Howdy

Before I came inside to write this, Joey went into the backyard with me to feed the birds; I held the bag of peanuts and, once he was sure it was okay, he threw handfuls of them into the grass and laughed and laughed. Things are much harder with him these days: he doesn’t see any reason to follow household rules, so he hits, screams, throws things, climbs, and takes whatever he wants. He can’t have anything but a bed and soft toys in his room—we’ve had to take everything else out, piece by piece, ending when he finally stopped just emptying the dresser onto the floor and pulled the whole thing over. But he’s still his sweet, funny self. He just doesn’t feel any desire or pressure to hold back from doing exactly as he likes, and if we enforce rules, he is enraged. We’re going to be able to start ABA again soon, and we’ll be moving to a larger house this summer, which will help; this place is so just small that it’s hard to keep everything away from him.

 

I want more room for Kit’s sake, too; he’s about to be four, and I am realizing that he’d probably like to be able to have a bookshelf in his room, and maybe some toys. When he has his own room, I hope he and Joey will fight less, too. Of course they’ll fight—I had siblings, I know the score—but they’re scrapping like cats in a sack recently. Time to find a roomier sack.

 

Overall, things are good. Joey has been approved for disability, and my parents are coming in a couple of weeks to buy a house that they will rent to us and to my brother—we’re choosing a place that has a basement apartment. I’m actually looking at houses this afternoon. Feels pretty weird. Joey just finished a water music and movement class for disabled kids, and is about to start a season of baseball run by the same people—they are a completely amazing organization, and he loved the swim class. He’s started Special Olympics, and will be in school for all of June—since we’re moving houses, we still don’t know where he’ll be going to kindergarten, but I think full-time school is going to be good for him.

 

I’m on antidepressants again. I wrote and deleted a couple of blog entries about that, and I’m somewhat conflicted and a little disappointed, but after a month on drugs there can be no doubt that it was the right choice; within days, I just had so much more to give the kids and Mister Book. I’m okay now.

 

It looks like we’re going to get a Rottweiler puppy when Kit starts kindergarten (fall 2017); I kept looking into getting a service dog for Joey, and finally a woman who works with special-needs adults here in town asked what we wanted the dog to do and then told me that we should get a puppy (she recommended Rottweiler or pit bull) and train him ourselves. A purebred Rottweiler puppy might cost two thousand dollars, but a trained therapy dog costs ten times that, and my parents have offered to help us pay for him, so. We’re waiting until both kids are in full-time school so that I have the time to devote to really training him, but I’m looking into books and classes already. I very much want to do a good job. What we want the dog to do is to keep Pete from wandering away, provide companionship and emotional support, and intervene with friendly pressure when Pete is having a meltdown. Kit is still terrified of dogs, but I’ve been showing him Youtube videos of kids and Rottweilers, and he has conceded that those dogs seem like good dudes. One step at a time.

 

Kit is thriving. He loves school so much, and was so angry when I told him that school ends over the summer that I have signed him up for summer camp—he’ll spend about the same hours he does at preschool cooking and running around outside and being taught about recycling. He is so inquisitive and driven that I think a summer off would drive him bonkers. He’s chatty and sweet and funny and sometimes really bossy and unreasonable; it still seems like he just gets better and better, and while I don’t like being told (after forbidding him to do something): “Mama . . . you . . . are a monster,” I have to admit that it’s kind of funny. Since Joey gets to do all kinds of special things that he doesn’t (disability-related stuff), we’ve started each doing monthly dates with Kit—I went swimming with him and took him out for ice cream; next, Mister Book will take him to the trampoline park. He really treasures that one-on-one time, and it only seems fair that he get special outings of his own once in awhile.

 

Mister Book has grown Green-Arrow-style facial hair, and I find it adorable, which I would not have expected. I’m really just the worst spouse in this aspect: any change to your appearance is going to be initially off-putting. I hate every new haircut at first, and I am pretty bad at hiding that. But after a few days, I warmed up to the beardlet, and am now completely onboard.

 

Cricket seems to be doing well; we’ve Skyped a couple of times this year. Cricket and Kit enjoy each other enormously, and seem eerily alike—I decided just not to bring up a visit, but Nora recently told me that she’s starting to plan one. She asked whether we would want to come out there, and I had to explain that it’s really not an option with Joey these days; I think she’s planning to bring Cricket and her partner out here in the fall. Ruth sent me a long message a week or so ago, giving an account of our communication breakdown that was dramatically different from my memory and my interpretation of our messages at the time, which I reread after hearing from her; she said that she wants to be in contact, and I said that I’m not sure what that could look like, since we seem to understand and perceive things very differently. She said that we don’t have to agree, but she wants us to be in touch. I wrote back and said, well, okay, here’s how we are and have been: How are you? What’ve you been up to? She has not responded. That is okay. I was pretty angry after reading her first message—I’m not anymore, but I also don’t feel a strong need to be in contact. I don’t want to burn any bridges, but I don’t need to use this one, I think.

 

Thanks for the nudge. I hope you’re all doing well.

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