Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Autism: The Musical

I'm watching it now on To watch it yourself, free until Sunday on the website, click here.


Let's see. What's going on around here?

Easter was fun. The boys were excited when I came upstairs to get them Sunday morning and said, "I just saw a rabbit in the driveway! I think it was the Easter Bunny!" Then, they came downstairs to find their eggs. I put jelly beans in Harrison's eggs, and some awesome fruit snack gummi bears I found at Safeway that are corn syrup free(!!) in Hutton's eggs. (The gummi bears were mentioned on an autism list, and I bought two boxes. They're in the baby food section of Safeway, the Safeway O Organics brand, toddler fruit snacks. They look just like real gummi bears, and Hutton, whose diet is gluten, casein and corn-free, among other things, loved them!) I put their eggs in separate rooms so they wouldn't get the wrong ones.

After the boys found their eggs, Hutton went upstairs to tell Hubby that the "Easter Monster" came and put some eggs in the dining room. I don't have any idea where he got "Easter Monster" from, but Hubby and I found it amusing.

Today, there was a message in Hutton's notebook from school. Apparently, another boy in his class scratched him, and it started bleeding. He went to the nurse and got an icepack. Anyway, the teacher wrote that they thought Hutton was instigating things with the boy who scratched him. They were always having to tell Hutton to leave him alone, stop hitting him, etc., until they finally realized it was the other little boy who was poking Hutton first, and Hutton was retaliating, and then it escalated to the other boy scratching Hutton's neck. Thankfully, they moved the other boy so he won't be sitting next to Hutton any more. We'll see. I just think it's interesting that they thought it was Hutton doing the instigating. I saw the other little boy at a birthday party last week, and he was wrestling with another boy there a lot. It was playful and all, but I can see that Hutton would not want to deal with that. He and Harrison wrestle a bit, but Harrison always wants to keep going long after Hutton is feeling "touched out" and needs some space.

Off to watch the musical. Let's see how it compares to Cats. Just kidding.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Slipping Back to My Old Ways

Yep, posting sporadically again!

We went to a party Saturday (the same friends who had the Halloween party I posted about here) for St. Patrick's Day. I had contacted a potential babysitter who seemed great. She'd worked with special needs kids before, was nearby, and sounded excited to watch Hutton at the party, and to watch both kids in the future. Yay!

Except...she never showed up. I'd emailed her Friday night before the party to remind her, but since the weekend before she was still on board, I didn't think there'd be a problem.

She didn't call to tell me she couldn't make it. She didn't call to explain afterwards why she didn't show. She didn't even email an excuse or apology.

Sigh. I miss my Stacy! Stacy is our former babysitter, and still sits for the boys when she's home over the summer and winter breaks. Stacy is a junior in college in Connecticut. Her mother lives about a mile from us. She's wonderful with the boys, and does all kinds of chores as well. One summer she organized our garage for us. Yes, amazing.

Anyway, the party was fun. The boys both watched a movie with the other kids (Underdog) and stayed entertained until 10 o'clock! Their normal bedtime is 9, so I was very impressed Hutton didn't ask me, "When are we going home? When are we taking a bath? When are we going to bed?" a hundred times. I talked to a women for a long time and really liked her, though of course, don't remember her name! We were sitting at the injury table -- she had her foot in a walking boot and I didn't wear my aircast, and because of that was limping in regular shoes. (I am tired of wearing running shoes all the time, since they're the only shoes that fit over my big honking aircast!) I don't know what the party hosts thought of our lack of sitter, but I actually enjoyed myself and didn't care. They had hired two babysitters anyway, and as I said, Hutton was fine. Maybe next time they invite us to a party they won't ask Hubby if we can bring our own sitter with us? Who knows. Either way, I need to find a reliable babysitter!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Goodbye, Thad

Friday morning, our phone rang before I was up. Hubby was already up, and I checked the caller ID. It was one of Hubby's high school friends. I didn't really think about it, rolled over and went back to sleep. Hubby came in the room and took a shower. He got dressed. I sat up in bed and Hubby said, "M. called a little while ago. Thad died this morning."

Thad was one of Hubby's best friends in high school. He learned to fly planes before he could drive, and flew cross-country as a 15-year-old. He had worked as a pilot in his twenties, then had been working with his parents and wife as a financial planner and stock-broker. Thad and his wife had two children, a boy and a girl. Things didn't work out, and they divorced, but continued to work together.

Thad was a fun person, upbeat and adventurous. He loved boating, and we didn't get to see him when we were in Pensacola this past Christmas because he was boating to Key West with friends to celebrate New Year's. We spent lots of time with him when we lived in Hollywood, FL in the late 90s, when Hubby and I were newlyweds and Thad was a pilot and flew out of Miami a lot. He had a drinking problem, but it seemed like he'd gotten things back on track when he married and had children. We spent time with him and his family in 2004 when we rented a beach house in Pensacola for the month of August, and I cherish those memories.

Then, the divorce happened, and it seemed like Thad was partying a lot. I don't know the whole story of his death. No one really does, since Thad was the only one there, but it involved a gun. His obituary says it was a tragic accident. Accident or not, it was truly tragic.

I hope Thad will find peace now. And I wish his family and children peace as well.


This is the reason Hubby is out of town, and this week when I've lost patience with the boys, or got annoyed that our kitchen faucet broke (yes, these things have to happen when my live-in plumbing expert is out of town!) or that Hutton ate cat food for the second time in as many days...I remember why Hubby is out of town and it helps me put things in perspective. Cat food and broken faucets are nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Every time I've been in the car since Friday, I'll hear a song, and sad or not, it will make me think of Thad and cry. Strangely enough, I haven't heard any Neil Diamond, one of Thad's favorites. He gave me and Hubby a double CD of Neil Diamond Live once. We don't really listen to it, but I think I'll pull it out this afternoon, to remember Thad singing along with his big sunny smile.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

I'm On a Roll

Well, after only posting a few times the first two months of 2008, I seem to be on a blogging binge. The reason? Well, there's a lot going on! Also, Hubby went out of town this morning, so instead of going out for lunch and other Saturday family activities, I'm choosing to stay home. While the boys play, I'm getting caught up on "paperwork".

Let's see. This post will be about Autism. Or, a certain little boy I know and love with Autism. Or, two autistic behaviors Hutton performed today that annoyed me.

One: I had to go to the grocery store today with both boys, after dropping Hubby off at the airport. Hutton was upset about not getting home at 11 a.m. to play Madagascar. I'd told him we'd be home at 11 when he asked, "When are we going to play Madagascar?", but realized I had to get gas for the car, and I needed a few things from the grocery store. So, when we were in line at the grocery store, after only five minutes of shopping, which isn't normally a problem, he started melting down. First, there were the tears about going home to play Madagascar, followed quickly by the SCREAMING. Gotta love when your child screams in the grocery store. Especially when your child is 6 years old, and old enough to know better, according to all the dirty looks being thrown your way by everyone in the vicinity. I did the classic recovery technique: I covered Hutton's mouth with my hand while whisper- yelling in his ear, "We DON'T scream in the grocery store! Mommy has to get this done before we go home, and I'm sorry you're frustrated, but this is how the world is. Get over it!" I didn't go so far as to say something about Autism out loud, though if the screaming had continued, I might have. You know, the mumbled sort of explanation, "He has Autism. He can't help it!" The public screaming is my pet-peeve of Autism behaviors, and I'm clearly not cut out for dealing with it, as evidenced by my "fight yelling with more yelling (though of the whispered variety)" technique. Though, of course, screaming could just be a normal way for a boy to get out of doing something he doesn't like -- grocery shopping.

Two: After lunch, Hutton went upstairs while I was still downstairs with Harrison eating lunch. He came down a few minutes later, and sat down next to me. I gave him a hug, and my brain slowly picked up on a signal from my nose: the smell of cat food.

"Hutton, did you eat CAT FOOD?!!" He, of course, said, "No!" as I sniffed his hands and had him open his mouth, revealing the tell-tale aroma of Savory Blends. Sigh. I went over with him that cat food is for CATS and he isn't to eat it or handle it, that it has gluten and other things little boys shouldn't eat, etc. Then, I went over with him again (we'd done it in the car after the grocery store melt-down, as well) the proper behavior in public places: We don't yell in public places. It makes Mommy angry and frustrated. Blah blah blah.

Can I take a nap yet?

A Little More Faith in Politicians

Yesterday, the Washington State Senate passed the "Toxic Toys" bill, which essentially outlaws children's toys and products with toxic levels of chemicals and heavy metals. Read more about it here.

In addition, my State Senator, Eric Oemig attempted to amend the bill with a requirement that parents and pregnant women be notified of mercury in vaccines prior to their administration. Unfortunately, this amendment didn't make it to the final bill, but I am thrilled he attempted to add it! I already sent him my admiration-filled thank you note.

One real, er, think of your favorite synonym for Asshole, Senator Jim Honeyford, was among those who didn't vote for the bill, after amending it with the following: (From Washington Votes website)

* Amendment offered by Sen. Jim Honeyford, (R-Sunnyside) exempt tricycles from the definition of "children's product" under the bill.

* Amendment offered by Sen. Jim exempt scooters from the definition of "children's product" under the bill.

He also added similar amendments for various guns, model rockets, and "athletic shoes with cleats or spikes". His amendments all made it intact. Now, I can see that guns and model rockets aren't necessarily children's products, but I still don't want my children to wear cleats that have lead in them. (I hadn't even thought about that, so now I'm going to have to get a test kit for my new soccer turf shoes! Damn. I really like those cleats, too! Hope they're lead-free!) Also, in what world is a child's scooter or tricycle not a children's product? No, I don't know any kids with scooters or trikes. Load 'em up with toxins, by all means! Grr.

Senator Honeyfucker, er, Honeyford also tried the fun "I melted down lead to make toy soldiers when I was a kid, and turned out fine!" approach. Uh, maybe, but we didn't know about the toxicity of lead and other heavy metals then. And I don't know how fine you turned out, if you don't know that a tricycle is a children's product. He complained about how he wouldn't have any gifts for his grandkids this Christmas when all the toys are banned. Hey, Senator, you didn't save those toy soldiers you made from melted lead? Those would be great toys for your grandkids! (Sorry, couldn't resist. I'm a bitch, you know!)

Another big thanks to the fine Senators (and the Representatives in the House who passed their version of the bill unanimously last month) who voted for this important bill!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

A Chink in the Armor

Larry King interviewed a family tonight. A family that consists of a neurologist father, attorney and nurse mother and a nine-year-old daughter who suffers a mitochondrial disorder with "autism like symptoms." The family was just awarded a settlement from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation fund.

As I was watching, I yelled at my TV several times, especially when all of the people interviewed, including the parents whose child regressed into Autism, oh wait, that's "autism like symptoms" (which for some reason, were enough to get Hutton diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder) all said how important vaccines are. Really? So, when vaccines may possibly cause autism, and did in the case of Hannah Poling, and Autism affects 1 in 150 children, everyone should just go right ahead and get all of those shots, and just hope their kids aren't one of the "special ones" to get Autism? No thanks. I'm done with vaccines until the medical and scientific community can figure out to make them so they don't cause harm. First, do no harm.

I also screamed at the TV when hearing for the umpteenth time how mercury/thimerosal was removed from childhood vaccines in 2001. GRRRR! No, it wasn't. It was in all of Hutton's vaccines (he was born in August 2001). It was phased out, not recalled There are still vaccines with the full amount of thimerosal floating around that were manufactured before the "phase out". And thimerosal is still in most flu shots, which are recommended for infants and pregnant woman, don't you know. Oh, and the other thimerosal free vaccines? They still have trace mercury. It's "removed" during manufacturing. So, they still have trace amounts of a potent neurotoxin, that bioaccumulates in the brains of many children, especially when they receive up to...well, I don't even want to count how many they receive. You can see it here. No, not all of those have thimerosal -- MMR uses live viruses, and can't have thimerosal, since it's used to kill things, and it would kill the viruses in the vaccine. Oh, and the fact that live viruses are injected into kids -- that's not a big problem either. Don't worry your pretty little head.

Anyway, even though listening to the spin on this big decision made me want to vomit, it still is a chink in the armor: the government settled a case, admitting that vaccines caused one child to regress into autism. I'm pretty sure she's not the only one.

Oh, and Ginger at Adventures in Autism has a great post about the spin going on. Read Spinning the Hannah Poling Case.

UPDATE: After watching the Poling family on Good Morning America, I felt much better. They said much more than they had a chance to on Larry King. Just stop watching as soon as the talking head/doctor comes on, because he just has more of the same vaccine BS.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

That's Big Foot to You

That's right. I'm going to Sasquatch! Well...maybe.

I bought tickets this morning, for Hubby's birthday gift this year. Whether we actually go will depend on the willingness of grandmothers to babysit. Hubby's mom has been up to babysit her baby granddaugher several times this year, so I feel she really can't say no to us. I mean, she OWES us. Right? Then again, I don't know if I really want to subject either grandmother to babysitting grandparenting for three days.

My dad and stepmother came up for a weekend to take care of Hutton when he was a young toddler, while Hubby and I went to a wedding in Hawaii. My stepmother told me last year that it was one of my late dad's fondest memories, as he felt he never got to spend a lot of time with his grandchildren when he was alive, as most of them live in Tennessee, and we're up in Washington. So, thinking of that, it tells me that either my mom or Hubby's mom should cherish the chance to watch my beautiful boys. Whether they agree or not remains to be seen. I can always tell them the above story and see if that guilts them into it.

Anyway, back to the big furry creature. Sasquatch is a wondrous music festival held at the beautiful Gorge Amphitheatre on the Columbia river. Here's a picture. It's beautiful at sunset, and did I mention who is playing this show? See this link and scroll down to the line-up.

Yep, they had me at R.E.M. and Modest Mouse, but read on. That's right. THE CURE. Death Cab for Cutie. Flight of the Conchords! ( See here for blogging on them.) I won't pretend to even know who half of the rest of these people are. I don't exactly get out to clubs anymore. I don't even have a reliable babysitter.

My love of R.E.M. may override my concern for my mother and MIL. In high school, I told my best friend that I was searching for a boy who would represent to me the essence of R.E.M. She probably gave me a look that said, "What the fuck are you talking about?" She reminded me that I said this a few years ago, and I smiled fondly. I may not have the same passion for R.E.M. as I did in the late 80s, but I really do want to see them in concert.

And then...Modest Mouse, and The Cure. Man, when I get my time machine finished and tell my 16-year-old self about this concert (first explaining that The Smiths broke up, alas, but Modest Mouse has Johnny Marr playing guitar for them) she'll say, "Wicked Awesome!" OK, that's not really true, as I don't think I was saying that in the late 80s, except in the ironic sense. My 16-year-old self would probably say something to try to prove how cool and smart she is, but just come across as a pretentious little geek. Really, I've changed so much in 18 years.

My point...I do have that when I heard about the lineup of Sasquatch I lost my shit. Thankfully, not literally. I really wanted to go, then the realist in my head popped up and said, "Hey lady! You have two little boys! You can't just drop everything and go to a three day outdoor concert anymore." Damn realist, shut up! She continued: "Tickets are pretty expensive, too. Plus, you'll be several hours from home, and will have to camp out at the Gorge or stay in a hotel." Undeterred, I excitedly told Hubby about it last night, and though he wasn't as excited as I, he did seem interested, and even mentioned renting a camper to take. Yes, getting Hubby in a camper is quite the coup. He's not the crunchy outdoorsy type, so a tent is out of the question. A camper is a nice meeting-me-halfway thing.

Oh, and we could always take the boys, as it's an all-ages concert but that really (REALLY) is our last choice for a Shiny Happy Weekend.

So, we shall see. Wish me luck. I can always sell the tickets if things don't work out. Sob. I don't want to, but I can. Did I mention I really like R.E.M.?

Monday, March 03, 2008

My Town is Smokin'

Well, part of it anyway. This happened here today. We're not anywhere near this development, which is several miles north of where we live, but it's still scary, as I can look at my window and see two "McMansions" being built up the street from our house. What's to stop these crazy bioterrorists from hitting those houses next?

The whole "Earth Liberation Front" idea is stupid. Guess what, ELFs? You're terrorists. Burning down houses to protest their being built doesn't solve anything. They'll just be re-built with the insurance money, and the amount of carbon monoxide you sent up by torching these homes, not to mention the natural materials wasted, which will just be replaced with more materials later, isn't contributing to saving the Earth in any way. It's destroying the Earth.

Sigh. Time to go do something constructive.


I'm back. Hubby and I talked more about this, and he had an interesting theory. He pointed out that considering how long these homes have been on the market, (and how poor the housing market is now) it almost seems logical for the builders to have hired arsonists to set these homes on fire. They get the insurance money, and perhaps invest it in something a bit more practical than nearly two million dollar spec homes that aren't exactly selling. Hmm. Hubby is a bit more cynical than even I am!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

I'm Not What You'd Call a Strong Blogger

Yes, I realize it's been two weeks since I last added something here. I've also been bad about reading others' blogs. What can I say? I'm lazy!

I've been busy. Well, sort of. I've been doing lots of gardening lately, since the weather here has been beautiful the past few weeks -- lots of sun and warmth. Seeing green shoots popping up everywhere gets my thumbs itching -- you know, my somewhat green thumbs. I've planted two pear trees, an apple tree, a flowering cherry tree, two lilac shrubs, and two blueberry bushes, and lots of bulbs. I've also hacked down several small maple trees. These are like weeds around our yard -- vine maples sprout up every year, usually right under a big Douglas fir, and once they start getting bigger, it just doesn't suit my gardening aesthetics. If they're in the wooded area to the side or back of the house, I don't care, but if I can see them, I have to do something. So, using a bow saw, I saw, and saw, and saw, then saw some more, so I can get the wood into manageable lengths to throw on the wood pile.

I've told Hubby he needs to get out the chainsaw, to tackle a small dead fir tree in our front yard, that's just a bit too big for me to tackle with the bow saw, but he hasn't done so yet. (I'm way too fragile to handle a chainsaw. I value all of my limbs, even my still weak sprained ankle. I pride myself on being pretty strong, but I don't think chainsaws were designed for use by the average woman under 5'4".) He's also refused to get out the chipper, which I said would be handy for dealing with the many branches from my maple tree hacking. Say what? Yes, we have a chipper/shredder that we haven't used for several years, and yesterday I mentioned I would like to get it out to use in the yard, and Hubby said, "No, we're not going to do that. Just throw the stuff in the back yard." I don't get it. Why do we have this machine if I'm not allowed to use it? Did I mention it's a chipper SLASH shredder? That means I can shred up the millions of leaves I've raked into piles as well, to use as mulch or add to the compost bin. Yes, I'll be using BOTH functions of this magical machine! And it's not like Hubby will be out there sweating and getting dirty. No, that will be me. I just ask that he helps me get it out of the tight confines of our garage. Also, I don't like the big piles of woody debris, which is right behind the swing set. I slid on a piece of lumber getting some sticks into the pile last week, and landed on my ass. Fortunately, I've got lots of padding there, but I don't want one of our children climbing up on the pile when my back is turned and injuring themselves. Not to mention that rabid weasels may take up residence there. OK, that last part isn't likely.

Grr. I may get the chipper out by myself and if Hubby complains about it, I'll tell him I got it out to sell on Craigslist, since we're obviously not using it.

I've thought of lots of posts about Autism of late, but haven't actually written them. Right now, I've got to go take a shower, so you'll have to wait a bit longer for my oh-so-insightful writings on the big A.

Oh, and after Kim's comment below, I found this for your (well, OK, MY) viewing pleasure. Click here.

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