29 June 2009

27 June 2009


It has been a lovely, hard, and confusing week. My own emotional life has been in crazy, flip-flop mode, and Julia's has been no less active. I started this entry on Saturday but it is Sunday night before it is getting done, and Monday before it is getting to the blog.

The last week I have been haunted by dreams of inadaquacy. From not studying for the final of a course which I never attended a class to going on stage without ever looking at a script to worrying about my value to an employer, the dreams just don't stop. I wake up with a terrible pit in my stomach and numbing fear. My plate is full right now and I have tasks in every area, but generally, I feel very capable to meet these challenges. I have a better understanding of what I want than I've had in a long time. I don't know whether I still have a store of fear deep inside, or whether there is something else happening. Last night, I had a transition dream -- this is a dream during which I meet people I've known and make a choice that I refused or was never presented with. Of course, these dreams are not always that coherent.

First, inadequacy, then, transitions. What is coming?

Julia had a good week -- doing school work almost every day. We also went swimming, shopping, and were out in the garden every day. I am not enforcing any schedule or plan of lessons until we have our first meeting with the Intensive Autism Therapy team which will assemble at our house on the 1st of July. I am very interested in Neuro-Reorganization as a form of therapy that could be part of the intensive program. I will talk to our senior therapist tomorrow to see if they would consider it.

On Friday, Julia met a little girl at the pool and had a good time playing with her. She is part of a family that we had met at church a few months ago. The girls were having such a good time that I stayed extra time so that they could play. I hope we see them again and I hope that this child is interested in playing with Julia. Julia just loved it so much.

Julia has had more oppositional behavior this week than usual. Right now, I attribute it to settling into our back home schedule, not having school to mark her days, and recovering from three weeks of inconsistancy.

At Attachment Therapy this week, Marilyn tried to get Julia to talk about our time in Jersey. Julia avoided and dodged any questions and suggestions. She was a master of avoidance. I could not believe watching her how deftly she handled herself. She would not let Marilyn's questions penetrate her wall of distraction. Marilyn had me cuddle with Julia and Julia had a terrible time paying attention or settling into my arms. Marilyn told me to tell her the story of our Jersey time. Julia twisted and turned, whined, complained, everything and anything she could do to avoid my story. I wanted to give up because it was so hard to control Julia's body and talk at the same time, but Marilyn urged me to continue. I kept going and got to my mother's death. Marilyn asked Julia how she felt -- She had to ask more than once -- and Julia stopped all her moving and thrashing. She said she was sad and very worried and her Bobja died. We told her that it was okay to feel these feelings, and soon she re-started her previous behavior. I wam wondering whether this latest bit of saddness, already prepared to be hidden away, is a path to the deeper saddness that Julia feels.

I looked and researched as asked questions all last week and on Saturday bought that new camera. It is a Nikon Coolpix P6000 -- a very sophisticated point and shoot. I've never bought a relatively expensive camera for myself and what a great toy. With my old camera dead, pictures have been few and far between on this blog. No more! I started playing today after I picked the camera up from the store. I am just pointing and shooting right now, but I am excited to learned how to work this thing. Hopefully, I will be taking better pictures soon.

Ah, and Marcia, I did not follow you advice althought I thought long and hard about zoom before I bought. Instead of 10-15x zoom, my camera has only 4x zoom. They say, that is, the salesman told me that the quality of the pictures make more manipulation possible after downloading the pictures. So, I might be able to get some of the same effects with less zoom. We shall see!

David and I have been talking about what to do with the house. Our house. We can renovate the first floor to reorganize the space to be more useable and used. OR we can find another house and move. Both of a fascillate, but we would like to make a decision soon -- not to do the work or move soon, but to make the decision and then to make plans. On one hand it might be easier to find the home we want and just buy it, but then there is this house which we have gotten attached to. And Julia is at home here. If only there was a bit more space. The thinking goes on.

23 June 2009


"Should we turn off the TV?"

"After Elmo's world."

So begins our morning.

Should I be trying to stop all TV in the morning?

We set out a schedule this morning, including: my phone calls, gardening and playing with bugs, cleaning up toys, swimming, 2 homework sessions, cooking supper, visiting a camera store, cuddling, and my paper work. By just after noon, we have finished about half our tasks and have eaten lunch. It might be strange to see my work included on the schedule but Julia seems to like that I have tasks to accomplish. I get to cross off my work and she hers.

It was so hot today. Hotter than usual -- or at least hotter than we've experienced in Wisconsin in June. Julia and I cranked up the air in the car and did our errands. She was great while I asked questions in a camera shop. I am looking for a new camera and right now I am really bogged down trying to figure out what I want in the camera and what is just extravagance, at least for me. I have not seen exactly what I want yet but there is so much out there. I do wish that I could really just put what I want into some search engine and the right camera would just appear. Instead, I am taking recommendations and checking out reiews. Very slow going.

Julia and I did home work twice today, both for about 40 minutes. Julia had to be pursuaded each time we worked and she did waste a bit of time each time. I would like to get up to 45 minutes twice a day of focused work but I am taking it slow. The first work was our usual drill -- letter sounds, rhyming words, and our work books for words and numbers. I decided to make the second work time different. I hope to do science work as the summer wears on. Today, we worked on First, Second, Third, and Last -- words that Julia doesn't really understand. We used Julia's name first -- writing out her whole name, explaining why she has each of her 4 names, labeling the names with First, Second, etc., and figuring out how many letters are in her names. Then, I took four of her plastic insects and put them in a row and I asked her which was First, Second, etc., asking in different ways to get some question and answer work in there. Finally, we read Green Eggs and Ham. Julia finished page 20 tonight and only needed help on a few words. Although I am still working hard on phonics, I think that Julia is learning these words whole.

21 June 2009


Ummm, it certainly is. It was hot and steamy today, in church, in a house we visited, and outside all the time. We are looking forward to more very warm weather over the next week -- good time to try out our community pool and to do all necessary outdoor work in the early morning. By necessary outdoor work, I am talking about editing my very weedy garden beds.

Julia and I are settling in. She was so very well behaved while we travelled but I am seeing some backlash and regression now. She did not want to do any school work today and there were a lot of no's to every suggestion that David or I had today. She has gotten angry a number of times this weekend and today, threw her small backpack at me in the car when she didn't like what I said. We did some cuddling today but only after her behavior was beginning to dissolve. I was able to do a little bit of work with her today -- making a new calendar and doing a little reading on the computer. Using Starfall.com, Julia worked on a story. She was able to read all of the words that she knew -- mostly small words, but I am very happy to see her remembering. We will do more tomorrow and build her tolerance for the work.

Julia also is learning to walk the dog. She likes to be in charge of the dog as we take our evening walk. At first and weeks ago, she would be rough with the dog or would let go of the lead all together, but she is doing better all the time. She is beginning to understand how the lead works -- letting the dog go as far as she is able or shortening the lead to keep the dog closer. Julia is also learning about crossing the street. I don't know when she will accomplish both of these things but slowly, slowly she is learning.

We have a big meeting with our new social worker. His phone message says that the paper work will take more than two hours and is coming at noon tomorrow. I think we will reward ourselves with some swimming afterwards.

I have been feeling sad for the last few days. It was great seeing Lisa and Jeannette on Thursday in Indy, but I was reminded of all of the times during Cheshire's growing up and as Lisa's kids were growing that we talked about the kids, their incredible feets and accomplishments. Last week, we still talked about Lisa's kids' accomplishments, but I talked about Julia's therapy and how she was doing. I wanted the happier task of relating how smart and talented she is. I can worry so much.

20 June 2009

Saturday morning

8:30 am and Julia has eaten her eggs and said uck! to her juice. She excused herself from the table and attempted to cover the entire first floor with the toys that she has not seen in the last three weeks. Then, she took to the computer and has worked through two of her favorite programs. My child missed her home.

This morning, we are set to walk the Farmer's Market, then come home and weed and maybe take a bike ride before we visit my old college friend. What a great re-entry.

19 June 2009


I am home, and in three weeks the dog grew a lot more hair, the garden grew a lot more weeds, and trees have leaves, lots of leaves. It is summer in Madison. I am out of sorts this evening, grumpy for no reason. I am tired and restless and wondering what happens now.

Julia was very excited to finally get home and see her Dad, but she is having a rough time getting to sleep tonight. She is so much out of her schedule that we will probably have to work pretty hard to get her back to her old routine. She travelled well today, watching movies, talking, singing, and playing with her toys and clay. I am so proud of her. She works are to control herself and to please me. There are still plenty of times when she tell me and others that she doesn't like me, but Julia also wants to please me. And that is exciting.

I am home, and growing into sorts. I have a list in my head and many tasks to get back to or start. Julia is finally asleep, David on sleep duty tonight. I am ready to follow.

17 June 2009


Julia and I are in Ohio with our friends, Traci and Scott and kids. Julia was in the pool a good part of the morning splashing and swimming with Jaden, Kevin, and some older boys from across the street. She is in her glory. Julia is playing with Jaden who is 3 and Kevin who is older than Julia. I love to see her interacting with other kids. She can be rough at times, but much less so than she has ever been. She is being gentle with Jaden, and also pretty gentle with two little kittens who are new to the family. Of course, after Barbara's talk about kittens and NOW, getting to play with them, I don't know how we will say no to her. I will let David do that one.

Playdates and going swimming with school friends will be the order of the day when we get home.

I am still in my pj's at noon, sitting in a shelter next to the pool. Traci and I have been talking almost non-stop since last night, and I am so enjoying this relaxation. I had wondered whether our traveling this way would work, and would offer me some kind of break from the stress of the last few weeks, and boy, did I guess right. Seeing friends and taking it slow was just the right medicine for me. I am very grateful for dear friends who open their hearts and their homes and give me the spiritual boost that I need right now. (I am also so grateful for David who is home, working on the tiling that I started and keeping those home fires burning. I'll be home soon, sweetie!) I should be ready for Madison summer by the weekend!

15 June 2009

Road trip!

Time is such a slippery dimension. I feel like I have not written anything for a very long time . . . and I am so disjointed from my normal. And . . . and so much more. Usually, when I am away from home, I get to a point when something shifts inside and I observe my doings in a slightly different way. I love when this happens. I may not seem any wiser or more observant, but I feel the shift and the novelty of it is thrilling.

But not this trip.

This trip has demanded a lot and has sucked me dry. Dismantling a home, even a home that I've never been comfortable in, is sad work. Wading through some one's papers and possession, even when it is family, is invasive and rude. Making choices of what to do with possessions that are not my own is especially hard. I just don't do possessions very well. Never have. There have been times of wanting more, more and bigger and better, but this is not the best part of me. Wading through the more and bigger and better of someone else, even a mother, stirs those feelings in me in an uncomfortable way. Would I have been better off . . . but then, no. Another path is mine.

We left Jersey today, not early like I had hoped and not after a short visit to the shore like I had also hoped. Instead, I made more phone calls this morning, canceling yet more services, insurances, and luxuries (no more cable for future visits), and made the rounds to get the mail forwarded to me, drop papers at the lawyers, drop the key at my sister's, and stop for fried rice for Julia's lunch. We did not make it to Lisa's house in Maryland until 6, but had a lovely dinner and a walking of the labyrinth and early to bed.

I am looking to have my spirit filled on this trip home and so far, Shrek yesterday and Lisa today, I see this as a perfect plan.

To sleep now, and the biggest driving day tomorrow.

Oh, Julia and Shrek. This child from China, mine for less than 3 years, loves my favorite American art form as much as the rest of the family. Who would have guessed? Julia was all eyes and ears -- covering her ears in the beginning because it was all too too much -- for her first Broadway musical. She clapped enthusiastically after every song, stood when she could not see, did not want to leave when it was over, and is talking about the wonderful donkey all day.

13 June 2009

Saturday -- 2 more days!

We are at a Barnes & Nobles to get on the internet because the connection at the Bloomfield house is so slow! And sometimes just doesn't connect at all. It is another rainy day so playing outside is not an option. I am still cleaning -- linen closet and bathroom today. We have special movies for tonight and then another day down.

Loose ends keep popping up -- little fires to put out before moving on and I have not accomplished my goals for any day this entire week. I am meeting with a RE agent tomorrow morning to put the house on the market. Then, Julia and I are off to join Cheshire in NYC to see Shreck, The Musical. We bought ticket on line -- or Cheshire did -- and Julia is pumped!

Right now, she sits across from me drawing dinosaurs with a pen in a small notebook that was my mother's. She likes sitting on the high chairs and I think about how we could have a bar in our kitchen, but she also moves around too much when she draws and has fallen off the chair twice. Her patience is good but I can't stay much longer.

Today must be the longest of our day.

Julia is learning to read Green Eggs and Ham -- she is up to page 16 and knows almost all of the words.

11 June 2009

Missing Daddy

The first thing that Julia said when she sat up in bed this morning was that she missed her Daddy. Yesterday, she told me that when she hears thunder, she runs into my bed and feels better.

We have 4 more days out east -- cleaning, a visit from at least one kid, and seeing Cheshire. And then we start for home. I've planned to make the trip home slowly - driving to Lisa's and spending the night, driving to Traci's and Marcia's too. I hope it works out. I could use some filling of the soul before plunging back into the everyday.

Julia stands with me (she now recognizes whenever I type her name) as I type. She has her arms around my neck and is very much at ease. I explain what I want to do with the day and she repeats interesting parts of it. We have a Thursday.

10 June 2009

I don't get to write or check email until very late, and by that time there is nothing so important that I should write. Julia has had good and bad moments. I have demanded so much cooperation of her during the long work filled days, that she is ready to pull my arms to direct me to play with her. At the same time, she seems to understand the message that I have a schedule to keep and work to be done. I have put her in time out about once a day for the past three days. It is usually because she insists on not listening. She does not want to go sit on the step (our time out) but will do it with a bit of physical guidance - nothing like the dragging of a few years ago. She whimpers or yells and then calms down. She can tell me when she is ready to do something else. She apoligizes and goes about her life.

We have been cuddling every day and although Julia is giving my a bit of grief about doing it, she is willing once she gets in my arms. At times, I feel that this is a check in point for her, some emotional grounding.

She wants to go home and she misses her Dad.

Me too. Madison is going to look so very good.

Today, Julia and I took an afternoon break and went to the Newark Museum. I haven't been there for 25-30 years. It is a rather second rate museum but Julia enjoyed it for the most part. There was a part that is a victorial house and she loved doing through the house and asking about furniture or decorations. Two of the bedrooms were done as an art installation. The artist used dead, dried insects to make patterns and forms on the wall. Julia has decided that this is a good idea for our house. Am I creating a monster?

Julia is in bed and I am going there as well.

05 June 2009

Oh, my peeps are with me and I am feelin' so good. David came in this afternoon and by the time we arrived back at the house, Cheshire had come in from NYC. Julia was beside herself, and I was right there with her. We went out to a diner and watched movies. Tomorrow, my nieces and nephews will come over and help do some of the cleaning out of the house. I have been working hard on all of my mother's records -- meticulous for sure and now fodder for the shredder.

Julia has been saying things showing how much she understands and loves having a family. She really enjoys the attention that her cousins have been giving to her at their house and as they stop by at my mother's house. She tells me that she likes being a little kid with all these cousins. She really wants to go home but I have been able to explain that we need to stay in Jersey for another week or so. Julia is giving me hugs and kisses in a new enthusiastic way. Again, as during our last trip out in Jersey, Julia is growing closer to me. We are not perfect, but we seem to be more in love, if that makes sense.

03 June 2009

Thanks to those who kept us in your thoughts for the last few days. Today, at about 11:20 in the morning my mother died. I was not there but I saw her earlier in the morning. She was closer to sleep than coma, her breathing was rattling, and she was not responsive. Her condition has been hard to see, and so death comes with a good measure of relief.