Rediscovering Disney: The Little Mermaid

We’ve started trying to add to Baguette’s movie preferences. We had no luck with Cinderella (she only likes “The Work Song”) or Sleeping Beauty, and Lilo & Stitch got no reaction at all.

We tried non-Disney (or at least previously-not-from Disney) with Star Wars,* which was of momentary interest–right up until the cantina scene, at which point she started shrieking.

What is entering the rotation is The Little Mermaid. Baguette only watches about half of it, but that’s how she started watching Frozen, too. She asks for it by name (although the first time she did, when I asked her if she wanted to see Frozen, she said, “I want to see fish, please”). It’s a problematic movie, what with the stereotyped musical fish and the love-at-first-sight/hearing-without-any-real-knowledge-of-the-person.

BUT.

I’m actually less bothered by the movie than I expected to be. Because Ariel doesn’t know Eric, but he actually does have a lot of good qualities. True, he’s easily distracted and enchanted. He’s also brave, and a quick thinker. Ariel saves him, and he saves her as well. They’re mutually supportive.

What I’m saying is, they could do a lot worse.

That said?

Photo from http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Littlemermaid-disneyscreencaps.com-2976.jpg

Photo from http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Littlemermaid-disneyscreencaps.com-2976.jpg

That is a lot of Merpeople who sold their souls to Ursula. Now that he’s married off that headstrong youngest daughter, I think King Triton needs to take a hard look at reform.

*There was a brief window in which the original trilogy was available on DVD as it aired in the theaters. These are the copies we own, because I want to make sure that Baguette knows not just that Han shot first, but that Han was the only one who fired a shot.

October 2015: Scarier Than You Think

So I’ve had pneumonia. That’s meant too may trips across town to the doctor, and lots of medication. Unfortunately it’s been hard to rest, because even with taking sick days from work, Baguette still needs to go to school, and I need to drop her off. And Wicket had had a mysterious sore on her outer ear that required several vet trips for antibiotics, bandaging, rebandaging, and bandage removal.

But on the days when I didn’t have a doctor’s appointment, I took naps. Naps help. And that was my plan for Thursday–even though I did have an appointment, it wasn’t until early afternoon. So: school drop off, nap, early lunch, doctor’s appointment. It seemed like a good plan.

What that plan didn’t include, though, was what happened before Baguette woke up. Wicket, who is normally an exceptionally continent dog, had two accidents in the kitchen that morning. We never get upset at her for going in the house, because she actually works really hard at not doing that. If the dog door is closed and she’s really desperate, she scrupulously keeps it on the tile (I tried putting down paper; she went next to it and then looked at me with an expression that said, “I did’t want to mess up your nice paper! It looked special!”)

Then she started vomiting. This is something that happens only when her stomach gets too empty and she brings up bile, and we have changed her feeding schedule to accommodate that. What never happens is vomiting six times in a row.

Then she couldn’t climb onto the couch cushion that was on the floor. This from a dog who, the night before, had been jumping onto the couch with only her usual intermediate step (floor to giant memory foam thing to couch).

Then she started tilting her head to the left. Then she stopped being able to stand up. She just lay there, breathing heavily. I brought her bed out from our room so that she would have a soft spot to lie. Then she started frantically rolling, over and over in seemingly endless circles that flipped her out of her bed, but didn’t end the rolling.

I thought she was dying. I said goodbye, I told her that we loved her, I told her she’d taken good care of us. I cried and cried. I made Mr. Sandwich get off the bus as soon as he could so that he could pick up one of the counter-traffic buses and get home, because I had to take Baguette to school, but I couldn’t bear the idea of leaving Wicket alone. It was absolutely terrifying.

During her second bout of frantic rolling, it seemed like she was trying to get her collar off. So I took it off for her–and she was still. The rolling stopped, and she just lay down, exhausted but calm. I called Mr. Sandwich back, just before he was about to get on the northbound bus, and told him that I thought he didn’t have to come back, after all. I got Baguette up and fed and dressed, and had her say goodbye to Wicket, just in case. And then I crossed my fingers and took her to school.

When I came home, Wicket was still exhausted but calm. I called the vet and they had me come in right away. She still seemed like her normal self, albeit unusually tired.

What the vet thinks happened was this: The day before, Wicket had gone to the groomer. It was the place we’ve been taking her for at least five years, but that day there were different techs, and they gave her the fastest grooming to date. So the best guess is that she got stressed out by the speed grooming and her blood pressure went up, causing a small seizure or stroke. They gave her some medication to settle her stomach and sent her home.

I went to my doctor’s appointment. On the way, I started to have chest pains. My doctor gave me an EKG, and everything was normal, so it was probably just stress.

Here’s the thing: We’ve had Wicket for six years, and everyone’s best guess at the time was that she was 12 years old. That means she’s now 18. Overall, she’s in great shape–she may nap a lot, and she may be missing more than half of her teeth, but she loves her food and her walks. People are always amazed to hear how old she likely is. And no matter how long we’ve had her, I’m not ready for her to go.

The food has changed; the blood tests and x-ray showed that she has pancreatitis, so she’s on a prescription low-fat diet for the rest of her life. She’s had antibiotics and fluids, and is stronger and back to her usual scramble onto the couch. We each have follow-up appointments next week.

So all of that? Is why I can’t remember which day last week I had another kidney stone.

This October is not easy. I think this sums it up:

Made-Up Rules for Our Imaginary Children

When Mr. Sandwich and I were married, but before we had Baguette, we made many pronouncements, as you do. Some of them still hold, like leaving the restaurant when we cannot keep her quiet and calm. Some of them remain untested (we are not fans of demanding MORE candy from people when trick-or-treating, and yes, we’ve seen that happen, but she’s not really a fan of trick-or-treating). Others have fallen by the wayside.

“No junk food before age 2! There is plenty of time to eat french fries later, but they don’t need them that young!”

At just under a year, Baguette reached up and pulled a french fry from Mr. Sandwich’s mouth and ate it. She loved it. Now I just wish she’d eat fries, because that would mean one more thing she eats.

“No TV before age 2!”

At about six months, she came home from day care with a fever. She felt awful and was exhausted, but could not quite tip over into sleep. I looked for something age-appropriate and stumbled across Yo Gabba Gabba. I thought, “Wow, this show is awful.” A minute later, she passed out on her own lap, and I thought, “This show is GREAT.” From there we found Pajanimals and Sesame Street (well, I knew about that one) and Wibbly Pig and Stella and Sam. We have never watched Yo Gabba Gabba again. That show is awful.

“We will never get a portable DVD player or own a car in which one is installed, even if we have to take a hammer to it. Our children can look out the window and play the Alphabet Game like we each did.”

We are seriously considering buying a portable DVD player for the car.

Sick Days

Last Wednesday night, I felt bad. It felt like the beginnings of the flu, with muscle aches. I emailed work and told them I’d be taking a sick day. This is very unusual. I don’t usually decide until the morning. But I was pretty sure the night before.

Thursday morning I had chills, and that afternoon I spiked a fever. I felt so bad that I didn’t take Tylenol until Mr. Sandwich came home, because I needed him to get the Tylenol from the bathroom cabinet. Getting it myself was too hard.

Then I started throwing up. That was fun.

I took another sick day on Friday. Saturday evening, we went to urgent care. They said it was probably bronchitis, gave me antibiotics, and told me to see my regular doctor on Monday and stay home from work until Wednesday.

I felt too sick on Monday, but I made an appointment for Tuesday.

On Tuesday, our street was being slurry-sealed. That meant we had to park around the corner. It’s not too far, but it’s not as close as our actual driveway. I headed out to the car, and as I walked down the street, could not help but notice the four police officers and maybe a sheriff, plus the guy sitting in the back seat of one of the police cars. Possibly this explained the helicopters I’d heard earlier. I also realized that my wallet was not in my bag. Since the situation on the corner appeared to be coming to a close, I decided to check the car. My wallet wasn’t in the car. I went back to the house, just as the guy in the police car was allowed to get out of the police car. My wallet wasn’t in the house, either. That meant it was probably in the car Mr. Sandwich had taken to work (long story short, it was). But I didn’t want to drive to the doctor’s office without my wallet, and I didn’t want to walk back to the car. So I punted.

On Wednesday, my doctor gave me a new antibiotic and an inhaler. You know it’s going well when you get an inhaler. She also said that if I wasn’t feeling better on Friday, to call back and she’d send me for a chest x-ray.

I wasn’t feeling better. Weirdly, I kind of had to argue to get the chest x-ray. But I got it, and you know what?

I’ve got pneumonia.

I’ve also got yet another antibiotic (don’t worry, every time I get a new one, I stop taking the old one, AND I’m taking probiotics). And two days in, I’m still freaking exhausted and coughing. My left lung still feels like it’s stuck to itself when I breathe.

Now, mind you, through all of this, Baguette still needs to go to school. And while I may want to spend all day sitting on the couch, she really can’t. So there are still outings and whatnot.

But after stocking up on Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce, and then making minestrone, I have easy food for the next few days. So that’s good.

bowl of homemade vegetable soup

Change

Remember when I talked about how routine is important, but disrupting the routine is, too?

No?

That’s okay. Here’s a link. But you don’t necessarily need to read that, because I’ve got more examples from this weekend.

  • Mr. Sandwich read one of her “Touchy Feely” books using the adjective written on the page, but not the one Baguette prefers. She didn’t get upset, and she didn’t repeat the original phrase. Instead she corrected him, saying, “They are prickly.”
  • We were in the car, and she started to get a little fussy. She asked for her book (she has a sequence in which she reads the Touchy-Feely books, which are firmly in rotation. I asked, “Do you want Mommy to read That’s Not My Dragon?” And she answered, “I want Baguette That’s Not My Dragon.”
  • She’s been playing with the apps for The Monster at the End of This Book and Another Monster at the End of this Book. On Saturday she made up her own chant based on phrases from the apps: “Grover is furry, Grover is furry, YOU! Elmo is cute, Elmo is cute, YOU!”
  • As usual, we went to the zoo. Elephants are her favorite animal, and the demonstration enclosure is always one of our first stops at the L.A. Zoo. But the male elephant sometimes trumpets loudly and scares her. Yesterday the females were doing the demonstration, and she sat on my lap. Almost immediately, she said, “Time to say bye-bye elephants.” I said, “Are you sure? Don’t you want to watch them eat carrots?” She looked at me and said, “I want to go see giraffes please.”
  • When we reached the carousel, toward the end of our visit, I asked if she wanted to ride on one of the animals (she never does–we only ride on the bench seat). She answered with “I want to ride peacock, please.”
  • Last night, she handed Mr. Sandwich one of her stuffed animals and unilaterally changed one of her common Baguette-focused phrases (“I want Daddy take elephant”) to a straightforward instruction: “Daddy, take elephant.”
  • “Frozen” is also back in rotation, and she’s memorized even more of the dialogue. She’s also tailoring it to her own preferences, as in last night’s pronouncement: “It was an accident. She was scared. She didn’t mean it. She didn’t mean any of this. Tonight was my fault–I should be the one to go after her. Bring me my elephant.”

She’s been in school for three days. It hasn’t been easy, and it hasn’t always felt good. But it is good.

Little girl with a big stack of books

Milestone

For the past several months, we’ve been working to get Baguette into a certain school with a certain autism program. It’s been an exhausting, nerve-wracking process. After refusing our requests in the spring and seemingly lying dormant during the summer, the school district managed to make and rescind several offers over the past week.

“Emotional rollercoaster” may be a cliche, but wow, is it also true.

So yesterday we finally got the offer, which was signed by all parties. It placed Baguette in the school we want with the help we want, and it arrived just before we needed to leave the house to pick her up and take her over for enrollment.

She is enrolled. She’s in a Transitional Kindergarten class, which is a two-year program designed for students who are a little young for kindergarten. I have no idea how it’s different from Pre-K followed by K, but it is a thing that exists in the world, and it is the thing we are doing.

We’re not done–there are aides to identify and work schedules to coordinate–but one big piece of this educational puzzle is in place.

whiteboard with date and "First Day of TK" written on it

Oh, and in Los Angeles, school started on August 18. So it’s her first day of school, but it’s everyone else’s third week.

Book Talk: Station Eleven

Emily St. John Mandel’s novel Station Eleven is the book that really, really convinced me to stop reading post-apocalyptic dystopian fiction.

Sure you might think that The Road would have done that. But while I found Cormac McCarthy’s father-and-son novel to be incredibly sad (and some of it to be horrifying), most of it didn’t dismay me in the way that this book did.

Since my second miscarriage, I’ve found that I have to be more careful about what I let into my head. While I once read innumerable true crime books, I find that now I can’t handle the cruelty. (I’ve read Game of Thrones and its sequels, yes, but there are passages that make me take breaks, and there are things I skip entirely in the HBO adaptation.)

Mandel’s book hooked me from the start. It’s really well-written, and the characters are interesting. I’ve had a long-standing interest in pandemics, so her story of the world after a particularly devastating flu seemed right up my alley in many ways.

But it got in my head in ways that were troubling. The idea of being plunged into a world without infrastructure is frankly terrifying. The death toll from Mandel’s “Georgia flu” would mean an end to existing family and friendships for any survivors. And while the idea of losing either Mr. Sandwich or Baguette is heartbreaking, the idea of losing both was almost insurmountable. (As I told Mr. Sandwich, “I’m not saying I’d just sit down on the side of the road and give up, but I really don’t know why I would choose to keep moving.”)

The book is not all bleakness, though, and I’m glad I finished it. It looks like Mandel’s other books are not as dystopian, and I want to read them. And I do recommend this one. Just not to myself.

cover of novel "Station Eleven" by Emily St. John Mandel

If Waze Could Talk

Interactively, I mean, not just reading its script. (Oh, and while we’re on the subject, Waze, could you bring back Terry Crews?) But if Waze could talk, this is how our conversation would have gone today:

Me: Navigate to home.
Waze: This way is fastest!
Me: Are you sure? That seems unlikely.
Waze: It’s definitely fastest!
Me: I don’t know. I feel like it’s going to be slow.
Waze: Absolutely the fastest way home!
Me: Well, you seem pretty sure. I guess I’ll give it a shot.
Waze: Oh. Huh. This way is really slow.

So I guess crowd-sourcing isn’t always the answer.

It’s a Lot All at Once

First we had ants, and caulk and Seventh Generation Granite & Stone Cleaner and a little bit of Black Flag came to the rescue.

And then as soon as we got rid of the ants, the back yard was overrun with fleas. And I do mean overrun. We’ve tried so many things. Mr. Sandwich (who is doing most of the combating–neither Wicket nor I has gone out back in days) and I woke up one morning and compared notes to realize that BOTH of us were having dreams about diatomaceous earth. Last night was Midnight Dog Bath. This seems never-ending.

It’s also very hot.

The floor tiles in our eat-in kitchen (extending into the back entryway and 1/2 bath) are starting to come loose. I am not a fan of tile–it’s too hard to stand on at length. But what’s good in the kitchen and bathroom? I asked Twitter, and as usual, Twitter was practically no help at all (although apparently laminate is not the answer).

Oh, and since Wicket has been bitten by fleas a lot, we need to take her to the vet–and also have him look at the weird bump on her side and what is either pinkeye or a reaction to the flea shampoo, or something else entirely (what do I know? I’m not a vet).