This may be the longest I’ve gone between blog posts. Time slides sideways; old challenges simmer; new ones poke their heads out of cold dirt like cheeky snow drops. February was either 8 or 46 days long. Julia’s behavior dominate this winter time. My excuse for not posting here is the detailed daily log of Julia that I have been keeping. Illuminating but time consuming and emotionally draining. I will write about her soon. For now, just to note that last Tuesday, she hit a new low. Julia had a screaming, crying melt down in front of school and when she was coaxed into the building, she banged her head against a wall hard enough to cause alarm about a concussion. Although I’d like to believe that it was an incident not to be repeated, self-harm could be the natural progression of the dis-regulation that has been part of everyday life. Continue reading
Happy Year of the Rat!
恭贺新禧 (gōng hè xīn xǐ) Literal translation: respectful congratulations on the New Year.
Yesterday, after cello lesson Julia and I went to The Dumpling Palace in China town for lunch and celebration. The restaurant was noisy, tables too close together, everyone was either leaning very close together to be heard talking or speaking loudly. We were asked to sit at a round table with two other small parties. The wait staff hurried from table to kitchen and back to tables. The arrival of dishes was announced and diners shouted to claim what was theirs. Julia had beef stew noodle soup, I had hot and sour soup, and we shared beef and crab juicy dumplings. Ours was a very small order for two compared to our tables mates but it filled us up. There was no encouragement to rush through the meal and the tea pot was replaced more than once. As we left, waiters wishes us a Happy New Year and when we returned the wishes, there were smiles. Continue reading
I wrote the initial draft of this entry on 11 January, and then, forgot about it. So, a bit of editing around the edges but I didn’t want to change verb tense.
It is physically satisfying to type 2020.
What a weird day! Second week of January and 65 degrees F (18C), unusual for Boston, completely foreign for someone from Wisconsin. Julia has Saturday afternoon theater workshop with a group that works with youth with disabilities to develop theater pieces. This is her second time; the workshop is 4 hours long. It is close enough (on a Saturday without traffic) that I could go home but she asked that I say close. Last week, I found an interesting diner but it is no place to stay anywhere near on a diet. I am on a diet. South Street Station is around the corner; the food court has WiFi and a Starbucks. Continue reading
Time to celebrate and throw confetti! Cheshire and Justin are going to be married.
Two weeks ago, Cheshire’s boyfriend, Justin, came over to talk about their future. Their future together. It was with so much joy that I gave him the ring that was worn by Cheshire’s grandmother, Inez Sarvetnick Schanker, and after Cheshire was born, by me. Completely serendipitously, Justin came to talk to me on David’s birthday, what would have been his 65th birthday. David’s birthday is not one of those special days that register with me but this one did as I wrote about. Having this special conversation on David’s birthday made it sweeter still, if that was possible.
Justin proposed last Friday and his parents with Julia and I joined Justin and Cheshire for a celebratory brunch after a ferry ride on Sunday. We are all very happy.
Planning is underway. Julia, who has discovered Pinterest, texted Cheshire a cake with bride and groom cats on the top and little paw prints going up the sides of the three layers. I am so very tickled that I will not be a long distance mother-of-the-bride.
State of my world:
Julia’s head scratching has not abated with the delousing and aftermath. She is losing hair and areas without hair are increasingly visible to the casual observer. I think she is doing most of her scratching at night before she goes to sleep and when she is alone in the bathroom. Anxiety, habit, stimming or something else? Years ago, the way she finally stopped scratching her skin was on a three-strike-and-she-was-sent-home-from-school program. It was radical and it worked. I don’t know right now how much scratching is going on at school — I’m checking. I don’t think that school staff would be willing to put such a discipline into effect. Of course, if it is mostly at night, that it wouldn’t work anyway. I am in full worry mode. We will visit our doctor next Tuesday and her shrink on Thursday. OT is working on it as well. Needless to say, I am without control.
I spoke with a local reporter yesterday about Shabazz High School and my experience last spring when Julia applied for admission and was first asked for an interview and then rejected before the interview took place. I talked about inconsistent messages and requirements, and apparent exclusion of kids with IEPs. I told him that just before school closed for the summer and we were about to travel, how I got a call that they were reconsidering everyone who had applied and was rejected. (I don’t remember if it was rejected without interview.) Julia couldn’t interview before traveling and when we returned home, I check out the requirements again. Julia had been summarily rejected for not doing grade level math. Neither the requirement for doing grade level math nor her math skills had changed. I decided not to put her through an interview. I acknowledged to the reporter that the school has been good for kids there and I didn’t want to jeopardize the school for those kids. And yet, what of kids like Julia? I am conflicted. Continue reading
Julia survived cheer camp. So did I.
From what I heard from the coach and what I gathered from Julia, she did not participate much on Saturday. She was content to sit on the side and watch. I have seen her do that before and if such behavior helps her integrate into a new situation, it is a good way to find herself. It must have been pretty overwhelming with cheer teams from all over doing all those cheery-type things very loudly. An unfortunate side note, Julia had her phone with her and she spent a lot of the day texting with girls back in Madison. On one hand, it was good practice, but on the other, I’ve seen this behavior consume all her attention and make her unavailable to do much else. The next day, Sunday, Julia did participate and she said she had a good time. I don’t think she performed with her team at the end of the camp but she enjoyed what she did. Continue reading
There are a few more vacations days with pictures that I want to remember that I have not posted. I’m going to retro-post the entries. This post is written on 14 August. I do miss the loveliness of an Australian winter day.
This was our last full day in Australia and we packed in as much as humanly possible into our hours. We started our morning at Taronga Zoo. It was so easy to hop onto the bus a few steps from our cousin’s house, we could have been home. One of the sweetest things about re-visiting a travel city is that each time we returned to Sydney–we had three stays of varying lengths–we grew more comfortable. Certainly, there was still lots of the city and surrounds that we did not experience, but because of our cousins’ and friend’s personal tours and our own wandering, by the end of our travels, we moved around the city easily. Continue reading
(Written 26 August 2018).
On Monday, we visited the Sydney Fish Market and just typing those words, my mouth begins to water. It isn’t that I haven’t been to wonderful fresh fish markets on the east and west coasts of the US but midwesterner that I am, my trips are few are far between. Reminding me somewhat of Seattle’s Pike Place Market but the Sydney Market was all about the fish. Busloads of Asian tourists pulled up and emptied out ready for lunch. So were we! We ate outside on a deck overlooking the water. Sea gulls competed for our sushi which drove Julia a bit nuts. After our sushi, Steph suggested we get some very big shrimp, cooked and ready to peel. I didn’t think we could eat any more but more than a dozen of the shrimp disappeared very quickly. Continue reading
(Written 28 August)
Sunday with cousins.
Sunday morning Scott picked us up for a drive and more Sydney views. Writing a month later, I don’t remember the interesting walk but perhaps I can impose on Scott to remind me. The cliffs are wild and beautiful. It was a spot where people trying to end their lives pondered jumping, but nearby the top of the cliffs a solitary man lives in a small house. When he saw people contemplating their final decision, he would come out and speak with them, invite them in for a cup of tea and somehow I imagine, a slice of cake. Life the story of the boy throwing starfish back into the sea, the kind man managed to turn many people away from the sea. Continue reading