Oy. Now my updating time comes courtesy of a flat tire, which is keeping Alison stuck at Leah's school with two squalling toddlers in the car. I offered to go pick up the twins while she waits for AAA, but apparently AAA will be there by the time we get there, and the girls are going to go inside and play at the school while they wait.
I've had some vivid dreams lately. Two nights ago, I dreamed that I read Harry Potter 6 and it kind of sucked -- there was no mention of Voldemort at all, for one thing, and for another there was some nonsense about giving Harry some sort of supernatural aspect... I closed it, in the dream, and wondered if JK Rowling had lost her mind, but then I decided that she was just setting up a bunch of really cool stuff for book seven and I got worried about her because of the public lashing she would take for boox six.
When I woke up, I had to remind myself that the tome hasn't even come out yet. I had that sense of real disappointment.
Then the night before that, I dreamed that Kevin and I were getting married, and I was laughing and laughing to myself about how funny it would be if I just forgot to buy a dress. Then I realized it was my wedding day, and I had indeed forgotten, and my mother and I ran around trying to find something that wouldn't need altering. We ended up at Bob's Wedding Mart and Shampoo Yard (?) and of course I couldn't find anything. Right before I woke up, I remember thinking, "Who the hell allowed me to forget to shop for a wedding dress? Where are my friends?"
Damn. We're watching the video for Queen's "I Want To Break Free" right now -- our only time free of Dora or Blue on TV today, I'm sure -- and man, I don't remember all the weird spandex bodysuit acrobatics. I remember the stuff of the band all dressed up as frustrated housewives, but the other bit felt foreign to me. And I know I've seen the video before. You'd think I'd remember Freddie and a bunch of people dressed in flesh-colored unitards, doing strange routines that include everyone lying down and rolling so that they moved Freddie's prone form across them all.
Last night I watched Animal House for the first time. It came on AMC, so it was somewhat edited for TV -- the only universe in which "bastard" can become "buzzard" -- but I got the gist of it anyway, and I think that counts as a viewing even though I missed out on some stuff. My sister filled me in on anything that was problematically excised. I'm going to chalk that one up as "done," not that it's on any particular list of mine.
This is nice and rambling, isn't it? Leah had a bad night last night. When she can't communicate the problem, she gets frustrated, and that turns into a lot of crying and screaming. I wonder if she had a nightmare or something; all I know is she kept screaming and crying and the only thing that would calm her down was Alison. Then she'd reach a point where she'd go, "Bye Mommy," and Alison would leave, and Leah would start wailing again moments later. The poor kid. I remember episodes like this from when she was two, and we didn't know yet that she was autistic. She suddenly, during one of my visits, started screaming and crying almost all the time and wouldn't be apart from Alison. If Alison went to the bathroom, Leah would sit outside the closed bathroom door and cry until Alison emerged. That's how dependent she felt, probably because Alison was her best shot at somebody who could maybe understand her. We took her to the doctor because her screaming sounded so much like she was in pain, but she was fine; in the end, this was probably the first sure sign that her communication difficulties were stemming from something bigger.
I love that little girl so much.We all do. We wish we could make it better, but it's such a hard condition to understand. (I won't call it a disease.) Nobody knows for sure how the mind of an autistic child works, because each one has its own nuances and quirks, and trial and error is the only way. When Leah resisted letting anyone brush her hair, Alison did some research and found word of an autistic adult who wrote a book and mentioned that when he was little, he wept when his hair was brushed because he could feel every strand so acutely and brushing it felt like ripping through his own skin. That cleared up a lot, so she found different ways to handle Leah's hair, including keeping it a bit shorter. It's little things like that -- who would ever have thought that a condition like this could connect a kid to his or her hair like that?
We're lucky she's diagnosed as mildly autistic, and we know that. It gives her the best chance of someday matriculating into a school that isn't special-ed-based. But unfortunately, autism is enough of a mystery that we don't actually know how her mild autism will take shape, or how she'll grow into it -- or even out of it. I think the hardest part for Alison is the waiting -- she has to wait and wait and wait to find out what that really means.