Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Determination and snot

Does warm weather in Minnesota always come with illness? I mean, it's no wonder we'd get sick with it going from 50 to 90 in approximately four seconds, but I guess I always block out the getting sick part of summer starting...

Anyway, I'm feeling a bit hermit-like. It's enough that I work from home, but add in Aidan being home sick for a couple days and I just haven't really been outside much. I love the new job, but if this is what it's like in warm, sunny weather, I'm a teensy bit worried that once the snow falls, I will stop leaving my bed. Or maybe that's just the constant sinus pressure talking.

Now, I know I can't mention my sinuses without someone suggesting a neti pot, so neti pot enthusiasts, listen up: I've decided to give the damn thing another try.

The thing is, it doesn't work. Sure, it's uncomfortable and makes me feel a bit like I'm drowning - as I assume pouring salt water into your head would - but the main issue I'm having is that the water never emerges from the other side of my nasal cavity, thus failing to take the nastiness with it. All that salt water is probably still sloshing around in there as I type this.

But, unlike previous forays into neti-land, I'm not giving up this time. I am determined to experience the magic of the neti pot for myself. I've watched the instructional video. I've read the ringing endorsements. I am ready to be convinced. Then again, my attention span is short, so let's hope the thing impresses me soon.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

No Thanks

I feel like over the past four years since Owen's diagnosis, I've gone through the fear and anger and all the standard emotions, and I've arrived at a place where it's just part of our lives and usually it doesn't bother me that much. I don't curse autism daily for making my baby's life harder than it needs to be. He's healthy and happy and we're lucky for that.

So I was a little caught off guard this week when we got called into a meeting where the school informed us that even though Owen is smart - really, really smart - they think that his difficulty with expressing himself through writing (and the subsequent meltdowns it causes) will pose too much of a challenge for him to enter into the gifted program next year.

The truth is that we had the same reservations and hadn't even submitted his application to the program until we got his phenomenal test scores back. And yet...having the school tell me that put me on the defensive. It's not fair. His amazing mind is in there working away, but he just can't write a paragraph about it. (Well, he maybe could, but it's hard enough that he doesn't want to and will tell you so.)

And it made me mad, like something was being taken away from him. Like autism is taking something away from him. And I haven't felt that way for a long time.

And then I felt a little bit greedy because I know how lucky we are. Like the me from four years would be telling me to be grateful because it could be so much worse. I should be happy that he is doing so well. I should be happy that we're even talking about the gifted program. And I am.

But should I really feel grateful? Grateful that this mysterious disorder hasn't taken more from him? Like it's some penance and he's getting off easy? No.

I've come a long way, but I'm not ready to thank autism for anything.

Friday, May 14, 2010

I ♥ Las Vegas

I don't know whether any of you have really been missing it, but I owe you a blog about my trip to Vegas. So here goes...

It was SO fun! I'd like to try to convince myself that it was actually more fun because I waited more than a year between visits, but I know full well that my brain is impervious to such logic. Every time I go to Vegas, I begin planning my next trip to Vegas - that's just the way it is.

This trip was a bit different for me in that it was warm enough to go to the pool (for Vegas, that means 80's) and we didn't eat a single fancy dinner. The fanciest we got was Todd English P.U.B. in the new CityCenter complex, which was good, but overpriced. BLT Burger, in the Mirage, was a much better value - plus, they have a shake called The All-Nighter that involves espresso and Bailey's (YUM!).

Truth be told, we were supposed to eat at Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante one night, but we ended up canceling our reservation because I had declared it to be "Everything fun day," during which we could only do fun things, and we were having too much fun in the dive casinos on the Strip to leave (mostly Casino Royale, which wins for most deceiving name). They had $1 margaritas. That was a good day.

The best part of the trip was spending time with some of our fabulous friends, who we don't get to see nearly often enough. Plus, I got to see one of my college friends who I hadn't seen for (this kills me) nearly a decade. And we saw LOVE, which I think must be just as amazing the 700th time you see it as it is the first (this was my second). AND I discovered a new favorite slot machine, Invaders from the Planet Moolah (They're cows, get it? And they moo in the most delightful ways!). AND I got to play the Monopoly Tycoon Bonus several times, which is always a good thing.

Oh Vegas, I keep thinking you will start to lose your luster one of these times...but it seems that we have a love made to last.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Baby, I'm Amazed

At the risk of being totally annoying and bragging about how smart my kids are, I wanted to share this image.

It's the math assessment Owen brought home the other day. You can see that he was supposed to write the fraction for each part of the hexagon, which was divided into thirds by the dotted line.

He got it wrong, writing 1/6, when the answer was 1/3.

His teacher noted: "1/3 but I can see how he thought of it as a 3D shape - so I didn't count as wrong."

He got it wrong because he assumed it was a 3D drawing of a cube and indicated that each side would therefore be 1/6 of its surface area. I'm pretty sure they don't teach that in first grade.

When I went into full-blown labor at 26 weeks 5 days gestation, the nurse in the antepartum ward -- seeing how frantic I became when told that I would be delivering that morning -- told me that her neighbor had her daughter early, too, and now that kid was grown up and graduating from high school. "And that kid is smart!" she insisted, presumably to reassure me that my preemies weren't doomed to fail in life (had I been in my right mind, I might have explained that my children's future intelligence was not my most pressing concern at that moment).

So when I get these little demonstrations of how smart they really are - added to the fact that their recent standardized test scores indicate that they're not just smart, but good test takers, to boot - it makes me more than proud. It amazes me. They amaze me. And I am so excited about where those big brains will take them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Let it Ride

As if life wasn't already on an upswing, I am headed out to the land where bartenders get up and dance on the bar...even if it's only 10:30 in the morning. And I sit, watching the routine, wondering aloud whether she is a dancer forced to bartend, or a bartender forced to dance.

Yes, yes, I'm going back to Vegas! And can you believe that it's been more than a year? I can't.

The last few times I've visited, I think I was looking forward to an escape from my everyday because my everyday was fluctuating between mildly depressing and soul-crushing. But not anymore! (Thank you, new job and husband who is not gone all the time.)

And really, what better way to celebrate the good fortune in our lives at the moment? Perhaps it will carry over on the casino floor.

So off I go, to play some Monopoly slots (and Price is Right...and Deal or No Deal...and maybe some Wheel of Fortune), and sit by the pool, and just generally eat, drink and be merry. Expect a full report next week. Viva!