Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Toxic chemicals: a serious suspect in the autism outbreak

Great article. Depressing as heck though.

I just excerpted a tiny bit for you in my post. Please read the whole thing. In fact, read all of Harvey Karp's articles on Autism here.

From the Huffingtonpost.com:

Are Children with Autism..."Male-adjusted"?

Our increasing exposure to EDCs lends support to a new hypothesis about the cause of autism, called the "extreme male theory." This theory, proposed by Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen and colleagues, speculates that autism is caused by something changing a fetus' hormonal balance that then leads to over-masculinization of the developing brain.

Could that "something" be the slurry of hormone-altering chemicals we're exposed to every day? Are EDCs the reason autism-type disorders are 4-9 times more common in boys? (Vaccine side effects never show such lopsided impact on boys versus girls...a glaring fact that is totally ignored by those promoting the vaccine theory of autism.)

The "extreme male theory" has been supported by two interesting bits of evidence: 1) fetuses with slightly elevated levels of testosterone grow up acting extra-male (more interested in things than people, slow language development, etc.); 2) children with autism -- boys and girls -- show extra-male characteristics (e.g. poor social ability, language delay).

Here is where the very interesting link to EDCs comes into play: EDCs often act as weak estrogens and estrogen feminizines the body, but in a fetus' developing brain estrogen actually has the opposite effect...it causes masculinization.

For now, these ideas are just interesting theories, but the evidence is concerning. We urgently need more research to discover whether EDCs, or other chemicals, are linked to the worldwide rise in autism. Fortunately, on that front, there is very good news to report. Thanks to a dedicated group of pediatricians -- members of groups like the AAP and CDC -- the National Children's Study (NCS) was launched in January 2009.

Train wreck: the good, bad and the ugly

The good? Actually the good is real good.

Our new Speech and behavior therapist gal came on Monday. She came to my house. Shea needed about 47 seconds to be shy then invited her to play magnets.

They had a wonderful time. She pushes a little harder then some, insisting he says a word not just once, but 3 or 4 times. It went really well and I look forward to having her input all summer.

The bad? Shea is doing Mini-hawks sports summer camp. All week, from 8:30 to 11:30, they (39 little kids 4 - 6) play and learn about baseball, soccer and basketball. After 3 solid hours of play, I know they are tired but they get out right next to the big playground at the elementary school. It is nearly impossible to not let him play a while after wards.

Shea wants to be the fastest, climbing the highest, running, jumping, doing circus tricks. On the playground he is a leader but just doesn't have the language and socials skills to deal with that role. Basically he is getting more and more cranked up. And, not in a good way.

One little boy points at Shea and said, "That boy made Logan cry today." I tried to find out what happened, tracked the boy down, heard what happened. I guess Shea took his hat and wouldn't give it back and then started hitting.

I apologized to him and tried to explain that Shea doesn't have many words and talking is hard for him. That he didn't do it to be mean.

Well. It was going down hill fast. I feel I need to jump right on it if Shea hits. I am not going to just hang back and let my kid hit some other kid and not deal with it. I corrected him once and hoped he could keep it together if he just calmed down. I probably should have just taken him home then. Implement a 1 strike you are out rule.

I am sure this is part of his Sensory Integration issues. He gets so cranked up when he is playing with lots of other kids that he is literally whirling top speed, no time to STOP and communicate, no time to listen to his mom, no time to focus on his behavior. He starts hitting. You know, train wreck we are on our way.

The ugly?

Shea went to play on a big dome climber and, of course, all the other little boys followed him over. The behavior continues and he hits the same kid again. I jump right on it again but he is inside the dome. And, get this...he is running away from me, eluding and ignoring me. Will not come to me. Laughingly he continues to elude me while my blood is beginning to boil, I am saying the old, "you come here right now! I am going to count to 3. Shea! I mean it. I want to talk to you."

Pointless. He thinks it just hilarious that he doesn't have to listen to me and that I can't get him.

Until, I moved my fat butt right on down and climb inside that stupid dome and grabbed him, peeled his fingers off the bars and jettisoned him out from under that dome. I literally had to physically remove him from the area with dozens of mothers, fathers and other kids watching. He was still trying to run from me and refusing to walk. We had a long, excruciating, not very gentle walk all the way across the playground with Shea in full melt down rotten kid mode and me barely able to keep from completely exploding.

Absolute horror show.

Tomorrow? I don't think so. Time to shake up the dynamic. We are going to the pool.

Loosing it all

I got a phone call in reference to a rental house I listed on Craigslist; a lady whose house just burned down the day or two before, family of 4, kids 5 & 11. Electrical fire, they lost everything.

"Kids 5 & 11? Do I know your kid?" Sure enough, in Molly's class last year, a very nice boy.

Well, about now my heart is breaking. Everyone was physically ok but they were in shock, depressed, dazed. I thought of my own kids going through this. How sad and vulnerable they must feel.

I just felt like I had to do something.

I had heard about how Vashon swings into action when there is a tragedy like this. I started making phone calls and talking to some island folk and was led to a gracious older woman who was a depository of information; food vouchers, furniture, Granny's chits, rental assistance.

Between the Redcross, local churches through their "Interfaith Council on Homelessness" Vashon Youth and Family Services, The Food bank and other groups. they are able to create a web of assistance, something to cushion the initial blow but almost more importantly longer support to pull your life together again.

It was pretty amazing to see and help start that ball rolling.

I have been thinking about home fires lately. A really fun blog I visit all the time is The Quirk Factor: Resistance is futile.

Her house burned down too. I felt the same heartbreak when I read her post. Everybody was ok physically but they lost it all too.

In my mind, I visualize a person like me who started calling so that her family could get connected to this web of assistance that is out there in all our communities.

We should all support it when we don't need it because it is there for us if we do.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why do I have to be differnt?

Public school hiring teachers from out of country!?

I have a simmering cauldron of mixed feelings on this one.

Isn't this our tax dollars recruiting and paying scabs to get around the teachers union?


An excellent way to interject international diversity into public schools?

Math and Special Ed teachers!?

From the Seattle Times:

Francisco Size came to Washington from the Dominican Republic last year on a type of work visa that each year draws thousands of other foreign professionals into the state.

But the 42-year-old is not a computer programmer or software engineer for the typical high-tech companies using these visas.

Rather, Size works as a math teacher in the Highline School District — one of scores of teachers across the state hired on the H-1B visa.

While use of the visa in the private sector at companies like Microsoft is well-known and hotly debated, less is known about school districts' use of the program. In fact, at least 40 Washington school districts have applied for H-1B visas to employ teachers and staff over the past five years.

For example, Puyallup hired a high-school English teacher from Jamaica, Seattle hired a special-education teacher from India, and Bellevue hired a parent-outreach coordinator from Chile.

Districts say they use H-1B workers to fill teaching positions with long-reported shortages in such areas as special education and math. Districts also have hired foreign nationals as English, elementary-school and substitute teachers. Like any employer using the H-1B program, schools do not have to show a lack of qualified U.S. teachers before they hire foreign workers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Your voice does matter

You all know my political leanings. I haven't been shy about expressing myself.

So, my personal views on Health Care Reform won't surprise anyone. I believe Single Payer or Universal Health Care is what we need, but if that is all "over the top" (and believe me that is what they want you to think) we should at least get a Public Option.

I am watching my representatives and Senators very closely on this one. And, it's easy to do.

Congress.org is a great site where you can put in your zip code and give you easy contact information.

And, believe it or not, contacting them does matter.

Thom Hartman was saying that a fax sent to your rep or senator equals 1000 voices. A phone call equals 500. Go down to their local home office and you equal something like 5,000 people. And, BTW an e-mail doesn't count for much anymore. It is just too easy to do it.

The point is clear. Most people don't make contact. Of course, there are some barriers. It takes time. You have to have access to a fax machine or a stamp. You have to care enough about something to have an opinion and want to share it.

Well, Health Care Reform is something I care enough about to have an opinion about. I am sick and tired watching American families getting pummeled by these huge companies that are literally rolling in wealth. CEOs that make a BILLION $ a year? Come on!

My premiums go up 20% each year. I don't get anything more. In fact, I am getting less and less but paying more and more. That my friends, is called a "hosing".

I would encourage you to keep your ears peeled during this debate. You will hear all sorts of scary things about "socialized medicine" and why we should trust the Insurance Companies to "regulate" themselves.

But, in actuality our Fire Department is socialized. Are our houses worth more than our health? Hell NO!

They will talk about "triggers" and work to water down the bill so that it won't change anything and resembles the nightmare we have now! Even good Democrats are trying to do this!

Well, I am speaking up this time. I am sending faxes!

Raise your voice!

Who should get the applause?

The sheep, the dogs or the dudes who programmed all this?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I don't entertain

Not very often. Something about my messy, cluttered, dust bunny house?

But today I had some good friends over and at one point I thought, "this is pretty much perfect"; 2 excellent gal pals, some toothsome tidbits and cool beverages. Later some other neighbors stumbled over. We laughed, we kvetched and repeatedly marveled at Shea.

He talks all of the time. You can't always understand what he is saying but he sure is talking a lot these days. My GGF said, "You should get some audio of Shea. His speech has exploded. It will be hard to remember." She is right. I should.

I just don't see the huge strides over weeks and months, I am way too close. But, it seems everyone this summer is commenting on Shea and his willingness to pipe right up.

We are starting something new. There is a speech therapist who lives on Vashon but she works off island at the Port Orchard School District. She has the summer free and can come to my home on Mondays.

Also, she happens to be getting her Behavioral Therapy certification and would like to help Shea with the potting training this summer - for free. She is planning a long day where we sort of just hover over him the whole day and keep reinforcing the message. She says we may need the next day also.

Now, this I gotta see!

I will faithfully report back!

Quid pro quo

I sure wish, as we are having this Health Care reform discussion, that it wasn't so damn obvious that Big medicine, Big Pharma and the Health Insurance companies have long since bought and paid for our elected officials.

Good luck to any reform! Kicking and screaming comes to mind.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


This is our pool week. Shea has 2 - back to back 1/2 hour lessons from 10 - 11 all week. I finally realized that only 1 lesson is never enough.

The swim teachers are great and work to coax him to blow bubbles in the water with little success. Shea doesn't want his mouth or face in the water. We tried goggles today, we'll see if he gets used to them.

But, gosh, he is getting around pretty well out there. He wears a floaty jacket and uses a kick board and motors cruises around real good.

The challenge now is to just keep him in the shallow end.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Supreme Court ruled in favor of special ed student to get reimbursed for private school tuition

Hm...I wonder if this will change anything?

Any bets?

From the New York Times:

In a decision that could help disabled students obtain needed services and cost school districts millions of dollars, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that parents of special-education students may seek government reimbursement for private school tuition, even if they have never received special-education services in public school.

The case before the court involved a struggling Oregon high school student, identified in court documents only as T. A., whose parents removed him from public school in the Forest Grove district in his junior year and enrolled him in a $5,200-a-month residential school.

Although Forest Grove officials had noticed T. A.’s difficulties and evaluated him for learning disabilities, he was found ineligible for special-education services. Only after he enrolled in the private school did doctors say T. A. had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other disabilities.

While most of the nation’s six million special-education students attend public school, as T. A. did for many years, thousands of families with disabled children, convinced that the public schools lack appropriate placements, avoid the public schools altogether. Instead, they enroll their children in expensive private schools for students with emotional or learning disabilities, and then seek reimbursement.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Today, for Father's Day, Jake is hanging with excellent neighbor and pal, Casey, who has invited him to participate in the 2009 Vashon Tidler run.

Sponsored my VME - Vintage Motorbike Enthusiasts - for over 20 years, they do a summer cruise around Vashon. Something about the ferry ride and all those beautiful country roads gets thousands of bikes on the island this week. Gotta love a little alternative economic development! Bikers no less.

Now, apparently, coming from Casey who is well connected in this circle there are 2 separate events on different weekends; one for the small bikes and scooters - today. And, the one for bigger bikes and that is later on in the summer.

Casey is a heavy. He knows all the people who run this thing so Jake gets the automatic entre into the "scene". Jake and Casey get to have a little male bonding day or a "bromance" as the they say. Two dads; feeling like hot shit. Cruising around on scooters. Priceless.

This little beauty is Jake's ride, a 1983 Honda Passport, lovingly restored and fully customized for zipping to and from the tennis court! Note the streamlined racket holder! What a life!

So, when you say Happy Father's Day over here today; it definitely is one.

Hope it is where you are too.

Update: Rare thunderclouds and rain showed up mid-day just as the Tidler cruise was ending and the bbq beginning.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Delicious snark

If the world were crazy

From the District Dispatch:

"You may know Chautauqua’s Lance Morgan as the guy who makes sure your kid gets on the right bus at the end of the day. Many of us also see him as Master of Ceremonies during Vashon’s opening day of baseball. However, there’s a whole other side to this meticulously well-organized baseball fan. He’s an awesome songwriter and videographer, and he’s applying his talents to everyday life at Chautauqua. From recording a day on the playground to bringing a Shel Silverstein poem to life with 5th-grade artwork, Lance finds the words and music to spice up our humdrum days. Take a moment to
watch some of his videos; you’re sure to see some familiar faces doing some really wacky things."

Breakfast for dinner: Groucho Marx edition

I am pretty militant about dinner. I like for the whole family to sit down and chat about our days. During most of the year it works but then summer hits.

I am out watering plants and I notice, "Holy Cripes! It's almost 7:00!" This happened AGAIN last night and demonstrated just how it is around here during the summer.

When in doubt? Breakfast for dinner. Not cereal and toast. I haven't gotten that bad...yet. But, how about Gluten Free Waffles, sausages and fruit. Usually everyone is up for it and acts like it is some big treat.

We have really cut down on it due to Shea being allergic to eggs but a little breakfast for dinner never hurt anyone.

Last night, Molly created (and allowed me to photograph for use on my blog) her Groucho Marx edition of Breakfast for Dinner.

Why? Good question.

All the 5th graders had to pick a person and research them for "Night of the Notables" an in depth biographic report with props, time line, costumes, display board, representative foods.

The big presentation was Tuesday night and she, of course, had picked Grouch Marx because he had made so many people laugh.

I would think that Groucho has worked his way into her consciousness for good if he is ending up on her dinner plate.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Good bye, at last.

Today we said good bye to Shea's AM preschool option. It is a lovely little private preschool nestled in a forest surrounded with lots of walking trails. We started back in the fall with the best of hopes.

I guess it has always been somewhat of a stretch but we hung in there for the whole year. A stretch because I just don't think the teacher has much of a clue about kids with special needs although she is certainly has plenty of experience.

I think she was pressuring Shea a little too hard at potty training where he became very reluctant to even try during the winter. She had her hands full and couldn't watch all the kids at one time and playground time got a little crazy with Shea sort of falling apart on an almost daily basis. Or him getting blamed for stuff because he couldn't verbalize what happened. She also seems surprisingly rigid about certain things; kids can't bring anything from home, always wear inside shoes inside, always play with this toy like this, etc.

I don't know. Maybe that is the Montessori way.

It seemed like she did a lot of apologizing for stuff over the year, now that I look back. Misunderstandings. Shea having problems at playground time. One other kid saying he is "afraid" of Shea. Shea saying he didn't like it. I never could quite get a handle on what was going wrong over there.

But, today just takes the cake. Talk me off the ledge readers.

Today being the last day of school, she had scheduled a party for the last hour and all parents were supposed to show up and bring food. Ok. I am pretty darn busy during the day but I can do that.

But, I get there and she is inside with all the kids while all the parents are sitting outside waiting. Well, they all finally come out holding hands and snaking around the yard. Two kids pipe up saying, "Welcome to our graduation ceremony."

Uh oh. I thought this was just a party. Seems a little kooky by now but whatever. Sort of reminds me about the diatribe in the movie The Incredibles where he is talking about how everyone is always coming up with more ways to celebrate mediocrity. I mean, it is just the end of a pre-school year. Graduation ceremony? Give me a break!

They each climb up the play structure and are supposed to slide down while saying their name. Weee! Nothing like a little on the spot, high stakes verbalization with the added pressure of 20 parents staring at you for a speech delayed kid! Weee!

All the kids do it, Shea is last and he doesn't want to or can't do it. Gets more and more embarrassed, frustrated and shy. Doesn't want to come down the slide. Clueless teacher doesn't even get it at first and tries to coax him but only ends up making him cry.

I go and rescue him. Thanks. Thanks a hell of a lot!

Then, she says all the kids are going to go over there and get in a circle and sing a song. Bleh. No thank you very much. I just took a crying Shea and we walked through the trails a little bit and then went home.

So, for the last day of school, Shea gets to be humiliated in front of all these gaping parents for a stupid "ceremony" that seemed to be nothing more than a "dog and pony show" for the parents to justify $360 a month for morning preschool.

Result? My kid gets to stick out. My kid gets to be the odd ball. My kid, obviously, doesn't want to do it but is pushed through this teacher's whim so she can show the parents what good little preforming seals they are.

I guess I am livid that she is so lacking in empathy and intuitiveness that she wouldn't foresee difficulty or problem or discomfort for Shea. Maybe she did. Maybe she asked him. Maybe not.

Livid? I am pissed off! I wished I hadn't even taken him there today.

Good riddance, AM Preschool. I sure am glad we have a better option for next year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Doesn't matter how you do it...just do it!

I met with a new client today who I had been saying good morning to for months, we just hadn't been formally introduced yet. But, I have been smiling and saying hello to this friendly, happy face just because she was a friendly, happy face.

Today, when I visited her house for our meeting and she opened her door, we recognized each other immediately and felt like we already sort of knew each other and proceeded to have an excellent meeting.

Great ice breaker by the way and one of the good sides of living in a small town.

She has a little girl, maybe 31/2, who chattered and flitted around as we talked business. At one point, we were outside and the girl whipped down her panties and had a perfectly acceptable potty right there in the driveway.

I, naturally pro-potty, cheered and congratulated her while her mother was mortified at her kid. I just had to laugh.

I explained that my kid hasn't gotten the hang of pulling down his underwear yet so that is our summer project.

She admitted that her husband and son get to pee outside all the time and the little girl must be feeling jealous. Who can blame her?

What is the good of living in the country if you can't pee outside when you want to?

Twitter, twitter, tweet

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Female plumbing maintenance: necessary evils

Sorry male readers, you may want to just move on along for now.

I will admit this to the rest of you brave folks with chagrin and more than a little bit of shame. I haven't had an annual exam since Shea was born! And, by Annual Exam you know exactly what I mean. The old Pap. Stirrup trip. The female equivalent of "turn your head and cough".

I am only admitting this to you because I went and got it over with today. And, it was as pleasant as I remember. No results back yet, of course, so let's just say, if I don't mention anything then everything is just fine.

But, this is a perfect example of one of the down sides of small town living. How well do you want to know the person who has to come face to face with your yester-regions? In a town of 10,000, chances are you may know them pretty well.

Oh sure. I have a doctor. And, she is just fine but I didn't get my tookus over and see her for 5 years did I? Why? Frankly, I don't know. All I can say in my defense is I crave a little anonymity sometimes. Especially during a Pap.

So, a week or so ago, this interesting little article popped up in our local rag, The Beachcomber. A new Women's Health Clinic is opening up! A gal with 24 years experience as an RN who volunteers with Planned Parenthood is opening up a solo practice right here on Vashon. And, I don't know her!!! Hurray!

Well, I felt like it was devine intervention. The Almighty in all her wisdom really wants me to get my pap so I gave her a call. And, surprise, surprise she is wonderful and answers her own phone and got me right in.

Today was the day. And, it was very annoying but not all that bad and whew! am I glad it's over. I would recommend it to anyone.

But, it sort of got me thinking. Molly is kind of getting to that age. She had "health" class this year which is what they call Sex Ed these days. She is probably too young now but I thought I would take her to the Women's Health Clinic in a year or two. Let her establish a good healthy relationship with a nurse so she can become familiar with the long term care and maintenance of her female parts.

And, while they are at it? Blow wide the doors for appropriate birth control access. Let her have a safe and hopefully not too embarrassing access to information and birth control. I guess the theory being; make it available and not taboo before she needs it, so it will just become a natural part of it.

I remember it well. My mom grabbed me and drove me to Planned Parenthood when I was 14 years old. Sigh. I was always in such a rush to grow up. But, it was a very, very smart thing for her to do. I wish we had a Planned Parenthood on the island but somehow I think our new Women's Health Clinic will work.

Sometimes, a smart mother, will just let her kid have free access to talk with their own doctor. You know, a little anonymity. What a novel idea!

Discount store employs people with special needs

Cost-conscious shopping caused by the recession has allowed a new discount store to provide jobs for people with disabilities. Many of Just-A-Buck's 16 special-needs employees had recently been laid off from mainstream workplaces.

The only nonprofit Just-A-Buck franchise nationwide, the store in the Cleveland suburb Parma supports the training and placement of the disabled in workshops or workplaces. Some shoppers said they like bargains and also like supporting store workers with special needs.

The store opened in April is operated by Solutions at Work Inc., an arm of the Cuyahoga County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. Many of the store's workers had lost jobs from previous SAW placements.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Potty training euphoria

Shea has gotten the potty down for both #1 & #2!

Although, he is still confused by the underpants variable.

Doesn't get the peep hole. Doesn't get how easy they can come down. Just doesn't get it.

So he is the pantless wonder, running around with bare tush, etc. and I really don't care. I haven't changed a diaper in a week.

Give him some time and those underpants may not be so darn confusing.

Euphoria indeed!

Free speech! Get your free speech, right here!

Imagine traveling all around the country just to wave a "God hates fags" sign around.

Sad, lonely, hate-filled wing nutz. Glad the kids and others came out in force to show them how out numbered they are.

From the Seattle Times:

A boisterous counterprotest by hundreds of Garfield High School students and other community members voiced messages of tolerance in drowning out a small extremist group's provocative demonstration in Seattle's Central Area early today that declared President Obama is the Antichrist and that God hates homosexuals.

Waving signs reading "God hates Fags" and "God hates Obama," the group of seven people from the Topeka, Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church stood in a gravel lot behind metal barriers across the street from Garfield High for about 30 minutes this morning, chanting and singing about a vengeful God and the end of the world.

As they did, dozens of passers-by in cars and on foot filed by to honk, wave fists, wag middle fingers and shout obscenities at the small group, whose message was overwhelmed by the singing, cheers and protest chants from of the crowd of teens and others gathered across the street at the school's main entrance.

Students, teachers, parents, local church leaders, members of gay and lesbian groups and others held hands and sang songs, with many donning purple — Garfield's school color — as a sign of solidarity. Some handed out buttons reading "I am loved," others waved signs with felt-penned messages, such as "God hates Figs" and "You're not in Kansas Anymore," to counteract the church group's infamous rhetoric.

"This is an affirmation of our community's strength," said Hanna King, 15, a Garfield sophomore who organized the opposition rally, which ended about the time school started. "It has nothing to do with them; they're crazy. This is about what we believe."

Is this what democracy looks like?

My thoughts are with our world neighbors in Iran who are showing us what they think of election shenanigans. Me thinks they don't like it much.

Let's send hope for a peaceful conclusion.

Code Pink builds playground in Gaza

"Code Pink is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities."

Life affirming activities? Like building a bright pink playground structure for kids in Gaza? Yes, like that!

Blessed are the peace makers. You girls rock!

Apple doesn't fall far from the tree

I have been a blabber-mouth my whole life. Talking even more when nervous, I was always getting into hot water for talking too much or saying the wrong thing or blabbing a secret.



I remember when I was in about 3rd or 4th grade, wishing with all my heart that I could be quiet and shy like that little blond girl on my bus. She didn't say embarrassing things. She didn't get in trouble for giggling too much in class.

Looking back, she didn't have much of a personality either but I didn't see the big picture back then.

There were some real tough years back then, trying to be something I just wasn't and wishing the impossible. Tough years.

I also remember in 8th grade, I accidentally blabbed my best friend's secret. I don't even remember what it was but she was livid at me and told me she didn't want to be my friend anymore. She felt betrayed and I felt lower than a snake's belly.

When Molly started her own round of getting in trouble for blabbing or giggling or disrupting class or clowning, it brought me right back. Although, her teacher called it working on "self control" which I thought was an excellent way to put it.

All of us, no matter what age, work on our self control. But I remember saying to her teacher that what Molly has is Joie de Vivre and it will serve her well in life. That Joy became the other side of the scale as we focused on her "self control" and in no way did I want to squash that in her.

I am not as much of a blabber mouth as I used to be although I can still get pretty cranked up when the time is right. Although, I still say stupid things that I wish I could take back.

But, I wish I hadn't thought of my extrovertedness as a negative thing when I was a kid. After all, I was goofy and fun and exuberant and entertaining and to be around. Just like Molly.

I wish I had just been told I had Joie de Vivre.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Congrats! Class of 2009!

Vashon High School students were accepted to the following colleges this year:

American University, DC
Bellevue College
Brigham Young University, Idaho
California College of the Arts
California Polytechnic State University
Central Washington University
Chapman University
Colgate University
Colorado College
Cornish College of the Arts
Cuesta College
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
Evergreen State College
George Washington University
Georgetown University
Goucher College
Green River Community College
Lewis and Clark College
Loyola Marymount University
Macalester College
Montana State University
North Idaho College
Occidental College
Olympic College
Rhode Island School of Design
Santa Barbara City College
Seattle Central Community College
Seattle University
Shoreline Community College
South Seattle Community College
Tacoma Community College
University of Puget Sound
University of Arizona
University of LaVerne
University of Washington
University of Washington, Honors
Vassar College
Washington State University
Wellesley College
Wesleyan University
Western Washington University
Western Washington University, Honors
Whatcom Community College
Whitman College

Last week of school: Hurray? or Help!

Well, I can hardly believe it but here we are. Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago we were all snowed in? Wow, time does really fly as you get older.

Shea is almost done already. Just has 2 more days in the morning pre-school, one which is a party. I am actually glad about that because school is interfering with the bold and herculean strides he is making in the potty training department.

Even though, the thought of his princeliness with nothing to do but hassle me about playing on the computer all day is a scary prospect. Quickly and with plenty of forethought, I signed him up for the first session of swim lessons at the pool. I usually don't in June because our normal weather is rainy and bleak but not this year. We are in the full swing of summer and swim lessons are just what he needs.

I sign him up for 2 times, back to back; 10 & 10:30, so he has a solid hour in the pool with the instructor. Who are all terrific Vashon High School kids. The nicest teenagers in the world. He thrashes around for an hour without his floaty vest during the lesson. Then, afterwards I strap him into his vest and armed with a kickboard he is happy and pretty self-suffient.

He doesn't like to get his face wet so he is still in the basic class. Maybe this year he will feel comfortable enough to blow bubbles.

Miss Molly? What is she doing this summer? Staying up late and sleeping until noon? Probably, unless I do something about it.

Tennis camps mostly and a rocking Art Camp where they will do basketweaving, glass blowing, copper work and other stuff. Cool!

Right after school is out Jake and Molly head to upstate New York to see his parents for a week. They always have a great time despite the quite rigorous airplane ride and are treated like the prodigal son and his darling offspring. Molly comes back with stories of catching fireflys in a jar, skating in a real hockey rink, daisy chains and knitting with her Nanny. Jake comes back, fully caught up on the family dramas, and about as happy to be back home as anyone in the world could be.

I convince myself that I will take the kids to the beach, right down the hill, as many times as I can this summer.

Yet, come fall, I will wonder why I didn't do it more. Time sure does fly, doesn't it?

Half way through allergy hell

I haven't posted yet about my own personal allergy struggle. I haven't yet mentioned it despite my house filling up with used Kleenex perhaps because I am getting used to my annual hay fever hell. Or that I don't want to whine too much.

I can seriously say that I don't think I was allergic to anything until I turned 40. Ever since then June hits with itchy, scratchy throat and nose and the most annoying tickle right back there almost in your ears. Raucous rounds of explosive sneezing, not in ones or twos but tens and twelves.

Kleenex at the ready, I arm myself in May. Do I have enough? I stash more fresh boxes of kleenex for the miserable month of June because lord help me if I need to resort to toilet paper, my nose already raw and painful by mid month.

And, then Jake gets it too. At first not so bad but now he is in full allergy swing too. Isn't that sweet? We have allergies in common! Ugh. But, I do share the Kleenex with him.

If I didn't live on 5 acres on an island with vegetation bursting forth from every inch, I might try to discern what the heck I am allergic too for all of June each year. I think I have narrowed it down to grasses but, quite honestly, it could be anything.

I fear and wonder if it is the big sprawling old Locust trees we have here. Planted? Or just sprung up like vigorous weeds some 50 - 60 years ago, now they give our property needed and appreciated shade in the summer. Now is the time when they blossom, large pea flower tight clumps that smell quite sweet then gently "snow" down on us as they fade.

What would I do if I found out I was allergic to the Locust trees? Or all the Scotch broom or all the grasses that go un-mowed on our little island?

Nothing. Just grab more Kleenex.

Perhaps it is the price for living in paradise.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A good excuse?

From the Chicago Tribune:

One 10-year-old Wisconsin girl has a rock-solid excuse for missing the last day of school: a personal note to her teacher from President Barack Obama. John Corpus of Green Bay stood to ask Obama a question about health care during his town hall-style meeting at Southwest High School. He told Obama his daughter Kennedy missed school to attend the event and he hoped she didn't get in trouble.

"Do you need me to write a note?" Obama said. The crowd laughed, but the president was serious. On a piece of paper, he wrote: "To Kennedy's teacher: Please excuse Kennedy's absence. She's with me. Barack Obama." He stepped off the stage to hand-deliver the note -- to the girl's great surprise.

"I thought he was joking until he started walking down," Kennedy said after the event, showing off the note in front of a bank of television cameras. "It was like the best thing ever." The fourth-grader at Aldo Leopold elementary in Green Bay already knew exactly what she was going to do with the note: get it framed along with her ticket to Thursday's event. She said she'd make a copy to give to her teacher. Kennedy said Thursday was the first time she's seen Obama. "He's really nice," she said.

Skate girls rock!

I have officially become a steward of the Vashon Skate Park.

Officially, because I donated some food and t-shirts for a fundraiser at the skate park today.

Officially, because I was asked to become a steward of the skate park. What does a steward do? I asked. Stick up for the park, basically.

I asked if there were any boring meetings. I was assured there was only 1 boring meeting during the year. Ok. I can handle that.

It all started when they began promoting a Girls Only skate day. Thursdays. No boys allowed.

It was the deep of winter and interest was high. It seemed like good clean fun. Seasons have changed and interest is still up there.

They are a little steadier on the skates, have taken some basic strides on the skate board and continue to be scooter aficionados.

Shea even! I know, he is a boy but he cruises around while I chat and he has gotten good at scootering.

Honestly, most of the time all the kids just run up and slide down the ramps but they are exercising, having fun, staying out of trouble and supporting a local park.

I don't get to see the big kid, hot shot skaters much but they are pretty impressive the times I have seen them.

These guys have a focus while they skate that I wonder if they give anything else in their life that much attention.

I like the idea that we can keep this little skate park going. There are not many things for teens to do on this island. And, if you aren't a real "team" sport person, the skate park can be a god send.

It is the poor step child of all the parks on Vashon and doesn't get much attention or funding. Hense, the fundraiser.

Hot dogs, corn, fruit salad and greens from my garden. Graffiti t-shirts to make. And, of course, skating a plenty. It was a success. And, the future of girl's skate day is secure. In fact, it could be an institution by now.

We made the front page!

From the Vashon Beachcomber:

Molly Dillon sat in front of Vashon Thriftway selling homemade cookies and friendship bracelets on Sunday — not for an extracurricular club or Island nonprofit but to save teaching positions at her elementary school.

“We don’t want good people to lose their jobs,” the 10-year-old Chautauqua Elementary School student said matter-of-factly, a plate of chocolate chip cookies in front of her.

Indeed, many — from fifth-graders like Molly to the head of the school district — are working hard to try to help Vashon’s cash-strapped public schools stave off a round of layoffs that could cost several teachers their jobs.

An ambitious fundraising effort slated to end next week has garnered more than $25,000 so far — enough to save a portion of one position. School board member Laura Wishik, who is spearheading the effort, said she hopes the campaign will bring in $50,000 by the time it concludes on June 15.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Immunization for Measles

Sorry, I am not usually an immunization Nazi (whatever that is) but this article that Roald Dahl wrote just got to me.

MEASLES: A dangerous illness by ROALD DAHL

Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fi ngers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything. “Are you feeling all right?” I asked her. “I feel all sleepy, ” she said. In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her. On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunized against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it. It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness. Believe me, it is.

In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunized are putting the lives of those children at risk. In America, where measles immunization is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out. Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunized, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year. Out of those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of one kind or another. At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections. About 20 will die.

LET THAT SINK IN.Every year around 20 children will die in Britain from measles. So what about the risks that your children will run from being immunized? They are almost non-existent. Listen to this. In a district of around 300,000 people, there will be only one child every 250 years who will develop serious side effects from measles immunization! That is about a million to one chance. I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunization. So what on earth are you worrying about? It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go immunized. The ideal time to have it done is at 13 months, but it is never too late. All school-children who have not yet had a measles immunization should beg their parents to arrange for them to have one as soon as possible.

Incidentally, I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was James and the Giant Peach’. That was when she was still alive. The second was ‘The BFG’, dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children.

PLEASE NOTE: this article was written some 23 years ago and as a result, the numbers are significantly different to today, thanks to people taking his advice.

Death from measles is now uncommon in UK and the number of cases are down to around 1500 per year. It is extremely important to ensure that people are encouraged to vaccinate to get these numbers even lower. The number of measles has been rising in the last few years - we need more people to continue to take Roald's advice.

Prenatal Ultrasound and the alarming increase in Autism

Hat tip to a blog I regularly read, If I were in your shoes..., who made this link available a few days back.

I just couldn't stop thinking about it.

Could the increase in Autism have something to do with the mainstreaming and increase of Prenatal Ultrasound use?

Interesting article.

From Midwifery Today:

In May 2006, figures from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed what too many parents and educators already knew: The incidence of autism is high, making it an "urgent public health issue," according to Dr. Jose Cordero, director of the CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Only 12 years ago autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was so rare that it occurred in just one in 10,000 births.(1) Today ASD, which is characterized by a range of learning and social impairments, now occurs in one in 166 children (2)—with no sign of leveling off.

The steep increase in autism goes beyond the US: It is a global phenomenon, occurring in industrialized nations around the world. In the UK, teachers report one in 86 primary school children has special needs related to ASD.(3)

The cause of autism has been pinned on everything from "emotionally remote" mothers (since discredited) to vaccines, genetics, immunological disorders, environmental toxins and maternal infections. Today most researchers theorize that autism is caused by a complex interplay of genetics and environmental triggers. A far simpler possibility worthy of investigation is the pervasive use of prenatal ultrasound, which can cause potentially dangerous thermal effects.

Health practitioners involved in prenatal care have reason to be concerned about the use of ultrasound. Although proponents point out that ultrasound has been used in obstetrics for 50 years and early studies indicated it was safe for both mother and child, enough research has implicated it in neurodevelopmental disorders to warrant serious attention.

At a 1982 World Health Organization (WHO) meeting sponsored by the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) and other organizations, an international group of experts reported that "[t]here are several frequently quoted studies that claim to show that exposure to ultrasound in utero does not cause any significant abnormalities in the offspring. …However, these studies can be criticized on several grounds, including the lack of a control population and/or inadequate sample size, and exposure after the period of major organogenesis; this invalidates their conclusions…."(4)

Early studies showed that subtle effects of neurological damage linked to ultrasound were implicated by an increased incidence in left-handedness in boys (a marker for brain problems when not hereditary) and speech delays.(5) Then in August 2006, Pasko Rakic, chair of Yale School of Medicine's Department of Neurobiology, announced the results of a study in which pregnant mice underwent various durations of ultrasound.(6) The brains of the offspring showed damage consistent with that found in the brains of people with autism. The research, funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, also implicated ultrasound in neurodevelopmental problems in children, such as dyslexia, epilepsy, mental retardation and schizophrenia, and showed that damage to brain cells increased with longer exposures.(7)

Dr. Rakic's study, which expanded on prior research with similar results in 2004 (8), is just one of many animal experiments and human studies conducted over the years indicating that prenatal ultrasound can be harmful to babies. While some questions remain unanswered, based on available information, health practitioners must seriously consider the possible consequences of both routine and diagnostic use of ultrasound, as well as electronic fetal heart monitors, which may be neither non-invasive nor safe. If pregnant women knew all the facts, would they choose to expose their unborn children to a technology that—despite its increasingly entrenched position in modern obstetrics—has little or no proven benefit?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Vashon Sunset: summer cocktail extraordinaire

Since it is summer and all, I need to share with you a very special hot weather refreshing beverage.

This one is guaranteed to cool you down during those dusty dry hot summer days.

The Vashon Sunset - my very own creation

Over ice, pour:

Healthy jigger of good quality Tacquila
large splash of Orange Juice
medium splash of Paul Newman's Lemon aid, Pink Lemon-aid or Lime aid
small splash Pomegranate juice
sprig of mint if handy

Add a straw, give it a stir:

Oh, baby!

Potty update: the penny has dropped

In the last 4 days, Shea has gone from 0 to about 35 MPH on the potty training front.

He had some huge successes over the weekend and he is very proud of himself.

For example: he is going into the bathroom and sitting and peeing on the little potty chair WITHOUT being prompted. I will go into the bathroom and there is a little bit of bizness that needs to be poured into the big potty. Evidence that he went in by himself!

When we say, "Now Shea. Don't pee all over the couch, ok?" He doesn't, or at least, so far.

He is still flummoxed by the pulling down the pants part and that can get a little messy although adorable as he sits there with sopping pants.

But basically I feel like we are really on our way.

It got me thinking. I have always been so low key and mellow with him about the continued diaper use and I really tried not to get crabby about it. Maybe I should've been a little crabbier sooner!

When I started getting a little crabby with him about him not cooperating and saying something like, "Ok fine. You can put the diaper on yourself then." And, then walking away. He started getting the idea that I would be happy if he did this potty business and I wouldn't be as happy if he continued with the diapers.

Shea needed to see the down side of the continued diaper use, perhaps waiting to see what the direct consequence was going to be before he was going to try.

When we had that final major melt down recently and I just basically MADE him do it, screaming and crying all the way, afterward it was like the penny dropped. He finally got it. This wasn't so bad and mommy really, really wants me to do it. OK!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Happy 50th Birthday, Jake!

I always hated all the "Over the hill" stuff for 50th Birthdays. I always thought it was cruel and not very funny.

Does it become funny when you are past 50 and then do it to your younger friends? Is it just plain old not funny?

We have been trying to spoil Jake over the past weekend and today, the actual day. But, I did not get him a cake. We had chocolate ice cream with a candle stuck in it.

I asked him if he wanted a cake but he was ambiguous. And, it is not as much fun to have birthday cake when Shea can't even eat it. Why should we get a big old cake if it is just going to torment Shea and he won't be able to eat any? That isn't fun.

He seemed a little sad about it.

Maybe I should have gotten one anyway.

A good start?

Potato Mountain: getting taller by the day

This year is my first attempt at potatoes. I have enviously heard tales from last years crop when GGF tried them for the first time. Something about how different they tasted, flavor and texture, how fun it was to just shove your hand under a plant and be able harvest just a few perfect baby potatoes for dinner.

"What the heck have I been doing all the years!? How come I have never done potatoes before?" my inner voice hollered at me.

So, I am on the potato bandwagon now; GGF shared lots of her 4 fancy variety seed potatoes with me. We cut them up with 1 or 2 eye on each piece, making sure to let them cure a day or so and heal that cut edge. The planted them 6-10 inches apart in a trench. I planted about 40 or so.

And, that was the easy part.

Now, as they grow, I have to berm up and continue to berm up dirt around the stem. I guess the potatoes sort of come out the sides of the plant and by berming up more dirt around each plant it makes more potato growing area and more potatoes. The actual plants are thriving and seem to be growing inches a day with no end in sight.

I have been piling barrow after barrow of dirt an these things. I mix normal top soil with some wood shavings (not cedar) to make a little lighter and fluffier. But, it is still heavy work and lord knows how much more I still need to do.

Currently it is a small mountain of lovingly mounded soil around these plants.

Do I resent all this work? Yes. Am I annoyed at my beautiful Potato plants? No, but they better be pretty darn yummy! Will I do potatoes next year? Jury is still out. Let's see how yummy these homegrown spuds are then I will say!

Seattle therapy network

This seems like happy news for Special Families in the South Seattle Area. Wanted to pass it on to you. OX

Welcome to Seattle Therapy Network, a pediatric therapy center created by Sherryl DeVries and Carey Goldenberg. We provide a family-centered and collaborative therapeutic community to address the holistic needs of your family. Our pediatric occupational and physical therapy services are offered in a unique, urban community space designed to elicit child-directed activity and family-centered practice. We are conveniently located in the heart of the Georgetown neighborhood, just a few miles south of downtown Seattle, and are easily accessed from I-405/I-5 interchange, routes 99, and 509. (5021 Colorado Ave. S, Seattle, WA 98134) )

Seattle Therapy Network provides services in a newly designed 2200 square foot space. We offer one large therapy gym with specialized equipment to engage your child in all sensory-based movement. We have installed specialized ceiling hooks to utilize a variety of unique suspended equipment such as lycra hammocks, swings, and trapezes. Additionally, three small therapy spaces provide a quiet and private environment for your child to work and play. These small spaces are perfect for myofascial release, craniosacral work, fine motor and self-help work, or just a smaller environment for a child who needs a less stimulating space.

Seattle Therapy Network assures that your family is treated with respect as your child with special needs is engaged and motivated in fun, functional, and therapeutic activities. We also strive to connect you with community resources and coordinate our care with the other professionals in your child’s life.

We specialize in sensory integration, yoga for for children with special needs, myofascial release and cranialsacral technique, and interventions for children with autism. While focusing primarily on infants, children and adolescents with special needs, Seattle Therapy Network also offers services to adult caregivers to optimize their health and ability to nurture.

Constraint Induced Therapy (CIT) Helper Hands Camp starting July 13-31, 2009 and August 10-28, 2009

Helper Hands Camp is an evidenced-based constraint induced therapy program offering motor therapy for children with limited motor function of one side of their body (hemiplegia). Helper Hands Camp will provide 21 days of intensive training of the arm with limited motor function while the non-affected arm is constrained in a long arm cast. Each child will be evaluated by occupational and physical therapist prior to camp. We are dedicated to measuring outcomes and will reassess with follow-up visits. Helper Hands Camp offers one-on-one Occupational Therapy, one-on-one Physical Therapy and direct therapeutic group activities which include: art; cooking, music/movement; and community based activities. This camp is designed for 2-4 children per session and organized in age groups to include preschool, school-age, and teens.

Sherryl DeVries, MSPT Carey Goldenberg, OTR/L
Re.lax Ther.a.py Giant Steps Children’s Therapy
206.850.7508 206.393.8546

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Every little bit helps

Molly and I spent 2 hours outside the grocery store with a card table, some flyers, donation envelopes, a sign that said "Save our Teachers", cookies and two custom designed Donation Cans.

This was a direct result of my suggesting we should try something new during this budget crisis when a school board member called to ask me to make 25 phone calls about making a donation. I hate cold calling people. They resent it so. I mentioned we need some bake sales and I don't think anyone really took me seriously. People guffaw when I mention it, like I am joking. But I must have said it enough times because the school board member took me up on it and set it up for me. And, Molly of course. Couldn't have done it without her.

Don't get me wrong. One bake sale is not going to save us. But, maybe a whole bunch of bake sales could make a difference. And, then someone might even say, "Hey! Maybe we should have a comprehensive fund raising plan." And, someone else will say, "Yeah, you know we really should be raising money all year round. Every little bit adds up!" Hopefully those two will get heralded like geniuses because they are, quite obviously.

I commissioned 10 friendship bracelets from Molly as added inducements for larger donations. And, we had a plate of cookies; offering a cookie for a donation of any size.

I am probably just a little bit more than normally twisted because I actually like doing stuff like this. I have sold more than my share of spaghetti dinner tickets when I was a kid. I sold Camp Fire candy. I did retail. I have vended crafts at weekend markets. I helped my kid sell Camp Fire candy quite recently. Today was a snap.

People were, of course, very generous and supportive. In fact, we were able to take in $318.27 in two hours. I consider that worth doing.

One person said, "This is the most depressing thing I have ever seen." I assume meaning public schools having to resort to bake sales for support. There were much shaking of heads at the idiocy of our public education funding while they shoved $5, $10, $20 bills in our can. Some comments about needing a few less politicians. I was able to agree emphatically with each and every comment.

It is depressing. All the more reason we need to do something we haven't tried for a while. I guess my point was; we shouldn't all just give up.

There was a time in this country when a bake sale might have been the difference between having new math books or not. Why is it suddenly too embarrassing or humiliating or depressing to raise money like that now?

I have a fantasy; our local PTSA makes a genuine island wide plea to cookie bakers; each church, organization and group on the island is mined. I would hope we could get a core of 10 or 15 excellent cookie baking grandmas to answer the call and make a batch of cookies or two this summer. The teachers and the kids could spend time at the Fund raising booth at the Saturday Market every weekend through out the summer; selling and building practical math and customer service skills.

It is a PR and goodwill goldmine!

Who doesn't love my idea?

The editor of the local paper, The Beachcomber, came over and took some pictures and interviewed Molly. We may be in next week's paper. I will post a link when and if it becomes available.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Uh oh...my neighbor got a trampoline!

I don't know about this. Why do I expect her to come in with a broken arm?

Are trampolines and safety an oxymoron?

Maybe it was that Simpson's episode. You know the one...

65th Anniversary of D-Day: June 6, 2009

Canadian Normandy campaign veteran Okill Stuart (top, 3rd L) and an unidentified U.S. veteran (top R) gesture to U.S. President Barack Obama after he finished his speech during a D-Day commemoration at the U.S. military cemetery in Collville-sur-Mer June 6

The greatest generation.

Friday, June 5, 2009

TMI - Potty training - chapter 42

I think there was some sort of break through today on the potty training front. Dare I say that?

Forgive me the excessive detail. Now would be the time to click away if you don't want to read way too much about #1 and #2 and the mishaps there of.

Bye! Come on back now, ya here?

Ok. So, Shea has always been sort of constipated and I swear he poops perfectly spherical "rabbit pellet" type little offerings. It isn't always but quite often.

Well, today I had him running around in "Cars" big boy pants and while I was on the phone he ran up and said, "I poop, mommy." I got off the phone immediately because O MY GOD, MY KID IS TELLING ME HE HAS TO GO POOP!!!!!

He heads over to our standard "diaper changing area" but I steer him to the bathroom instead. Reluctance, wouldn't sit down, didn't want the pants pulled down, didn't want me to just get them out. Tears. Real tears. Full blown horror-of-horror crying jag.

I just persevered and steered him next to the toilet and had him get up on the little step stool facing away from the pot, all the while screaming his head off, not struggling and fighting but definitely expressing his displeasure.

I literally rolled his rabbit poop pellets directly from him pants right into the toilet and it was over. Took 4 seconds. I kept repeating stuff like, "See, that wasn't so bad. That was really fast. It's all done now." And, we flushed it away.

We washed his hands and I put a little cool water on his face and just got him to calm down.

I wasn't really sure what had just happened.

But, later I noticed him hunkered and asked him if would like to go poop again and he said yes and trotted to the bathroom where a slightly larger, more impressive rabbit poop rolled in the pot.

He said, "That wasn't so bad. That didn't take very long." Proud high fives.

Then, as we were sitting there I noticed how I sure needed to clean that toilet, so I did. Shea sat down on the little potty seat with his underwear on and read a book while I was cleaning. Yes, you guessed it, inevitably he peed. He peed in the potty seat! Sure, his pants were sopping but he did it!

Quite a roll today. Just have to keep it going.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Brainy math-head girls rock!

Isn't it great when the studies catch up to what we already sort of knew?

Check out this happy brainy math-head girl who got to hug Michelle Obama (FLOTUS) when she graduated from her super brainy math-head high school!

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama hugs a graduating student as she attends the graduation ceremony for the Washington Mathematics Science Technology Public Charter High School in Washington June 3, 2009.

From Boston.com:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Girls can do just as well at math as boys -- even at the genius level -- if they are given the same opportunities and encouragement, researchers reported on Monday.

Their study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, contradicts studies showing girls can do as well as boys on average in math -- but cannot excel in the way males can.

"We conclude that gender inequality, not lack of innate ability or 'intrinsic aptitude', is the primary reason fewer females than males are identified as excelling in mathematics performance in most countries, including the United States," Janet Hyde and Janet Mertz of the University of Wisconsin in Madison wrote in their report.

Busy days

There is a literal tidal wave of activity this time of year. The weather is awesome so dinner and bedtimes has a dangerous tendency to be later and later. Where do the days go?

School activities and end of year parties, 2 pool parties, busking, field trips, skate park party, violin party all within the next week or two!

Add that to it being my seasonal busy time for my job.

In other words, I need about 4 more hours to my day.

I guess, that is my surreptitious apology for not posting for a few days but I will share a few tidbits.

Shea is a talking machine. He is no introvert. He talks all the time now. Articulation is still challenging but he is in there "holding his own" with all the other kids at pre-school. We had delightful Sophia over for a play date on Monday. Once we got over the fact that Shea didn't have any babies to play with and Sophia wasn't particularly interested in trucks and cars, they settled on horses and had a lovely time.

Not sure who I adore more, Sophia or her mom. So, I call that a success!

Just got back from a Special Education Advisory Committee meeting tonight. Some good news on that front. Through the stimulus money coming down but tied to IDEA, there is money next year for a training day for all staff to focus on Special Education issues only; inclusion, curriculum, parental input. We have the summer to develop our plan and can implement in the fall.

In fact, we are developing and implementing a parental survey and feedback form that will be able to go along with that as well.

These are the kinds of things are so helpful and useful. The parents always need more options for healthy input in a positive way. I consider this a win for everyone!

I also found out they are offering something different next year for Kindergarten. A hybrid pre-school/Kindergarten year. Apparently, there is a bubble of kids (Shea included) who isn't quite ready for Kindergarten. They are opening up another class that would be a group of kids who had Pre-school in the AM and then moved to Kindergarten in the afternoon. It is assumed that these kids would do this for next year then have would all have all day Kindergarten the next year.

So, I am really happy. I think that is great for Shea and encouraged that they are open and flexible to adjusting placement offerings for a bubble of kids.

It is one of the things that make me thankful for a small school district. They are able to make micro-adjustments. They don't have the macro infastructure and resources that larger districts have but they are able to really fine tune and devote quality time.

Notice all those are happy, up things!

Maybe my next post will be all the crabby things that are happening lately?
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