Little Miss is now a woman…

Isn’t this a fabulous menarche goddess? I found it here. I remember the pieces we did in The Vagina Monologues about  the first time, and all the reactions mothers had–girls getting slapped, girls forced on birth control, girls given a beautiful feast and celebration with their female relatives.

But this is Little Miss we’re talking about.

She and I have had some basic conversation along this line, and I’ve tried to demonstrate for her as I could with my own few and far-between events. As I recall, her comment was, “I don’t think I like that.”

Join the club, honey.

But as evening draws to a close and she has used the proper tools for the job, as she is wont to do, the night is quiet. Four horsemen did not appear. The air did not fill with the sound of angry thunder and sharp lightning, and the earth did not split open. We had ice cream and a nice kiss for remembering to tell me when it happened.

Surely not the end of it. But an acceptable beginning.

Coming down to the end

We’ve been traveling a rocky road with the Captain since mid-October of last year. His behavior reverted to that of a first or second grader and has been on a hellish cycle ever since. He’s been suspended from school several times, each infraction a little worse than the last, when he said one of his teachers should be shot.

Even at home, his behavior that we’ve worked to modify under the scheme the therapists gave us many years ago (under Parenting with Love and Logic), acknowledging that his birth mother had left him with reactive attachment issues, * has gone south. He’s surly, uncooperative, passive aggressive and sometimes outright aggressive.

We had a long conversation the other night, just the two of us, where I let him say everything he wanted to say, ask all the questions he wanted to ask (you want to know how many ways I can explain why Dad and I get to make the rules and he doesn’t? A lot.) and the bottom line, what we concluded at the end was his assertion that he was going to continue to ignore our rules until he proved to us that we had to respect him enough to let him do what he wanted.


Fortunately or unfortunately, I guess it depends how you look at it, the school misbehavior has gotten serious enough that they’re looking at alternatives for him. Their suggestion at the moment is to send him to a partial hospitalization program over the summer, with intensive therapy and med management to hopefully get him under control before we’re back in school again.

Informal discussion with some of our long-time therapists yielded the conclusion, however, that we’re not going to be able to get the serious help he needs without A) spending $10,000 out of our already stretched budget for RAD therapy when he’s determined not to change or B) waiting until he actually hurts someone, and letting the corrections department deal with it.

How could we be in this place?  No parent should be here. Not after providing the child with years of all the alphabets, good food, good health care, opportunities, encouragement…. it’s heart-breaking.

So, because at 14, children in this state can decline treatment, we wanted to make sure before we tried this summer program that the Captain knew we meant what we said. So I explained to him that we found this program to help him conform to basic expect human behavior for someone his age, and while he could opt out, it wouldn’t be what he wanted. If he doesn’t attend the program, I said, then he needs to pack a suitcase and call whatever relative he thinks will take him in. (Not many, based on our informal survey.) We can’t take the risk any more.

I hate having to choose between the children. But sometimes, I guess, you feel you have to save the ones you can.

* Yes and don’t start about how the DSM-whatever says you can’t be Aspie and have RAD. You clearly can.

Fire and ice

So how’s your hypothalamus today?

What? You didn’t know you had a hypothalamus? You sure do!  It’s stuck in your brain, right between the part that makes you think Monty Python is funny and the part that makes you go to sleep when you eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Or maybe the science guys have it better.

I really wasn’t very aware of my hypothalamus until the last several months, but because of my Magical Journey through Womanhood and Beyond, my hormones have kicked the heck out of my poor little almond-shaped brain portion, and as a result, I never know what temperature it is. Except I’m at the wrong end of it.

No matter what the season, I can be freezing when everyone else in the room is looking for a fan, then stripping off all my sweaters and socks fifteen minutes later before I spontaneously combust. Since from time to time, I’m actually in court for extended periods, this, as you might imagine, creates some pretty good times.


Hot flashes? No. I’ve never experienced these, at least not in the form I read about them, with the slow growing flush spread throughout the body. I do wake up at night a couple nights a week if the room is at any normal temperature at all, just bursting with heat, and throw off the covers. This is certainly a source of much frustration to the Cabana Boy who never really knows exactly how many blankets we’ll have, but probably not as many as are comfortable for him.

Cold flashes?  I never knew there were such things, but apparently I’m not the only person to have them. Even when it’s 70 degrees out, sometimes I just can’t manage to get warm unless I immerse myself in a steaming bath and just heat through.

A lot of times my right hand will be cold to the touch and my left hand will be warm. They can’t even figure out which way to go.

So here’s my ode:

To the noble hypothalamus:

You do so many things for us,

You’ve served for half a century

And swing twixt  ice and fiery.

Tedious grows this vacillation,

I sure as hell need a vacation!

So knock it off! My temper’s rising,

Or else it’s just another phazing.

Hot to cold, and cold to heat

Into my hands, out through my feet.

Perhaps a bribe? Chocolate? A plea?

I beg you! Stop tormenting me!

Or ELSE. *

the end

* I’m a novelist, not a poet.

A rainy spring day at Niagara Falls

One of “our” Chinese students will be returning home in a few weeks, and we wanted to make sure they got to see Niagara Falls before they went home. We’d cancelled one day earlier in the year for freezing temperatures and really hoped this weekend would be better. Although we had some rain, the sun was out most of the day, and we had a great visit (since most of what you do at the Falls is get wet anyway!)

Our girls with all three Falls in the background

 We dodged rain clouds for the most part, and hardly noticed as we took the Cave of the Winds tour and went up on the Hurricane Deck. That water hasn’t warmed up yet!!

Clue to the wise: those plastic ponchos do NOT provide heat.

I realized that the last time I went on this tour, I couldn’t go up on the top because K was a small girl and we thought she’d be blown off the deck.  Guess that was awhile ago, huh?

The silvery edge of the chill gave us other interesting vistas as well:

The observation tower through the mist

And even Canada seemed a little farther way, into a misty fairyland:

And here are the intrepid climbers (you notice the parents stayed down below where it wasn’t quite so wet and cold), climbing up to the very edge of the American Falls:

We’ve now been to the Falls in three seasons, spring, summer and winter–winter has some visually stunning ice formation, but it’s much too cold to be enjoyable. Summer is likely the best. All the same, the girls were happy to visit another one-of-a-kind site in America!