Intermission

I am going to take a quick break before I continue on to tell you the rest of the story about Jack’s Cheetahs tournament. Hopefully I’ll get to that tomorrow. Until then, you can read about our return bus trip over at White Knuckle Parenting. I’ll tell you something; that wasn’t the best part of the trip—but I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

While you do that, I’ll be trying to dig through all the things that happened while I was away. It turns out that all of you continue to, I don’t know…exist even when I’m not monitoring you. That is problematic for me. Just so you know.

I would also like to point you to something else really exciting that happened yesterday. (No, not more gerblets.) Babble put out their annual list of top autism blogs and it turns out to be a really great list, full of autistic people, autistic parents, and non-autistic parents of people with autism. Also, I’m one of those people.

I’m pretty sure my selection has something to do with the gerblets.

I want to wholeheartedly thank Babble, as well as the selection panel who put me on this list. It means a lot to be included with these incredible writers.

Now I just have to figure out a subtle way to drop this information into every conversation I have.

One More About the Four-Leggers

Well. It has been a big week for pets here in Stimeyland. Some good, some bad. I figured I’d wrap some stuff up here before I wander off to other topics, because much as I would love to talk about all gerbils all the time, I imagine some of you are not as excited about the whole thing as I am.

First though, Cassidy. Thank you all so much for your nice comments and emails and and messages. Every single one of them meant a great deal to me and my family. Saturday went as well as could be expected, but it was still terrible. Of course.

The vet and vet tech made an imprint of her paw after they took her away and the vet tech brought it back to our house. It was such a tremendous act of kindness.

So beautiful.

So beautiful.

I keep expecting to see her wandering around or stealing food off of our table. It’s also hard to break habits like closing doors to rooms that I don’t want her in or hiding trash cans from her. It’s definitely quieter around here without the constant jingling of her collar tags.

That dog. She was such a problem. But so good.

The kids are doing well. We’re talking about her and making sure they know they’re allowed to be sad.

I wrote about her for White Knuckle Parenting this week. I included many of the book suggestions you gave me, but couldn’t include them all. Thank you for all of them regardless.

*****

So. How are the gerblets doing?

There are still five of them. Today their ears popped open. It hadn’t even occurred to me that they didn’t have ears until suddenly they had them.

I’m supposed to start handling them in the next few days so they get used to people. I imagine that Jetpack and Mouse will have some menacing glares to give me when I pick up their babies.

I’m basing this prediction on Jetpack’s reaction to my taking a photo of the babies from the outside of the tank.

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All five of them, eared and naked.

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Jetpack: “Kindly back the fuck off, ma’am.”

You may notice that the gerbil babies are different colors now. I can’t tell if they have very short fur buzz cuts or if their skin is changing colors. Regardless, I’m hopeful that this means I won’t end up with five identical off-white gerbils, in which case I would just name them all George Foreman and be done with it.

This whole baby thing is honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever watched—and listened to. They squeak all of the time. Frankly, the only negative about the whole thing is the stress of the possibility of 8500 more baby gerbils. Otherwise, watching their development is fantastic. My kids are super into it as well.

Quinn had a friend over this afternoon and when his mom came to pick him up, Quinn handed her a photo of the baby gerbils to take home. If he knew what cigars were, he’d be handing them out too.

Now. I know everyone is VERY concerned about the gender of the gerbils. I’m happy to report that I think I’ve figured out which gerbil is the mom.

Ooooh…the suspense.

I think Jetpack is the mom. I know. A twist! No one saw that coming. Today all seven of them were packed into this tiny hut they have and Mouse was on the bottom of the gerbil pile on his stomach. Jetpack was on top of him on her side and it looked like a baby was nursing from her.

I turned a flashlight on them and everything to try to be sure.

With the tangle of limbs and the darkness and the tiny hut opening combined with the nearly identical fur coverings and the fact that no faces were visible, it was still hard to tell who was who and what was happening, so I’m only about 95% sure that Jetpack is the mom. But really, if I’m wrong, what’s the worst that could happen?

Oh, right.

8500 gerblets.

The Loudest Voice

Team Stimey went out to dinner at a Chinese food restaurant tonight. The waiter brought us a second plate of fortune cookies because my kids were so excited about them. The best was Quinn’s very first (of four!) fortunes.

"There are times when silence has the loudest voice."

“There are times when silence has the loudest voice.”

This kid has never been silent in his life.

*****

Alex has been traveling for work a lot this month, which totally gave me a topic to write about over at White Knuckle Parenting: Solo Parenting.

Eleven Things

• So. The Great Quitting of the Soda. I have only had a couple of days when I drank zero soda. BUT! I have not had more than two cans on any day, which I think makes me a normal person in terms of soda drinking. Yay, me! Don’t worry; soon enough there will be far more zero-soda days than two-can days.

• Quinn has started reading chapter books! Of his own free will he has voluntarily read THREE chapter books in two days all on his own after YEARS of only reading them if I begged him. Weird.

• There appears to be some sort of strange sharpened pencil shortage in Quinn’s classroom. I was there today and there was all kinds of creative sharpening happening. I brought all of Quinn’s pencils home to sharpen at my leisure. When he found them after school, he was like a junkie finding a fix.

• I have still not been doing a lot of running. This is mostly because I have stopped wanting to run in the cold weather. I am trying to will warm weather to arrive. Unfortunately, my area is supposed to get five inches of snow tomorrow.

• People here are calling this storm the Snowquester, because no economic crisis is too serious to make a weather-related joke out of.

• Even though I have had two weeks of, shall we say, less than stellar running, I have run more than 100 miles so far this year over the equivalent of more than a 24-hour day.

• Alex is out of town. If the Snowquester knocks my power out, I will die. If the Snowquester knocks my power out while Alex is out of town, I will kill him. I don’t know why. I just will.

• Do you watch The Walking Dead? Did you watch last Sunday’s episode? Because it was so good. Stories like that are why I like zombie fiction. Best. Episode. Ever. Discuss.

• I think that Quinn is starting to get inside my head. Last night I had a dream about a field full of kittens. I wonder if that is what is happening in Quinn’s head all the time. Because it was kind of awesome.

LympheDIVAs created the most amazing lymphedema sleeves in honor of Susan. Read Marty’s post about them here. They are gorgeous. I love them so much. They are just so perfect. See?

hubble collection

• Aaaaaand, last, I managed to write an entire White Knuckle Parenting column based on a half-hour ride on the Metro with my kids. Happily, it was a fun story, not a “Team Stimey being dorks out and about” story.

Delete the OTHER Posts; Read THIS One

Guess what? I keep learning fun things about WordPress. Like, if say I were to add 30 posts to my archive in the 2010 and 2011 sections, some of you would get THIRTY INDIVIDUAL EMAILS from me telling you about, OMG THE EUNICE KENNEDY SHRIVER CHARITY WALK WILL BE HELD TWO YEARS AGO!!!!!

Read all about it!

See, I’m moving all my Autism Unexpected posts over to my blog so I have them here. Back over on Blogger, I could do that sort of thing without anybody being all, Whoa! I’m over my Stimey quota for the day! Evidently WordPress is more efficient about its email feeds.

Also, frankly, I really don’t blame you because if I have to read more than six or seven paragraphs that I write, I also try to unsubscribe. But I can’t. Because this shit is running through my head all the time.

Aside: Quinn was trying to read a book this afternoon, so I “Quinned” him. I asked him question after question and talked to him about everything that went through my brain and I finished every sentence with, “Right? Right, Quinn?” He was all, “CAN YOU STOP THAT!?” It was awesome.

Anywho, I have 19 more Autism Unexpected columns to transfer over to Stimeyland. I want to have them here in case they get suddenly deleted over there. You never know.

So. What to do. Is there a way to NOT send something out through my WordPress feed? See, I subscribe via my Feedblitz feed and I didn’t get 30 emails, so I’m not even sure how it happened. (Shut up. Yes, I subscribe to my own feed. That’s how I get alerted to problems that my readers might have. Oh. Wait. That totally didn’t work this time. Huh.)

What I think is going to happen is that I am going to wait a couple weeks and then on a Saturday when no one gets emails I will do it real fast like so you can delete them in a batch. You should just know that I don’t plan on regularly sending you dozens of emails at a time.

I will, however, continue to write endless posts about minutiae that most of you don’t care about/are unaffected by.

*****

In other news, I made a quiz for you for White Knuckle Parenting all about classroom parties. Like this:

Classroom parties are:

(a) awesome
(b) horrifying
(c) a way for school systems to torture you years after you have graduated.

St. Sugartine’s Day

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Who doesn’t love Valentine’s Day? (Me.)

Mostly I see Valentine’s Day as an exercise in forcing my kids to write 26 names each on little scraps of cardboard and checking to see how many of Jack’s classmates he actually knows. I imagine that Alex sees Valentine’s Day as an exercise in wishing he’d married someone more romantic.

My kids, on the other hand, see Valentine’s Day as a wonderful chance to ingest as much sugar as is humanly possible.

In case you are wondering, it is possible to ingest a HUGE amount of sugar.

Sam’s day was largely an enigma, what with his being a fifth grader who doesn’t need mom at his Valentine’s Day party as long as she buys him a bag of corn chips for him to take into school ostensibly for the class, but mostly just for him, thank you very much.

Although his afternoon did end with him hiding behind a piano at a party, so I don’t think we should count sugar out for him entirely.

To be fair, a magician told him to do it, so...

To be fair, a grown man calling himself the Great Zucchini told him to do it, so…

Here is the Great Zucchini himself, bringing joy to a room full of special needs kids and their families—and standing RIGHT in front waving his arms around, Jack.

Jack laughed a whole lot today.

Jack flipped his lid laughing at this guy. It was great.

Many thanks to Sir Zucchini for his show and to my friend B for inviting us. Also thank you for living the “your baby is my baby” philosophy today, B.

Jack’s school party isn’t until tomorrow, but he gave Alex and I valentines today on which he’d written poetry. Now, I’m not a big poetry girl, but Jack writes some good verse.

To me:

Violets are blue
Roses are pink
I really like love
and hate really stinks!

To Alex:

Roses r red
Violets r blue
I’m so awesome
and I ♥ u!

See what I mean? That’s good stuff right there.

I’m going to his party tomorrow, so I am sure there will be a Part II to his Valentine’s story, but for now, what I do have are photos of Quinn, who had a sugar-coated day that can pretty much be summarized in the following four photos.

1. Before the Sugar:

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Ice cream at school?! This was Quinn’s favorite day in the history of days!

2. Post Sugar Ingestion:

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This is what a lot of ice cream, a box of chocolates, and a bag of blue Fun Dip will to a person.

3. Ruh-roh! The Sugar Has Kicked In!

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This is what a lot of ice cream, a box of chocolates, and a blue bag of Fun Dip will do to a person when it is followed up by a loud classroom full of singing second graders and combined with sensory processing issues.

4. Can’t Talk. Coming Down.

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In this photo, taken at the after-school party, Quinn refuses to acknowledge that there is a party with a beloved children’s entertainer going on around him.

I hope your day was lovely in its own way and that you didn’t have to hide behind any pianos or in any cubbies to get through it. But if you did, that’s okay too.

*****

This week at White Knuckle Parenting, I wrote about my kids’ life stages through their adulthood. I was a little more detailed about the early ages, because the oldest one is only 11.

Patol, Bingo & True Love

The fourth grade at Jack’s school had an exhibit today of the projects they’d created for their Native American projects. Jack had very enthusiastically created a replica of a game called patol and I very enthusiastically noticed that patol was far easier to recreate than any number of other projects: dolls, boots, clothes, igloos, dioramas, fancy weaponry…

I know he looks hungover or something, but I swear we let him sleep.

I know he looks hungover or something, but I swear we let him sleep.

In the photo above, you can see the fantastic doll made by R, a girl in Jack’s class that he calls “the most beautiful girl in the world.”

I tell you this for a reason (in addition to telling you so I have an excuse to post that photo). The exhibit took place late in the day, so I just brought Jack home with me afterward, in time to pick Quinn up from the bus stop.

Jack usually comes home later than Quinn, so it is unusual for him to meet Quinn’s bus, on which rides Jack’s very good girl friend, E, with whom Jack used to go to school. Jack and E have long had plans to get married, and Jack was delighted to see her again, as they hadn’t seen each other for a while.

She got off the bus and bum rushed Jack, giving him a huge hug. It was really beautiful to see. They, like, just gazed at each other for a while. I love that girl so much. Also Jack. I also love Jack so much.

They hugged for a while and were very excited to be in each other’s presence, when Jack very seriously turned to E and said, “I am in love with another. Her name is [the most beautiful girl in the world].”

To E’s credit, she handled it pretty well. I wouldn’t count her out just yet.

*****

You might have missed my live tweeting last Friday of Quinn’s bingo night. Never fear. I wrote all about it for White Knuckle Parenting. I even learned a lesson about giving in to chaos.