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05/05/2011

The Thursday assortment

Is it weird, I wonder, that I don't exactly know how the first part of Charlie's evaluation went?  Sure, we went in and met the evaluator, a pleasant guy with a disarming manner.  We answered his questions, filled out his forms, and laughed only a little hysterically when he asked whether there was anything unusual about Charlie's birth or infancy.  (This is a big step down in intensity from my normal response, which involves falling into a seizure of hilarity, lying on the floor and maybe kicking a little depending on how tough the room is, and then maybe shrieking, "That man stole my wallet!" if I feel the need to create a diversion.)

He took extensive notes and asked good questions, my favorite being "What's great about your kid?"  It felt good to be able to reel off six or seven things without missing a beat, which is ridiculous; any parent worthy of the name could do that.  Still, it seemed like a useful indicator of how beaten down we're actually not: "Charlie is funny, cheerful, inventive, affectionate, clever, curious, adventuresome" comes easily without a "...but."

And he explained in great detail the kind of one-on-one work he'd be doing with Charlie during the day. He was also going to meet with Charlie's teacher and spend time in the classroom observing not just Charlie, but Charlie in juxtaposition with a representative child, for the sake, I guess, of contrast.  All fine, all good, and when Charlie came home he said it was fine, and good: so I still don't know how it went.

Really, that's all he said, beyond showing me the toy he'd been allowed to keep, a water-filled glittery rubber mace.  (...What?)  And because it felt slightly absurd to grill him — "He had you repeat words back to him?  Which words?  Do you remember?  Try.  It's important." — that's pretty much all I got.  For the rest, we wait for the next phase of testing; then we wait for results.

So I think it went okay, but it does feel strange to know that someone somewhere is thinking about, tallying up, working on my kid, in a way I'm not currently privy to.

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Ben cried in the car the other day, really wailed, fat tears rolling, button nose streaming.  Why was our toddler crying?  "Because I can't find my eyebrows."

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Every year on the first Sunday in May, my town celebrates All Species Day.  It's exactly what it sounds like, a celebration of...everything.  People dress in elaborate costumes, salute various natural forces, dance around a drum circle, and generally get their grateful hippie on under the warm spring sun.

Raven-1First there's this guy in a raven suit.  Some call him Brother Raven.  I call him Brother Guy in a Raven Suit Wearing Red Danskos Crouching in a Giant Nest. Potato, potahto, I suppose.  


Raven-2 The suit itself is impressive — rather Acme Bat Man, actually — even though it's mended visibly in several places by what appears to be black electrical tape.  I thought about mentioning it and offering a fix but worried he'd peck out my liver.

Raven-3 Or sacrifice me on his altar, or at the very least give me bird lice.  Little girl nooooo don't goooooooooooo!  Your mom'll be combing that shit out for months.

Oh, and that burning thing there in the foreground?  It's a torch.  Made of a roll of toilet paper.  That's been soaked in biodiesel.  Happy flaming Beltane!

The costumes are generally fantastic, really inspired, and represent I don't know how many hours of effort.  (Unless you're me, whose creative zenith thus far has been a gray sweatsuit for Charlie supplemented by a long felt tail: "You're a mouse.  Or a rat. Or possibly a lemur.  Let's hang you from this branch and see."  This year I stuffed Ben into a too-small Elmo shirt and declared that my work here was done.  Elmo is too a species, pained-looking man whose kid just went apeshit.  I believe you when you say you don't have a TV; all I'm observing is that your toddler loves Elmo, too.  So stop glaring and blessed be.)

Lobster Anyway, there are lobsters and centipedes, hummingbirds and jellyfish, trout and birch trees and sunflowers.  There are guys dressed as Hobbits and forest gnomes, not so far from their usual look.  There are pregnant women in tie-dyed Spandex with their bellies exposed, giant and gleaming, blue-veined white in the sun.  There are babies dressed as larvae and one boy dressed as Pikachu.  

Geese There are two or three dozen white geese held aloft on poles, my favorites.  I squeal to see them every year.  They are carried nearly ten feet high, and appear, to my delight, at every parade this town ever has.  (Ours is a big puppet area. By which I mean both that we have a lot of them, and they are huge. And certainly not at all creepy. Nope!)

Cows There are marching cows of virtue: Wisdom.  Justice. Compassion. ...Vocational Training.  You know, the traditional virtues.  (Funding for the Arts cow wanted me to tell you that Alternative Energy cow headed back to his car for a minute.  No, wait, shit, I mean his bike.  His recumbent bike, if you really must know, made entirely from free-trade organic...bicycle parts...and why are we even discussing this, anyway? What have you got against Peace, Tolerance, and Adult Literacy?  What are you so afraid of?)

From the fire circle in the park to the leisurely parade down the hill, the whole thing culminates on the state house lawn downtown.  There are musicians.  A maypole.  A flutter of dancers in white.  Charlie and Ben tangled on the grass, half-wrestling and half-napping.

I love this day.  I love this town.  Days later, I'm still smiling, even though I'm also still itching from what I think were probably wood ticks.

State-house

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Today volunteers from all over the country are in Washington, DC as part of RESOLVE's Advocacy Day. They're asking for a tax credit for infertility treatment costs; for Congress and the CDC to reinvigorate the National Action Plan for Infertility; and for greater awareness of the impact of infertility and the current barriers to care.  Thank you to everyone who's there, to everyone who's meeting with their legislators locally, and to RESOLVE for channeling our energy and frustration into meaningful action.

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