Sunday, February 29

Hugh and I share a few characteristics: but the most apparent one is our love for book-making. I have a plastic tub in the basement heaped with the hundreds of books I wrote and illustrated as a child (my parents could not bear to throw them out, and neither can I, so this chore is going to be passed on to the next generation, the poor dears). Hugh has now started down this path, too, completely unprompted by me. Although, yes, I admit to assisting his endeavors, when appealed to for help. This one was completely unaided by me, and in fact, Hugh gives the by-line to "The Printer" because he used so many pages printed off the computer! Very modest of him.
We have so many of his books now, that I am just starting to think of getting him his own plastic storage tub. But I'll put in in the attic!

Saturday, February 28

Tracks in the snow, as we walked in the woods this morning. Wild turkeys!

Friday, February 27

The view from Paul's shop, into the next industrial building in the complex.

Henry had not seen my friend Katina in quite some time. Yesterday, she stopped by after school hours. The look of surprised delight on his face when he saw her was a pleasure to behold. I managed to capture a rare kiss, but I obviously had to move fast. Sorry about the blur.

Thursday, February 26

My studio is cluttered with unfinished paintings. I counted 19 of them yesterday, an all-time personal record. I now have to thread my way carefully around the stacks. All this hustle and bustle is because I am getting ready for a one person show in June at the Manayunk Art Center. It is essentially a show of work for the grant I got from the Independence Foundation last June. The pressure to finish is on!

Wednesday, February 25

Practising for his mug shot or for his engraving on a coin? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, February 24

of summer. Meanwhile, it is snowing outside, lightly but persistantly. In a burst of pre-spring energy and optimism I walked to the local garden center this morning and picked out lots and lots of gaudy seed packets. The brighter the better. And as I walked out of the store the snow began to fall.

Monday, February 23

Other kids like to watch the TV, Henry likes to watch the fridge. Maybe he gets the same kick out of it that I get from looking at still-life paintings!

candy hearts from Valentine's Day. We had our friends Liz and Chavis over last night for dinner, and it was a big meal: roast turkey and stuffing with (most) all the trimmings. Liz brought a delicious salad. But somehow, I'd forgotten about dessert. As we were clearing away the dinner plates my brain raced quickly over the possibilities, and had to settle on leftover Valentine candies. I kept thinking that if I was a REAL adult, as opposed to the pretend grownup that I am, I would have boxes of after-dinner mints or something like that squirreled away for just such a contingency. Perhaps a bottle of port. Instead, I had to raid my kid's leftover Valentine's Day candy. Oh well! Sure looked pretty.

Sunday, February 22

Hugh just completed 100 days of first grade recently. The kids made crowns and had a party. The whole 100 days concept is a strange one.

Saturday, February 21

on the trees this evening, due to fast-changing weather patterns. Clouds one moment, streaming sunlight the next. I have been inspired by my cousin Sue Sweeney's gardening newsletter The Monday Garden to notice the beautiful "bones" of the winter trees.

Friday, February 20

Not with guns, with spray bottles of water set to "mist". Battle of the Mist. Sounds poetic. Off to do my own battle- with the laundry!

Thursday, February 19

My friend Nicole is the handwork teacher at the local Waldorf school. She now lives in my old house, and the windows now glow with her beautiful stars.

Wednesday, February 18

Henry in a meditative moment of adoration/contemplation of our dining room light fixture. His expression approaches that of the Buddha in his "serene yet remote" embodiment. Notice Henry's instinctive cross-legged pose on our dining room table. Hmmm. I mean, Ommm.

Standing in a parking lot like a sea of asphalt, I look up and see a little nest in an island tree.

Tuesday, February 17

New School
The schoolbus arrived at its new time this morning. In a good omen (I hope), Henry came running and eagerly danced onto it and into a seat. I was on tenterhooks all day. When the bus matron was helping him off at the end of the day she said "They told me to tell you he had a WONDERFUL first day!" What a relief! Of course, his behavior specialist warned me that there will be a "Honeymoon" period, then: watch out! But even just for now I am happy to be in the land of milk and honey. Or in Henry's case, the land of milk and cheese curls!

Monday, February 16

Watch as Henry runs out the door to cavort on the frozen lawn, shirtless and shoeless. With autism, you can laugh at the cold!

Friday, February 13

I had the exquisite pleasure today of bringing Peter, 10, and Hugh, 7, to the art supply store with me for the first time. They were game but uninterested: till we got there. Then it was like watching smaller versions of myself in art store mode: their breathing quickened, their eyes started scanning quickly in all directions, and both hands shot out, gently trembling, to touch all the wonderful textures and fascinating objects. It was magical. And it was very hard to tear ourselves away from the "feast".

Thursday, February 12

Katina had just had Nya's ears pierced, and the teensy little earrings are so darling. On a baby as gorgeous as Nya it is truly "gilding the lily". But who cares? Certainly not Nya, who casually fell asleep while being admired.

Wednesday, February 11

After much discussion, research and discussion with the school district (i.e. making a pain in the butt of myself), we've all agreed to change Henry from the private special needs school he is in now, to the autism support class in a local elementary school. This is a BIG change, and I hope it will be for the best. There is some regret at leaving the old school, but the new teacher seems great, and the classroom looks very organized and up-to-date. We visited today, to try and prepare him for next week's big change. Transitions with autistic kids can be (are usually) hellish, so PLEASE say a little prayer or make a little wish or think a good thought for us! We'll probably be "in the trenches" for the next few weeks.

Tuesday, February 10

Monday, February 9

Henry is so addicted to sensory stimulation that he will sometimes do anything to achieve his object. After allowing him a long period of supervised water play, I turned off the water supply to the faucet, so he wouldn't flood the bathroom. Lunch had to be made, the other children had needs which required attention, etc. But apparently Henry had not gotten his fill of water. I was downstairs in the kitchen when "CRASH!!!" There followed a stretched out nano-second of silence, the kind when one is simultaneously figuring out what the noise meant, denying that it just happened, and then accepting it. "NOOOO-OOOOH!"

Sunday, February 8

I was in the basement and came across this bin of my old dress-up dolls. I can't bear to throw them out: each flimsy little article of clothing is so saturated with hours of my childhood dreams.

Saturday, February 7

We went for a family visit to Paul's workshop, culminating in a visit to the local doughnut joint. Henry bellied right up to the bar. Peter and Hugh had worked up an appetite playing stickball in the corridor at the shop and need refueling.

Friday, February 6

This a shot from about a year and a half ago. Henry momentarily entranced by an expanding sphere of some kind. I don't even know if it was me or Paul who took the shot, as we were sharing a camera at that time. Credit to Paul, I think. But he thinks I took it. Oh well, whatever.

Thursday, February 5

"A little to the left, please."

Peter is doing a report on the Lenape, a native american tribe. He is really into it, going far beyond the assignment requirements. It really IS fascinating, and I couldn't keep from laughing as I read what Peter wrote about the "Roles of Men and Women". Like we are so different today! And what about this pre-buddhist "One with Everything" philosophy (see below)? The more things change, the more they remain the same, as someone very wise once said. Unfortunately, I am not wise enough to remember their name.

Wednesday, February 4

Henry and Paul having a little morning whirl before the bus comes. Like most autistic children, Henry loves to spin and whirl. Something to do, again, with his differently wired sensory receptors. Puts me in mind of Whirling Dervishes, like the poet Rumi. Now if Henry would only pick himself up off the floor and start writing beautiful poetry! Perhaps he is thinking it.

Tuesday, February 3

"All this was long ago, when I was still babyish and sure that everything was alive, not only the river or the rain, but chairs, looking-glasses, cups, saucers, everything."
Jean Rhys, from Wide Sargasso Sea

This time in our own yard. Hugh and his friend Jule figured out they go further if they both run and jump on one together.

Monday, February 2

a deux. Daisy has joined Peter for the morning meal. Her manners are impeccable. You'll notice SHE doesn't read at the table!

Sunday, February 1

We still call it sledding, but there is not a metal runner in sight. Nowadays it is all big air-filled snow tubes. It's like sailing downhill on a cloud! Traditional hot cocoa break though: