Ike had his first "real" birthday party this weekend, aka the kind of party where we sacked up and invited his entire preschool class to an actual organized party, rather than just half-assedly inviting a bunch of our friends over to barbecue and eat cupcakes in the backyard. Five years old calls for a proper birthday party, I think. Ike chose a pizza-making party at a local restaurant, blatantly copy-catting his classmate who had the same party not that long ago. But hey, the party package included invitations, cookie decorating, pre-made goody bags and I didn't have to clean up a thing. I like how you roll, child. Jason did have to pitch in and help with some dough shaping, which apparently was MUCH harder than it looked, AMY, STOP LAUGHING. Poor Noah was having a fairly severe sensory freak-out over the tie-dye wall decor and getting flour on his hands, and also a touch of I'm too big for this shit existential crisis, but participated anyway to make Ike happy.* I offered Ike the choice of whatever kind of cake he wanted, figuring he'd pick something that would require a professional decorating job, but no. He wanted a plain... Read more →


Before I left for my (brief, more-time-on-planes-than-on-the-ground) trip to California (for all of one day at the Mom 2.0 Summit), I had a LOT of shit to get done. Important shit. Like this: My track record for chaperoning field trips in horrible weather remains almost impeccable. If there's an outdoor activity planned, the temperature will inexplicably drop 20 degrees that day. If there's a hayride involved, it's going to rain, so prepare yourself for a damp butt. I was supposed to chaperone Noah's fourth-grade field trip to Annapolis that morning, before realizing I was double-booked. Triple booked, actually, because Ezra had a doctor's appointment to get his hearing re-checked, so Jason had to cover that one, right before I bailed on him for the next two days. Whoops. So yeah. Ezra recently failed a hearing screen at school. Just like he failed a hearing screen back in preschool. That time a follow-up revealed nothing out of the ordinary, and the doctor suggested that he was just too little to understand the testing instructions. This time the follow-up revealed that his eardrums are misshapen. That's usually is the result of chronic ear infections or allergies, neither of which really applies to... Read more →


I've been asked that question a lot lately. Overall, I think the boys are coping with the double-whammy loss pretty well, albeit each in their own way, at their own pace. Noah -- who remembers the loss of his grandfather the most vividly -- is probably doing the "best," although that's really not the right word. He's the most pragmatic and accepting, it's pretty matter-of-fact to him now. As I already wrote when we broke the news about Ceiba, he very literally experienced every distinct stage of grief right there at the dinner table, one right after the other. After that, he was "okay," more or less. He understood why we had to put her down and would patiently explain it to his brothers ("she's sick and going to die anyway, it's our job as her people to make sure it's not painful"). He sought Ceiba out for extra love and attention during her last days, but was also very focused on the exciting possibility of a new dog. His rapid-fire approach to grief certainly came in handy with Max, as we had less than zero time to adequately prepare the boys for what was happening. They'd known he'd been... Read more →


Allow me to present the greatest photo in the history of #BabyIke #NOTTIRED: Apparently Ike and Ezra decided to play a late-night game of house, resulting in Baby Ike being carefully and compactly tucked into Ezra's doll crib. Where he then stayed until midnight, completely sound asleep, when I found him and moved him to his regular bed, like a real drag. Ezra was deeply displeased with me and the theft of his real-life baby in the morning. "You nearly gave me a heart attack!" he scolded, "I was so worried!" Ike denied anything out of the ordinary happened until I showed him the picture, at which point he was still like, "this proves nothing, I was just pretending to sleep." #NOTTIRED4LYFE Read more →


Actual voicemail I received: "Hello, this Nurse [Redacted] from the Health Room at [Redacted] Elementary school. I'm calling about Ezra, who was brought here earlier after getting hit in the head by a door, and he's fine he's fine he's fine, he's back in class, but um...I just...well, I'm just a little confused by some of the stuff he said while he was here and am worried that maybe he isn't so fine after all, so can you please call me as soon as possible?" Actual conversation I had: Nurse: Okay, so an adult accidentally swung a door open directly into Ezra's head and knocked him over. He came here for an ice pack and since the injury involved his head it's policy for me to ask a few questions to make sure there's no disorientation or confusion. Me: Okay...this could go one of several different ways... Nurse: He answered everything correctly, his name, how old he is, what grade he's in...until I asked him to name the people in his family. Me: Mmm-hmm... Nurse: It all started out clear enough, Mom, Dad, Noah, then...Ike? Is that another brother? Me: Yep, that's all correct. Nurse: And then he started talking... Read more →


Well, that didn't take long. I sent Ezra's teacher some evaluation forms and surveys on Monday. She filled them out that same day and faxed them directly to our doctor, like, OMG GET THIS KID SOME HELP. The doctor called within 24 hours and was like, whoa, yeah, that's ADHD and also OMG GET THIS KID SOME HELP. This is the book Noah's therapist read to him after he was formally diagnosed and we made the decision to start medication. I just ordered a copy for Ezra, and yes, we are making the same decision for him. We were very reluctant and resistant with Noah, and in retrospect we agree that we waited too long. Believe me, we tried just about all of the alternative med-free strategies, multiple therapies, diet changes, you name it. We didn't just throw up our hands and spring for the meds to make our lives easier. (Well, okay, I did throw out one of those ADHD IS A PACK OF LIES-type book that my MIL gave us after a cursory Google search on the author, revealed her to have close ties to the church and teachings of Scientology. Didn't even recycle it. Not even a... Read more →


Special Needapalooza

I went to Noah's IEP meeting yesterday, our first "real" meeting with the new school. We had an initial "move everything from County A to County B and try to not let anything get lost in translation" meeting in the beginning of the year, but this was the Actual Annual Big-Deal one, where we determine services for the next 12 months. The good news is that...well, it's all good news. Noah has transitioned beautifully and his new team loves him, and even better, REALLY understands him. After years of being classified solely as a SPD/ADHD kid at his old school, to the point that the team seemed surprised by his eventual Autism diagnosis (and then had to rapidly overhaul his IEP), I think it was really beneficial to move into this school with the ASD code firmly in place. No question, Noah needs those specific needs met, and here is everything this school can possibly provide. His new IEP is strong, comprehensive and best of all, was written from the point of view that this is just who Noah is and how he thinks and learns. He is not a problem to be solved. He is a child who will... Read more →


As you may recall (because I didn't stop talking about it for like, over a month), our move into the Yellow House was...kind of stressful. As a result, we still have a lot of furniture that the movers just randomly positioned in rooms without much thought or plan, because Jason and I were too busy panicking over our disastrous closing/paperwork nightmare, plus all the various property laws we were breaking. JUST PUT IT ANYWHERE! JUST GET IT OFF THE TRUCK! THEN GET THE TRUCK OUT OF THE DRIVEWAY SO WE CAN PRETEND NONE OF THIS IS HAPPENING! The boys' bedrooms got the worst of it -- the beds were all plunked right in the center of the rooms, we didn't really divide up side furniture very well, so Noah's room seemed big and cavernous while Ezra and Ike were stuck in overcrowded smaller rooms, and the little floor space they had around their beds quickly became a embarrassing swamp of toys/clutter/laundry. We'd tell them to go clean their rooms and they'd look at us all helplessly, because they had zero idea where to even start. And I can't say that I blamed them. Their rooms were just not very nice... Read more →


Okay! Back to our regularly scheduled programming, where curse words are allowed and no discounts are offered. So Max. It's his kidneys. Not exactly a shock, but the...good? semi-good? not-horrifically-bad?...news is that his numbers currently point to only "moderate" kidney failure, meaning not any sort of imminent death sentence, and it's worth trying some diet and low-level interventions. We picked up some prescription low-protein food at the vet (and donated nearly all of the cans and kibble we had on hand to the vet's pet shelter charity pile), and will be injecting him with fluids about three times a week. I was worried he'd reject the special food and we'd end up mixing it with something else, thus reducing the effects, but the minute I opened a can and smelled how totally freaking gross it is, I knew it wouldn't be a problem. Anything that smells like rotten fish and dog farts is Max's jam, and he's already devoured several full cans of it. He even let me mix in some fresh pumpkin for further de-constipating efforts, which he's never, ever done before. THAT'S how pungently disgusting this food is. He's only had one fluid injection, and I know it's... Read more →


THANG ONE: Noah preformed in his very first concert with the school band. We had to rush out and buy this entire outfit, right down to the shoes, because we are sloppy heathens who don't own church clothes. Or even nice clothes. Noah was a bit nervous about the concert, even expressing hope over the weekend that he would catch the stomach bug from his brothers and be unable to perform. But he didn't, and he did absolutely great, playing front and center onstage as first chair (!!) saxophone. THANG TWO: CHRISTMASSSSSSSSSSS! Christmas! Christmas. Christmas Christmas Christmas Christmas. So! This is a story worth telling: Jason takes Noah to his saxophone lesson every weekend at a local music place, and about a month ago started sending me photos of this guitar (Epiphone Wildkat) they had for sale. It was used, in perfect condition, at a really good price, and every Saturday he'd take it off the wall and play it for a bit, falling ever more deeply in love. As he'd JUST purchased a regular guitar off Craigslist (to jam with/encourage Ezra, who only wanted a red "rock-n-roll" guitar for Christmas), I remained unimpressed, said no, and also I was... Read more →