Thursday, December 30, 2010

Getting Old

My youngest just turned 9.  It was very exciting in our house.  We baked a beach cake.  I made blue frosting, and attempted to make waves.  We sprinkled graham cracker crumbs over half the cake and washed some small plastic trees, a pirate, a seagull and stuck them on the cake.  (And you thought I didn't have mad cake decorating skills?  Whatever.)  Then my husband and I took her to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.  A new Art of the America's Wing opened up and I've been dying to see it.

Elizabeth loves mummies, Egyptian art, Roman and Etruscan sculpture and pottery.  I showed her the European Impressionist room.  I love Monet.  I once paid $15 to enjoy three of his paintings in Las Vegas and it was worth every penny!  We ended the night with the model ships.  Elizabeth was enthralled!  She adored the museum.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Buying a Rental

We killed the deal to buy the house we were hoping to rent out after the copper pipes were stolen and the bank was completely unreasonable.  The house was back on the market 6 hours after we informed them we were walking away.  It went back on the market for less than we offered even if they'd fixed the plumbing.

So, we offered $9,000 less than the new asking price and made our offer contingent on fixed plumbing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

William's List of 101 Things He's Grateful For

Bri sat next to Will on the couch.  "Will, what are you grateful for?"  she asked.  Two days later I noticed Will had written a list of what his friend Jordan was grateful for on his iPad.

William's List
1. Thank you for food
2. Thank you for fruit
3. Thank you for food
4. Thank you for food
5. Thank you for fruit
6. And finally when it the puppy has finally she is fruit. The End.
7. Thank you for computer
8. Thank you for iPad
9. Thank you for iPad
10. Thank you for iPad
11. Thank you for iPad
12. Thank you for fruit
13. Thank you for food
14. Thank you for TV
15. Thank you for DVD
16. Thank you for iPad
17. Thank you for food
18. Thank you for TV
19. Thank you for CD
20. Thank you for iTunes
21. Thank you for iTunes
22. Thank you for TV
23. Thank you for CD
24. Thank you for TV
25. Thank you for iTunes
26. Thank you for house
27. Thank you for food
28. Thank you for fruit
29. Thank you for food
30. Thank you for food
31. Thank you for church
32. Thank you for house
33. Thank you for church
34. Thank you for TV
35. Thank you for food
36. Thank you for fruit
37. If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands
38. Thank you for TV
39. Thank you for shower food
40. Thank you for house
41. Thank you for turkey
42. Thank you for house
43. You sea our house
44. Thank you for food
45. Thank you for food
46. Do As I’m Doing
47. Thank you for music
48. Thank you for house
49. Thank you for love
50. Thank you for love
51. Thank you for love
52. Thank you for love
53. Thank you for jacob
54. Thank you for brianne
55. I’m a Little Snowflake
56. Thank you for lizzy
57. Thank you for mom
58. Thank you for dad
59. Thank you for jordan
60. Thank you for TV
61. Thank you for Zebra
62. Thank you for Zero
63. Thank you for house
64. Thank you for love
65. Thank you for love
66. Thank you for Laurie Berkner Whaddaya Think Of That?
67. Thank you for world
68. Thank you for Abc’s
69. Thank you for piano
70. ABCD Medley
71. Thank you for love
72. Thank you for teeth
73. Thank you for love
74. Thank you for kiss
75. Thank you for hug
76. Thank you for stand
77. Thank you for love
78. Thank you for roller coasters
79. Thank you for roller
80. Thank you for love
81. Thank you for love
82. Thank you for love
83. Thank you for underwear
84. Thank you for love
85. Thank you for love
86. Thank you for love
87. Thank you for name
88. Thank you for name
89. Thank you for underwear
90. Thank you for dinner
91. Thank you for kiss
92. Thank you for quiet
93. Thank you for quiet
94. Thank you for good
95. Thank you for job
96. Thank you for top
97. Thank you for love
98. Thank you for love
99. Thank you for bob
100. Thank you for job
101. I Know a Chicken

Come to think of it ... did Will just write my Christmas newsletter?  Why yes, I think he did.

Friday, December 24, 2010


I know I need to go to the store to pick up a couple of things and I know the longer I sit here the worse the traffic will be.  Yet, still I sit here -- avoiding it.  Sigh.  Will is sitting on a chair listening to Lori Berkner on his iPad and stimming on a Dr. Seuss book.  One of the twenty plus books I've had to "buy" from the library because he wrote on them.  He's not wearing pants.  But I doubt that surprises anyone.  Will is more stimmy than usual today because someone gave Bri sweet rolls.  Will found them and ate one.  I don't think he's stopped vocalizing since he woke up.  Will peers intently at his book, one hand twisted up by his ear and eye, the other is spread out, two fingers bent in while the others are straight.  He bangs his knuckles on the books then brings it up the side of his head.  His fingers shake with intensity.  "Eeeeee," he croons as he stares, becoming increasingly wrapped up in his world and ignores us.  I hear an occasional slap.  He hits his right shoulder with the side of his hand then moves it up to rub his forehead. "Eahhhh."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I need a Vacation; oh wait, it's almost Christmas

I was upstairs cleaning my bathroom because Will had ... uh... used it.  After I finished I walked downstairs.  Lizzy and Jake we cuddled up on the couch with a blanket watching a movie.  Will was watching a movie on the portable DVD player.  He was carefully drawing on the screen with a orange permanent marker.  He had also written several sentences on the light maple floor.  Also in permanent marker. 

That was the end of movie watching in our house for the night!  We scrubbed the floor and the screen with wet wipes.  I got the marker off the screen, although the movie still looked orange.  I don't know whether the screen is now permanently tinted or if Will had already worked some magic on the DVD player.  And fortunately the writing on the floor is pretty light.  I was so angry I didn't even try to read what Will had written before trying to scrub it off.  I can still read knee, you're, end and I think there was a hate we scrubbed off; but maybe I should have taken a moment to read his message.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Blog Gem

Visit everyone at The King and Eye.

This isn't actually my first blog post ... it's the fifth, I think it's more interesting than the first.  But if you're more interested in reading about my cooking failures then, by all means, visit my first.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Salted by ?

I signed paperwork to buy the house for the second time.  (You know that it doesn’t always take, right?)  Then I met my realtor at the house for the final walkthrough.  She was concerned about a crappy attempt at winterization.  A piece of pipe with the shut off valve lay on the kitchen floor.  I noticed pipes leading to and from the heating system were missing.  The more we looked the more pipe we noticed had vanished.

Copper Pipe Thieves = +1
Us = -2

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Things I should not have to do! My top ten list of things I didn’t know I signed up for when I became a mother

Subtitle: Wait, who signed me up for this again? I need to know who to “visit.” You know, so I can bring them cookies.

10. Being responsible for somebody else’s homework. I hate that!
9. Driving ungrateful, short people around the surrounding towns.
8. Apologizing multiple times during the day to my touchy youngest simply to have her function.
7. Spending hours at school board meetings because, darn it, education is important!
6. Being on two special education PACs because that is so not me. (I used to be the one sitting in the back row muttering about how stupid people are -- now I do the same thing but from the middle.)
5. Finding 3 to 5 chewed apple cores around my house daily.  Really William, is it really that hard to find a garbage can and throw ... them ... away?
4. Cleaning up poop … again.
3. Buying more toilet paper because Will has unrolled an entire roll into the toilet. Which now means that I both have to make sure the toilet isn’t plugged and that underwear is not under the unrolled toilet paper before I flush.
2. Determining whether I can flush an entire roll of toilet paper down the toilet or if I have to remove some first.
1. Wasting Spending time making dinner only to be informed that it is inadequate. But it was a jolly good try for the "secondary cook!"

Hmmm, it’s a good thing my kids are funny and I love them. Otherwise I might be tempted to exchange them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Wishlist

Ok, I found something I want for Christmas (or a late Hanukkah present Marcy) ... Buckyballs, and probably more than one set because they really look that awesome!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Something Else to Waste Time On

I signed up for Netflix last week and in that time I have watched half of two extremely dumb movies, twenty minutes of a moderately boring movie, the entirety of a incredibly bad movie (oh, Bruce Willis you disappointed me!), a decent movie, possibly another movie (but I can’t remember) and the kids watched a few.

My husband complained that Netflix didn’t have a very good selection. I informed him that our account was set up for my taste. Thus movies were queued up that would only hold interest for him if most of the movies in the world disappeared, all books were burned, he was immobilized and couldn’t reach the remote.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Buying a House can be Taxing

I mentioned that we decided to buy a house; rent it out and then if everything goes well have enough money in 15 years to buy Will a house.  Well, we found a house but it’s bank owned and unfortunately, the bank that owns it is insane.

Case in point – on Tuesday my real estate agent dropped by my house to give me back the earnest money check.  “Why?”  I asked.  She didn’t know.  The bank had insisted on a bank check ten times the normal amount, rather than a personal check and now they were handing it back less than a week before we hoped to close on the house.  I took it to my bank.  “I’d like to redeposit this.”  I said but, of course, my name wasn’t on the check and I didn’t have the receipt.  I barely returned home before I received an email asking me to wire the same amount I’d just deposited.

(Aside – moments like these are the reason I deserve a Greek Chorus! Curses!)  I went back in the next day to wire the money.  If I’d been wise I might have looked at the return of the money as a present from karma and foreshadowing that the universe might not want me to buy this house.  But I’m nothing if not stupid persistent!

On Friday we signed paperwork that may or may not work depending upon whether or not we can get the last paperwork from the town because the darn bank doesn’t want to spend $100 to send someone out to the house to replace some keyed locks with doorknobs!  Gosh and all we have to deal with is a hole in the basement ceiling that wasn’t there when we made the offer, an expired rate lock and an insane bank.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I might have a touch of Kitty Remorse

Her name is Calypso. Her mom is named Saturn and the kitties were all named after Saturn’s moons. Clever, no? Bri is in LOVE with her kitty! She has video and her phone is full of kitty pictures.

Brianne’s kitty is adorable but I have a touch of buyer’s remorse. I only agreed to get the kitty because we had mice in our garage and that completely FREAKED me out! (My body just contorted as I thought about that!) But my husband, vicious mouse killer that he is, trapped all the mice and we have been mouseless for several weeks. I considered backing out but I’m just too darned tender hearted!

Reasons for Remorse: 1. The kitty can’t go outside for the winter because it’s a baby. 2. I’ve already spent $100 bucks on the kitty and haven’t even taken it to the vet yet. 3. I have kitty guilt because I sometimes hear pitiful mews coming from the inside of Bri’s room while Bri is gone. 4. I’ll have to take care of the kitty while Bri is in college. 5. Apparently 20% of my friends are allergic to cats. 6. I worry that Will and Jake are allergic to cats. 7. I need a special cat door to keep raccoons, squirrels and neighborhood cats out of the garage. 8. I can think of more reasons but I think the ones I’ve listed suffice for now.

On the plus side, I talked to someone last night who I think might take the kitty if my kids are allergic and good mother that I am I negotiated visitation rights for Bri.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Year in Review

"Changing the world starts with one simple act."  Toan Lam

2010 Inspiring Acts

Monday, December 6, 2010

15% More Happiness at least 65 days a year

That’s what I am giving my husband for Christmas.  And as I pointed out to him, that’s a lot of happiness!  I decided to give him an automatic car starter.  When I told him he demurred.  “In two years I’ll buy a car with it.”  He told me.  But I reminded him that 1.  He hates to be cold.  2.  We live in Massachusetts where it is, in fact, cold.  3.  He would miss out on a lot of happiness.  4.  I thought it would be a good idea.

He eventually agreed.  Then I asked him if he wanted me to take the car in or if he was going to do it.  He had already made a couple of calls he told me.  So unless my little plan falls through, he will take care of buying his present for me.  That increases my happiness 7% on the day he does it and by 3% at least 65 days a year when I feel like a kind and devoted wife who is very concerned about her husband’s happiness and that I, in fact, am making a difference in his happiness levels.

So really, we are looking at an upfront increase of happiness of 7% with an average of 18% increase in happiness other days (on very cold days I expect even more happiness!  Well, minus his increased unhappiness at the temperature.  Hmmm, maybe that’s a wash.).  At a very low cost to me in terms of effort.

(I wonder, if I nag him to do it, will the nagging decrease his happiness level?  And if so should I include that in the equation?)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Days of Old

Jen at The King and Eye is sponsoring Blog Gems, basically old posts few have seen.  Here is mine.  It's a few years old.  It's from my criminal past, hehehehe.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Will, Interrupted

Will was sitting on the couch typing on his iPad while listening to music. “Will,” I said. “We're getting a kitty.”

Will looked up.  Then he reached over and pinched me, “No kitty!”

Then Bri said, "William, Brianne's getting a cat."

Will smiled, "Cat -- meow."

Thursday, December 2, 2010



How appropriate that today’s Blog Hop topic is accomplishments because today was Will’s IEP meeting. He has done well this year.  He’s now reading at approximately a third grade level, up from first last year.  His spelling is third grade level (but he’s a better speller than Jake and Lizzy!).  He took a year to get the concept of numbers using the Touch Math Curriculum but now has mastered single digit addition and subtraction and has almost mastered double digit addition.  He moved into a higher academic level group and is doing well.  And he did this in a two-to-one!   

Honestly, maybe his greatest accomplishment to date is being able to move from a one-to-one to a two-to-one!  I wanted him in a two-to-one because as I told his teachers – there was no one-to-one fairy that would magically show up at our door when he was 21!  I needed him to function in a group.

We worked really hard on Will being able to handle being a group and not receiving individual instruction.  When he started taking classes at MyGym I had to stand one foot in front of him and say “do this” and show him what to do.  He bolted constantly.  He couldn’t jump, and barely listened to the instructions.  I took him twice a week for a couple of years.  I wanted him to function in a group!  Every week I tried to back away a little more.  I gave him as much independence as I could.  I choose independence over “perfection” of movement.  And now when I see him swinging his arms back and forth rather than in a circle I’m usually watching him from the bench.

Wow, look at me waxing on poetically about my boy.  This might as well be a Christmas Letter bragging about my kids.  I sometimes write those – but in them, usually I just list the places that Will didn’t wear pants.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Autism Weekend

I watched three movies about autism last week.  (It’s just what we do for Thanksgiving.)  I watched Autism the Musical.  I watched Autism is a World.  But my absolute favorite autism movie of the week was The Black Balloon.  Reasons:  1. Toni Collette, 2. The monkey hat was awesome! 3. Charlie running down the street wearing underwear (because we’ve reenacted that scene more often than I care to admit and 5.  My favorite line, the mom when told that Charlie went into a stranger’s house and used the toilet, “He hasn’t done that for months!”

In reading that last paragraph over, I realize I forgot #4.  But I’m going to leave it because I liked the movie because it really was about autism.  And autism is … different, unexpected, and occasionally hilarious (though often only in hindsight and with the right people and under the right sort of circumstances).

But Will liked it too.  I found him frequently watching it.  Actually watching it!  Will can fast forward through an entire movie in about 2 minutes so it’s interesting that he actually watched it.  Now go watch it … GO!  Then come back and let me know what you think.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Nerd Party

I told Marcy I was thinking of having a New Years Eve party. She looked at me quizzically, “But you don’t drink.” She stated. “People usually ring in the New Year with champagne.”

“I can make hot apple cider,” I said, “And buy eggnog.” I didn’t tell her I was thinking about spending the night playing games. I can only imagine what she would have said to that.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for chocolate and washing machines and heat and running water and Marcy but most of all my family.  I’m also thankful for the internet.  Internet, thank you for videos and for this  and especially this and for the Gregory brothers and email and blogs and You Tube and SNL reruns … Internet, even though you gave me facebook, which is a giant waste of time, I still love you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

IEP Season

I switched Jake over to a charter school last year.  Usually kids start there in the 6th grade but he started in the 7th.  I like my town schools, I liked Jake’s principle and most of his teachers but Jake was being bullied in spite of their best efforts.  And I was DONE with that!  He’s doing much better socially.  A lot of the kids are quirky at that school either from being brainy or having special needs.  And I thought Jake’s quirky would stick out less there.  

My plan has worked.  It’s a small school focused on Expeditionary Learning.  Kids are divided into 12-14 student crews, each with a faculty advisor.  It has a spiraled curriculum.  For example, one of Jake’s summer reading books was Downriver, after reading the book the class went river rafting, then they wrote an essay about the trip and did science experiments. 

Last week I went the best IEP meeting I’ve ever been to.  Our SP-ED PAC had sponsored four lectures on IEPs.  I learned about the importance of a really good vision statement.  I’d always written one but I decided not well enough.  The sped teacher and I started going over the IEP.  We had two writing goals instead of the previous, very poorly written, single goal.  She suggested a self-advocacy goal which I loved.

It was a brilliant meeting!  We wrote the IEP together which is exactly how it should be done but, somehow has never been.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mary Janes and Plaid Skirts

I had visions of what my children would be like.  Then I had one.  But I still had visions of what they would wear and play with.  I envisioned them playing with and adoring the kinds of toys I wished for and didn’t have!  Well, not my boys.  I didn’t really care about what kinds of toys they had, except weapons.  My boys wouldn’t have guns or swords or anything violent.  Can you tell that I bought into the entire nurture side of the nurture v. nature debate?  The weapons-ban lasted until I noticed my three year-old making a gun out of legos and sticks.  At which point I promptly gave up.

But the girls, the girls were going to have American Girl dolls and giant incredibly cool doll houses to play with.  And I would, um help them decorate the doll house and have tea parties with them and they would dress up and everything would be wonderful (but not pink because pink clashes with my hair – I’ve always had issues with pink).

But children are who they are and you have to respect that.  The first clue I had that Bri would not wear what I wanted her to wear was when she was two.  My mom had saved some of my clothes (circa 1972) and Bri insisted on wearing a yellow, red and blue gathered peasant dress three times a week.  She wore it basically every time it was clean.  And in elementary school she loved bejeweled pants.  I’d go to the store, spot a stripe of cubic zirconiums glued down the side of a pair of jeans and think “Oh, that’s hideous!  Bri will love it!”  I’d buy the pants for her and it never failed … she loved them!

I pinned my hopes on Elizabeth.  She was a brunette just like my mom.  I gave her a bob because I love bobs on little girls with dark brown hair.  My friends gave me adorable clothes for her and I bought more.  Then when Lizzy was one she started insisting on dressing herself.  Do you know how long it takes for a one year-old to dress herself?  Well, I’ll just put it this way -- you have time to read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  I quickly learned not to help because then she undressed and restarted the process.  It was a painful year.  And add insult to injury her hair started to lighten.

When Elizabeth was two she got particular about clothes.  She refused to wear knit pants or leggings (She still does) and she started insisting on belt loops and pockets.  If she didn’t like something she refused to wear it. Elizabeth is who she is and will wear what she wants to wear; which usually is a pair of jeans, a huge tee-shirt, a fleece and a pair of masculine sneakers.  On Sunday she wears a pink eyelet skirt with a blue butterfly sparkly tee-shirt, a sweater, pink, white and red striped knee high socks and black Mary Janes.  She’s been wearing the same thing for about nine months now.  I’m sure people think she doesn’t own another dress.  Come to think of it – that’s actually true now  . . . because I gave everything else away!

I’m now pinning my plaid hopes on my future grandchildren.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Posing for the Before Picture

Marcy and I talk to a lot of people in the free weigh room at the Y.  We consider it public service.  Friday we walked in, looked around.  Thought about what we wanted to do, looked around a bit more.  One of our friends was there.  He made a joke about us in a California workout pose. 

Marcy retorted, “The only thing we pose for is a before picture!”  Then we collapsed in laughter.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

That Isn’t Your Life

Cheryl and I walked down a street in our neighborhood.  She told me about one of her friends who stresses over Thanksgiving every year. She always has her family over because it’s easier for her daughter who has Down Syndrome.  Her sister lives in the Cape and she mused about how nice it would be to have Thanksgiving there.  Cheryl told her, “No, it wouldn’t!  You’re imagining a relaxing dinner, and then talking with adults while the children play.  That’s not your life.”

“Oh, I wish it were mine!”  I burst into her story.  But it won’t ever be mine, not even when I’m old.  And I don’t want it to be mine ... not really; because if that ever was my life then William wouldn’t be there and that would be much, much worse.  But I admit to being a little envious of people whose life is like that.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Love Notes

I wrote a note to Will.  “I love you!  You are funny and cute.  You are a good boy.”

He read it, then grabbed my hand.  “Capital I.”  He directed.  “Lowercase l, lowercase o . . .”  I read, “I love you.  You happy.  You radicsh.”  

I told him that radish didn’t need the “c.”  Then I paused . . . completely unsure as to why he was calling me a radish.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today at church one of the speakers said that his favorite part of church was listening to hear what song William decided to sing. When I talked to him after church he asked if Will ever had play dates because he wanted his “kids to get to know Will and Will to get to know his kids.” I demurred from the play date because I thought it would be disappointing for them. Will would probably spend the whole time watching the previews on a DVD. But isn’t it great that he asked! So many people are intimidated by special needs that it’s always a pleasant surprise to meet someone who is not.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pants are Optional


Will doesn’t like to wear clothes.  I don’t know why.  Maybe they’re uncomfortable, or binding, or not the right name brand.  For years he’d only wear a diaper or underwear and strip every time I dared put a shirt or pants on him.  He also liked to run away.  And often those two activities would intercept.  

Shortly after we moved into our current house, I was sitting at the computer when I heard the front door shut.  I casually looked out a window to see a half naked cherub running barefoot across the lawn.  I ran downstairs.  Though it was November I didn’t stop to put on shoes.  I ran out the door.  Will was wearing a tee-shirt and a pair of underpants turned around and running down the middle of the street.  I started chasing him.

I was slowly gaining on him.  We ran past a landscaping crew raking leaves.  Their heads turned, watching us run past.  A pick-up truck pulled alongside me.  The man rolled down his window, keeping up with me while barely pressing on the gas.  “Is everything alright?”  He asked.

Panting, I thought, “I’m chasing a pantless, coatless, shoeless, sockless autistic cherub who is running down the middle of the street.”  “No, I’m fine.”  I assured him.  Then putting a frantic burst of speed I caught hold of Will’s tee-shirt and slowed him down.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 1: Autism Shout Out vs. the Communication Shutdown

I’m sure that most of my friends who have kids on the spectrum haven’t heard of either.  I hadn’t, until I read this post at the Autism Blogs Directory.  So, I’ve spent quite a bit of time during the last few days reading posts from the side that communicated that day. 

I was ambivalent about the whole thing and decided not to participate with either.  Because both sides are right.  We all view things within our prism.  I view it from within my understanding of autism.  Which is from the perspective of my family, my children.  I don’t understand mind blindness.  I don’t understand why I can explain a piece of social interaction 500 times to Jake and why he can’t just intellectually understand what to do in a social situation even if it doesn’t make sense!  

Shutting down electronically or not, doesn’t matter to autism in my house.  Jake doesn’t use social media to communicate and I doubt Will ever will.  (Oh, William please prove me wrong.)  Acceptance and awareness doesn’t matter to Will.  But believe me, it does to the rest of us!  I will kick down any door I can for him.

Both plans had merit and bravo to anyone who participated in either!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Thrown for a Loop

Sometimes I make an absolute final decision about something and then suddenly something changes and my decision isn’t final anymore.  It drives me crazy!  I can’t talk about what has thrown me for a loop right now but thought that I would mention that currently I AM CRAZY!  (And yes, I mean more than usual, dad.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Our Jewish Mother

When we went to Virginia Beach in August we ate at a place called the Jewish Mother because Marcy heard the name and couldn’t resist.  Last night we promised the kids if they’d clean up the house we’d take them to dinner.  They did, so my husband loaded them in the car.  Then he made the near fatal mistake of asking them where they wanted to go.  They disagreed with each other over every suggestion.  Finally Lizzy asked, “Is there a Jewish Mother around here?”

When I recounted the story to Marcy, she looked at me and said, “You’re looking at one.  Next time bring her over.”

Friday, November 5, 2010

Swimming is Over

Since it’s almost Thanksgiving I felt I should write a post on gratitude.  And today I feel very grateful that swim season is over.  I feel grateful that I no longer have to drive over and pick up Bri at the pool even though I paid for a perfectly good bus to drive her home from school!  I am grateful to have her home more to do her jobs and pick up the shoes that everyone leaves all over the house.  I am grateful that Bri will be home more and can have more time for practicing the piano, wasting time on the computer, and spreading warmth and joy around our house.

I, however, must admit I am not grateful that I will hear more about Kingdom Hearts; because hearing about Kingdom Hearts make me want to put my hands over my ears and curl up in a ball.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Amusing Lizzy’s Teacher

I wrote an email to Lizzy’s teacher.


Lizzy hates to do her reading.  Last night she took 45 minutes to read six pages to me.  Will you please explain to her that reading is also an important part of homework.  Because making her read makes me tired and grumpy.

Take away recess or something when she doesn't read.


The Teacher’s response:  She threatened to send Lizzy to the principal’s office.

Lizzy’s response:  She came home and did her homework.

Monday, November 1, 2010

My Husband Makes Me Laugh

Sunday night my husband and I were both on a computer when he said, “We should go spend some time with the kids.”  I looked at him.  I didn’t say anything.  “They have candy.”  He added.
When he came back upstairs he told me, “The kids are boring.”  (I think they were watching America’s Funniest Videos.  And neither of us see the appeal of that show.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Running Around Like a Headless Chicken

(This was my Friday) I decided to buy a piano, I’d been considering one since Monday.  Now lest you think this is a spur of the moment decision and I have somehow become impulsive; I will state that Bri has been taking piano for over five years and practicing on a keyboard.  Yes, I realize that is pathetic.  Whatever.

I called my friend Pat Friday morning and said I’d buy it.  She said I needed to pick it up by Sunday.  I called a piano mover, then another one.  We set up a time for between 5 and 6pm.  The only problem was that Bri had an orthodontist appointment at 4:30 and I had to take her and a teammate to a swim meet at 5:30.  Ok, I’d work it out.

I called the orthodontist to reschedule her appointment.  2:15 was available.  Yuck, I’d have to pick her up from school and drive her directly to her appointment.  This was probably only the 10th time she’s ridden the bus that I paid for. (Seminary in the morning and swim team after school.)  I know it doesn’t matter -- swim team ends soon and she can ride the bus home most days.  But still.

I called her school twice to make sure she got the message to not take the bus.  I asked my husband if he could take the girls to the meet.  It was after his high stress phone call with the CEO so he said sure.  I call Pat to arrange to pick up the piano.  Great everything is set.

The piano movers call back.  They have great news.  Then can come between 2 and 3.  Ummm, great?  That’s better but . . .  I call back the orthodontist to reschedule Bri’s appointment for 4:30.  My husband is thrilled that they will be here during his phone conference.  That time is better for Pat. But I don’t want to call back the high school and say “never mind” after two phone calls and probably sounding like a crazy lady.  So, I decide that the construction that is everywhere won’t be a problem and I can pick up Bri and get home before the movers get here.

I start calling Bri as soon as school is out in hopes of catching her before her bus leaves.  I call her again after I park.  “Yeah, I got your message.  I’d rather ride the bus home with Caroline.”  Do you think she got either of my messages from school?  No.  Wasted trip.

Watching the movers haul that piano upstairs convinced me never to go into the business of moving pianos.  I heard a couple of colorful expressions.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Because it can’t be called anything but brilliant to buy an autistic 11 year-old an expensive piece of hardware and then let him play with it without supervision of any kind

Update:  Will, obviously reads my blog.  I'll have to be careful about what I post.  For instance, I will not tell you my new and improved hiding place for gluten.  Or write down directions to Disney World, or my credit card number.  Arggg, I think I'm going to go touch the forbidden cabinet door in front of Will!  Maybe the anticipation of that horrific event will discourage future reading!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Jake came up to me and very seriously said, “Mom, I asked Will three questions:  What is your favorite color?  What is your favorite shape?  And what is your favorite letter?”  The answers were purple, a triangle and M mmm, monkey.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Because it can’t be called anything but brilliant to buy an autistic 11 year-old an expensive piece of hardware and then let him play with it without supervision of any kind

Step 1:  Replace cracked iPad   Status:  Awesome

Step 2.  Protect replacement iPad  Status:  In process/Ordered Otterskin Defender Series case to place inside Hard Candy Case.  Then I plan to duct tape the iPad to my child’s hand.  Currently the iPad is hidden in a chest under a blanket.  (I think it’s safe . . . unless Will reads my blog.)

I almost kissed a twenty year old today.  I thought he might throw up in his mouth if I did, so I refrained.  I was in the apple store last week with a cracked iPad and was told it would cost 300 bucks to replace it.  It was $200 to send it away for a new screen.  I thought about it for a week then decided to replace it.

But, BUT when I whipped out my credit card to pay for it.  The twenty year-old said it was still under warrantee.  “Really?”  I questioned.

“I can double check.”  He offered.

“No, no please don’t.”  I begged.

Then when he walked away for a minute I high-fived a friend I’d happened to meet there.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sad Cat Lady

Apparently I just don’t get it. I’m sure that doesn’t surprise anyone. Marcy asked me what I was doing for my birthday. I said nothing. She said “well, at least your husband will get you a cake.”

“No, I make my own cake.”

Shocked she blurted out, “No, only sad cat ladies make their own cakes.” 

“Exchange the cat for children.” I retorted.

She baked me a cake. It’s gone now . . . and I miss it.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Entrance: Denied

It’s some weird autistic thing.  Will has decided that no one can open the cabinet the TV in the playroom sits on.  We put some videos in that cabinet and the kids like to watch Book of Virtues on Sunday but Will doesn’t want them to watch that either.  I’ve seen him run in the playroom saying, “No book of virtues!” and chase the kids out of the room.  They leave because he pinches.  (They’re smart self interested that way!)

Then over a week ago Jake had the bright idea to teach Will how to play tag.  He thought how can I motivate Will to chase me?  And naturally thought of the cabinet in the playroom.  He taunted Will by touching it them tried to run out of the room before Will could pinch him.  I told him it wouldn’t end well and wasn’t a great idea, but Jake is 13.

And now no one is allowed in the playroom unless Will is distracted.  Will even tried to get me out, but mama doesn’t play that game!  And I use my “you will not pinch me” voice and say “you will not pinch me.”  And that works about half the time.

Great, another thing to fix – but on the bright side it’s not in the bathroom. 

(A la my facebook post September 1st:  William + chocolate syrup + a cream colored sofa = 1 unhappy mama; then while I was scrubbing the floor, couch and coffee table, Will stuffed a plastic bag, a tube of sunscreen and soap down the bathroom sink drain. Now I believe he is naked in the backyard. I know the question on your mind -- a cream couch woman? My only response -- well, I wanted to match Marcy.)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Will in Action


Looking up from my computer induced stupor I notice two things.  1.  It’s almost 8:00am and 2.  William’s bus is here.  Ack!  I run downstairs and notice that the front door is cracked open.  I run outside and ask the bus drivers if Will is on the bus.  They said no – which saved me from my second question … “is he wearing pants?”

I found Will in the backyard and no, he was not wearing pants.  I put some on him, added some shoes and pulled a fleece over his head.  He wandered outside while I frantically tried to make his lunch and save myself a drive.  I didn’t have enough peas in the freezer upstairs so he only got about half a cup.  Usually he gets more than a cup.


I hit the snooze button on my alarm this morning because I was tired.  Thus I was ten minutes late with everything.  I was hurrying downstairs carrying two shirts for Will to choose from, a pair of socks, Will’s communication notebook, his lunch and a spoonful of applesauce topped with Will’s vitamins; when I noticed the front door was wide open!  I hurried outside.  Will had just got in the van.  He was 1. Wearing a shirt. 2. Wearing flip flops and 3. Carrying his fleece.   (He already had pants on.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ok, whose fault is this?

I called my sister to complain that I was driving to Stop and Shop at 7:16, Thursday night to buy butter because I needed some for frosting.  “Why?” She asked.  

“It’s Lizzy’s fault.”  I started to say.  Then I stopped.  No, I didn’t think it was.  I actually started this whole chain of events last week.  Last Saturday, I took Bri to Target to buy shoes.  She actually bought purple slippers because that is apparently what teenagers wear.  Odd . . . moving on.  While at the store I threw a package of a Halloween candy mix of Indian candy corn and mini pumpkins into my carriage because I LOVE CANDY CORN!  

Once home, Lizzy saw the package on the counter and asked the natural question.  That being, of course, may I have some.  I realized that due to my appalling lack of control, if she opened the package I would eat whatever remained while the kids were at school.  So, I told her no, that we would instead make sugar cookies and use the candy to decorate them.  Thus in a blindingly brilliant outpouring of words I somehow gave her the expectation that 1.  We would make sugar cookies and 2.  Once the cookies were baked we would decorate them.

Well, on Sunday we had people over for dinner.  Monday is MyGym.  Tuesday Will started a music class.  Wednesday is therapy, swim lessons, piano (William), scouts, young women’s, and activities days (others’).  I deflected Lizzy’s requests.  As the week worn on those requests became more demanding.  By Thursday afternoon I decided I should just make the dough and let Lizzy help me roll and cut shapes out later.  After the cookies were baked Lizzy asked to decorate them.  “Umm, I think we’re out of butter.”  I answered.  “How do you feel about cream cheese frosting?”   

And I found myself driving to the store.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Conversations with my husband

I called my husband after getting his message; catching him at the airport just before his plane took off.  “When are you getting home?”  I asked.

“Tomorrow night after 10pm.”

“I thought you had jury duty tomorrow.”

“No, I have it on Thursday.”

“Where are you going?” 


Pause . . .

“Where are you right now?”



Monday, October 18, 2010

Apparently I’m a little Grumpy

Or a lot.  My husband mentioned that I’ve been grumpy since school started.  It’s not surprising since I’m getting up at 5:30 to take Bri to seminary.  When I get home I get back in bed and try really hard to fall back asleep but it doesn’t work very well.

My husband said, “I think you’re sleep deprived.”  I agreed.  Then he told me that he thought I just didn’t like him for a couple years when the boys little, now he realizes that  I was just a sleep-deprived grump.

That’s me.  Apparently I don’t do well when I don’t get enough sleep.  Since Bri can’t drive for two years I should try to think of some kind of strategy to deal with my ill temper.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Because all of my plans always seem to work out

I’m sure that nothing could possibly go wrong with our latest plan.  Yesterday morning must just have been some odd aberration and not in any way foreshadowing that my husband and I are making an awful mistake and that the universe is gathering to pelt us with pestilence and/or scoop out the little section of earth we are buying.

We, like most parents of kids with special needs, worry about our kid’s future: how to fund a special needs trust, where he will live, what he will do, who will take care of him.  So, we decided to buy a house, rent it out and hopefully in a few years have an asset we can use to either fund a trust, or use that money to buy a house for Will to live in.

This morning I went to the bank to get a cashier’s check for our earnest money.  I waited in line. When I got to the desk I was told their machine that prints cashier checks was broken.  When the teller saw the look of panic and horror on my face, he suggested that I drive to another branch which I did . . . through all the construction.  My realtor told me who to make the check out to and for how much.  Naturally, the teller at the other branch asked me what the initials stood for . . . ??? . . .  She said that could be a problem.  It was.

I tried calling my realtor.  She didn’t answer.  I tried calling my husband.  He didn’t answer.  The bank teller looked up the phone number of the company doing the financing.  They transferred me to another branch, which gave me the cell phone number of the woman doing our paperwork.  She didn’t answer.  I called our lawyer.  She answered but had no idea what the initials stood for.  Fortunately she called me back five minutes later with a pretty good guess – that ended up being correct.  So, an hour after I arrived at the first bank I dropped off the check at the realtor’s office.

I am trying to fully prepare for the bank to drop kick us.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Will got in the van that drives him to school.  “Hi America, Merixa.”  He reached for the Toy Story Book conveniently located on the floor in front of him.  “Power please.”

“Oh, do you play music for him?”  I asked.

“Yes, sometimes he’ll say number 1, number 13.”  America told me.

Hmm, not a bad ride, no?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Unfinished Projects

Now that I have new couches in my family room, I need to fix up my living room.  I want a couple of rugs, some end tables and a desk. If I went crazy I’d say I want a picture or some sort of decoration but since I lack a decorating gene (genetic predisposition) I’ll settle for the furniture.  However, when I consider my dithering nature it might be a while. And I want a new dining room table but since ours is just fine I probably won’t buy a new dining room set for ten years … sigh.

I have two new projects.  I saw a drop leaf table by the side of the road and two mid-century modern chairs out with my neighbor’s garbage.  So, I sent my husband out to get them.  I’m going to refinish the table and maybe reupholster the chairs in leather.  Everything is in the garage right next to the cat scratched mid-century modern chair I spent $5 bucks on at a garage sale two years ago that I planned to reupholster but haven’t and now my husband won’t take to the dump because he likes to taunt me with my procrastination.  Evil huh?

Pause . . . maybe I should come up with a new project – garage sale?

Monday, October 11, 2010


I think Will has a sliver in the bottom of his foot.  (We all turn to my husband for help for slivers because he is the best sliver remover in the world!  Seriously – even I ask him because I hurt myself more trying to remove it than he does.)  So, I had Will lay down in his bed and held his foot down while my husband attempted to remove the sliver.  Will was almost a trooper.  It hurt so he pinched me in the same spot on my arm four times.  It still hurts.  We gave up.  My husband muttered “I think we should try it when he’s asleep.”

“Feel free to hold him down with your extra arm.”  I responded.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Should I turn up the heat?

The other day I noticed Lizzy was wearing two pairs of pajama pants to bed.  “Are you that cold?”  I queried.  She was.  I added another blanket two days ago, and another tonight.  So that child is wearing two pairs of pajama pants, socks, a long-sleeved top and a fleece to bed; and sleeps under six blankets.

I just added a second blanket to my bed yesterday.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Spending Money

Did I tell you I bought new couches for my family room?  Leather, of course, for reasons that are clear to many parents of kids with autism . . . ah, I dream of the day I can have a fabric couch.  To make room for the new couches, my husband had to haul the couch in the family room upstairs to the living room and haul the well used living room couch to the dump.  Even though my former family room couch isn’t very old it is kind of messed up.  Will walked on the back of it and ripped out the stitching.  My husband suggested that I could sew it up because I have mad sewing skills.  (Just so you know – being able to sew a Halloween costume does not translate into being able to sew leather couches.)  Because I am a procrastinator I predict that by the time I get around to calling someone to repair the couch I will decide it is too old and I should replace it.  Then approximately three years later I will replace the couch and will have saved myself a couple of hundred bucks due to my procrastination. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I just sent an email to my son’s therapist that seemed a little obscene

I started typing the email . . . then paused.  I tried to think of a way to phrase my request so I wouldn’t feel like a 15 year-old hormonal boy alone on a computer at 3 o’clock in the morning.  Then I just gave up and sent the email.

Dear William’s therapist,

Will you please print out a picture of a naked woman with labeled body parts for Will just like the male one you printed up for him. 


From a completely normal and not in any way inappropriate mother

We have the picture of the naked man with labeled body parts taped in the shower because we’re trying to teach Will how to take a shower independently.  

Because these kinds of things are normal in our house!  

I didn’t really think about my 14 year-old daughter, my 13 year-old son and my 8 year-old daughter seeing that every time they took a shower.  Because, come on, there’s also a strip above the sink explaining how to wash hands in case they forget.

But as I sat by the computer feeling like a pervert I realized that my friend’s son had slept over two nights a week ago.  He’d taken a shower both nights and . . . never . . . said . . . a . . . word.  I can’t even say that I think he didn’t notice the picture because it’s right there in black and white – taped on the wall at eye level.

He had to realize that it was for Will, right?  I mean the picture is right next to a list of 19 tasks involved in taking a shower.  It says innocuous things like wash your right arm.  (Of course, it’s male specific and says to wash other things as well but anyone completing the task analysis would definitely be clean after he finished.)

But I need the picture.  I wrote Will a social story about why he should wear clothes and what parts of the body should be covered and I need a visual aid.  After I get it, I promise I won’t tape the picture of the naked woman in the shower and for that I’m sure that my fourteen year-old is grateful.

Monday, October 4, 2010


On Saturday we went to the Fall Festival at Will’s school.  There was a policeman there.  I assume because of some Massachusetts Police Union reason and not because the town feared a mass uprising of autistic kids taking over the government.  Naturally, I went over to chat with him.

Overview:  He admires parents of children with autism a lot.  He has a two year old daughter.  I said I was glad he was there because the more familiarity police have with autism the more likely they are to appropriately interact with them.  I mentioned that Will is going to be huge and I worry about policemen misinterpreting his behavior as threatening.  He looked at Will.  “Eleven.  Yeah, he’s going to be big.”  He agreed.  Then he waxed poetic about how much better tasers are than batons or bullets.  Which, yes, I grant him but just the thought made my head explode.  Then I refrained from saying that anyone who tased my son was in for a massive amount of grief.  Are you proud of me?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

One of Those Days?

Have you ever had a day that starts off great, then ends up like this?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Sometimes I am remarkably like a man

I called my sister.  She asked me what I was doing for my husband’s birthday.  “Thanks for reminding me!”  I said, “My kids get testy when he doesn’t get a cake.”  Later on that day when I talked to my mom she causally worked his birthday into the conversation.  “Oh, yeah, I have something planned.”  I told her.  And I did . . . now that I remembered.

I don’t buy my husband any presents because if he wants something he buys it himself.  But if I was going to buy him something this year, I would have bought him a blender (truly – hand raised; look, I also give bad man gifts or money) . . . I broke our blender making green smoothies and made him a little sad).   

Hmm, perhaps creativity is not one of my strengths.  For the first ten years we were married I bought him socks every year for his birthday and occasionally for Christmas.  But don’t feel too sorry for him because last Christmas he bought me a ladder.  Seriously, and I didn’t ask for one or anything!

And every year on my birthday and Christmas I remind him how lucky he is to be married to me because other women might get really upset if they got a ladder from their husband of 18 years!

BTW, Eileen please remind me two days before my anniversary, thanks.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Alone in the Car

I like to listen to music when I'm driving and I like to sing along.  While I was driving home from Curriculum Night at Lizzy's school when Crossfire came on the radio.  I haven't heard the song for a couple months but I remembered the video because it's basic math -- Brandon Flowers + Charlize Theron = awesome.

I do, however, have a couple of comments.  1.  Brandon seems dangerously careless.  My husband suggested that he probably felt it was worth it to get rescued by Charlize.  I'll give him possibly, but if I was in danger and my rescuer looked like that -- I'd stay close.  2. . . . well, er, I guess I don't have any other comments; except that Sawdust is my favorite Killer's album.  Just in case you were wondering.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

My Husband’s Navigator and I are Having Issues

Some days you should just turn over in bed, pull the covers over your head and stay there.  The problem lies in figuring out if it’s one of those days before you get up and what you will do that will trigger the ensuing collapse of society.

My problem today involved driving.  I fully expected the little woman who lives in my husband’s navigator to climb out, slap me across the face, unplug the navigator from the cigarette lighter and throw herself out the window.

Will and Jake are taking a sailing class in Boston.  My husband’s navigator’s maps are a couple years old, and it’s Boston.  Things have changed.  It’s easier to find places now that The Big Dig is over but come on, if you don’t know where you are – you don’t belong here!

So, the last time I drove them into Boston the woman in the navigator told me to get off the Pike and drive through Boston and go through the Callahan Tunnel.  Which is absurd as the pier is very close to Logan.  I figured it made so much more sense to stay on the Pike.  Today I decided to ignore the woman and then assume she’d forgive me and help me find my way once I was close to the pier.

And my plan would have worked to . . . except, I forgot that I’d lose the satellite in the tunnel and it took so long to get it back and the little woman only knew one way to get there and it was the original way she wanted us to go and the next thing I knew I was headed back towards Boston and there wasn’t a turn off before the Pike entrance and I thought, “Well, there goes another $3.50.”  Then unfortunately we lost the satellite again and ended up driving back through the Callahan Tunnel to get there.  I should have just listened to the little woman in the first place!

I do have a plan to outwit her next week.  I shall sneak out of the house and follow one of the three people who offered instead of listening to the little woman who clearly likes to be obeyed!  Besides I think she cursed me.  Because after the sailing lesson we went back to the car to find that we and another car were blocked in.  Someone had parked right behind us.  A policeman was standing right there looking at the cars.  “Is that your car?”  He asked.  Then he walked off to find out whose it was.

We waited for a few minutes then saw a woman with bare feet, obviously in pain, and a little off slowly and painfully make her way to the car.  She got in, rummaged around for a while then walked back.  I motioned the policeman over.  “Is she alright?”  I asked.

He told me she’d refused medical help and had lost her keys.  I saw them walking around looking for the keys on the grass.  I told Jake to get out of the car and we’d help them look for the keys because I wanted to leave!  I walked around looking at the ground.  Jake chased a few birds then started looking too.  The woman started yelling, “Smitty, Smitty they’re going to tow the truck!”

The policeman asked me if she was yelling to anyone.  I didn’t think so.  She started yelling intermittently.  Then turned the other direction and started yelling to another person.  At that point I went back to car.  Only to discover the car next to me was gone!  “How did it get out?” I asked Amy.  Then a man standing next to the car said he could get me out too.  “Seriously?”  I asked, “How?”  My car was completely blocked in.

He did it.  I basically moved my car parallel to the next parking space by pulling forward and back while turning then backed out diagonally.  He saved me an hour and I told him I would marry him but I was already married.  (Surprisingly, I don’t think he was interested in my offer.)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Recovery? They're right in front of you!

“Recovery -- what does that even mean?”  I read the question on a post and started to respond but soon realized I was writing the first paragraph of a position paper.  And anything that long didn't belong on someone else's blog without the subtitle Guest Blog by LifeastheMotherof4.  Thus I didn't click publish.  I recognize that the question is rhetorical but something compels me to respond anyway because I’ve read several versions of the same question or statement.

What does someone mean when they talk about their child's recovery from autism?  Clearly they don't mean their child is physically missing and they’ll find them if they merely step outside and holler out a name.  Believe me when I say I try to be aware of where William is physically at all times and I doubt I am unique in my vigilance. Recovery has nothing to do with location.

Autism presents differently in different children.  Some children have symptoms of ASD from birth, others develop normally then regress.  Assuming everyone with ASD follows a similar trajectory or that all children must have shown signs that their parents missed through ignorance or denial is foolish.

Recovery has to do with regression, with the loss of ability.  If a child never had a skill -- therapy and medical intervention is intended to help the child progress and improve their functioning.  If a child regresses -- therapy and medical intervention is also intended to help the child regain that lost skill.
I’ve noticed an attempt to pigeonhole autism into a single experience.  Some professionals and parents believe that a child must have shown signs from birth.  If one believes that each child must always have been autistic, naturally recovery seems absurd as you can never recover something that never existed.  If, however, a child had a skill and then lost it, it is natural to hope for and refer to a recovery or restoration of the skill.

I have watched regression.  It is incredibly distressing to watch a child lose joint attention, sociability and, horrifyingly, even the ability to request a drink.  When I talk about recovery for my son I remember his social engagement at a year and a half.  I remember how he played with his siblings and how he pushed his way into any activity because he wanted to be with them.  Now William has a friend he adores and I'm working to help him recover the same skill level of social interaction he possessed at 17 months.  All of his therapy is designed to help restore and surpass previously acquired skills, as well as to acquire new ones.

“Recovery?  He’s right in front of you?” . . . Is he?  Is he right here?  Well, physically, of course, he is.  Emotionally, socially and academically autism gets between us.  Our relationship lacks subtlety and emotional reciprocity.  I have occasionally related to Shylock crying out “If you prink me do I not bleed?” – although, usually when William is pinching me.  But at other times it feels as if we are more emotionally different than similar.  He has either become so complete within himself or is so unable to reach outside of himself his aloofness sometimes seems impossible to breach.

It might be easier if he’d always been like this – adorable and adored . . . but lacking in social reciprocity, stimmy and turned inward.  But he wasn’t.  I am fully aware of how he changed and what both of us lost.  I can see William separate from autism – and that’s a gift, albeit an occasionally painful one, but a gift none the less.
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