Monday, December 31, 2007


We've been traveling for the holidays--first to State College for a brief stop, then to Ohio for Christmas. Right now I'm in Evansville, Indiana, visiting my cousin Lu. If you're ever out this way, I recommend Penny Lane Coffee Shop--I am diving into a bowl of soy latte right now!

Friday, December 14, 2007

children held hostage?

That's the approach of a controversial new ad campaign intended to raise awareness about children's psychiatric disorders. To read more about it go to this article in the NY Times.

Vicki Forman, author of the Special Needs Mama column at Literary Mama and a good writer-mom pal, eloquently responded: “The idea of an autistic person being held hostage is a very disturbing and backward image... Rather than promote public awareness, this reinforces stereotypes — that there is something damaged about the autistic person, something in need of a repair.”

Also quoted is Kristina Chew, author of the blog Autism Vox.

To read the response of Susan Senator, the parent of an 18-year-old with autism, go to her blog.

BBDO, the agency who created the pro-bono ads for the NYU Child Study Center, stands by their campaign as necessarily provocative. The Child Study Center posted the ads, styled as "ransom notes," on their website. Earlier today I was able to view all the ads, but for some reason the images do not open up now. (Perhaps they have been removed from the center's website?)

What do you think?

Monday, December 10, 2007

we love MoMA!

Yesterday we finally took advantage of two great programs for families at NYC's Museum of Modern Art. Bob took Bobby to "A Closer Look for Kids" at the main site, while I took Stella to the "Create-Ability" program for children with special needs, starting at the Education Center.

Bobby got to have a special tour of the Martin Puryear exhibit and do some drawings of the pieces in the exhibit. Meanwhile, Stella and I went with MoMA's Sally, Amanda, and Alex (and another lucky family) to spend time with some famous paintings: Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy, Chagall's I and the Village, and Wyeth's Christina's World.

Bobby's program finished around the time we were at the Chagall, so Bob took over with Stella and I took Bobby for a snack in the cafe. Then we rejoined the Create-Ability team for some art-making time in the classroom!

Friday, December 07, 2007

happy birthday, Mom!

Yes, we have two Sagittariuses (Sagittarii?) in the family. My beautiful young mother celebrated her birthday yesterday. Here she is with the gift she got from her sister Jan, my godmother. (That's my beautiful baby sister Katy to her right.)

When I was little, Mom's birthday always signalled the time when the holiday season began in earnest. I recall one night walking over to my grandparents' house (my father's parents lived next door to us) for a special birthday dessert for Mom. The first snow crunched under my shoes and sparkled like diamonds under the lamppost. I think we had custard pie.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

signing time for Stella?

I've heard such great things about the Signing Time DVD series that I'm thinking about getting some of them for Stella. We have never pursued signing with her, but I'm thinking it might be helpful. She certainly was enthralled by Rachel at the Buddy Walk!

So, readers, please give me your sense of whether it's a good idea to get her started now. She's six, she approximates a lot of language and speaks in sentences, but sometimes it's hard to understand her (and it's hard for her to communicate). Is it too late? Is it worth a try? If so, which disc should we start with? Any suggestions welcome!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

in a dark time

When Bob and I first met fourteen years ago, he was reading Roethke (one of the things that really impressed me about him), and found this poem particularly moving. It is sadly appropriate now. Bob has decided he needs to live apart, at least for the short term. He is moving into an apartment nearby and will be with the kids nearly as much as before, but I am having a very hard time with it all.

In a Dark Time

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood--
A lord of nature weeping to a tree,
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What's madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall,
That place among the rocks--is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is--
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark,dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.

--Theodore Roethke