Monday, November 27, 2006

Extra, Extra! I'm Stressed!

Here's one of those studies that make you think, "Who paid for this?" and, more importantly, "Can they get their money back?"

As a mom on one of my Autism lists succinctly put it: Duh.

University of Washington
Abstract Title
List of Authors
A. Estes, G. Dawson, E. Koehler
Enter your abstract here
Background: Stress levels are generally higher for parents of children with autism compared with parents of typically developing children.

Objective: Identify specific child factors that relate to stress in parents of children with autism to assist in providing effective strategies for reducing stress in families.

Methods: Participants are from a longitudinal study on the neurobiology and development of children with autism (ASD), developmental delay (DD), and mental-age matched children with typical development (Typ). Children were evaluated for general cognitive ability using the Mullen Scales and for ASD using the ADI, ADOS, and DSM-IV. Language, adaptive behavior, behavior problems and social abilities were also assessed in children. Parents reported their own level of parenting stress, depression, and anxiety.

Results: Data are reported for 51 children with ASD, 20 with DD, and 27 Typ children (Mean ages; ASD = 43.9 months, DD = 44.2 months, Typ = 28.1 months). Parenting Stress in the ASD group was significantly higher than in the DD and Typ groups. Anxiety was higher in the ASD group than in the Typ group. Depression scores did not differ between groups. Analyses are planned to investigate the relationship between specific child factors and parenting stress in this sample.

Conclusions: Preliminary findings indicate elevated stress levels in parents of children with ASD compared with parents of children with DD and typically developing children. Results of analyses aimed at identifying the specific factors, including child factors, that play a role in increasing parenting stress will be presented.

Funding source: NICHD (U19 HD34565) and NIMH (U54MH066399)


After processing the information for a few minutes, I went from finding this laughable to getting angry about it. Like the asinine study that tries to link autism to TV watching, this study is foolish. But the foolish part of this study is that it states the obvious. Parents of children with autism are stressed out. This could be determined by using common sense. Why in the world would you need a study to determine this? Here's an idea, instead of wasting valuable research time and money on studies like this, why don't you spend it figuring out how to help treat kids with autism? That would definitely help with the parents' stress levels.

But, wait, I guess you can't do that if you don't know the parents are stressed; this must be a preliminary study, so they can go ahead and find a cure for Autism, now that they know it's making us poor parents stressed out. Yes, that last line should be read with as much sarcasm as possible.

I know my stress levels when Hutton was in preschool were much higher than they are now, as I scrambled around, trying to put the pieces together to figure out insurance coverage; then find a good doctor, find a better doctor, no, find any doctor who can offer ANY help at all; then find a speech therapist, and find another speech therapist when the first one doesn't want to work around our schedule at all; then figure out the whole ABA thing, get on a year+ long wait list at a good place, find a decent place to give us ABA in the mean time, find a home therapist; figure out which of the bazillion supplements and dietary changes we need. You know what, I'm STILL stressed, and STILL working on most of the above issues, plus the new issue of kindergarten. At least now, though, I have support from other autism parents. Isn't it funny that of all the resources out there that cost so much money, fellow parents are still the best resource and support, and they're free? The UW should do another "duh" study on this: Having support from people in similar situations can help lower stress levels.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pukey and Tired of Turkey

I've been having this ongoing feeling of nausea for the past 4 days. It's not that bad, kind of nausea light. No, I'm not pregnant. It is odd for me to be nauseated, though. I had zero morning sickness with either pregnancy with my boys -- lucky me, right? I can count the times I've thrown up on my fingers -- well, and maybe one foot's worth of toes. They are pretty much limited to the odd virus, alcohol over-consumption in college, and narcotic pain meds after my knee surgery in my early 20s. So, this is not a normal thing for me. It's not stopping me from eating normally, fortunately (unfortunately? If I skipped eating a few meals due to being sick, it wouldn't hurt my flabby gut any!). I skipped coffee yesterday for the first time in ages, but it made no difference in my nausea levels. I would almost prefer puking to nausea light, though. At least you have some resolution with vomit!

Enough of that. My blog has gotten a bit too scatological lately. I'm going to have work on being more Austenian. She would have never mentioned vomit, poop, or even giblets in her works. Hmm. Maybe the giblets. Have to look that up.

We have finally eaten our way through all the leftover sidedishes, though we still have lots of turkey left. I like turkey sandwiches, but I can't say I'll be eating turkey with stuffing and cranberries anytime soon. Eating those nearly every meal for 3 days straight has done me in for a while, thanks!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sick But Thankful

Still nursing my cold, though it's nothing to complain about. Just some congestion and a slight sore throat.

Hubby let me sleep in this morning. He got up at the crack of dawn to put the turkey in the roaster grill. It took several hours to cook, but that was good, because we needed the time to get the rest of the food done. I made cornbread stuffing, orange-cranberry relish, and a gravy which took way too long and wasn't that good. Plus, Hubby said he's doesn't really like gravy anyway, so I will not be making that from scratch again! It started out ominously, as it involved using the giblets from the turkey. I realized I'm a much stronger person than I used to be. Washing those organs and seeing them laid out on the cutting board reminded me of biology class. I felt slightly squeamish as I chopped up that poor turkey's innards, but I soldiered on. Then again, I never had a problem with dissections in biology. It's live things and their blood that make me pass out. Anyway, after working on the gravy for way too long, I wasn't liking the still visible organ meats floating around, so I strained those out and gave them to the cat and dogs, even if the recipe didn't call for it. Yeah, I think next year I'll just leave those giblets in the plastic bag where they belong.

The stuffing and relish were good, though, and the boys both liked them, so that's always a plus. Hubby prepared the turkey -- he made a rub for it last night, and it smoked all day, and turned out very good -- and a potato dish that was supposed to be like smashed potatoes or twice baked potatoes. They were a little off, visually, but they tasted yummy.

As I was saying, the boys liked everything, even though they got antsy before "lunner" as we served it at 2:30. It took that long for the turkey to cook. They had some snacks around noon, and before we ate, Hutton asked for tacos, and Harrison for hotdogs, but they both seemed to like what they got instead. When I was a kid, I only ate turkey, potatoes and bread with Thanksgiving. Over the years I started to add in the sweet potatoes, gravy and stuffing, but I was about 12 before I was eating everything my mom cooked for Thanksgiving. I'm thankful my kids are more open to trying different foods! Hubby doesn't like sweet potatoes, cranberries, or, as I mentioned earlier, gravy. I didn't make sweet potatoes, but I made the others, and will probably continue making the things I know he doesn't like, just because I like them and they're traditional.

Hubby's mom sent us a frozen pumpkin pie that a man in their hometown makes, and I heated that up in the oven and had a small piece a minute ago. It was quite good, considering it had been frozen and mailed!

I didn't get around to showering until 1 this afternoon, as I was trying to get most of the cooking done before hand. Of course, in the 20 minutes I was upstairs showering and getting dressed, the boys got into the flour I had measured out for the gravy, and left on the counter. I knew something was up when our dog Sally, the black lab mix, came in to the bathroom with white kid-sized handprints on her back. Then I heard the vacuum running. Hubby may not have been watching them, but at least he vacuumed up the mess.

Off to loll on the couch for a while. Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Is the Week Over Yet?

Yesterday, as I napped on the couch while the boys watched "Curious George," I developed a sore throat. I knew it was coming, and stuffed as much vitamin C and zinc as I could in my body. This morning, I woke up stuffy, but not really sick. Just that annoying, slightly off feeling, like I could sleep all day. And a headache, of course. It's gray outside. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Hubby is supposed to be taking care of our turkey. We'll see.

Hutton's parent-teacher conference was yesterday. His teacher reiterated that she thought he should still be in preschool, "but since that's not going to happen..." Yes, she said that. Hubby and I just smiled politely when she said that. She mentioned Hutton repeating kindergarten next year, and all I can think of is, "God, I hope we can get him in another class!"

We then asked what we should be working on with him outside of school. Apparently he needs to be in a lots of groups to help him socialize with other kids. The last thing I did with Hutton in a group setting was swim lessons this summer. He was fine, but I guess I'm just burned out on doing all the "extra" stuff. It costs money, it takes time, and even if we have the money, I feel burned out constantly driving Hutton to various appointments, and Harrison is getting the short end of things. Harrison has Gymboree once a week, and gets to play with my friend's daughter once a week, but other than that, he's stuck going with me to take his brother to doctor's appointments, speech therapy and ABA. Then again, he doesn't have social issues to work on. I tried to get Hutton interested in a soccer class, but he said he doesn't want to play soccer. The horror! Harrison seemed interested, though. Maybe I could get them in the same class? Doing something for both of them simultaneously? Wow, that would actually make sense and save time.

I need to take Hutton to have his blood drawn so we can get his lab work started. He conveniently hasn't pooped for the last two days, and sneaked into the bathroom without my noticing on Sunday, so I have to do another sample of poop for the labs, but am worried it's going to be screwed up from waiting so long. See, you're supposed to take two samples, preferably on consecutive days, and you can only send the poop by FedEx Monday through Wednesday. So, if he doesn't poop in the next couple hours, I'll have to wait another 5 days to send in his poop, and the first sample, which I took Saturday, will be really old. Hubby didn't know about the labs until I ran in Friday night screaming, "Wait!" as he flushed a perfectly good sample down the toilet. Me: "What are you doing? Did Hutton poop?" Hubby looked at me bewildered as I explained that we needed two poop samples, and looked longingly at the toilet, Cher singing in my head, "If I could turn back time!" Anyway, one of the samples from Saturday is frozen, so it's not that big a deal, but the one that is just in the jar with the preservative -- is that OK? And it's Thanksgiving tomorrow, so I'm sure sending a sample today is a bad idea all together. I already realized I should have sent his pee in Monday, so will have to retake that. The pee isn't that hard to get, so I'm not worried about that. It's really the poop that is annoying me. Geez, there's nothing like getting flustered about poop.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 20, 2006

It's Thanksgiving Time

The week of Thanksgiving has arrived, and that means that Hutton has no school this week. I see a whole lot of TV and Wallace and Gromit playing on Xbox in our future. In fact, Hutton is playing Wallace and Gromit on Xbox as I type this. Oh well. I was a "good mom" for approximately 20 minutes earlier today, when I helped Hutton with his homework -- a page of writing out his name, a page of "color the things that start with G", and a page of cutting out the bees and pasting them on the corresponding number on the hive.

Twenty minutes. That's about right. I could never homeschool my kids, because I know that I can't come up with things to keep them busy for longer than 20 minutes (other than TV and video games, which I don't think count as "schooling"). Yesterday afternoon, I played games with the boys. We played the Oreo cookie game - Matching Middles, Don't Spill the Beans, and Barnyard Bingo before I was bored silly and Hutton had gone back upstairs to play Wallace and Gromit. Harrison would have been happy to play those exciting games for hours more, but I convinced him to let me read him some books instead.

Harrison is currently entertaining himself by putting all the train-related toys in the Thomas toy box. At least he's not doing what he did yesterday morning while I showered: putting every toy in the room, including puzzles, in a big pile in the corner. That's fun to clean up.

Gotta come up with something to do. Maybe lunch out and shopping. Get some more toy organizers and let Harrison go crazy. Maybe some more challenging games, too. Like Candy Land. Don't think the boys are ready for chess just yet. It's not raining, so the park is always an option, too.

We can go to the movies this week, too. Flushed Away and Happy Feet would probably be entertaining for the boys. Don't think they'll go for Casino Royale. Darn. Mommy could use some Casino Royale.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Spawn Of Satan Returns

Friday started out well. I took the boys to the University of Washington for Hutton's ABA therapy, and made it on time! I thought I'd be late, but there was no traffic. Then, I had cash to pay for parking. If you pay the $11 in cash, you can get a refund of $5 when leaving. So, instead of paying 11 freaking dollars to park for an hour and half, you only have to pay $6. What a bargain, huh? I've had to pay the entire $11 several times, though, when I don't have enough cash, as I tend to run out of cash by the end of the week. Did I really need those lattes? Well, this week I was good and drank my lattes at home. (Plus, I had cash from doing a "Fieldwork Seattle" music study last week. I went in on two days, for two hours each time. I listened to a tape filled with 5 second snippets of songs and rated them. It was a fun, kid-free event that was like a trip down memory lane, listening to songs I'd forgotten about. And getting paid $125 in cash was nice, too.)

So, a good start to the morning. Then after talking to Hutton's therapists for a few minutes, I left them to do their work, and Harrison and I went for a walk, to enjoy a beautiful, rain-free day. We walked along the water (the Montlake Cut behind the UW, which connects Lake Union to Lake Washington) and looked at the ducks and geese. We walked up a big hill, then went to the hospital to get some snacks to take to Hutton's next appointment: the nutritionist. Everything was great. Harrison was in a good mood, though getting tired from the walking. I should have known that things wouldn't get any better.

We picked up Hutton and headed for the nutritionist's office, south of downtown Seattle. Of course, traffic had picked up by then, parking was a bigger issue (though cheaper!) and we were 10 minutes late for the appointment. Still, nothing too bad. Harrison and Hutton played relatively nicely while the nutritionist and I discussed the GFCF diet, and probably cutting out corn as well in January. Then, it was time to go. I started asking Harrison to clean up the toys and crayons he had spread all over the floor five minutes earlier. I repeated my request for the fifth time, and the nutritionist asked him to clean up, nicely, as well. No go. Harrison kept yelling out, "I clean up!" but not doing so. I started to put some crayons away. That did it. The Spawn of Satan replaced my child instantly. It thrashed around, spreading the crayons and toys everywhere. The nutritionist gave me a look of terror, and told me he'd happily clean up the toys after we left. I agreed that was the best thing to do. My good son and the Spawn of Satan accompanied me out to the lobby, son walking, SOS being carried sideways, screaming and thrashing. I quickly made a second appointment with the nutritionist, which I will probably cancel now, as I don't think I want to be seen in his office again after our last appearance. SOS's face was bright red from screaming, "Clean up crayons! Go to doctor's office!" I kept telling him he didn't clean up the crayons, that it was too late for that now. We had to leave.

I carried him to the elevator, making small talk with another passenger who tried to look like she wasn't terrified for her life. We made it to the car. SOS convinced me to let him walk for a moment, but then I carried him again when he attempted to run back to the elevators, to go "clean up crayons. Go doctor's office!" still screaming hysterically and red-faced. Hutton got into his seat quickly, his hands covering his ears. SOS writhed and bucked as I attempted to get him into his carseat, still screaming about the crayons. I was cursing under my breath by now, telling SOS that he COULD NOT go back to the doctor's office, that the crayons were cleaned up already, etc. I was wondering if I could bribe him with something, when a woman approached, wide-eyed with fear. I looked at her, with my, "Please don't tell me my son is disturbing you. Can't you see I'm about to lose it and go mental?" look. But she didn't complain. Maybe she'd seen the Autism Awareness sticker on my car, and thought this screaming SOS was the Autistic one. She simply said, "If I can help you in any way, just let me know." By then I had pressed SOS's writhing pelvis into his seat using all my strength, and strapped him in. "Oh, he's just being a two-year-old!" I replied with total false-cheer. "Thank you!" I slammed the door, she walked away, and I got into the car to the still roaring, red-faced SOS. After I paid for parking, and had driven north to get back to the 520 bridge, I had devolved to screaming, myself. Answering SOS's screams with my own, "We're not going back to the effing Doctor's! You DIDN'T PUT THE CRAYONS AWAY! IT'S TOO EFFING LATE FOR THAT!" Good times. SOS stopped screaming abruptly in Bellevue, as he'd passed out. When the child woke from his nap two hours later, sweet Harrison had returned.

I have learned that scheduling two of Hutton's appointments back-to-back, when Harrison is due for a nap, without lunch in-between appointments, is a very, very BAD IDEA.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Lyrical Interlude

I wrote "musical" first, but since I have no music, we'll call this a lyrical interlude.

The other day, I forgot to mention something about the doctor appointment Monday. The doctor gave us (well, sold to me, for a lot of money) a new fish oil Omega 3 supplement to use instead of my beloved Coromega. (Seriously, Coromega is good! I like it, the boys like it, it doesn't taste like fish. It tastes like orange pudding with a hint of chocolate. Yum.) So, Thursday morning, I took out the new fish oil to add a 1/2 teaspoonful to Hutton's orange juice. As soon as I opened the bottle, the overwhelming odor of fish came out. I felt like I was at the aquarium at feeding time. I carefully measured out a 1/2 teaspoon, but still got oil on the counter and my hands. I wiped off the bottle, then wrapped it in more paper towels to put in the fridge, so it wouldn't get more fish oil everywhere. I tried a sip of Hutton's juice to see if I could taste the oil. I couldn't, but Hutton didn't drink his juice, and I figured out why: there was an oil slick on top of the juice after a few minutes, emitting the fish smell. Yuck! After dumping his undrunk juice, I noticed there was a tiny bit of oil left in the measuring cup. I wondered just how bad this new oil would taste. It was lemon flavor, after all.

It was bad. I had a drop of oil on my tongue and immediately started gagging. Fortunately I hadn't eaten my cereal yet, so there was nothing to come up, but if I had...However, after ingesting a single drop of fish oil and handling the bottle, I smelled fishy for hours. Hand washing and tooth brushing did nothing.

This was Thursday morning. Thursday is speech therapy. So, Tuesday morning I went to speech therapy smelling like perfume and B.O., and Thursday, it's fish.

So, without further ado, your lyrics. These are to the tune of the Police song, "Don't Stand So Close to Me" and from the viewpoint of Hutton's speech therapists.

Young[ish] mother, the subject
Of speech therapists' dread
She comes in twice weekly
Think they are all inbred
Her breath stinks of coffee
Must drink it all day long
Hey lady, heard of breath mints?
You'll need five for a stench that strong

Don't talk, don't talk so
Don't talk so close to me
Don't talk, don't talk so
Don't talk so close to me

Then Tuesday, she came in
Wreaking of bad perfume
I think that I could smell it
Before she hit the room
And yet it got worse still
When I smelled the B.O.
I wanted to yell out,
Oh God, please let me go!

Don't stand, don't stand so
Don't stand so close to me
Don't stand, don't stand so
Don't stand so close to me

It's Thursday, she enters
Today the odor's fish
Come on do people really
Have that for a breakfast dish?
I think I'll give up now
Her son is nice enough
But having to talk to Mama
Is getting way too tough

Don't stand, don't stand so
Don't stand so close to me
Don't stand, don't stand so
Don't stand so close to me
Don't stand, don't stand so
Don't stand so close to me

I haven't thrown the new fish oil away yet, but Thursday during Hutton's therapy session, Harrison and I bought a big box of Coromega at Super Supplements. I really don't like to torture my children or myself. Or those around us, either.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I haven't posted about Autism lately, so I know all of you who read my blog (crickets chirping) for my deep insights into Autism (dead silence) have been waiting.

Hutton went to a new doctor Monday. She's a naturopath, but also a DAN! doctor who treats a few of my friends' kids. So, Monday the boys and I drove out to Seattle (this is post Spawn of Satan morning) and spent an hour and a half with our new doctor. I now have to get all the labs figured out for Hutton. We did the same labs a few years back with another doctor, but since Hutton's pediatrician seems to have not sent on his records to the new doctor, and it's been a few years, we figured it was worth re-testing. Insurance covers some of them, so that's good. It doesn't cover the new test that tests for metals in the blood, but the doctor recommends that before she'll see if Hutton needs chelation. It does cover the urine and stool testing. That's right. Did I mention how much I love collecting stool samples, being sure to "Take multiple samples from different areas of the collection tray"? Yep, you dig around in poop and get multiple little chunks to cram into a couple of vials. And, you get to do it two days in a row! Joy! I do like this bit:
Caution: Avoid contact of the skin and eyes with the fluid in the vials. For eye contact, flush with water thoroughly for 15 minutes. For skin contact, wash thoroughly with soap and water. For accidental ingestion, contact your physician immediately.
If you accidentally did this BEFORE the poop was in there, that would be one thing, but after? I think you'd need more than contacting your physician.

Back to the doctor. Of course, I blushed and looked guilty when she started asking me about my non-doctor-supervised chelation of Hutton over the past year or so. Why do I always let doctors, even the naturopathic ones, make me feel stupid about decisions I've made, that I have researched thoroughly? Sure, I used the Internet for research, but it's not like I was looking on the "Chelation for Dummies - No, Really, We Only Want Stupid People Here" site. No, I used a technique a PhD in chemistry used to chelate himself, using ALA and DMSA. Now, oral chelation isn't the fastest or best way to chelate, but when your son's first "autism expert" doctor wants to just sit on his ass and "wait and see" how ABA therapy goes, while the very important young years of my son's brain development tick thanks. I'll just do it on my own. It's hard to tell just how much Hutton improved from my DIY chelation, but I wasn't able to do metals testing of his blood. Though you can buy DMSA online, I wasn't able to track down any black market blood testing kits. And even if I could, I wouldn't have been able to get blood from my child to test. I'm squeamish, and I don't really go for injuring my children with lancets.

So, I'll try to collect my son's urine and stool sometime this weekend, and get to a blood-drawing lab next week for the fun part. Then we'll wait several weeks for the test results.

Tuesday, we saw another of Hutton's new doctors: the cranio-sacral therapist. This doctor basically massages Hutton's head and pokes around on his abdomen. Through this, though, she can tell Hutton has definite food allergies (she also wants to at least cut out cheese from his diet. Damn. More support for the difficult GFCF diet!) Her husband comes in and helps do some stuff with Hutton's arms at the end of the appointment. We've been going weekly for 3 weeks, and so far, it seems to help. Hutton was very calm and talking in much longer sentences the weekend after his first appointment. It may sound kinda kooky, but we'll see if he continues to improve. I'm not closed off to anything that might help Hutton. (Well, I'd probably turn down a Evangelistic faith healer. Matt-Man's posts from the last couple of days have reminded me that I totally forgot about the faith healers! I will probably avoid things that involve snake handling, as well.)

A big plus to the cranio-sacral therapy: afterwards, the husband gives the boys BALLOON ANIMALS! These are very exciting. Tuesday, Hutton wanted a dog, and Harrison requested a duck. The husband couldn't quite remember how to do a duck, so it didn't turn out as well as the dog. Here's a picture:

Hubby saw this "duck" on the kitchen counter. I told him it was a duck, and he commented that he didn't think it was supposed to be a cock and balls, but that's what it looked like.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Headaches and Super Powers

My name is Laura, and I have a super power, so will have to come up with a super identity. How about The Nose? Or Bouquet Girl?

Yes, my super power is my sense of smell. I inherited it from my mother, who also has a strong sense of smell. Not necessarily the best super power to have when you live with pets and children, but it helps to find the source of hidden smells, if you have to do that. And if you have pets and kids, chances are you do.

The side effect to this amazing super power is that strong smells give me headaches. My mother, too, has this problem. She used to always try to give me perfumes she'd bought for herself that she couldn't wear because they gave her headaches. I tried to tell her, "Just don't wear perfume if it gives you a headache!" but Mom seems to value the favor of other people's noses over her own comfort. Most times, these perfumes give me headaches as well. So, I have lots of perfume on some glass shelves in my bathroom that mostly act as decoration. But, I have found if you keep a bottle of perfume out in the light for 10 years, the smell fades a lot, so this actually makes it wearable for those of us with super noses. My hint of the day.

This morning I was getting dressed, and quickly grabbed a sweater I bought on sale the other day at Mervyn's, a store here that is closing. Rumor has it, Kohl's department stores will be taking over the Mervyn's stores after they close. This really doesn't change my life in any way; just thought I'd share some exciting downscale department store gossip. Anyway, I pulled the tags off the sweater and pulled it on, and noticed it smelled of perfume. Apparently before I bought this sweater, someone wearing A LOT of perfume had tried it on. I hadn't bothered to try it on in the store, and apparently hadn't smelled the perfume in the store. The store had lots of other smells going on, though. Anyway, I debated taking off the smelly sweater and changing, but I'd already put on a matching necklace and earrings, and I was feeling lazy, plus was running late for Hutton's speech therapy, so left it on.

By the time I'd driven to speech therapy, I had a headache. Still, the smell wasn't as obvious, so I figured I was getting used to it, and if I still had a headache when we went home, I'd change.

After speech therapy, I took Hutton to the bus, then microwaved myself some soup to eat for lunch. My headache wasn't as bad, so I was fine to leave the smelly sweater on. That is, until I pulled up to the counter to taste my soup, and caught a whiff of something that was decidedly not soup-like. It was the smell of B.O. My mind whirled. What? Was that ME? Surely not! I showered this morning, used soap, deodorized myself....Now, not meaning to brag or anything, but I'm NOT a smelly person. I mean, if I go work out and hang out afterwards in my sweaty clothes, I'll start to smell. But I don't smell like B.O. on a normal day, and if I did, I would know! The whole super sense of smell, you know. It's not like not being able to smell your own breath. You can easily sniff your own pits and tell if you stink, right?

Which is what I did. There, under the heavy perfume smell, was the undeniable smell of B.O. Ewww! I ripped off the stinky sweater and sniffed its pits. Ewww! I rushed it to the laundry room, threw it down and Febreezed the crap out of it. I'll have to face it later, when the current load of laundry is done. I then smelled the shirt I was wearing under the sweater. It smelled vaguely perfumed and B.O.ish as well. I hurried upstairs to find a new shirt to put on. And just so you know, I sniffed my pits after taking off the stinky sweater and shirt, and they were just fine, thank you very much. Go ahead, take a sniff. See? Er, smell?

So, I've learned an important lesson, as I still nurse my smell-induced headache: When clothes shopping, sniff the clothes before you buy them. And to those of you who don't shower and/or deodorize yourself on a regular basis: you stink. Dousing yourself in perfume doesn't change that. That just makes you stink while giving those around you headaches.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Spawn of Satan; Going GFCF Again

I took Hutton to a new doctor this morning. Before we could leave the house, I had to deal with the new demon in my life: The Spawn of Satan Who Used To Be Known As Harrison. TSOSWUTBKAH started out screaming for me from his room this morning at 8 a.m. I went down and cheerily asked if he wanted a diaper change and to eat breakfast, and that afterwards we'd take Hutton to the doctor.

TSOS: "No! Pajamas on!"
MOMMY: "OK, let's change your diaper then..."
TSOS, wriggling angrily on changing table: "NO! ARGGGH!" Spits blood and venom. Well, maybe not the last part.
MOMMY: "Do you want to wear your train sweater? Here!"
TSOS: "NO! Pajamas on!" Wrestles out of shirt I attempted to put on. Pulls pajama top back on.
MOMMY: "Sweetie, we have to get dressed and eat breakfast if you want to go with me and Hutton to the doctor. We don't have much time!"
TSOS, with more blood and venom: "No breakfast!"
Moments later:
TSOS: "Eat yogurt!"
Immediately after:
TSOS: "No breakfast! Pajamas on!"

This continued for a looonnnng time. Hubby had gotten out of bed by this point and also attempted to get TSOS to put clothes on, eat his breakfast, or at least, stop screaming.

Finally, after 45 minutes or so, in which TSOS ate some breakfast, screamed more, and refused to get dressed, Hutton and I headed out to the car. As soon as I opened the garage door, TSOS appeared, wearing only a diaper. "Go to doctor!" I told him he'd have to put his clothes on quickly or we'd be late. TSOS, changing before my eyes into Harrison, a real, live, human boy, quickly put on his clothes with my help, and ran to his carseat. He was happy boy again. TSOS, please stay away from my kids. A normal 2 1/2 year old is challenging enough.

We headed to Seattle to see the new doctor. The boys were so well behaved, even though the appointment was over an hour long, involving the new doctor getting to know everything we'd ever done with Hutton in his life. While we were in the waiting area before the appointment, another woman commented on how good the boys were. That made me feel good. Plus, I thought back to Friday afternoon, when I took them both to the grocery store and they acted like angels for 45 minutes. This tells me two things: 1) I'm insane to take two young boys grocery shopping with me, my least favorite chore, on my least favorite day to go out, with pouring rain to boot. 2) Even though I'm insane, having kids who behave makes things so much easier.
Oh, I just figured out: 3) I've jinxed myself to a bad rest of the month for bragging about my kids being well-behaved.

Anyway, the doctor gave us a bunch of lab stuff. We've done some of these tests before -- they involve sending blood, urine and stool to a lab. Yep, getting these from a 5 year old is as fun as it sounds. Well, at least that was the case when he was three. The doctor also wants Hutton to go back to a Gluten and Casein Free Diet (GFCF). This is a common diet for kids with Autism. Many can't digest gluten and/or casein, and it leads to Leaky Gut Syndrome. That, too, is as fun as it sounds. Gluten is in wheat, and cross-contaminates most processed food items and other grains like oats. Casein is dairy protein. We did the diet for several months when he was 3, and it made a difference, but it's very hard to do properly, without any infractions. Pretty much any "regular" processed food is off limits, as are most restaurant foods. You can still find ridiculously expensive GFCF processed foods at specialty stores (think pasta, bread, crackers) but the cheapest and easiest thing is to make everything from scratch. Yep, that's the easiest. Ironic, no? Plus, you always run the risk that foods that were once GFCF may be reformulated, or that they'll be processed on the same lines as gluten-containing foods. A big event with friends of mine, whose kids are GFCF, is when it was discovered that McDonald's french fries, the mainstay of any healthy kids' diet, weren't gluten and casein-free after all. They'd long claimed they were GFCF, as they are fried in different vats from the chicken and other glutenous/gluttonous stuff, but apparently some of their special fry addict flavorings contain gluten and casein. So, this wasn't an issue for us, until now. We were off the the diet when this discovery was made earlier this year, and Hutton was happily eating his, "French fries, chicken nuggets and lemonade!" at least once a week after speech therapy, in the half hour we have to get home and get lunch before school. Sniff, I'll miss you, Micky Ds! I better go watch Super Size Me to get over this, fast!

When we first did the diet, I think we did it long enough that Hutton's gut was able to heal, then, when we followed with dietary enzymes for several months, that helped as well. On the advice of our old doctor, we started gradually re-introducing foods with gluten and casein, and there weren't any noticeable problems. Believe me, you notice Leaky Gut problems. Hutton still has food allergy and yeast issues, I'm sure, so I'm willing to try the diet again while we run some tests and before we tackle new biomedical treatments, like chelation. Hutton practically lives on cheese, though. I was expecting this, and have been weaning him from cheese. I bought nutritional yeast to make fake mac and cheese, stopped buying string cheese, and keep it off his tacos when we go to the Fresh Mex place. The problem will be with those fast and easy dinners I rely on so often: frozen pizza and frozen spinach ravioli. Tonight I made beef and vegetables in the crock pot, but I get bored very quickly with meat and vegetables. Guess I better go find some more GFCF recipes! Oh yeah, and the holidays will be so fun. We're going away for two weeks, staying with family. Fortunately my mother still asks if Hutton needs any special food whenever we visit, but I may just say we'll do the diet officially on January 1st!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Well, That Was Sorta Fun

I finished the Great Cloth Diaper Hunt last night. Well, except for one, which is on a website that is currently being moved.

WAHMies was my nemesis until the bitter end. I used the clues from the hint forum, clicked about 1 million different combinations, and still don't really know how I found it. I figured out that something was different in the browser when I clicked in a certain combo, then finally found the elusive icon. I didn't feel like I'd accomplished something great afterward. No, I just felt annoyed that I'd spent so much time on one silly site that hid the clue in an entirely convoluted way. You shouldn't have to click just the right combination of things to find the clue. It should be readily clickable within 4 clicks of the home page. And I never saw anything that looked backward, which is what the clue hinted at. If I hadn't noticed something different in my browser - though, not backward, mind you - I wouldn't have found it, and I'd still be crazy searching girl today.

One of the last icons I found last night made up for the pain of the WAHMies hunt, though. It had great clues, and I was able to find the icon using the clues only, without further hints. Plus the products on the site were cool - handpainted shirts, knitting, and cool photography. Here's the link to that site, if anyone is actually reading this!

Off to knit and watch TV, which I've been neglecting of late. Coming, my darlings!

Monday, November 06, 2006

What Have I Been Doing...

...if not blogging? Heck, I have barely even been reading the blogs lately.

This is what I've been doing.

That's right. I've been spending nearly every waking moment, when not attending to the needs of my children and pets that is (how annoying! Jeez! So needy!), hunting down the elusive cloth diaper icon hidden in various websites. There are 175 websites, to be exact. And though I have the entire month to do this, I have it in my head that I must do it all NOW!

I have stayed up past my already late bedtime every night this month looking. Some icons are easy to find. Others are diabolically hidden by web masters/torturers in such a way that one can spend hours on one site and still not find the icon, even after receiving hints. This one for instance. If you can find the icon here, and tell me where it is, I'll give you one of my kids or pets. Ha. Just kidding. I wouldn't cheat. Um, or give away my kids or pets, for that matter.

So, until I complete my hunt, you may not see me again in the blogosphere. I'm still floating around on the Internet, just in a different world. The world of crazy cloth diaper people. Now you know.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Pussy Pussy Cat

First pussy, as in full of pus. Second pussy, as in cat. I realize as I type this, that my blog may end up with attention from some people who are looking for an entirely different type of pussy. Sorry, I don't blog about wussy guys.

Tully (yeah, I know, I'm still calling her the old name, though after this, Pussy Tussy will be a nice rhyming name!) came limping into the house on Monday. She doesn't stay out at night, so I thought she'd be pretty safe to go outside a little during the day. Guess not.

She lay around looking sad and miserable Monday and Tuesday, while I stepped over her and helped her get to her food so she wouldn't have to jump (we keep her food on the counter top, out of reach of the dogs) or to get up to the cat bed on my desk, then finally got her in to see the vet on Wednesday. Yeah, I'm a bad kitty mommy, but Tuesday I had way too much do with my human kids for Halloween. Anyway, by Wednesday, her paw was swollen and she was still limping, so we headed for the first appointment we could get.

The vet told us they'd have to keep her overnight so they could anesthetize her to put a drain in her foot, as it was infected, probably from a cat bite, and give her some IV antibiotics and rehydrate her. Thursday I took the dogs in for their check up, and picked up Tully. She had a bandage on one front leg, where they'd had the IV, and the hurt paw was shaved and had two big straws sewn into her paw. I'm very squeamish, so I really don't do well with this stuff. I'm supposed to wipe her paw frequently to keep it clean, and that alone gives me the willies. We're keeping Tully in the bathroom, so she won't drain all over the house, and she's just so pathetic, lying on a towel with her hurt paw and the goofy Elizabethan collar. When she walks, the collar throws off her balance, plus she's still limping, so it's hard to watch her like that. Cats without balance are just so...wrong.

Off to go spend some quality time with my sweet pussy in the bathroom. No, not that one. You people really are sick.

Update and pictures:

She's now moved to my desk. Not draining anymore than I can see. Able to sleep with a big plastic collar on, too. Not bad.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Notes From the Morning Drive

A few things from my commute to take Hutton to his speech therapy appointment this morning:

The carpool lane on 520 has a sign: To report violators, Call 555-HERO. Hero? For turning someone in for driving in the carpool lane illegally? I don't really think that's all that heroic. Not like saving someone from a burning car or pulling them from flood waters. How about 555-RATT instead? Wait, that might make people think they're calling to listen to the latest recording from the 80s hair metal band.

Now I can't remember what the other thing was. Oh well. I hate traffic. How's that?

Based on a True Story*

It is Halloween. My son holds my hand as we walk to the bus stop to wait for the school bus. He has his Halloween costume stuffed in his backpack; toward the end of the school day, he'll change into his costume for the class party. He is excited to be a pirate, and has been practicing his "argghs!" all morning.

The bus is few minutes late this morning, and I jog in place to keep warm. It's colder today than it's been all month. Finally I see the bus rounding the bend and coming to a halt.

The STOP sign flips out, and the door creaks open. I walk my son up to the steps, and look up to the bus driver, Heather. She is unrecognizable this morning, wearing a clown costume with a big red nose and wig. I remark about her perfect disguise, and lead my son back to his seat. I am about to put him in his carseat, when I call up to Heather, asking where the other passengers are. Normally there are three other boys on the bus by the time it gets to our stop. Heather grunts from the front. As my mind slowly realizes that the grunt from the front was way too low and guttural to have been from Heather, I notice the blood on the seats in the back, and then it is too late.

*The true part: Hutton's bus driver, Heather, did wear a clown costume on Halloween, and she was unrecognizable. But she wasn't an evil clown. Phew!

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