Friday, July 31, 2009

Summertime Blues

I'm in a funk again. (What's new?!)

M has been out of summer school for about two weeks and I just cannot motivate to do meaningful activities with he and B. The dreary weather does not help.
I find us staying in pajamas too long--a thing that can be very good a day or two here and there, but not EVERY day--and finally mustering enough courage and stamina to get us dressed and out of the house some time post 3pm each day.

The other half worked from home two days ago. I begged him all day to agree to go with us to the farmer's market. He was too spent after a long jog he had the good fortune of going on by himself, had a couple of conference calls for work, and would not be able to join us. I tried to (calmly) explain to him that things were just really hard to try and pull off by myself with both kids these days. M goes into full tantrum mode any time we pull into a parking lot, and though he will eventually calm down, having to go through the initial chaos has just about done me in, making me dread taking him anywhere. And then there's B -- my independent, oh-so-two-year-old, do-it-himself-or-he'll-scream, Mommy-can-I-have-a-lollipop, no-I-don't-want-to-ride-in-the-wagon, bundle of, uh, joy. Combine the two and just me and I'm ready for a drink before I even start!

We did manage to get ourselves out the door that day around 4:30. I am pretty sure I sighed and huffed dramatically around the other half as he lay in bed checking emails. (but he deserved that, right?!) B fell asleep (naturally) on the way there and as predicted, didn't want to ride in the wagon most of the time, but we still enjoyed ourselves miraculously and even stopped at the marine reserve on the way home to gaze at the harbor seal pupping area; a pleasant site since most of the seals we've seen around here lately have, sadly, been dead ones.

I know that I can take the boys out on my own. I know it won't be easy and we may have to turn around and go home. I'm just sort of feeling lonely and wishing I had someone else to go with me...namely the other half. I'm not griping here. We do things together as a family. But during the week when he is working, I so wish he didn't have to work so he could be with us! Silly, isn't it? And gosh, he would be so surprised to know that I actually wished he was with us during the week...haha. (Shh! Don't tell him!)
But really, there's no one that can suffer through failed outings like he and I can together. Don't get me wrong...some of my good friends will hold it together and keep me calm during failed outings WAY better than the other half can. It's just that when it's the other half with me, he and I can sort of wallow in it all together and share those knowing looks of 'Holy crap, this is hard' with one another.
If I'm having a particularly tough time getting B to listen to me (wait, when am I NOT having a tough time getting B to listen to me?), he can step in and take control of things. And likewise with M. With friends and some family, there is a learning curve, a (completely understandable) hesitancy to jump in and assist--especially with M. I think that in this crazy life we live--the one where the rate of divorce is sadly quite large--we both know that no one else could ever love, understand, and let's be honest here, tolerate, our children the way he and I can together.

So in my own weird way, I think I just gave the other half a compliment! But like I mentioned earlier...shh! I like to keep him on his toes and do what I can to not inflate his head too much :)

Monday, July 27, 2009


Since I just changed linens yesterday and have to do it AGAIN today, I decided to google 'diapers for older kids' to find some heavy duty diapers for kids with special needs. I found some options that had links to the stores that sold them off to the side. Funny thing...I decided to click on one particular site called 'Diaper Connection' only to find that it is NOT for my child, but for 'Lifetime Infantilists.'

Now, I don't consider myself to be naive; and I suppose I knew there were some interesting folks out there who were into this sort of thing. I just hadn't ever had the pleasure of any sort of close encounter with this unique hobby.

I have to tell you...after all the freaking diapers I've seen, I cannot for the life of me understand why an adult would CHOOSE to purchase these when they weren't a necessity. Or are they?

And that, loyal readers, is a point to ponder.

Ahh...I feel so enlightened today!

Friday, July 24, 2009

This Has Nothing To Do With Pee, Autism Or School

Made me laugh out loud and brought tears to my eyes. Thanks, Jill & Kevin. I have no idea who you are, but you look like you'd be a lot of fun to hang out with!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Debbie is: tired of changing, washing, folding, putting on bed linens. She is also tired of wet carseats and clothes that smell like urine.


M has been soaking his bed probably three times a week the past couple of months. He has also been wetting his pants 1-2 times/week during the day. It is as though he is completely unaware of it or just does not care. He will sit in it until we notice. This is the child who had not had a single daytime accident in about 18 months. Why is that??
And then B decided at some point between me putting him to bed and him actually going to sleep to take off his pants and diaper. A very pissed off (ha!) B came sopping wet into my room at around 3 a.m. this morning. Oh, and did I tell you that he's taken to pooping on the floor? It is a cross between wanting attention and thinking it is hilarious when one of our dogs eats it. (Totally disgusting. Want to come pet my dog?) Psych 101 tells me that this is yet another instance where B is acting out in ways similar to his brother (though when M pees it is not because he is acting out) in order to get more attention from us. It's tough to keep your reaction in check. The bribe, I mean promise, of ice cream tomorrow seems to be helping today though!

I have finally wised up when it comes to my own tempurpedic bed. After having to unzip the fortunately-waterproof-yet-not-so-easy-to-remove-and-put-back cover a zillion times I finally bought another waterproof mattress cover to go on top of it.
I'm quick these days, I tell ya.

Does anyone have any recommendations for a good overnight diaper that I haven't heard of yet? We are currently using the Overnites, size S-M. I have also tried that new competing brand and they suck even worse. Anyone? Anyone?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Statistics & Animal Assistance

On one of the (several) boards I read for parents of kids with special needs, a link was posted for a new non-profit here in the Bay Area.

Animal Assisted Happiness sounds like a really wonderful place.

Here's a snippet from their description of what they do:

At Animal Assisted Happiness, we recognize that children with special needs and their families struggle on a daily basis. We are here to help by bringing moments of joy into their day. We let your child interact with animals and experience a smile that only animals can bring. All our programs and services are free of charge. And we know your schedule can be challenging so we offer flexibility and a variety of programs to suit your day

Sign us up! I will definitely look further into this organization. The connection our kids are able to make with animals that they may or may not be able to make with humans is astounding.

As for the statistics reference, the homepage of this organization states a 2000 census bureau stat of the following:

In the United States, there are nearly 2,500,000 children with one or more special needs. In the Bay Area alone, there are over 13,000 children with these challenges.

13,000. THIRTEEN THOUSAND. Do you know how many people live in the entire Bay Area? I could look it up right now, but I'm too lazy. Let's just say that a lot of people live here and for some reason that number seems small to me. Why in the world is that? I mean, 13,000 is a lot. But to me it sounds like a little right now, and a number I wish my child didn't fit into.
I guess it's similar to when I saw last Fall's report from the psychologist we hired to independently assess M. The one that said that he was possibly 'mentally retarded' and 'performed at a nine to twelve month level.' Man. That hurt. And so does the number 13,000. But as I find myself saying so often these days, it is what is. I wonder what the statistic is for number of parents of kids with special needs who say that?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thankful Sunday

For those of you who don't get loving animals like family, my apologies. This week, however, I am most certainly thankful for eight years with a really sweet-natured, underwear-eating, trash can-diving, doe-eyed, fox-like, trustworthy, love-of-a-dog, my Daisy Doodle.

But more importantly, as I reflect on her, I am thankful for going with my gut. It's no secret I have always frequented local animal shelters in towns I have lived. (And we all know that's been quite a few towns) When we moved to the Los Angeles area, I would go to the Agoura shelter about once a month just to offer up love and pets. I truly had no intention of adopting a third dog until THAT DAY. I had visited all the pens and came to hers last. Honestly, I couldn't believe a dog like her was even at the shelter and was even more surprised to later learn that this was her second time there. She'd lived with her brother, a fireman, and his wife for the first two plus years of her life. After the fireman and his wife got a divorce, apparently she and her brother were left on their apartment balcony during the 24-hour period or more that he had to work. When neighbors complained, he brought Daisy to the shelter. Soon thereafter she was adopted by a woman in her 50s. This woman lived with her daughter and two-year-old granddaughter. Shortly after adopting Daisy, the woman's mother became gravely ill, thus requiring the woman to spend much of her time away from home. After only three months, Daisy was once again returned to the shelter.
I remember petting her for a very long time and not at all wanting to leave. It was close to closing time and I weighed my options, knowing full well I most certainly SHOULD NOT consider taking this dog home without consulting the other half. But would it hurt if I drove really fast down the street to my house to grab Hank & Syd so I could just see if they got along with her? Or was it that I just wanted to get her out of her tiny cage and into the play area with other dogs for a little while? Well, no harm no foul, I thought. But then...she walked straight past my dogs and they could have cared less. Nary a hackle was raised. They stayed in that pen, not giving a rat's ass about each other (in a good way) for nearly 30 minutes. I COULD NOT leave this dog there. She had to come home with us. I was in for a world of trouble and didn't even care.

I adopted Daisy and loaded her in the car with my other two dogs. It was as though she'd always been a part of our pack. Amazing how this girl always behaved that way. She was the only dog to never flinch when a new foster came to the house, even when the other two were snarling and anxiously sniffing the new arrival.

The other half came home from work and I said to him, "I have a surprise for you!" As if on cue, Daisy came running down the stairs, tail-a-wagging, to greet him. My God, he was so angry. He would not speak to me the rest of the evening. I finally went to bed, with Daisy laying peacefully on the ground next to me. I will never forget that night. As I 'slept' I heard the other half come in the room. I watched him through my eyelashes (quite sneaky am I!) as he walked by the bed and then hit the ground to crawl on the floor to my side where he lay there petting and talking sweetly to this new addition. It was priceless and so typical of the other half. He's much softer on the inside than he likes for the rest of us to know!

I endured eight years of him being able to say to me that one of the worst things I ever did in our marriage was to adopt a dog without his permission. And when someone would visit our house--and inevitably end up falling in love with Daisy--he'd joke, 'Take her home. Try her on for size.'
But when she died and I called him to tell him, he soon after sent me a text message that read 'Really sad to see her go. She was a very sweet dog, but it was quick at the end and we should all be so lucky.'

So if adopting the world's sweetest dog was one of the worst things I have done in my marriage, I'd say I'm doing okay!

But one last thing that I am so thankful for with this sweet animal: on the day she died we had relatives from Ireland who were departing our home. I had a strong feeling that morning that things were coming to an end and asked all of the kids to be calm and quiet around her. I laid her on the couch before departing for the airport, and I prayed on the way home that she would still be alive when I got there. She was. And an hour later when I had to take M to a quick doctor appointment, Daisy used every ounce of energy she had to jump off the couch she'd laid on for nearly five hours so that she could come with us. She staggered and fell on the way to me, but I carried her the rest of the way to the car. I could tell by the odd way she curled her body in the front seat that she was not getting enough oxygen, but she was with us--for one last drive--nonetheless. She was unable to get herself inside and did not move on her own after that, but there was something so utterly beautiful and touching about the way she MADE herself move to come with us that still makes me cry just to think about.

I am still having a hard time adjusting to having only two dogs. I can't seem to remove her small bowl from the pantry and each time B helps me feed the dogs he says, 'Is that Daisy's bowl? Is she still at the doctor?' We have talked about it the best I know how and read a sweet book about dogs in heaven. After asking about whether she'd come home from the doctor again today he said, 'No, Mommy. She died.' I wasn't sure how to respond, so I didn't. For 2 1/2, B is wise beyond his years. I don't know what he understands exactly, but I have a feeling whatever it is, it is probably more pure than even what I understand.

And so, with all of that, I will sign off for the night. I can't say that I won't still look behind me to see if she is laying on her bed. And I can't say that I won't still look for her on the floor next to the other half in the morning. But I will pet my other two dogs who are mourning as well and we'll all remember our little lady...the one who never had an unkind 'word' for anyone. Rest in peace, sweet doodler girl.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

And Then There Were Two

I just watched the world's sweetest dog die. This is the second time in my life I have witnessed such a thing and I can say that it is no easier the second time around and totally saddening. I am thankful, however, that it happened at home on her doggie bed where she lays as I type this; as I wonder what to say to my children who danced to music just feet away from the end and continue to grab toys from the box next to the 'sleeping' dog. Naturally it is after the vet's office has closed. And naturally the other half is out of town. I just got a call that our sitter is on her way and I will load Daisy up in the car and drive her over the hill to an after hours clinic to say goodbye.

More soon. This girl was really special :(

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday, July 3, 2009

What A Difference A Day Makes

The second half of yesterday was B-A-D. (And no, not in a Michael Jackson sort of way)
I was in the foulest of foul moods, and I'm sure now most of my neighbors are aware of this fact as well :)

I was going to blog about it last night, but I kept thinking that my opening line would have been something to the effect of me calling the other half on the phone, (as he was wining and dining clients in downtown San Diego at the time), and saying 'GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF THIS STRESSHOLE!!'

And that would have likely been followed by a very large string of run-on sentences describing all of the pleasantries my children, dogs, bum ankle, and lovely, multi-storied, hilly-freaking house were providing me on an afternoon where all I really wanted to do was watch them in the backyard as they got a little fresh air and I drank a nice glass of chianti and read my People magazine. Uh, yeah...not so much.

Seriously, people. It should NOT be this hard to do such a simple thing! But it is. This is my life, for better or for worse.

A couple of weeks ago a similar scenario played out, but while we were attempting to have the kids play outside the other half and I were trying to grill some dinner. Total chaos. Not one moment of someone not crying, screaming, asking for this, that and the other, PUTTING THEIR HANDS DOWN THEIR PANTS (ahem), etc. The other half and I were beat. Exhausted. Stick a fork in us, we were done. He looked at me with weary eyes and said, 'It wasn't supposed to be this hard.' I immediately went to him and we hugged, speechless, for quite some time. It was actually a good moment within a bad one because I needed to know that he thinks this is really freaking hard sometimes, too.

But as bad days become a memory you'd like to forget, good moments (maybe not entire days!) follow to help make up for it. For instance, I was downstairs putting B to bed last night while M was upstairs on the potty. I thought I heard a noise, so I yelled up to him, 'M! Are you okay?' Normally I would not receive an answer from him. In fact, I don't believe I have ever received an answer from him when I have asked if he was okay. But sure enough, I heard his sweet, little voice respond appropriately to me, 'Yes.' He said 'yes!' YES! He doesn't generally say yes. He'll sometimes say no, but yes?! It was a beautiful thing.

And then there was this morning. We all slept in until a glorious 8:20 am when I heard M chattering away in his room. I went in and was greeted with the most beautiful smile. I can't truly describe this smile except to say that if you know M, you know how special it is. It is a smile that cannot be faked; one that depicts pure happiness and the innocence of my boy who wears his emotions unabashedly, unlike typical people who are better at masking them. I immediately got under the covers next to him and we snuggled, smiling all the while, for a good ten minutes. It was lovely and the right way to start a new day.

And so here we are; a new day. And all I can do is hope that the second half of it goes as lovely as the first!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

What To Do?

We recently took another stool sample from M to determine what was going on inside his gut. Given his hands-down-the-pants, behavioral issues, frequent illness, etc. his doctor thought it wise.

We give M probiotics to help balance his gut and keep him healthy, however, his gut is NOT balanced nor is it healthy. We had done the last stool test a year ago and subsequently treated him for some bacteria. This year he has more strains of 'bad' bacteria present at very high levels. The lab that analyzes this stool tests the bacteria that is present against various antibiotics to see which they are resistant to and which they are sensitive to. Unfortunately, the strains of bacteria that are currently present in my little guy's system are resistant to almost all of the basic antibiotics and sensitive to a very, very strong antibiotic, Cipro. I went to the pharmacy yesterday to pick this antibiotic up and the pharmacist came to speak to me. She told me she was uncomfortable letting me administer this drug on a child as it is usually prescribed to adults.

I have a call into our doctor (at Thoughtful House in Austin, TX), but also turned to my trusty parent listservs for some advice.

What I have learned thus far is that Cipro is treated for very, very bad bacteria including anthrax. I have also heard stories from another parent like one who had to give two rounds of it to her son. (He did fine and it made a huge improvement in him)

My son has been in a decline over the past year and if these harmful bacteria are the root of the cause, clearly I want them gone...but at what risk do you do that?

I am at a bit of a loss as to the answer to that question. If anyone reading this has experience with Cipro, I'd be very interested to hear about it. And if anyone is interested in learning more about the gut flora results, I'd be happy to post them or email them to you.