Goodbye Zameen

The sad note today, on Anju’s birthday…Zameen passed away in front of my eyes. 

He had been throwing up and peeing in his area yesterday, so I had put him outside while I cleaned up.  I was quite angry, and there was some yelling.  He was very subdued, and kept away from me all day.  At night, he had some dinner and went to sleep.  This morning, I let him and Surya out, and then got the house ready for the party.  The dogs came back in right as the guests were coming in, and went into their bed area.  I didn’t really pay any attention to them all morning, and then as I was cleaning up after the party, I went over to their beds and he was laying over the side, panting, long drawn-out breaths.  I knew right away that something was wrong.  I called out to him, and he didn’t respond.

He died shortly after.

Surya got up after a little bit and walked out of their pen.  She doesn’t want to go back in, so I moved her bed out into the kitchen.

We are waiting for Pete to come home and then we’ll tell the kids to say goodbye to their dog.


Zameen: February 14, 1997 – July 24, 2008.

*Update* I was going through a limerick stage a few years ago (pre-kids!) and wrote one for all of our animals (at one time, we had 2 siamese, 1 bombay cat, and the 2 greyhounds).  Here are a couple I wrote for Zameen (he used to be my favorite, so he got two):

Zameen was an ex-greyhound racer
When his sis ran around he would pace her*.
On the couch he laid around
Dragged his elbows on the ground
When Pico** came out he would chase her.

There once was a greyhound named Lover***
Who suited his name we’d discover
One hug was never enough
to this canine playing tough
Always judge a book by its cover.

 

Rest in peace, little guy.

 
*  I always suspected Zameen was faster than Surya.  But we never really knew, because whenever they ran together, he was content just to run next to her, always looking over to see if she was by his side.  Probably one of the reasons he didn’t make it on the tracks.
** one of the siamese cats
*** All track greyhounds have racing names.  Surya’s was “Shut Up and Drive.”  Zameen’s was “Lover.”

Happy Birthday Anjali!

She had a great day…and its not over yet!  Loves all her presents from me, as well as the ones from her playgroup.  We hosted playgroup this morning and I combined that with a birthday party for her.  Everyone arrived at 10 am, and left a little after 3 pm!  The kids were having so much fun, we moms just hung out talking and eating.  Nik was right in the middle of everything: playing, fighting, following the leader, going with the flow, bossing everyone, just having a great time.

Anju kept saying “Is my puppy birdday paaty!” and running around with her new doll stroller and her ladybug costume and letting the older girls dress her in the new snow white costume she got as a gift. 

Will post pics soon.

Controversy

So, yeah, I’ve heard about this and I watched/read it, and had to put it away for a few days before I could let my mind get back to it again.  And then Pete called this morning to say that he had seen Savage on tv talking about his comments and how they were taken out of context, and how he (Pete) was just so angry and pissed off at the rash comments he made towards children with autism, and what did I think and am I not just MAD? 

And I think he was a little surprised at my response.

No, I am not mad.  Or angry at what Michael Savage said.  Sure he said a lot of hateful, spiteful things.  But that is his opinion, and thankfully, he is in a country where he can say what he thinks.  [Though I don’t know…America is certainly getting to be a place where you can’t say anything you really think, publicly, without having it just go wildly out of control and then having to apologize and seek therapy and counseling and go away from the public eye until the out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentality of the masses kicks in and then you can come back promoting some good charitable cause and sit with Oprah and cry a little and then the oh-the poor-misunderstood-now-so-noble mentality of the masses kicks in.  God.  Do I think strongly about this?]

Back to Savage.  What he said is not anything new.  And frankly, I am glad that some people have the balls to put it out there, how they really think.  Because, I would rather know what you really think, and be able to respond to it, and have a conversation about it, than always wonder if you are hiding a mess of hatred behind that smiling nodding face.  Wouldn’t you?

He has just verbalized what a lot of people think, but are afraid to say.  So they just stew in their festering pot of anger and spite and thoughts of unfairness about how that autistic child is getting all the education dollars and our normal children’s educations are getting shorted and they should just get taught the basics and shouldn’t expect a college education…what are they thinking?!  Our typical children are only getting held back when you mainstream your autistic child, because now the teacher has to teach to that level and our brilliant Hunter and our brilliant Paige cannot get the education they deserve!  I know this is how a lot of people think.  Because some of them have said so to me.

And I have been able to respond with my thoughts.  And then we have a conversation.  Not a happy one, not one where we necessarily change minds right away, but one where we each get to say our piece, and know that the other has heard it.  Both parties are equally upset about the unfairness, from their respective points of view.  And both parties need to acknowledge the weight of the other party’s pain and anger.

Can you see it from their point of view?  Let’s try. 

Michael Savage had a sibling with a mental illness, who was put in a New York institution, where he suffered and died.  Don’t you think that Michael Savage feels pain and anger about that?  As I see it, he is coming from a place of unfairness too.  His brother was not able to get the treatments and equity that is so freely (in his mind) being handed out these days, and he was really ill!  And here we are, in 2008, with 1 out of 150 kids being diagnosed with autism, a mental illness, and getting treatments and services.  To the layperson, someone who does not live with the autism on a daily basis, it just looks like a strong case for the SuperNanny

I don’t know what the right answer is.  But I definitely know that beating him down and telling him (and all the others who feel the same way) that he is wrong and cannot think like that, and definitely cannot voice it, is not the way to go.

Puppies!

That’s the kind of birthday party my daughter wants, for her 2nd birthday.  When she saw Nik trying to decide what he wanted for his (pirates), she realized that she actually had a say in the matter…and puppies it is!

We were out killing time yesterday, while Nik was in one of his therapies (one of the few where we don’t have to stay, and can leave the premises!).  Anju’s favorite coffee shop was closed for some reason, and so we went across the street to a little gift shop.  She kept up a running commentary about everything that caught her eye, and then she saw this wall of Webkinz, and she almost lost her little two-year-old mind.  I had to drag her away. 

Consolation prize: in the clearance area, I found these cute puppy head shaped coin purses, 6 of them, which I am going to give as favors to the little girls that come to her party.  She carried them out to the car, very happy with her purchase.

Reading

Nik, reading a Tintin book to me last night:

“He’s running.”

“He is POW-ing (shooting a gun)!”

“He fell down.”

“Snowy is angry.”

“Tintin died.”

“Oh.  He’s okay.”

Any guesses as to which Tintin book?  Okay, you can look.

First years

We are coming up on Anju’s second birthday. 

Two years ago, Nik had just been dignosed with PDD-NOS.  He was accepted into a early intervention therapy program 3 mornings a week, parent participation required.  I was pregnant with Anjali when we met with the therapists from the program and I could see the pitying looks on their faces when they looked at me. 

Anjali was born on July 24.  I had 3 weeks, and then Nik’s therapies started on Aug 16.  Nik had to be there at 8:30 am, and it lasted until 10:30 am.  Two of the longest hours in my day, back then. 

I call Anju my waiting room baby.  Either that, or my car seat baby.  We seem to have spent the first two years of her life driving to therapies, waiting, then driving to another therapy.  And she has handled it so well, mostly because she doesn’t know any different.  This is her life.

I can’t believe I am saying this, but I look forward to when Nik starts his preschool in a few weeks, going five days a week from 9 to 3.  I know I should be regretting the passing of time, and his growing up and growing away, but right now, I can only feel relief. 

I am looking forward to days with Anjali, with several hours at a time, uninterrupted by car rides and waiting sessions.  I look forward to playing with her, painting and drawing, listening to her little baby talk, having her help me cook (as she already does!), and just enjoying her.

As I write this, she is downstairs, digging through my purse, bringing me random stuff to explain to her (right now, Purell, and she had to try it.)

Eating

So I have one picky eater, and one who will eat all day, if I let her. 

Pete took them to the local pancake house for breakfast this morning (fast becoming a weekend tradition, where I get to sleep in a little and then make and eat my breakfast while its still hot!).  Nik got pancakes, and Anju got the french toast (kids portion). 

I thought Pete knew better.  [I always get her a regular order, and Nik the kids portion.]

Because she inhaled that and told him: “I want more.  Peeeeese?”

So he ordered her another portion, which she then proceeded to inhale.  And then ate some of his toast with jam.

Wonder what the waitress thought.

Baths

Did I mention that Anju hates taking a bath? I have to trick her…”Oh, your hair is dirty, we have to wash it!” or “Your feet are yucky…they need to get washed.” She agrees and runs over to the bathtub, helps take her clothes off, and very earnestly talks about her dirty feet or hair which needs to get washed.

Once she’s in the bathtub, however, and I turn on the water, she realizes very quickly that she hates getting washed and starts her crying. She’ll think up grand reasons for why she shouldn’t get a bath: “My tattoo! Ah-ee (Anjali) TATTOO! No mama, my tattoo!” [Both she and Nik have to have a tattoo on at any given time. Currently, they have matching pirate skull & crossbones on their upper right arms.]

Or, “I see Daddy? I see Kiki (Nikky)? ”

Or, “I wahn wahwee (water)?”

And when none of that works, she just lets it rip. And then is exhausted at the end.

And then, while getting towelled off, says, “Mommy, I want carry you? Peeeese?”

And is happy once again.