Worth a thousand words

No, no, this isn’t going to be my long-awaited picture post. Instead, it’s about picture books! On Twitter, Melissa Wiley mentioned the favorites at her house right now, and I started to reply with ours but quickly hit the 140 limit.

Gloria’s favorite is unquestionably “the big book!”, the HarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book Classics. According to Amazon, I purchased it a year and a half ago and I don’t think a day has gone by since that it hasn’t been read from. It is a great book, and a steal compared to purchasing the titles individually. Unlike many compendiums of kids’ books these are not abridged in word or illustration, nor are the illustrations reduced in size. The paper is heavy and holds up to repeated (and repeated!) readings, although I have had to tape the binding and use a bit of glue to hold the covers to the front papers. It consists of:

Goodnight Moon
Caps for Sale
Harold and the Purple Crayon
A Baby Sister for Frances
Leo the Late Bloomer
William’s Doll
If You Give A Mouse a Cookie
George Shrinks
Baby Says
From Head to Toe
Pete’s a Pizza

(The only one I could honestly do without is the very outdated William’s Doll. It introduced the idea that it was weird for boys to have dolls to my children which is what the story was trying to prevent. Heavy-handed writing is heavy-handed.)

Trixie is VERY into the whole If You Give A… series. Her favorite is If You Give a Pig a Party, but really any of them will do. Have you ever noticed the kids in those books look dismayed pretty quickly as they deal with the capricous whims of their charges? Heh heh. Welcome to my world, buddy.

Gilbert likes the Pigeon series, especially Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Gilbert has the melodramatic nature of many five-year olds, and he simultaneously feels for the pigeon, who just wants to drive the bus, fer cryin’ out loud, and yet loves beyond reason the power of telling him NO. Great, great book.

Bede is all about Seuss and Eastman right now. His decoding skills are mad but his ability to follow a plot is significantly delayed, so he really likes books like The Cat in the Hat and similar. A favorite of his is The BIG Blue Book of Beginner Books, which has six stories in it:

Put Me in the Zoo
A Fly Went By
Are You My Mother?
Go, Dog. Go!
The Best Nest
It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny

Again, a steal to get them all for one price. Bede likes to read them all, out loud, to me and Gloria. My favorite is Go, Dog. Go! but I am also fond of A Fly Went By.

So, yeah, busted that 140 character limit pretty hard, huh?

HarperCollins Treasury of Picture Book Classics

If You Give a Pig a Party

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Big Blue Book of Beginner Books

doctor doctor gimme the news

We found a doctor and she’s great! She was respectful, kind, and competent. We will be returning. She is fine with our weird selective vaccination plans.

Trixie does indeed have asthma, as I feared. She was prescribed Singulair, which blocks leukotrienes. I am almost certain the Federation fought the leukotrienes along the edge of the Neutral Zone, so I’m really glad they won’t be in Trixie’s lungs any longer.

(Also daily fluticasone propionate (Flonase) and albuterol as needed.)

Gloria’s bizarre rash is healing and merited no treatment. The doctor said to bring her in if it comes back though.

And last but not least both girls were immunized today against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, and polio.

I hope this brings the Saga of Medical Discontent to an end.

is there a doctor in the house

There’s not, you know. Today I called ten doctors and none of them could take us, either because they flat-out don’t take Medicaid or because they aren’t accepting new Medicaid patients. The latter is what really bothers me. The office staff was all pleased to talk to me (and said they were admitting new patients) and then they heard “Medicaid” and BOOM down came the Gates of Discrimination.

The only places we can get in are Resident-O-Matic clinics, where we never see the same doctor twice, the staff is rude and the wait times are thirty to forty-five minutes in the waiting room and as much again in the examining room. If you do luck out and get a doctor you like, she’s gone in a year because she’s done with her residency.

It really makes me mad.

I haven’t checked recently, but a few years ago over half the children born ithat year n Oklahoma were SoonerCare clients. There’s a huge disconnect here, do you see it?

I had an idea for health care. What if all children under 18 got free health care, regardless of income? Just like all children get free education through 12th grade. And just like all adults over 65 get free health care, regardless of income.

Huh? Equalize the playing field a little? Could it work?

toothbrushing update

Bede has requested toothbrushing on his own at least twice (“You want some brush your teeth? Okaysure, I getchoo some brush your teeth.”) and tonight allowed his entire mouth to be very thoroughly brushed, making appropriate “eee” and “aaah” sounds. Milestone! He’s not shown any interest in doing the brushing himself but I don’t care about that yet.

I feel like dental hygiene is especially important with Bede as he might be unable to articulate tooth problems before they become emergencies. Now that we’ve progressed to home brushing my next goal is a dental visit. It won’t be for months, and the first visit should be very short and maybe we can get him to let them count his teeth, no more. When he gets older I will definitely be getting sealants for him, even if he has to be sedated. I want everything to be very positive, and no forcing or coercing, you know? Better to have Bede After Dentist.

all in the family

It’s been very familial around here, which is how I like it. First of all, we were given the wonderful, amazing and almost unbelievable news that my older brother Troy’s lung cancer has done R-U-N-N-O-F-T. The hateful tumor in the upper part of his lung is gone. There is a questionable spot in one of his lymph nodes that will be biopsied and nailed with radiation if it proves “hot”, as they say. So, yes, really brilliant, fantastic news.

My niece and her children (the above brother’s oldest child) came to visit on Wednesday. Faith and Michaelie are such peas in a pod. Two smart, funny, weird kids within about a month of each other in age with the same focused interests and both homeschooled. (They both like Doctor Who, Phineas and Ferb, and the Warriors books.)

And tonight, two more of Troy’s kids came to dinner and brought their main squeezes. I made a huge pot of cauliflower-chickpea-potato curry and maaaaan was it delicious. The meal was largely silent but for the sounds of gulping, and everyone looking drugged afterward as we all regarded our distended abdomens and belched softly. So. Freaking. Good. Any time you can make eleven people happy with one meal you’ve done Very Well.

And now G-Lo the little night owl is finally compliant enough to go to sleep without yelling at me, so off we go.

Okay, okay, okay!

What does OK mean, Mommy?

[What indeed](http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/503/what-does-ok-stand-for)?

The letters, not to keep you guessing, stand for “oll korrect.” They’re the result of a fad for comical abbreviations that flourished in the late 1830s and 1840s.

The abbreviation fad began in Boston in the summer of 1838 and spread to New York and New Orleans in 1839. The Boston newspapers began referring satirically to the local swells as OFM, “our first men,” and used expressions like NG, “no go,” GT, “gone to Texas,” and SP, “small potatoes.”

Many of the abbreviated expressions were exaggerated misspellings, a stock in trade of the humorists of the day. One predecessor of OK was OW, “oll wright,” and there was also KY, “know yuse,” KG, “know go,” and NS, “nuff said.”

Most of these acronyms enjoyed only a brief popularity. But OK was an exception, no doubt because it came in so handy. It first found its way into print in Boston in March of 1839 and soon became widespread among the hipper element.


My name is feebeeglee and I’m a Facebook addict.

I’ve given up Facebook. When I gave it up for Lent I got so much more done during the day. Coming back to it the last few weeks has shown me that I really can’t moderate it, so I’m cutting it out entirely. I read an article a while back about the addictive nature of Facebook and how each new update primes your brain to seek more, like a hit off a pipe. Yeah, that’s me. So, no more!

But that means I’ll be blogging more! Yay! I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been waffling about photo storage and haven’t wanted to upload pictures. And I feel like endless text is boring. But I’m going to soldier through that and just blog, pictureless, until I decide what to do.

We’re building a new playset with some of our tax refund. Well, by “we” I mean “Sean”. It’s the biggest carpentry project Sean’s ever attempted. It will look a lot like this:

Only with different kids playing on it, you know. I assume. Need to ask Sean.

Autism Awareness Month: Repetitive behavior

*This doesn’t even touch on restricted interests, which goes hand in hand with repetitive behavior. That one gets its own post.*

Bede has never been a guy who’s much into toys. We recently rediscovered his favorite (such as it was) toy as an infant: it’s a device you can twist and shake that makes different dings and rattles depending on which part is manipulated. But Bede never did that; he just set it on the floor and spun it like a top. Over and over and over.

He went through a long period of playing with blocks, the classic kind that have alphabet letters printed on them. (That’s how we learned he knew what they all were, and their sounds.) He would line them up on the edge of the table and scream when they fell, then try again. Over and over and over.

When he got a little older, he started to watch television. He was tyrannical with the DVD player, and made it impossible to watch anything but what he wanted to watch, which was invariably the same program. Disney’s Very Merry Christmas Songs and Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas were the only thing on our TV for a year. Then the Cars root menu. Just the root menu! Over and over and over.

I have a theory about this sort of repetitive behavior (which has diminished greatly as Bede has gotten older.) I think he liked the utter sameness of one thing compared with the highly variable world around it. Was it the same movie if it was on when Faith was in the room? Yeah. How bout when he was eating pizza? Uh-huh. But wait, what if he was under a blanket on the sofa? If there were toys on the shelf? Yep. And so on. Over and over and over.

Up next: restricted interests – hyperlexia supreme!

Autism Awareness Month: Teeth

For Autism Awareness Month, I’ll be posting about life with autism. Tonight it’s about toothbrushing, which can be very difficult to accomplish with autistic children.

Bede has not had his teeth brushed for ten months. Yes, ten months. One night, I stupidly used an electric toothbrush and powerful mint toothpaste and he’s been against it ever since. I offered about once every two weeks to try to get him to agree to it and it has been frantic, panicked NO. However, I thought that maybe the move to the new house would help since everything here is “new”. I bought a new (non-electric!) toothbrush and some much milder toddler toothpaste and here’s how it went.

Me: Hey, I got a new toothbrush for you.

Bede: No, not a toothbrush.

Me: Yes, a toothbrush.


Me: -gets toothbrush, adds microscopic amount of Tom’s Silly Strawberry-

Bede: That’s Mama’s toothbrush.

Me: It’s Bede’s toothbrush.

Bede: NO. MAMA’S. TOOTHBRUSH. -pushes my hand to my mouth-

(*Notice he’s not leaving, though, which is why I pressed on*)

Me: Okay. My turn, then, your turn. -skims own teeth with brush- Say, “Eeeeee”

Bede: Eeee – NO.

Me: It’s okay. “Eeeeee”

Bede: Eeeee… -allows brush to touch his teeth and go back and forth for less than three seconds-

Me: Hey, Bede! Great toothbrushing! Way to GO, buddy!

Bede: (triumphantly) Good job! Toothbrushing! That’s Bede’s toothbrush!


It was SO HARD not to push my luck, and try to get him to open his mouth. But I know I can get there, and if I force the issue now, he might never let me near him with a toothbrush again. Over the next few weeks I’ll do a little more each time, brushing twice or three times a week. I’ll be simultaneously pushing him to do it himself. My goal is in six months to have a seven year old boy who can simply brush his teeth when told to do so.

WLH++, feeding the horde, computer upgrade

Today is Wirt L. Harris’s birthday! Happy birthday, Dad!

My friends are here and have been here since Saturday morning. The house has ten kids and four adults and it is loud and happy! We eat a lot. On Saturday we cooked three dozen eggs, two pounds of sausage, a pound of bacon, two pints of beans and about eight pounds of venison. (Saturday was to feed sixteen people since Sophia nd Josh came too.) Sunday we ate some of the Saturday leftovers and also cooked eighteen eggs, a couple pounds of ham, two five pound chickens and two pounds of broccoli, along with three loaves of bread and twelve dozen cookies. Today we made an enormous pot of venison chili, ate it all, (again, with Sophia and Josh’s help) and finished off three-fourths of the cookies and another thirteen eggs.

I have to make bread tonight so I can bake it in the morning. Yum!

In other news, my birthday is tomorrow and I have my birthday present to myself: hardware and software upgrades for my beloved Dell Mini 9. He (his name is Aristotle) got a new hard drive, new RAM and a new OS! I’ve been accruing these bits and bobs for months and got the last piece of hardware today, an external DVD drive. It was all I was waiting on and now I’m installing Windows 7. I’m very excited!

upcoming visit, a birthday

We have guests coming this weekend. It’s a perfect time to visit because for the next month we have two houses, see, so there’s room! We’re going to build an interior wall to partition off part of the garage and get an idea of what new flooring will be needed.

I’m thrilled to see the folks who are coming. I plan to cook a lot today and tomorrow. I hope my friends don’t mind the mess. It’s a pity they know me so well, I can’t blame it on moving.

In other news, Beatrice Anna snuck in and turned four when nobody was looking. I’ve turned my birthday photographer hat over to my eldest, and she has yet to post the pictures, but when she does I’ll link a few. In the meantime, [you might like to read her birth story](http://sean.gleeson.us/2006/02/23/beatrice-birth-1). It was very exciting, in retrospect. The day it happened, it was like a moment caught out of time, and absolutely the most divine of all my births.

Indoctrinating anglophilia

When I was in fifth grade, I switched schools. Someone there asked if I had been born in the UK, because I had a trace of the Queen’s English in my speech. I assure you it was not affected by me, but a natural byproduct of being raised in a home where the only thing on television was PBS, then recycled British children’s shows via 1985 Nickelodeon. The Third Eye, anyone? How about The Tomorrow People? The strongest, quickest and best, Dangermouse. And of course Doctor Who!

Thanks to the wonder of the internet I can continue this tradition with my kids. They are Whovians through and through, and Gilbert and Bede currently love Alphablocks, a CBeebies programme. Enjoy!

a visit, dinner dither, Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam

My niece and her children came to see us today. Her daughter is Faith’s age and her son is a little younger than Gloria. The lot of them get on famously. After they left I finished baking bread and apathetically wondered what to have for dinner. I’ve decided on pasta with red sauce because the kids all like it and any leftovers can still be eaten tomorrow but honestly I’m in such a rut. I need to plan meals out for the week on Sunday and be done with it.

Gilbert has been trying to say words with no vowels and he sounds like he’s speaking Klingon. Cute, lispy, five year old Klingon. Think Alexander Rozhenko.

The apathy on my part is not shared by the ravenous children who are damn tired of their mother not feeding them dinner. So long, Internets.

Gilbert Gleeson, Sam Wiggle.

Gilbert’s favorite Wiggle is Sam Wiggle. (He is also partial to Greg.)

So I knit him this Sam Wiggle Sweater, which is to say, a taxicab yellow sweater.


He likes it very much!


Better shot of the actual sweater, vs. the boy in the sweater.


Our eyes are the same color, me and Gil.


Look, two little sisters as well!


Sweater pattern is the raglan from The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, which is just an awesome book to have. The yarn is America’s own Peaches & Crème in Number 10, Yellow.

Gil is sick, girls’ haircuts

Gilbert is sick. He might have picked it up at Capitol Day, or somewhere else, who knows. He woke up puking. In a large family such as mine the domino effect lives large, so I’m preparing for the other five to sick up. I’m washing my hands every time I have anything to do with Gilbert in the fervent hope I can avoid this myself. Siiiiigh.

Today’s events include: caring for Gilbert, washing my hands every three minutes, baking that bread I made last night, which is about to overflow the bowl by this point, and the bulk of my day will be prepping for the Oncoming Sick. I have to make sure everything not washable is put away for a week or until the sickness fades so it won’t get puked on. Also making sure all the towels and prefolds are washed.

In other news, Faith and Abby got haircuts yesterday and they both look soooo cute! Abby got a stacked bob/wedge and Faith got a blunt cut right above her shoulders. Tres chic.

a retraction, musings on winter coats, Capitol Day

Sean said last night that he didn’t resist the idea of a fifteen year mortgage, he just didn’t fall over with girlish enthusiasm. So, there you go.

There are some decent sales on winter coats right now at Lands’ End. I had a coupon for free shipping, so even though the budget is tight until we get our taxes back I bought one for Bede. His current coat is flimsy, poorly made, and bulky without warmth. Really a crummy excuse for a coat. It’s from Wal-Mart (or is that Walmart, now?) and I can say with confidence that we will not buy any more coats from them unless they go up in quality. Really, it’s just junk. Not that they’re alone in that. Why do coat manufacturers think that bulk = warmth?

So Bede gets a new coat midseason. No big deal. One nice thing about having so many kids is the handmedown factor, and this will be worn by at least two of his younger sibs.

Today I need to bake some cookies and decide whether to freeze leftover chili or use it for enchiladas tonight. Enchiladas are winning. I also want to set aside some time to look into different options for midwifery training, but that may not be in the cards for today.

Sean and Gilbert are at Capitol Day for homeschoolers. We have some asinine bills proposed this year that restrict homeschooling, so I hope the turnout was good.

trixie, repelling dipes, future plans

Trixie is wearing a Jayne hat and a grey sweater, both knitted my me, and a pair of maroon sweatpants, and a swimsuit, and her Chucks. She’s ready for anything!

I’ve had trouble with Gloria’s diapers repelling because they had all gotten oily from diaper ointment. I stripped them with superhot water but it didn’t help. I had to wash them all by hand, sliding each one over my hand like a flipper and rubbing them against each other with a little dishsoap. It was tedious but it worked. Moral of this story: don’t use ointment with your cloth diapers without a liner.

We found a house to try to buy! I sure hope we can get it. We have no credit so we are not great mortgage candidates, but it’s owner will carry and we have a nice chunk for a down payment. I’m really pushing for a fifteen year mortgage but Sean is resistant. He says if we get thirty year we can pay it off early. My problem with that is, well, we never pay more than we have to on anything, so the notion that we’ll double our payments is humorous.

I think I’m going to become a midwife. I think I’d be a pretty good midwife.

baking again

Today I baked a gross of cookies. Not gross cookies, but 144 cookies. Twelve dozen! They won’t last, but good cookies are meant to be ephemeral.

(This is where a beautiful photograph of the cookies goes, artfully stacked, pleasantly lumpy. But I’m sure your imagination is even better than the real thing would be, which would be a crummy artificially lit picture shot in my dreary kitchen.)

And yesterday I made bread for the first time in a while. We’d been doing without because we had a plumbing emergency that meant I had to be a chambermaid and then four of the wee Glees got strep and then I got strep, and well, I was finally back up to snuff again to bake bread and rolls.

I love doing all our baking. I didn’t want to buy even one loaf of store bread because it tastes so bad after months of our bread, and we didn’t! We did break down and buy store cookies.

Gloria went and turned two. My baby is two!

same old same old

Not particpating in a discussion doesn’t mean it won’t happen. I guess discussion isn’t the right prase. I’m talking about something that has no established dialogue.

I’m so tired. Autism and homeschooling are being debated. What will happento the autistic children today, when they become adults who still need support, help? The people today are deciding that, with radically different agendas. Saying they all want what’s best for their kids doesn’t cover it, when the “best” in question (or the Best, which is another story!) is not agreed upon.

In Oklahoma there are two bills introduced that would curtail homeschooling freedom. One is a pain in the neck – yearly registration. It won’t pass but it wouldn’t be a big deal if it did. Sure, chinks in walls, etc etc. But still. The other one says that homeschoolers have to provide appropriate education to their kids, where appropriate is defined as the same subjects and the same time spent as a public school. That would bring Oklahoma into the select group of states that are horrible to homeschool in. It won’t pass either.

But I’m tired. I don’t want to fight. Why do these things happen? Sigh.

Alarmingly Buttery Brown Sugar Cookies

We made these today. Bede loves rolling the little dough balls in sugar (we used red, green and white) and we have now eaten enough to be faintly ill. Oof. He got so into it though, the whole process of dough ball to sugar to sheet, and patiently waited his turn between the other kids. Good times.

Brown Sugar Sugar Cookies – Large Family Edition

5.5 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups butter
2.5 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
Small amount of white sugar for garnish, optional

Make sure the butter is really soft. Cream the butter and the brown sugar, then add the eggs. Add the flour a cup or two at a time, and add the baking soda and powder along the way. Roll the dough in tablespoon-sized balls, then roll in sugar if you like. Place on baking sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Makes a lot, but we ate too many to get an accurate count, sorry. 80 cookies? 90?

The cat who came for Christmas

This is a cat. She came to our porch and cried, and it was very cold, and we let her in.


Faith immediately fell deeply in love with her. Before she was here ten minutes I knew she would be here for the rest of her life. She lets Gloria lug her about and doesn’t flicker a whisker at Bede moaning and running back and forth.

Her name is Mistyfoot.


Also. I love Sean. I went and told him about the new addition, waking him from a sound sleep in the process.



“Sean, there’s a cat in our kitchen.”


“There’s a cat. In our kitchen. She’s staying.”

“Oh.” Pause. “Do I need to go to the store for anything?”

What a guy.