys (Santa, aka a stranger, entering the house in the dead of nite is NOT an exciting thought for ALL kids) calm enough to actually sleep for 1 to 2 hours, looking haggard and half dead on Chrismas Day itself was OK.

I have been working on a bigger blog post around all of this, and as an extension of it, on how to find that Calm Spot in the midst of the Holiday Emotions storm. I'll probably work more on it tonite and hope to have it up in time for the holidays....

In the mean time, love to all my fellow mommy warriors. Loss, pain, sadness is an acutely felt theme on many, many blogs these past several days. Know that you are not alone (as you have let me know that -I- am not alone). And know that I 'get it'.

And to stay with the theme, I think you will all like this poem (thanks Renee)

Crawling Back Out Of The Pit....

I'm hangin' in.. sorta, kinda...

This post made me feel a little better (can't explain exactly why.. maybe because it speaks so well to the roller coaster we find ourselves on constantly, as parents of kids on the spectrum).

Then there was some other stuff too, which I will try to talk about later..

Bottom line? Christmas is such a weird season for most of us. There's so much hope and joy, and there is so much sadness....

1.30 pm Update:
I should have titled this post: "Clawing Back Out of the Pitt.. One Friggin' Little Inch At A time". It's been quite a morning out here...Stories you hear about spectrum kiddos pitching a tantrum in the car while mom is driving? As in screaming, throwing things, banging windows, kicking chairs, cussing up a storm? Yup... just went through one of those. I know why it happened, and I'm working on 'the course correction' (think Saturday afternoon's sledding accident). Still didn't make it fun while it was happening. And as Salamander is soooo much bigger and stronger now since the (long ago) last time this happened.. Oy... (yup, I definitely feel the adrenaline pumping..)

Welcome to the Roller Coaster from Hell (once again..)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Need A Little Somethin' For Me..

Now THIS -IS- COOL!!!!

I think momma's gonna get one of these for herself....

Momma so needs a 'pick me up'... Momma is having a really crappy day.. and momma is stuck in her own head.. with an ugly voice that keeps saying 'You're not good enough. No matter what you do, it's not making a difference. You are a failure. And while you may think you are a good mother, you are not.'

I get a visit from that voice every once and while. And typically I can shut 'it' up. But not today (hormones? after shocks?)


Maybe a quick soak (translation - crying fit) in the shower will help. Potatey will be coming home off the bus in about 20 minutes (so it won't be a very long shower), and he and I will have 'just us' time until about 5.45 pm for the first time in 3+ weeks (as a certain other someone has been put on duty to get Salamander to his Lindamood Bell session today and tomorrow - hey, that certain someone's in town, that certain someone gets put to work!!). Potatey needs that alone time with me, -I- need that alone time with him. But I am worrying about Salamander...

Ideas for Change in America...

UPDATED on January 3, 2009

I can no longer support as an organization that claims that it represents 'change'. Here is why....

UPDATED at 9:10 am on December 22, 2008:
Well, well.. the "Autism Reform Act" petition is now the number one contender within the Education category. I am very glad to see that. If you haven't had a chance to check things out, please do.

But please ignore the increasingly asinine comments that are being posted. Once again, an autism inspired action is deteriorating into the 'cure/treatment' vs. 'great gift/natural state of being', and ''people with high functioning kids don't know what autism is like' mud slinging contest.

People - get a grip. This idea is around much needed changes in the educational system and healthcare system. This is a "non-partisan" issue - regardless of whether you want to throw a party once your child is diagnosed with autism (after all, it's a gift to be celebrated, right?) or whether you want to throw everything but the kitchen sink at your child to get them 'cured.'

The issues also have nothing to do with "high functioning" vs. "low functioning" - Mark Blaxill once said something along the following lines (I am paraphrasing), that HFA/Asperger's is the same as autism, but with more language. I completely agree. There are plenty of kiddos with HFA/Asperger's that on a variety of levels are just as impaired [oooh,, I had the nerve to use the word impaired..] and whose lives are just as difficult as a child with 'full blown' autism.

In fact, I want to take Mark Blaxill's comment one step further as it specifically pertains to my Salamander: "HFA/Asperger's is the same as autism, but with an ability to speak more words." As really, while Salamander always had an enormous vocabulary (despite being mute until he was 2), he wasn't using that vocabulary to form language. He was just spitting out an endless stream of words. Now that he IS using all those words in his incredible vocabulary in a true language sense, to communicate - OMG, what a difference.

As always, to each their own believes, practices, approaches, etc.

Here is where I stand:
Salamander the person is PERFECT in every way and does not need fixing or curing.

Salamander's medical issues deserve treatment (not 'neglect' by mainstream medicine because he has an autism diagnosis),

Salamander's sensory regulation dysfunction and learning disabilities deserve school accommodations/modifications and remedial therapy,

Salamander's incredible 'mental wattage' deserves the appropriate education to help him achieve his potential,

Salamander's mood regulation difficulties deserve therapy, and understanding and kindness from his environment.

Sounds like pretty basic human rights stuff, eh? And the fact that getting him these basic rights has to be such an uphill battle really really pisses me off. And that is where the "Autism Reform Act" petition comes in.

A dear friend has been trying to get me to visit the site for a while now, and I finally 'dipped in a toe' this morning (as really, between the various list serves, yahoo & gmail groups, FB, blog lists, Skype, IM and regular email, I am hitting a huge, big "things to keep track off and act on" overload.. LOL).

In fact, I went on the site today for very specific reason.. to check out one particular idea that is near and dear to my heart - free and appropriate education for children on the autism spectrum.

I am going to shamelessly steal and post the general intro from the site, and then I'll write a little more about specific idea:

"I will open the doors of government and ask you to be involved in your own democracy again"
President-Elect Barack Obama

About Ideas for Change in America

What is Ideas for Change in America?
Ideas for Change in America is a citizen-driven project that aims to identify and create momentum around the best ideas for how the Obama Administration and 111th Congress can turn the broad call for "change" across the country into specific policies. The project is nonpartisan, and invites all political points of view. It is not connected to the Obama campaign or the Obama Administration.

Who's behind it?
Ideas for Change in America is a project of, an online community and media network for social issues, in partnership with more than three dozen leading organizations, including MySpace, techPresident, the Sunlight Foundation, Netroots Nation, Declare Yourself, Student PIRGs, Voto Latino, HeadCount, and Change Congress.

How does it work?
Anyone can submit an idea and comment and vote on others. The top 10 rated ideas will be presented to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2009 as the "Top 10 Ideas for America." We will then launch a national campaign behind each idea and mobilize the collective energy of the millions of members of, MySpace, and partner organizations to ensure that each winning idea gets the full consideration of the Obama Administration and Members of Congress.

How are the top ideas determined?
The "Top 10 Ideas for America" will be determined through two rounds of voting. In the first round, ideas will compete against other ideas in the same issue category. The first round will end on December 31, 2008, and the top 3 rated ideas from each category will make it into the second round. The second round of voting will begin on Monday, January 5, and each qualifying idea will compete against the qualifying ideas from all other categories. Second round voting will end on Thursday, January 15.

What happens after voting?
Our work does not end with the voting process or the delivery of the top 10 ideas to the Obama Administration on Inauguration Day. That is rather the end of the beginning. Instead of passively hoping the administration accepts each top idea, we will select a formal nonprofit sponsor for each idea to help create a nationwide movement to lobby the administration and Congress to turn the idea into real policy.

What should my idea be about?
The mission of Ideas for Change in America is to identify and advance concrete solutions to the major challenges confronting the country, and we welcome any ideas consistent with this vision. Ideas that conflict with the spirit of this mission, that look backward instead of forward, that express values without offering solutions, that offer solutions which won't receive serious consideration by either the Obama administration or the 111th Congress, that are intended to attack others, or are otherwise offensive are not eligible for the second round. We reserve the right to remove any ideas that violate these stated principles.

So now that that's out of the way, on to the actual idea. As we are all know, the amount of kids that's flowing into the pub ed system that have some type of "diagnosis" has been growing exponentially.. and the whole pub ed system at large is ill equipped to handle the kids. Sure, some districts/schools/TEAMs get it somewhat right, but so many do NOT.

The idea posted on speaks to the need for reform in the educational systems. Click here to read a bit more, and please do consider submitting your vote.
This idea deserves a chance to be presented to Obama and his staff (yes, there is a little voting button thingy in my side bar.. ). Please do keep in mind that the particular listing of items under the idea is just a start, to get the thought processes and discussions going (I can think of many more issues that need to be addressed).


[and for those of you on various list serves and message boards, please do not be turned off by the increasingly annoying messages posted by the idea originator; the last one I got really ticked me off as it was rather nasty about some of the other ideas presented, with the nastiness only very thinly veiled by that particular blend of "American Patriotism" that got this country in its current mess to begin with. I almost didn't check out the actual idea itself.
I am glad I got 'over' myself and DID take a peek...]

Sunday, December 21, 2008


UGH, UGH, UGH, UGH!!!!!!! [linked post updated]

Still snowing (it never really stopped), next storm is rolling in this afternoon...

We're gonna try to make it to the archery range this afternoon (am I crazy? Perhaps.. but I have my reasons.. Salamander needs a bit of an outlet....)

UPDATED at 1.40 pm
Well, I had to back down from plans to take Salamander to the archery range...Road conditions are very poor. You all know that I don't scare away from anything, but it would not have been good to take Salamander on the road under these conditions. He understands. I think he's even a bit relieved (crazy weather, different time, different instructor.. too many changes..). Of course a certain someone then decided that he had to play Hero and tried to convince Salamander that "Well, -I- can drive you to archery. -I- don't mind." [newsflash - it was never about me 'minding' - it's a safety issue!!). Salamander stayed cool, calm and collected and explained, very maturely ; "No dad. Thanks. But I'd rather stay home. I don't feel safe going out." A certain someone kept trying to have Salamander change his mind. So then 'bad overanxious overly controlling' mommy had to made an executive decision.

Ah well..

I'm gonna make the boys lunch, and then we'll go outside for a while for a romp in the snow.. There's much clean-up to be done.. the stuff that's coming down now is the heavy, more watery kind...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We're Fine..

Slowly, ever so slowly digging ourselves out (it's still snowing at a pretty decent rate). We've had at least 8 or 9 inches, if not more (I'm eye balling things).

We are going to be missing archery today (bummer...) as there is no way we can get out of the drive way just yet... We'll try to get to the range tomorrow to make up...

Boys are super excited about going sledding this afternoon....

HERE ...

are pics of what my boys made for me earlier this week (this was entirely unprovoked - Salamander started the fun, and then Potatey joined in. Salamander had seen something on TV about decorating mugs. I didn't have any dishware floating around that they could 'go to town' on... but T-shirts turned out to be the 'next best thing'...)

Oh, I am such a 'nasty, micromanaging, overly controlling, overanxious' mommy, am I not?


Friday, December 19, 2008

And 'the cage door' snapped shut....

[to clarify just a bit.. this refers primarily to ME..]

To clarify a few things..

Winter Advisory..

The first snow flake was sighted at 1.50 pm, and now, 10 minutes later, it is already snowing like a biotch... Good thing that it finally started. The anticipation and potential disappointment of NOT getting snow was starting to tear Salamander to pieces (his language towards the weather forecasters, and Mother Nature in general, was getting increasingly, well, "unkind'... LOL)

UPDATED at 1.15 pm
STILL NO SNOW. Boys are getting PISSED. I actually don't mind the delay, means that the bulk will probably fall during late afternoon/early eve. Will make the clean-up so much easier.
Something is coming our way though.. Salamander has been acting kooky all day....

UPDATED at 10.30 am on Friday:
It's 10.30 am, and no snow flake sightings yet. I am sure things will get intense in a few hours, but really, all the panic yesterday was sooo NOT necessary (newsflash - this is NE. It is supposed to snow here during the winter.). School cancellation messages for today went out at 2 pm yesterday afternoon!! Stores were crazy (think food fight), roads were crazy with insane people (take a chill pill, folks. Driving around waiting cars to run through an intersection while you can HEAR ambulance sirens approaching is so NOT cool. WTF is so important that you can't wait 30 bloody seconds?).

Salamander and I made it safety back and forth to Norwell for his daily Lindamood-Bell sessions (I have to do an Ode to Lindamood-Bell post; the instructors and the programs are just so incredibly awesome!!!) while the wonderful and amazing Mrs. C.R entertained Potatey.

Right now, the boys have rearranged the living room and are re-enacting the Storming of the Beach at Normandy (I am not joking). I am going to make a pot of coffee and then finish decorating my Christmas tree (while diving and dodging to evade grenades and shells that are being lobbed my way.. LOL).

I have parked my snow shovels at my backdoor (I have a habit of leaving utensils like that in my detached garage, where they will do me NO GOOD if I first have to wade through a foot of snow to get them). My car is parked in the garage. My neighbors have already told me that they'll help me plow out when it's all over (me and a snow blower? Really, really, really BAD idea.).

We are READY for whatever may come our way. And where ever you are and what ever the predictions in your area may be. Be safe, be warm. See you on the other end.


Some wintery weather is on its way... we're in the predicted 10 - 12 inch snow accumulation zone.. we'll see...

I'll try to blog a bit more later tonite and over the next few days. BUT if no posts go up, well, we're either working on digging ourselves out again, or we're outside playin'...


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dreading Friday....

I know it's not nice to say this, but I am dreading the return of a certain person state side this coming Friday. While we've certainly had our rough spots in the past 18 or so days, overall it's been a pretty smooth run.

I just KNOW that all the progress the boys have been able to make - in their sleeping behaviors, potty training, in school, how they interact with each other and me, in their emotional regulation, in helping me keep this place somewhat organized and clean, in their life skills etc, etc. will be trivialized, marginalized and then 'undone' (please don't tell me that past experiences is no prediction for how things will go in the future.. I've dealt with all the Passive Aggressive B.. S.. for a really long time now).


Well, I'll deal with it.. the best I can. And I'll see how the upcoming holiday weeks go and then I'll take it from there..


Monday, December 15, 2008

There Is A Little Boy...

whose loan request has been open since November 3, 2008. And that loan is now within $75 of being fully funded....

Won't you please hop over there and help the kiddo out? It's the Season of Giving after all... and what better present than a chance at improved health?


UPDATE on 12/15/08 1.35 pm - Loan is fully funded. THANK YOU!!

And our fab, wonderful, amazing, incredible Tori posted a pretty cool message on how things have been going since L4H was started in June of this year (Tori babe, you so do NOT need help in writing a press release....LOL)

Everybody's back on track this morning!! It's amazing what a good nite of sleep can do.

Almost done with Christmas shopping for the boys.. I DO like, got most of the loot there. My one complaint? Amazon's prices for Lego sets are OUTRAGEOUS!! Got a much better deal (even with slightly higher shipping costs) on

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Today WAS the first "rough" one in 15.. we had a nice long run of good days.. a new record, in fact..

And truthfully? I restarted use of GSE with both boys on Friday night (they had been off it for a while). So should I have been surprised that I saw 'beasty' behavior today? Not really......

Off to bed.. tomorrow is gonna be another busy one....

Why.. Oh Why...

Is it that whenever I write about something going really well, the next day I find myself living the polar opposite??

No, not Salamander this time. Potatey has been a total and complete beastie since he got up this morning (at 6.40 am.. NOT happy about that.. Sunday is my ONLY day that my alarm clock does not have to go off sometime between 4.15 and 5.15 am). He's been super needy, laughing crazy/crying hysterically the next, he's been aggressive, he's been all over the place and into everything!! He is driving me CRAZY!!

And things would not have gotten quite so intense if not for the fact that poor Salamander had a boatload of school work to get completed, and yes, he DOES need my help in getting things done. So here we are, attempting to make a dent in his school work, and every 3 seconds I have to step away to peel Potatey, yet again, out/off/from under something.. Did wonders for Salamander's focus and concentration, as you can imagine..

Salamander hung in there, the trooper he is.. It took us well over 2 hours to get completed what could have been done in less than an hour if not for all the interruptions..

Right now, both boys are running around outside, with Potatey attacking every shrub, tree, unsuspecting animal in sight, with lots of yelling, screaming, hooting and hollering. THIS is most definitely NOT Potatey's base personality.. something is going on...

I was going to take the boys to the library later this afternoon... Me thinks I have to revisit THAT plan. We still need to go and slay a Christmas tree... Maybe that'll work better...


UPDATE at 4.10 pm:
WELL, shopping for a Christmas tree was a TOTAL disaster.. despite lengthy previews on what we were going to do and what the behavior expectations were. Within 30 seconds of walking into the "farm stand", I had two kids running amongst the trees screaming like banshees followed by one plowing face first into a tree, while the other one slipped, did a face plant in the mud and starting howling because he was covered in cr#p (and what do I say over and over again: "Walking feet! No running!"). Yes, I turned around on the spot and took them back home. I'm done for today with 'do overs' and 'second chances.'. And yes, they are both in their rooms, still screaming...

Ugh.. yeah, Merry Christmas to you too.... We don't have a full moon coming up by any chance, do we?

UPDATE AT 6:15 pm:

Ice Storm '08

Sometimes I DO live under a rock (comes with the territory..) and I never realized how HARD almost all of New England has been hit by the ice storm/torrential rains until very late last night when I caught a snippet of the news.

We are fine. We got very lucky. While we did have torrential downpours, and while part of our town did flood, it was all at the 'annoyance stage'.. TG my new sump pump system kept up.. I do have a few puddles in my basement, but nothing I can't handle. And while driving in the torrential downpours back and forth between here and Norwell was anything but fun, we made it without getting into significant trouble.

We have heat, we have water, we have electricity. We're good. We got very very lucky, as 30 minutes to the North and West, everything is covered under a thick layer of ice; 30 minutes to the South, people had to be evacuated from their homes due to flooding.

My heart goes out to all those people that are caught in this mess...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

So PROUD of my two....

So today is Day 14.....and oh my, my boys have done so well and have shown so much growth during this time...

Today, they played up in the Rumpus Room (our finished attic, 3 floors up) TOGETHER for 40 minutes!!! Not a cross word was spoken, no terrified or angry "MOM" screams, no me having to run up the stairs full tilt boogie to prevent blood shed.

They wanted to play up in the attic and I couldn't come up with them at the particular time they chose to play. I explained WHY I couldn't come up and that they had two choices. They could wait until I could come up, or they could go up by themselves (I took a chance here.. I do realize that..)

They chose to go up. As long as the connecting doors could stay wide open so they could yell down if they really needed me (WHOOSH went my furnace.. oh (h)(w)ell...).

They played, and they played and they played. I crept up to the 2nd floor a few times and just listened... and the pretend play that was going on was just AWESOME!!!!

And then after 40 minutes they decided they wanted to be downstairs, with me. So they cleaned up their toys, and shut off lights and closed doors as they came down.. (they did this on their own.. no prompting or reminding from me).

I gave them an extended round of applause as they both came down the stairs. They gave me a funny look, but they 'got it' when I explained why...

I am SO PROUD of my two.... they have come a long long LONG way...


when it all comes down to it, I truly DO have everything I need...

My boys are doing well, we have a very nice roof over our head (that I can still pay for), we have heat and electricity, we have good food to eat, I can still afford the boys' supplements and any other therapies they may need, I have gas money for my car, I am in pretty decent health myself, and I have paying assignments until end of March 09 (and we'll worry about beyond that when we get closer to that date).

Many MANY (too many) people can't say that.. (really do pop over to my dear friend Kim when you have a moment - once again they find themselves in Dire Straits..)

I am so very grateful for what I have (and will do whatever it takes to keep things the way they are.. LOL)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Going "Off Grid"

for a bit... Too much going on, not enough hours in the day..

Boys are doing good, I am hanging in (just in desperate need of that cloning protocol..LOL). And I have created a MONSTER by sending Salamander to the Lindamood Bell instruction programs.. as of Tuesday morning, he has been DEVOURING books (he's on his 3rd book in as many days - chapter books, 57+ pages!!!). He gets up with a book, can barely put the book down to take a shower and get dressed (let alone put the book down while eating breakfast), he is reading on the school bus, and he is reading every single spare minute at school (crappy weather = indoor recess) He is reading in the car as we are driving from school to Norwell (about a 40 minute drive.. one way) for his Lindamood Bell instruction, he is reading in the car as we are driving back home.

I never thought I would have to say to him: "Put that book down for a few minutes. You need to do X, Y or Z."

And I am loving every minute of it. The joy on his face as he's reading, the incredible stories he tells me based on what he has read/is reading, the excitement in his body language and voice... He said to me last nite: "Reading is actually fun, mommy."

And watching him stop, touch, pick up, flip over and read the back cover of every single book he walks by in the house (and we have STACKS of books everywhere..) is priceless....

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

I Admit It..

I am total WIMP when it comes to cold temperatures. Sure, I LOVE playing in the snow.. but I dress accordingly (think Mrs. Michelin..). And I am always glad to drag my frozen butt back inside the house after a couple of hours so I can defrost...

Typically, when I'm the only one in the house, I will keep the heating thermostat at 60 F (hey, my gas bills are MONSTERS, so I do what I can to keep the heating bills in check). And typically it'll stay about 65 - 66 F in the house (not my preferred temp, but I manage...).

It has been really really cold out here these past few days, and, well, keeping the thermostat at 60 F resulted in 60 F in the house. BRRRRRR.

And I friggin' REFUSE to dress like Mrs. Michelin INSIDE my house. So I caved and bumped my thermostat to a toasty 65 F...(and my various frozen and achy body parts started signing "Hallelujah"...)

Yes, I am a WIMP when it comes to cold temperatures. Well, I AM allowed a few weaknesses, am I not?

On The Twelfth Day of Christmas..

As I was observing how my two monkeys try to kill each other, uhm I mean, interact with each other, on the way to the bus stop (which is all of a 30 second walk.. with barely a minute wait at the bus stop as we are always, ALWAYS running late), the following popped into my head.

Think the tune of the last verse (that would be The Twelfth Day' part) of 'On the first day day of Christmas' as you are reading this.

On the way to the bus stop, my brother gave to me:
Twelve Nasty Pinches
Eleven Shin Kicks
Ten Crazy Chases
Nine Angry Shouts
Eight Tripped-Up Foot Steps
Seven "I'm telling mo-om" 's
Six Yanks on Backpack [see if you can make your brother fall over]
Five Karate Chops
Four Eye Rolls
Three Punches
Two "Shut Up"s
And a shove UP the bus's front steps ...
[as the other brother is not moving fast enough]

And you can insert either Salamander or Potatey for the "brother" bit, they each give as good as they get.

Yes, yes, I know.. most of it is, dare I write this, TYPICAL sibling stuff!!!! [which I why I find a perverse enjoyment in all of it..]

Happy Holidays!!!

(yes, I am feeling a bit better, but NOT backing of from having things checked out)

Monday, December 08, 2008

I Know I Said..

that I was going to finish a bunch of posts that I started earlier..
I'm not (just yet)..
I'm just not in the mood..


[I may now have one or two health challenges of my own to deal with.. and I need a little time and space to process and do my homework.. so please be patient with me...]

P.S. I developed a whole new appreciation for what our kids go through on a daily basis. I have not slept much since Wednesday evening, and no OTC painkiller even makes a dent in the pains... I am tired, I am grumpy, I can't think and I can't get the words to come out of my mouth right.....

Sunday, December 07, 2008

First Winter Fun...

OK, so we had our first snowball fight of the 2008/2009 season.. and our first 'casualties of war' too..

Salamander threw a snowball at me that hit me right in the head. It popped out the right lens of my glasses and got lodged in my eye socket. Salamander was MORTIFIED!! Glasses are fixed, I'm fine.. I may just be sporting a shiner tomorrow (heck, I used to be at risk for shiners for entirely different reasons.. I'll take the "snowball hit me" reason...)

Salamander decided to take a zip down the slide. There was a big layer of ice at the bottom part of the slide. All went well until he hit the icy patch. He was launched of that slide like a canon ball, got some serious air, cleared about 2 to 3 feet before hitting the ground HARD. Yup, THAT left a bruise.. on his ego too..

Potatey waited a little too long with letting me know that he needed to use the bathroom. So as he's trying to wiggle out of his wet snow gear, hopping up and down from leg to leg as he has to go so bad, he "lost control". Yup, think untrained puppy...big puddle...

Ah well.. all in a day's work.. We had a great time, that's what matters.

Hot Cocoa time (chocolate almond milk...)!!!

A quick post here.... thoughts, suggestions, comments appreciated....

We're OK...

Just busy with the hustle and bustle of daily life..

I started several blog posts that I just haven't had time to finish yet. I'll try to finish them either tonite or tomorrow, and then they'll go "up".

Boys are doing good. I am pretty sure that I continue to see very small and subtle improvements in Salamander's energy levels (more on that in another post).

We had a little snow here overnite.. nothing of significance and it won't stay.. but it's enough to go have some fun in..


Friday, December 05, 2008


Guess the boys have a wee bit of me in them after all....
We are having a wonderfully lazy, "chillaxing" afternoon... we didn't go anywhere (except for the library), didn't do anything (except for watching two fun movies together), didn't talk to anybody (except for grandma to say "Happy Birthday" and to each other..). We are just happy to be together, at home, enjoying each other's company...

Send this lady some support and encouragement, will ya??

I so KNOW what it feels like to realize that your easy kiddo, the one that for all appearances is as NT as they come, may have stuff going on too....


Salamander had another good week at the Lindamood-Bell center. We DO see some fatigue setting in (sessions are mostly at the end of the day, AFTER a full school day), and now that the work is getting more challenging, we see some resistance/avoidance behaviors. But nothing (yet) that we haven't been able to work through. His instructors have him pretty much figured out and are doing what is necessary to mix things up (hard stuff followed by easier stuff, not so fun stuff followed by fun stuff) and to keep him motivated..

Speaking of fatigue, I received the official sleep study report yesterday. I have not yet had a chance to thoroughly read and digest. Mention was made in a few places of hypopnea, apnea and respiratory-related arousals. And that Salamander snores.. LOL (I KNEW that..). We are working hard on teaching his body to sleep on its side.. Salamander is very cooperative and making a very conscious effort to comply. Too early to tell if it's making a difference. I'll be shoppng for the nasal strips today. ENT appointment scheduling I'll take care of next week.

Overall this has been a pretty good week. Boys have been really even keeled and at ease (I was going to write calm, but then realized that my boys will never be calm.. LOL.. they are active, intense boys, and that's just the way I like it). Both have been going with the crazy busy flow, and I haven't seen any major outbursts (and NO tantrums at all...). They are both POOPED, so I'm kinda glad it's only a half day of school today (so I'll have my whole gang home by 1 pm). We all need some 'chillaxing'. Weather is pretty nice, so we'll do a lot of outside play...

Last nite's bedtime DID turn into a big zoo unfortunately. Potatey was super tired and he becomes a MAJOR drama queen when he's tired. After much stalling and delaying and asking for this and asking for that, he still wasn't ready for bed at well over 40 minutes past his usual bedtime. So I lost my patience with him. Which made him burst out into tears and freak out a little. We had a loooooong chat (while I am at the same time helping Salamander get ready for bed.. yup, Petra the human ping-pong ball..), which ended up helping BOTH boys in the end. But it was close to 10 pm before they were both settled and asleep.. And as Salamander and I had to leave the house at 7.15 am this morning, it made for a short night...

So mission for tonite is to get everybody in bed a bit earlier..

Off to do my grocery run.. Goal is to get that done before 1 pm, as I want to avoid having to drag two tired and bored boys through the grocery store...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sex and Autism..

Got your attention with that one, didn't I???
Please read Barbara Fishkin's latest blog post, and the comments too.

Salamander has most definitely entered puberty.. and the questions are coming..
And as with everything else he and I have worked through over the past many years, we will work through THIS too....

(and Salamander knows that there is no question that is off limits. I told them that sometimes I may need to think a bit about how to answer, but that that should not stop him from asking.. )

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

So far, so good.....

Sleep Study Results Are In...

Remember the sleep study that I had done for Salamander approximately 3 weeks ago? Result are in, pediatrician just called me.

I am going to relay the highlights, which are based of my interpretation of the verbal conversation. I will be getting a copy of the actual full report in the mail...

Good news - EEG is normal. So doesn't look like there is any seizure type stuff going on during sleep.

Less good news (but even there is somewhat of a silver lining) - Salamander does have some type of obstructive/apnea like stuff going on. His breathing rate drops markedly several times during the night. The good news is that his Oxygen saturation rates and cardiac rate were not significantly affected by these episodes (so at least he's not oxygen deprived..). But the not so good news is that his body does become restless during these episodes (autonomous nerve system kicking in, I guess) to trigger a shift in position to try and deal with whatever obstruction is going on, and then the breathing rate goes up again..

So while technically we are not dealing with full blown apnea, oxygen starvation and all of that fun stuff, there is enough "pulmonary obstruction" type stuff going on that the quality of the rest he is getting is impacted.

So one recommendation for now is encourage to Salamander to sleep on his side (he is MOST definitely a backsleeper, so that'll require a bit of work). Next recommendation is to see a pediatric ENT to see if there are any anatomical structural things going on that we can do something about .

For background, Salamander saw an ENT when he was 15 months old and rolling from one ear infection to upper respiratory infection to pneumonia in a never ending stream. His tonsils at that point were definitely enlarged (well duh, his immune system was SHOT), but considering his young age and the risks and complications associated with anesthesia and surgery, we decided upon the 'let's wait and see' approach. He continued to struggle with enlarged tonsils and adenoids UNTIL I made the various dietary changes and we did a ton of immune system work. But it is not inconceivable that there are some structural/remaining issues, so yes, I will make an appointment with one of the pediatric ENTs the pedi recommended and we'll see what that person has to say.

Pedi also mentioned nasal strips - I am assuming she was talking about the 'breath rite' kinda stuff (it's a strip you place over the nasal bridge - it helps keep the nasal cavaties more open..). So I'll look into that too.

So overall, there appear to be no MAJOR issues (although I do want to read the report carefully myself..), but there is stuff going on that needs addressing/further exploration. I am going to wait with scheduling an appointment with the pedi ENT until I actually have the report (makes the scheduling conversation so much easier if I have an actual diagnostic term to throw around). In the mean time I'll work with Salamander on getting him to sleep on his side and I'll get some of the nasal strips to try...

Stay tuned..

(funny, both office nurse and pedi felt bad that the sleep study wasn't completely 'clean'... I'll be honest, a completely clean study would have been much worse for Salamander and me, as that would have meant that we were still no closer to figuring out why he is so exhausted..)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Nite Time Spooking - Revisited...

Ugh.. Potatey is back in one of his phases where he's waking up frequently between the hours of 2 am and 4 am (yes, I realize the significance.. this is the time frame within which the kidneys & liver do their prime detox work...). He wakes up all confused, scared, with nightmares...

As soon as I walk him back to his room (everybody sleeps in their own bed in this joint..otherwise I'd have no sleep AT ALL, as both my monkeys are pretty restless sleepers), he settles right back in and goes back to sleep. But he doesn't STAY asleep.. (and I know from my own experience that if your kidneys and liver work overtime, you get this really nagging lower back pain, so I'm not surprised he keeps waking up).

This nite he was up at 2.45 am, 3.15 am and then again at 4.15 am. Unfortunately, I couldn't go back to sleep after he woke up for the first time (2.45 am), and then I HAD to get up at 4.15 am myself as I had some work and other stuff to get done before starting the 5 am breakfast, lunch, backpacks etc drill...

So yes, I've been awake since 2.45 am. TG I went to bed at 9.30 pm last nite..

Well, going off now to makes lunches and to start breakfast...
And then if I'm lucky and Potatey stays asleep until his alarm clock goes off at 6.40 am, I'll squeeze in a shower. Otherwise that'll have to wait until after the boyos are on the school bus... And of course I have work meetings starting at 10 am until about 1.30 pm, and then I'll need to pick Salamander up from school to get him to his 3 - 5 pm Lindamood Bell sessions.. Yup, it's gonna be a long day.....

(and then tomorrow, I get to do it all over again.... LOL)

Oh, I did start Salamander on a sliver of L-carnitine last Wednesday and he is now also consistently taking 1 cap of idebenone per day. And I think, I think, I see a very subtle improvement in his energy levels... Time will tell....

Monday, December 01, 2008


Salamander use of words/language once again is shifting.. and yes, I DO think that the intense symbol imagery/phonemic awareness instruction he has been getting for the past 2 weeks has something to do with that....

He is "getting" that words in and of themselves can have texture, smell, flavor, sound; he is starting to "see" in his mind the emotions and/or sensory images that words can evoke. And he has been playing a lot with the "music" of words the past few days; coming up with a couple of permutations of a silly expression and then selecting the one that 'sounds the best' to him...

I am really excited by this, as I truly believe that communication is so much more than being able to speak words. Yes, Salamander has always had the ability to speak (TG for that). And this past year I have seen incredible growth in being able to move from 'just' speaking words to using words to communicate emotion. To using words in the context of functional, true two-way, give and take, communicative language.

And now that next step is starting to happen.. It's hard to explain what I mean.. I wish I could upload a few sound clips of what Salamander sounded like a year ago (fairly monotone, dry language, very black/white, little to no elaborations, little to no adjectives) and what he sounded like this morning in the car when we were joking around (lots of voice modulation, adjusting vocabulary to the situation, definitely getting 'the grey', much more expansive word use, and lots of unprompted elaborations - I no longer needed to 'pull' the language out of him).

I noticed this weekend that he is becoming more expansive in his writing too. It is incredibly hard for him to get his thoughts and ideas out on paper, it definitely does not come naturally. But man, when he gets that 'look' on his face and the sentences start to roll out of him (I was scribe at the keyboard).. he is an incredible story teller.

I need to get him into journaling....