November 19, 2013

Photo fatigue

My friend Mark once explained to me that while he loved cats, he is not interested in seeing photos of his friend's cats. (I myself am generally up for any cat-viewing on offer.)

Last week, I had the realization that I don't care for viewing photos of strangers' children and grandchildren. I have a dear friend who whips out her phone photo album every time we get together . . . . I don't know those people, much less their descendents!

Now I realize that I have been in the habit of sharing photos of our part-time cat, Inky. In other words, I bore my friends with pictures of a stranger's cat. To everyone, I can only say "mea culpa."

Uncle Philip and Aunt Diana (photo)

My step-brother Philip and wife, Diana

November 16, 2013

Arlo Guthrie (photo)

Alas, this is slightly blurry, but Meiya and I did ask Arlo if we could take a photo with him. Hart took the picture but he was mortified that we were such dorks.

Two ears x two boys = four surgeries (photos)

September 24, 2013

Where am I?

I wasn't lost. I just didn't know where I was going.

___________________ Jeff

September 12, 2013

Diagnosis Redux

I have long ago given up on the ceaseless quest for an accurate diagnosis for the boys. I mean, I can see the individual stars, I just don't have a name for the constellation. Like many other parents of special needs kids, I have opted to become an "opportunistic diagnostician." In other words, if a program or service requires a specific diagnosis, that's what we have!

I didn't use the term "autism" much, because no doctor or educator ever called either Jeff or Hart by that term. In fact, I studiously avoided the word for many years, for fear that Jeff would be removed from The Cove School. Cove is licensed to accept only learning disabled students. So "learning disabled," it iwas!

Lately, I have been more free with the term, although it is inexact. "Regulatory disorder" sounds so prim and clinical. Also, I use "autistic" to relay to the general public, "Appropriate social behavior cannot be assumed." That seems to work well enough.

Recently, our pediatrician, who specializes in genetic disorders, recommended having a new blood test done. The microarray shows genetic deletions which are linked to autism. I wasn't sold on the idea.* However, as the insurance pre-approval wended its way through our insurance company, I grew more and more excited about the test. "Maybe we can find out some information about your birthparents," I told Jeff. "Why not have Hart tested, too?" I asked the doctor. After the blood draw, a few weeks went by while I waited for the results.

But suddenly, I had an epiphany. Why would I expect the test to show anything? I realized years ago, intuitively if not by concrete evidence, that Hart's and Jeff's issues are caused by environmental factors. Still, hope springs eternal. 

Then the doctor phoned me to discuss of Jeff's blood test. The results revealed . . . nothing. There are no genetic abnormalities that are predictors for autism. 

* You know it is trouble when a doctor says, "The test is very expensive."

August 31, 2013

New York Times quotation, another adoption gone awry

Experts warn that adopting siblings, particularly toddlers, can take a considerable toll. “With two children coming home at 2 or 3, it is likely that one or both will have behavioral issues,” said Dr. Lisa Albers Prock, the director of the adoption program at Boston Children’s Hospital. “I tell parents to proceed with caution.”

August 24, 2013

Post-camp letter to program director

I have been meaning to write to you . . . I cannot get over the change in Jeff, since he arrived home. He is so much more articulate and mature. He has voluntarily taken over additional chores, without even being asked.

He has taken a lot of initiative in starting conversations, or participating in ones going one around him. 

This evening I took him to an adult "live lit" event, sort of storytelling for adults. He went up to compliment the storyteller whose story his liked the best, then he bought me dinner!!!!!

Jeff confided, "Now you know my secret: I think parents are really important."


April 13, 2013


I have Medusa hair this morning.
____________________________ Jeff

New Rules

I had been going out with Greg about six months, when I happened to glance at his shoulder. "Oh my God, did I give you that hickey?!" "Um, no, that was someone else." I was momentarily stunned.

Welcome to the world of middle-aged, post-divorced dating. A few decades ago when we wanted a boyfriend, hook-up, FWB or spouse, our options were constrained to people we actually knew. In fact, we were limited to people we had actually been in the same room with! We had no idea then how impoverished our choices were. Not being in a demographic that has grown up with computers and Internet access, we have run amok with the infinitude of options online.

For my age peers who shudder at the thought of online dating, I can only shrug and say there really aren't other options. Compared to other dangerous online activities, online dating is pretty benign. It is, by nature, transparent. Sure, anyone can post a photo from ten years ago or ten pounds ago, but eventually if you actually meet, this deception is quickly unmasked. In the olden days, when dating depended on actual location, you had to suffer the indignity of running into each other, or continuing to be cordial while in the same social circle. No more, thankfully. Dates than don't work out simply and quietly go away, never to be heard from again.

And what about Greg? It has been almost two years, and we still go out. A new wrinkle in the middle-aged dating scene is honesty. I realized I valued both that and his friendship too much to stalk back to my computer in a huff.

February 1, 2013