It’s been awhile, huh?
It’ll take me awhile to account for the three weeks, but in brief: we went to visit my sister Kate for a week, and then had some intense times here for a week, and then Mr. Book came for a week.
It was lovely to see Kate; she’s a warm and dedicated godmother to the boys, and flew us out in part because she wanted to build her relationship with them. They warmed up to her quite a bit over the course of the week, which was lovely to see. She also bought them overalls, so they’re extra snazzy little dudes this fall. Of course, it was over 90 yesterday, so it doesn’t feel much like fall yet. But in a couple of weeks, I’m sure we’ll be there.
My brother lives with Kate in the Midwest; he’s still on the kidney transplant list, and my mother has almost completed the process to become a donor for him. In the meantime, he’s doing dialysis every night. He loves his little nephews, but he’s obviously uncomfortable with little kids—he holds Kit as though he might at any moment explode. Kit has responded to his discomfort with a major charm offensive, going out of his way to grin at and flirt with his uncle.
The morning after our return to California, Joey was assessed by a psychologist and diagnosed with autism. That felt pretty terrible, although it means that Joey will continue to get behavioral therapy (ABA) through the state—the effects are good, even if the news is lousy. In the meantime, Joey is supposed to start going to a special education program at a local school when he turns three . . . but I haven’t heard anything from the school district. I asked Joey’s caseworker, and she said that I shouldn’t worry, that sometimes it just takes time. I have a meeting with that caseworker, Mariposa, on Wednesday, and will try more forcefully to get a phone number of someone in the school district whom I can call to get things moving. Joey will turn three in six weeks, and while on one level I wouldn’t mind if he didn’t actually start school until January, that would mean his going without speech or occupational therapies for more than a month.
When I found out that Joey would be transitioning to school, I asked his ABA supervisor, Jennifer, whether he might be able to join a group they run for kids up to 36 months that is sort of like two hours of preschool twice a week; it’s called the Buddies Program. Joey had his first day of Buddies on Thursday, and he cried and cried—Jennifer and the woman running Buddies each separately pulled me aside to tell me that it’s like this for all kids at first, and don’t worry. Joey calmed down once I was out of sight (in a waiting room, listening), but when I heard them practicing trick-or-treating I stuck my head out to see, got spotted—and started Joey weeping again. Poor little dude.
I want to talk more about this, but ABA is about to start. Wednesday, I’ll write again.