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Notes on a Frigid Day

January 17, 2009

Holy. Crap. It’s 3 degrees here right now. THREE! I realize it’s about 40 below zero in Colorado and Alaska, and some folks can throw a pan of boiling water out and see it immediately vaporize. So I shouldn’t kvetch about it. But HOLY CRAP!

The pipes in the kitchen froze yesterday, and my intrepid hubby spent much of the day trying to fix it. Long story. No luck. We have dirty dishes strewn everywhere.

Life is back in full swing. I am already getting desperately behind on my work (y’know, for my paying job) and the kids and I are running to appointments and activities every day. What I am desperately craving right now is white space on my planner. It would be great to have one day a week (even on the weekend) when I could get up and realize there’s nowhere I HAVE to go and no one coming over. šŸ˜€ It’s a silly thing to complain about. I am really blessed to have a paying job (many people are not so lucky right now) and to be able to work from home. And it’s a blessing to have the littles invited for playdates and birthday parties and have friends to come over. Still … I am really yearning for that white space, y’know?

Let’s see … Sarah and I both finished The Diary of Anne Frank, which is assigned for her high school class.Ā  She is registered for school now — she’ll be taking English 9H (9th grade honors) and Ceramics. There was loads of paperwork involved. She and John were at the school for ages, Tuesday, filling out forms. It reminded me of closing on a house.

Yesterday, her guidance counselor called me to confirm that we are not requesting special education services for her. Yes, there’s a form to sign for that, too. I am really hoping we won’t have to go there. Time will tell. Right now, I just wish she seemed a bit more motivated to excel at these classes she lobbied so hard and long to take. I’m prodding her to do her assigned reading. (Yeah, I’m the one who’s behind on my work and has dirty dishes strewn everywhere. Kettle? Meet the pot.)

Sarah and I walked together at the YMCA several times.Ā  We had interesting discussions. While walking the track at the “Y,” she asked me whether I thought literature and movies should explore all topics (including bent ones like, say, incest) or if there need to be limits. We chatted about that for a while. We also talked, on the 45-minute drive to James’s homeschool P.E. class, about writing fiction. She’s kind of given it up for the time being. It’s partly because she is focused on reviewing movies right now. Also, she is so critical of her own work. I emphasized with her (again) that even the greatest writers — the ones whose polished works we admire — write plenty of crap. All your work, including that stuff you want to burn and bury the ashes so no one will EVER lay eyes on it, is a self-tutorial in writing. We also continued reviewing lessons in Math-U-See Pre-Algebra.

James and I had several interesting discussions. One day he asked me, “Why are wolves and foxes always made out to be the bad guys in fairy tales?” This led to an interesting discussion about why predatory animals historically get a bad rap.

He went to Homeschool P.E., Monday and Wednesday, and we hung out at Aengus’s house for a while. They played with Legos, played a little Yu-Gi-Oh and ran around wielding Nerf guns.

We had a several treasure hunts (follow a trail of flashcards to the prize), practicing division facts through 5s. We reviewed spelling with the Spelling Stairs game from Little Blue School and on the white board.

We also read part of If You Lived in Colonial Times by Ann McGovern. I asked him questions like “How would your life be different if we lived back then?” “What kind of chores would be do?” “In what ways was life the same?”

Thursday Trishy and I went to her Spanish class and she had a long playdate with her friends Reisling and Abigail. She had a BLAST! She seems to be making the leap from parallel play to playing WITH the other kids. I was really stoked about that. šŸ™‚

Yesterday we cleaned house and went to Sarah’s doctor in Charlottesville. More issues, more medication changes. The doc started talking to me about autism stuff (“The PDD Spectrum” in doctor speak). I asked him whether he was familiar with RDI, and he’d never heard of it. I tried to fill him in. I am surprised at how many professionals don’t know about this option. I am also struck by the fact that I know more about autism and Asperger’s than most of the professionals I meet. They’re becoming much more conversant on the topic these days, but — often — we parents are the specialists. I suppose that should feel empowering. But mostly it scares the crap out of me. šŸ˜€

Of course, just to make sure I’m clear, Sarah is NOT being seen by a pdoc for her Asperger’s (she is dually diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder). Asperger’s and autism are not mental illnesses that need to be “treated.” (I feel strongly about that. I challenged the doc when he said something about SSRIs (antidepressant meds.) being “the treatment of choice for the PDD spectrum.”) Still, it all gets tangled together, because human beings are complicated that way.

After the doctor’s appointment, we went to lunch and to Toys R Us (James is officially advanced on his allowance until the spring thaw) šŸ˜€

O.K. I’m off to wash some dishes in the bathroom sink. :-/

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