Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A friend of J's generously invited all three boys to her party at the Little Gym. It was so much fun, and completely exhausting. I brought along our sitter, and I don't think I would have survived it without her. I know the entire box of cupcakes would have hit the floor if she hadn't been there, courtesy of G. As it was, he only managed to take the birthday girl's cupcake right off her plate!

Each boy tried all the equipment. The twins actually seemed interested in Duck, Duck, Goose, and really went wild when they brought out the giant parachute. That was the most physically exhausting part for me, because B. wanted to be on or under the parachute at all the wrong times. Our sitter is only twenty, and she looked completely wiped out by the end. She asked me why they didn't provide caffeine for the adults I had a similar thought, but it was more along the lines of a nice glass of wine.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Disaster Fatigue

"Disaster Fatigue" was a headline in the Austin paper while we were still there. People around here definitely have it.

The biggest problem for me right now is that every big intersection is a four-way stop (all the traffic lights were blown down). Very gradually, the lights are being fixed, but after days of making our way tentatively through four-way stop after four-way stop, Houston drivers are confused, and I think every one of us has stopped at a green light, or driven ahead at a red light. They even mentioned the phenomenon on the news.

I feel as if I could find some analogy for life with autism in this, if I had had more sleep. Or maybe not! If traffic lights are the biggest problem, things must be improving.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Catalog that will make me rich, Part I

I keep saying I'm going to start a catalog for families of kids with autism. My catalog won't have any items to help you cure your child. The focus will be on getting your family through those tough days (and nights)

My ideas so far:

Self-Cleaning Mini-Van: Using a dishwasher style mechanism, this van will fill with hot water and detergent at 1:00 every night, swish around for twenty minutes, then drain and dry itself

Mini-Van Febreze Mist: Every time you lock the doors of your mini-van, a fine mist of Febreze is dispensed from the ceiling.

One-piece pajamas, available in any size (if you don't know why you would need these, thank your lucky stars)

Vitamin fortified Play-Doh, crayons and watercolor paints (for the extremely picky eater who for whatever reason loves to devour art supplies)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Putting things back together

We're back in Houston, but things are not quite back to normal. Some things actually feel like an improvement. Everyone's fences are down, and neighbors wander from yard to yard, talking and helping each other out. Half of our neighborhood still doesn't have power, so we swap laundry, baby-sitting and chances to sit in an air-conditioned house.

The Little Gym near us opened up for free open-play sessions, so the twins finally got to experience gymnastics. We went two days in a row, which really helped out. School is out for another week, due to power outages and flooding.

The grocery store smells really, really bad (a little like our mini-van on occasion...think sour milk mixed with a couple of mystery smells). It is gradually getting re-stocked, and is very uncrowded. B. and I had a nice shopping trip today. B. is a real pleasure to shop with. He sits in the cart with a huge grin on his face.

We all feel so lucky that for us Ike has mostly been a long series of inconveniences. And a lot of really great moments, as guilty as I feel to admit it.
Here's one of the nice moments-- G. was trying his first ice cream cone:

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No longer a vacation

Well, we are still here in Dripping Springs, and that vacation feeling has pretty much evaporated. Our power is still not on at home, and while Houston's water has been declared drinkable, our town's water is not.

On the upside:
Away from home, the twins are slightly more adventurous eaters: B. has eaten an apple and a banana, and chewed then spit out some PB and J.

what, what, what??! My husband just walked in and said a neighbor called to say our power is on. Hooray...I must go pack!

The family we are staying with are definitely getting a giant karma boost for everything they've done the past week. If for any reason Austin someday has to evacuate, and Houston is a safe haven, they will always have a place to go.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

After Ike

Despite my cavalier attitude (aka denial), Ike was a real hurricane, as anyone who has a TV knows by now. Our house is okay, but we haven't returned due to lack of power, and now lack of good drinking water. Hopefully going home tomorrow. Everyone I've been in touch with came through okay, with just some damage to their homes. We are very grateful that our neighbors and friends didn't get hit too hard. I feel especially bad for those people who are just barely making it financially, and then get hit with this. Luckily, on the post-Katrina Gulf Coast, aid arrives a lot more quickly than it used to.

Friday, September 12, 2008


We had a dream of an evacuation--no traffic, beautiful weather, cactus and cattle-spotting for J.

Now we are safely ensconsed in the town of Dripping Springs, TX, outside of Austin. Deer wander through the backyard, hummingbirds buzz around the feeder, and "Mom to JBG" is more relaxed than I have been in months. G. is showing signs of home-sickness for the first time, but it comes and goes. The other two boys are in heaven.

This would all be a great vacation if I weren't worried about the people whose homes are right on the coast, and people who may not be able to evacuate. The storm is only a category 2, but for some reason it is causing a record-breaking storm surge. Our house was in a mandatory evacuation zone, but i don't expect it to flood.

Back to my mini-break, as Bridget Jones would say.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


We are all packed, and planning to get up at 4 AM and leave. Hurrican Ike may not be too bad, and isn't aiming straight for Houston, but people are in moderate panic mode.

My sister is visiting from the Boston area, and has a pretty good attitude, considering that she's about to leave town in the wee hours with a family of five and a dog. The twins will probably love the whole trip, but J. is not happy when his routine is disrupted. The family we are going to see has a sixth grader, and I'm hoping he'll take J. under his wing.

I am going to bed and, I hope, sleep!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A little about B.

Today we had the little boy from next door over. B. seemed to be following him around somewhat. Then, three different times, B. picked up a paper hat that J. had made in Pre-K, and put it on the neighbor boy's head. He has never, ever done anything like this! After that he lost interest, but I keep thinking about it.

I feel so excited about this and I have to admit, I needed a pick-me-up in that department. Seeing the other kids in the twins' PPCD class, I am realizing how easily this type of thing would come to all those kids. In that class, the twins seem so, so far behind socially. But I try to remember how cuddly B. can be with adults, and how he'll look into my eyes and smile. I love him just as he is, but once in a while I get a jolt of reality when I see other kids, even kids with special needs. Can't think of any wise insight to end this post, but he is always the sweetest boy (along with his brothers) that I can imagine.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ordinary Life

I haven't been posting much. We've been having uneventful days, which is nice.

J. had a friend over to play this afternoon. They were acting out the "tractor-tipping" scene of the movie Cars (if an NT child can be said to perseverate, then J. definitely perseverates about Cars). G. was watching the two boys, which is very unusual in itself, and then he started to laugh and laugh. J. and his friend were running around, moo-ing, falling down, honking and generally doing the four-year-old boy thing. I was so happy to see G. laughing at them. He'll laugh at Baby Einstein puppets or Pingu the penguin, but never (before) actual kids.

We've been having other children over a lot lately, and I think I see enjoyment in both the twins' eyes. It's subtle, but it's real.