Friday, September 07, 2007


With Joey in school, I have a lot more time to attend to Andy. This first week has been hard. I miss Joey. Andy misses Joey. We lost a cat. The schedule is all new. Andy doesn't start his own school until next week. We're all tired and sad and missing our Joey (he goes to school ALL DAY now...)

So when Andy said he wanted ahot dog for lunch yesterday, I decided it was a good idea to take him to Dairy Queen and get one. We also got a strawberry sundar (it technically came with my lunch, but I knew it was really for him. I prefer caramel.) When it came, he sighed happily, then said, "Oh! the red! It's BEAUTIFUL!"

"Beautiful" became the word of the day. Anything that he wanted and thought a good thing was "beautiful."

It was a beautiful day.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

In Memoriam: Marmie Cat

My mom lost her cat to cancer this week. Chelsea Marmalade Blanche DuBois was a good companion and friend to my mom for fourteen years. We miss her very much.

When Blanche was brought to my mom, she had already been a mom, and traveled across the US. Aunt Ginny (who, incidentally, also gave us Luna and Ellora) had saved her from an animal shelter with the promise that "Chelsea" would be an indoor cat. All of Blanche's kittens had already been adopted, and she was being threatened with euthanasia- so that nine life thing may hav some truth to it after all.

Aunt Ginny travels with her animals, so Blanche joined the travelling family. However, she soon proved unfit for such a life. She would escape and hide on roofs and in closets, and provided ample evidence of neurosis. She hated the other animals. It just wasn't working. Aunt Ginny knew my mom had a nice, quiet house. We had lost our former long-time pet, Hubert Magic Mitten ("Kit Kat", or more usually, "Cat") in the spring. He was 17, and had a series of strokes. So Aunt Ginny brought the slender, long-haired beauty to the country, and my mother, for Christmas. Merry Christmas, Mom!

Her long orange hair and status as a mother lead my mom to initially dub her "Marmie" (Marmalade for the orange, and marmie after Little Women). However, it soon became apparent that the cat was absolutely nutso. She would hide for days in mom's closet, without food or water. If you made eye contact too soon, she would hide somewhere else and emerger several more days later, emaciated and exhausted. Mom learned to locate her without making eye contact, and leaving water. Then she would hide in the basement for weeks. If you called her, she would only answer if she thought you could see her (even if you couldn't). Again, callingtoo soon meant several more days of hiding. This was no Marmie. This was Blanche DuBois- depending on the kindness of strangers!

But as the calm of my mother and her home settled on Blanche, and she calmed down. She hid less and less, and finally stopped such insanity. Instead, she preferred ot sleep near my mother's face, one paw upon her cheek. Even when Mom was ill, sleeping out on the couch instead of bed, she would come and see where Mom was, and sit with her. They talked. Marmie (Blanche and Marmie became interchangeable names for her, depending on her mood) would want to know who was on the phone, demand her breakfast, demand that Mom come to bed. Blanche or Marmie, she and my mom were companions through thick and thin.

Six days ago, Marmie was eating a full can of food at each meal, being her usual bossy self. Then she stopped eating. She was otherwise acting fine, but she was losing weight. Two days ago, as she started looking thin, Mom took her to the vet and they took x-rays. Yesterday, the vet sat us down and explained that all that white we see in the abdominal cavity and chest cavity? That's cancer. Non-operable cancer, and chemo would buy her maybe three months- and not happy months. She was starting to have trouble breathing. She was at least 16 years old. It was time.

We lost our Blanche at 10:22 am on Sept 5, 2007.

Thank you for being our friend, Marmie. We love you. We miss you. Blessed be.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back to School

School is here.

Joey was in a good mood after school yesterday, and even had some words left. He did fine at speech therapy. Apparently he had some trouble with the gym teacher, but then, gym teachers aren't generally trained to deal with autistic kids who are probably tired, hungry, and frustrated towards teh end of their first day of school. One thing about avoiding meltdowns with anychild is to know when they could occur and avoid those storm conditions. With autistic kids, it can be harder to know exactly what those conditions are. Echo-y noise on top of being tired and frustrated could be a perfect storm to avoid.

We also had more biting yesterday. Joey bit Andy early, and we went home; then again before bed. Allan talked to him a long time, and finally Joey said that he was afraid of dinosaurs, the dinosaurs bite. Had Andy been pretending to be a dinosaur and scared him? Or was he putting plastic dinosaurs in Joey's face? It could be either one. At least we have some headway into the problem- and now we have to convince him to use his words, not his teeth.

Monday, September 03, 2007

End of Summer

As we prepare for school to begin tomorrow, I would just a moment to say goodbye and thank-you to summer.

This summer, Joey learned to ask questions. He learned to take turns. He learned that being Little Bear is a lot of fun, especially if Brother can be Little Bear, too. He learned that he can communicate with his hands as well as his voice. He learned that mountains are big, chickens peck you if you try to pet them, pool parties are really cool, and you can see tigers and elephants at the zoo. He learned that he can float in the water, and Mommy looks silly jumping off a diving board. He learned that otters like to play. He learned to eat ice cream on a cone.

Andy learned to pee in the potty. He learned that sharing toys can be fun, too. He learned that dinosaurs are real, and they are BIG. He learned that marshmallows get sticky when they get hot. He learned that turkeys gobble, and peacocks are soft (but shy). He learned to speak clearly if you want others to understand you. He learned how to get lollipops out of his Momma. He learned fireworks are LOUD.

Thank you, summer, for helping my boys grow. Good bye, summer. We'll see you next year.