December 24th, 2010

Second Annual Anonymized Holiday Letter

T. turned five this year, but continues to attend A-B Preschool. We expect to start his transition to kindergarten sometime in January/February. We're all expecting him to attend C. Elementary school in our town. There's a good autism program at that school, and while he has a stable diagnosis, he is doing really well in a lot of ways and no one thinks an out of district placement would be needed. He scored an incredible amount of Halloween candy on our mile walk around the "block". He loves playing games on the iPad and watching short teletubbies and Mickey Mouse videos on the computers. He loves this so much, he's decided he wants to learn how to type in what he wants to watch next, thus learning a few of his letters (which he is also working on at school) and how to use the trackpad.

A. turned two this year. Much like her mother a few decades earlier, A. wasn't talking despite her advanced age and was getting increasingly frustrated. Unlike her maternal grandmother, I called up Early Intervention and had her assessed. Based on their recommendation, we took her to see the absolutely wonderful in every way Karen Levine, who we recommend highly, and who diagnosed her with autism spectrum disorder. Someday, R. & R. will get around to seeing their own doctors and then we can all officially be on the spectrum. Which we know already.

A. loves the wonderful women who come to see her throughout the week, and so do I, particularly since the way-too-focused-on-adult-agenda service coordinator went away and her service coordination duties were taken over by our OT and her other duties eliminated. T. continues to ride the horse on the weekends, and for a few weeks before it got too cold, A., too, got to enjoy riding a horse. When A. started receiving services, learning to "isolate her index finger" was an important goal, which it turned out the iPad was able to help with. Yay, technology! Hook 'em early, right?

We had some pleasant vacations. At the end of summer, we went to North Conway, where we all enjoyed going on the rides and swimming in the pool. Unfortunately, R. got really, really sick (probably from an overused and undermaintained pool) and had to go to Emerson Hospital shortly after our return to get IV fluids.

About a month later, I woke up feeling really, really sick and after concluding that while it might be the worst gas I'd ever had, it was more likely appendicitis. R. came home to take care of A. and I drove myself to the hospital where they were kind enough to relieve me of my appendix and its associated unpleasantness. Driving was not the best choice, since I was still on pain medication and unable to drive it home. Fortunately, by this point grandma had arrived and rescued us all.

About a month after that (and a week after finding a tick on her hip -- weird place for a tick, and it hadn't started eating yet), I woke up and almost fell down. The vertigo persisted for a while, but a round of prednisone and some dramamine seemed to help and it has not recurred. I was able to go on rides (altho I skipped Soarin' out of ongoing paranoia) at Disneyworld in November.

The children's grandmother, C., was kind enough to join us on our visit to Florida. We had a great time and even got to see Epcot. H. came out for a few hours to visit his sister, which was also nice. T. loves coasters, and A. loves rides that go around and around. Because Dumbo's lines are just obscene, we chose Flying Carpets to go on again and again and again. C. was a tremendously good sport about this. We were very happy to be seeing the Mouse in early November this year; the lines were short and the weather was good.

We decorated a tree this year! It was the first tree of our adult lives. Apparently men living on their own don't typically do trees, and it took me a while to figure out how to do the whole tree thing, having missed out due to being raised a Jehovah's Witness. We put it on a table to keep the kids from knocking it over, and we got led light strings to avoid setting the house on fire.

R. tracked down the mysterious draft coming through our gas fireplace and then, in a fit of winter holiday generosity, fixed the same problem at the neighbors. We are all happy, and less energy is being wasted as a result. Also, he fixed some wiring problems at the same time.

My renters in the condo in Seattle moved out and almost all of my belongings were moved here, where I spent a few weeks sorting through some of them in the basement. I have a new renter, my ex-girlfriend, a completely wonderful woman in every way. She's busy getting all the problems that I could never be bothered to track down and fix ... fixed.

We didn't throw any parties this year; hopefully next year we'll do that again. I have been hiring some additional babysitting to cover a monthly trip up to Mayberrry (<-- not its real name), NH where we used to live to go to book group. It's very nice to have a few hours all to myself in the evening.

We do not have any plans to travel across country in 2011 (maybe in '12), but we do have some other vacation plans coming up in June (North Conway, different resort), August (the Cape) and November (the Mouse, again). If you'd like to coordinate with us, let us know.

I hope 2010 treated all my readers well, and 2011 is even better.