Wednesday, June 20, 2018


I apparently haven't updated on Cat's language development since she was 15 months old. :o I keep writing blog posts in my head but never sitting down to write them, and I really don't like writing posts on my phone.

Anyway. Between 15 and 18 months she added:

- in and out

- the sign for "water"

- combining the signs "more" and "milk"

- "ba" for ball

- uh-oh

- "duh" for doggie plus various dog related sound effects

- open

- thank you

She also picked up the habit of patting a chair when she wants you to sit down.

Between 18 and 20 months:

- yeah

- no (she has recently entered that charming phase where she says "no" to basically anything you suggest)

- go

- various short sentences along the lines of "go bye" and "let's go"

- "Where'd it go?"

- beep beep

- "ba" also means bath, bowl, block, and blanket, depending on context

- "baba" for banana

- eat

- sentences "eat baba" (banana) and "eat dat"

- moo and neigh

- whee (e.g. when going down a slide)

- diaper

- combining the sign for "all done" and the word "diaper"

- "dine" for dinosaur

- when she wants to watch YouTube videos on my phone, she holds up one finger in the "wait a minute" gesture, because that's what she's seen me do!

So that makes 30-ish words and probably 4-5 different "sentences" using those words, plus whatever I'm forgetting!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Carl, why don't we have a theme song guy?

No pics today because Google Drive is being finicky and I'm lazy/tired.

One of Tad's favorite things is theme songs. Sometimes he'll scroll through PBS kids on the tablet listening to each theme song and then skipping to the next show before he actually watches any of the episode.

Lately, he's been singing theme songs.

His current favorites:

"My world turning, [unintelligible] day! Wif Mom and Daddy, I find my way! I Caillou! I Caillou! I Caillou!"

"I cure-yus, I cure-yus, I cur-yus..." (No, he doesn't ever get to George!)

"One two free four, paper cat, paper cat, paper cat..." (He's started adding the other lyrics to this song, but probably 75% of the original is "paper cat" anyway.)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Around the garden, May 2018

Pictures of plants, as one does. If the formatting is wonky, I don't even care and Blogger is terrible.

In the kitchen windowsill, I have an aloe vera plant named My Days of Not Taking You Seriously Are Certainly Coming to a Middle. I dunno, these things just happen. Anyway, it's very handy when one burns oneself cooking dinner and also provides the important service of obscuring the lovely view of the trash cans.

On the front porch we have Pepper Potts, so called because she is a peppermint plant and lives in a pot, because I have been suitably warned about invasive species. 

Also on the front porch, purple tulips. These were my late grandma's favorite flower.

Right now they look like this, which is less impressive. When I get a moment I want to rip out the evergreen shrub and hostas (I don't LIKE evergreen shrubs and hostas, okay?) and put the tulip bulbs in there along with a bunch of other flowers.

In the side yard we have my little square foot garden box. I think this diagram is mostly accurate except that I got nervous and planted like twice as much of everything as I was supposed to. Everything but the tomatoes has been planted at this point; those are going in as soon as I get the seedlings from a friend's 7-year-old who's running a nursery business this summer.

Sugar snap peas. They are having a hard time with the heat lately, but fortunately Cat loves dragging her tiny Paw Patrol watering can over and dousing them thoroughly.

Bush beans.

I think these are parsley but they are still teeny-tiny like that so who even knows?

These are a small cucumber that says "pickling hybrid" on the seed packet so by gum I am going to pickle them. In mason jars, no less.

I call this Teeny Weeny Zucchini, because it is. One hopes it will get MUCH larger considering it has an entire quarter of the garden box as its allotment. Also I want to seduce my neighbors into being my friends by giving them zucchinis.

Wait, or is it zucchinis that make people hate you? Social skills are hard.

I think, based on placement, that these little guys are basil. I'm kind of just leaving in all the random sprouts until they have 2-3 sets of leaves and I can actually tell if they're herbs or weeds.

And here's a random picture of some wild violets just because.

Friday, May 4, 2018

You don't actually have to be anything, part two

Again, disclaimer that this is basically an opinion piece and not a treatise, sorry baby koalas.

Last month was Autism Awareness Month, so of course I'm just writing about it now. :p

In my experience, these days there is a lot less emphasis on making autistic kids "normal" (though some organizations still do this, *cough*AutismSpeaks*cough*). But I also see a lot of people going in the opposite direction of labeling their kids "treasures" or "angels" and talking about how their goal is for the kid to be able to use his unique talents!!!11!

On the one hand, damn straight my kid is a treasure. You all wish you were as cool as he is, trust me.

On the other hand, I don't want him to grow up feeling like he has to play the role of "disabled kid in a Hallmark made-for-TV movie", where the power of love and friendship smooths over all obstacles and everybody rides off into the sunset together.

Tad will probably end up being good at some things. He will probably end up being bad at other things. He will almost certainly have his own opinions of what he wants to do with his life that have nothing to do with inspiring other people by "overcoming" his disability. He will almost certainly not care that nobody wants to adorn a glossy pamphlet on disability with the picture of a pimply, awkward teenager who doesn't like smiling and wears the same holey shirt several days in a row because changing into a shirt that feels different takes too many spoons.

Or he'll end up completely different than that picture I painted above, because he doesn't have to fit anybody's predefined idea of what he should be like. 

I want him to be happy and reasonably independent (is anybody 100% independent, disabled or not?) and fulfilled. But I also want him to feel like he's "allowed" to be angry or sad or overwhelmed or dissatisfied. I want him to know that being disabled doesn't mean he's a one-dimensional generic token character in the story of his own life.

It bugs me to write posts without neat little conclusions, but it would be especially inappropriate here, I think. I'm still learning. In five years or fifteen years I will probably write a completely different post on how I feel about Tad's choices in a world that's going to do its best to limit them and set up false dichotomies. But here's my fumbling attempt to say a thing anyway.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

You don't actually have to be anything

I keep seeing this shirt in the girls' section at Meijer, emblazoned with a sparkly "Smart is the new pretty." Probably there's some secret backstory and if I dislike it and don't buy the shirts then baby koalas with cancer will suffer. So let's just get out of the way up front that I'm not trying to do some kind of in-depth sociological analysis here.

So, as for "Strong is the new pretty:"


2. Dear God I hope not. Is "strong" going to be something that, in isolation from other attributes, morphs into an eldritch horror that no actual living human can achieve? Because that's what happened to "pretty", somewhere along the line.

3. My daughter is only 18 months old and she's already totally badass. But would I want her to feel like a failure if she wasn't? No, of course not. Some girls have physical disabilities. Some girls have mental illnesses. Some girls are just average people trying to get through the day. It's okay to be average at things. Hell, it's okay to be bad at things. It's okay to cry. It's okay to fail. It's okay to just decide that this hill isn't the one you're dying on and walk away. And yes, all of those things above could be looked at as "inner strength" or something along those lines, but you can't sum that up on a T-shirt.

Monday, January 22, 2018


- Cat is 15 months old now. She has added the words "all done!" and "MINE" to her vocabulary. The second one she learned from her brother. (She will also yell ALL DONE ALL DONE at him when he's being too rough.) She also says "room room" when pushing around toy cars. Or toy dinosaurs. Or anything really. She has an inherent fascination with cars that makes my feminist heart happy.

- Her other favorite toys are a couple of baby dolls and a stuffed unicorn, though, so there's a bit of the stereotypical feminine there too.

- For a while she didn't like wearing headbands or hats or the like. Now, when you put a headband on her, she will toddle over to the mirror and jabber complimentary things at herself. If no mirror is handy, she is satisfied with selfie mode on my phone camera.

Her hair is also getting long enough to fall in her eyes, which means I will probably be glad for her tolerance of piggytails. 

- She still consistently calls Tad "bubba" and he usually calls her "little girl." The other day he managed, "Dat's MY truck, little girl!" and we were all very proud. She's also sometimes "baby girl." It's a near-daily occurance here that he will be too rough with her so we'll pick her up to move her to another room and he'll follow behind wailing "DAT'S. MY. BABY. GIRL."

- She can understand several verbal directions. For example, if I hand her a wrapped cheese stick and tell her, "Take that to Daddy so he can open it," she'll toddle across the house to find Daddy and hand him a cheese stick. (He usually takes the hint.) She has also figured out that "Watch your head" means that she needs to duck or get away from the fridge--it's one of those bottom freezer affairs with the bottom of the fridge door at just the right level to clock a 1-year-old in the head.

(A lot of our interactions center around the fridge, I've noticed.)

- She recently learned how to open and close the flip top on our Contigo straw cups, which is helpful to me because sometimes Tad leaves them closed and she gets mad.

She also learned how to climb up on the piano keys and "play" them by dancing back and forth. That's...less helpful.

- She has 13 teeth--8 incisors, 4 molars, and 1 canine. The other 3 canines might kill us all, though. 

Saturday, January 6, 2018


A few days after Christmas, we got a "free" piano. Which is to say the piano itself was free, but we had to hire professional piano movers to the tune of $185 because, as it turns out, pianos are quite heavy.

According to a Google search of the serial number, this piano is about 100 years old. It's definitely showing some wear and tear, but for now everybody enjoys it and we get the satisfaction of saving it from being chopped up for Pinterest crafts. (Apparently the type of wood it's made from is quite rare?) Down the road we can get some estimates for restoring it.

Cat is genuinely trying to figure out how the keys work. Tad is starting to show mild interest in that element, but mostly he just likes to climb on it. The top of the piano is currently his second-favorite spot to hang out with his tablet, since the baby hasn't yet figured out how to climb up there.

(His #1 favorite spot is the top of the fridge. It probably says something about his temperament that "sitting on top of the fridge" is one of the things he's allowed to do.)