Monday, March 31, 2008

Posting to post

I'm not writing in this space nearly as much as I'd like to. I've been trying to figure out why this is so, and I think I've hit on it.

Since I've been getting more writing work, writing feels more like work, and I'm treating it that way. I still enjoy it, but somehow meeting weekly, or almost-weekly, deadlines keeps my writing self busy enough to be happy.

Not that there aren't lots of things going on that are blog-worthy:
  • finally starting to feel more in balance with eating (oh sisters and brothers, it's been a loooooooong road since the fall, losing 10 pounds and gaining 13);
  • Abby's IEP meeting this coming Wednesday;
  • Abby bidding adieu to dance class for real;
  • thinking about starting Abby on violin (her idea) and taking initial steps to explore it;
  • realizing that there may be more than the PDD going on with Abby in the form of attentional issues, and thinking about what to do next;
  • marveling at Brian's progress this year and hoping we can keep the same programming for him next year at preschool;
  • putting Brian into a twin-size bed and moving Timmy out of his crib into Brian's old toddler bed (no cribs in my house!);
  • feeling antsy to do some real spring cleaning;
  • taking the kids to see Horton Hears a Who and having it be mostly OK.

So stuff has been going on. I've just been mostly too busy or lazy or unmotivated to write about it. And it's not even feeling like Spring yet. Wait til it does! I definitely need a laptop so I can write outside.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Here comes Peter You-know-who

Our first family attempt at a bunny cake for Easter. Brian, Timmy and Abby, master cake-decorators. Hoppy Easter to all!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Easter article

The Milton times ran my article about Easter traditions in today's issue. The print version has a lovely photo of a purple crocus looking for the sun.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Moms' groups article

Here is my article on mothers' groups, which was the lead story in the Womyn Zone section of today's Patriot Ledger.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Guest perspective

I don't usually do this, but I just read something that spoke to me so much I had to post the link. Susan Senator is a Boston-area writer and the mother of three sons, one of whom has autism. She writes eloquently and passionately about the challenges and joys of motherhood (and other things.)

Here's a link to a recent blog post. A must-read, especially for anyone with a child with a disability.

Susan Senator: Help Wanted

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sunshine in the house

Last week I posted that I was becoming increasingly concerned about Abby. She had been very anxious, and that anxiety had been erupting whenever she was home, in the form of serial meltdowns. Meltdowns in the morning, meltdowns in the evening, meltdowns at suppertime.

Of course, she could not articulate what was bothering her so much. My junior-varsity shrink persona surmised that it was concern over her dance class, which we had switched to a better time and environment for her, coupled with grief over Camille. Maybe things were extra-tough at school; maybe she was getting sick. We didn't know. We just put on the kid gloves and hoped for the best every morning.

And then, a note came home from school, saying that she seemed anxious about the elevator in the building, specifically the emergency buttons on the elevator. Her in-class ABA support person, M., hit on the idea of writing a social story about elevators (why didn't I think of that?) and sent it home with her on Thursday.

Who knew a few pages of elevator information could put such an efficient end to the turmoil in our house?

Abby kept the elevator story with her for the better part of two days, reading it and sharing information with anyone who would listen. And the anxiety evaporated, taking the meltdowns with it.

I marveled to T., Abby's therapist, that Abby could have been so worked up about elevators. And T., in her wisdom, pointed out that sometimes kids on the spectrum funnel their anxiety into one particular topic. Abby's world of worry was stuck in the elevator at school, and the story M. wrote opened the doors and let it out on another floor somewhere. We haven't seen it since.

Abby's been very happy at home for about a week now, and it's been like sunshine in the house. I know it can't last forever, but for now, we are all basking in the glow.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The stars aligned

I was in my usual rush to take Abby to school yesterday, with Timmy in tow. Timmy climbed up into the van and his car seat, and I went to follow him, when suddenly my cranium met the vanium in a most unhappy way. I saw stars.

I sat on the floor of the van, stunned from the pain at the top of my head and the base of my neck. As I was getting in the side door, I had misjudged and had hit my head on the top of the door opening, with the full force of my legs propelling me forward. Ouch.

Of course, I started to cry. It really hurt. Timmy kept saying, "Mommy you OK? Mommy you OK?" I couldn't even talk.

Mommy tears set Abby off. She ran up the driveway and into the garage, a safe place to hide from an uncontrollable and upsetting situation for her. Thank God she didn't run into the street.

After a few minutes, I assured Timmy I was all right, and set off for the garage. I had to coax, cajole, and finally threaten to physically carry Abby to the van (although in my dazed state, there was no way I could have done that.) She was upset all the way to school, but we got there.

And she had the best day at school she's had in a long time. She came home with a note that said she earned all her stars in her behavior management program -- a first, or at least the first in a long, long time.

Maybe a little emotional catharsis in the morning freed her to concentrate better all day. Maybe it had nothing to do with it. But it's not an experiment I wish to repeat.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Friday, March 7, 2008

The slack(er) is back

I've been a blog slacker lately. I've had a few other things I've been working on, and those have been eating up my writing time, but I also have felt I didn't have anything blog-worthy to write.

A short list of what's been going on will have to suffice:
  • too much eating
  • not enough exercise
  • got the taxes done
  • met four deadlines this week
  • having increased concern about Abby
  • enjoying the spring-like weather
  • trying and trying to find a babysitter for this weekend so Earl and I can get out
  • extra cantoring
  • missing Camille
  • being stressed because my house needs to be cleaned and I somehow am not making the time to do it
  • endless laundry
  • taking it easy on the hammies (they're feeling much better today)

Oh, and I got my first magazine rejection yesterday -- a very short, efficient form letter from Good Housekeeping. I like to think I'm used to rejection letters from my years on the opera audition treadmill, but I still was bummed about it. But I'll try again, there and elsewhere.

Monday, March 3, 2008

To be sung on the computer (Auf dem Komputer zu singen)

To the tune of Beer Barrel Polka:

Blow out the hammy,
Walking around is no fun.
Blow out the hammy,
It happens each time I run.
A double whammy,
Hurting from knees to my rear,
Should've stayed away from running,
Like I did last year.