May 2005
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About Us

Welcome to the Brookston family blog. We'll post updates here on what's going on in our part of the world, and especially with our son, Porter, who has been diagnosed with some form of autism. Our hope is that this blog will help us deal with all the issues we'll be facing and keep our friends and family informed as well.

Jay B.


Sarah J.


Porter Brookston
born September 10, 2001


Alice Brookston
born July 7, 2004

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May 31, 2005

Educational Consultant

Categories: News, Porter — J @ 10:51 am

We met with an educational consultant this morning to get some help with Porter’s overall education needs. Since we’ve started adding outside personal tutoring such as language therapy, occupational therapy and play-based therapy we need someone to essentially pull it all together in a way that makes sense.

Plus, his school is hinting that next year they want to move him to the more advanced class for kids with austism. While this is good news and we’re thrilled that he’s responding so well and making such great progress, there’s also some bad news. The more advanced class has sixteen kids with only one teacher and two assistants, which is way too many to give any of the kids the personalized attention they need. There’s an epidemic of kids being diagnosed as autistic and the medical establishment is putting their head in the sand and pretending it’s not happening. And the schools aren’t doing much better. The teachers are trying their best to help the kids, but Governor Terminator keeps terminating school funding even though by law schools are bound to provide adequate education for special needs kids beginning at age three. So while you’d think an increase in class size would prompt any reasonable person to conclude more teachers are needed to create more classes, instead next year they’re going to split the class into two, with a morning and afternoon session. Well, you say, that sounds good, only eight to a class. And it may be better, but they’re also decreasing class time from four hours per day to two and a half hours, or seven and a half hours less per week. They claim it will be “more intense.” What bullshit. It’s about budgets and money. We’re steaming about this and are trying to figure out what to do next. We’re hoping an educational consultant will also be able to help us with this problem, too.

• • •

May 30, 2005

Flowers for Grandma & Grandpa

Categories: Photos, Porter, Family — J @ 7:40 pm

Remember those flowers that we used to leave the party Saturday without a meltdown? The ones that Porter decided were for Grandma and Grandpa? Well so did he, and today he wanted to take the flowers to them. We decided to go see the new Star Wars movie and dropped the kids off at their grandparents. But not before Porter got to happily give them the flowers. He was very insistent that the purple one was for Grandma and the pink for Grandpa. It was very cute.

Porter, ready to go, gifts in hand.

• • •

May 28, 2005

Bi-Birthday Bash

Categories: Photos, Birthdays, Porter, Alice, J, Sarah, Friends — J @ 10:20 am

Our friends John and Sarah “Shmare” share a birthday (May 31) and have been hosting joint birthday parties for the last fifteen years. This year’s was at John and Zenobia’s house in San Jose. We were looking forward to seeing a lot of our friends from when we lived in the South Bay and especially for Porter to have another chance to play with Henry and John. It was another big day for the kids (and us) and everyone had a great time.

Porter was reunited with his new best friend John as they ate hot dogs.

This year’s party included a goofy hat contest ….

Judged by the hosts and co-birthdays John and Shmare.

John and Porter found a Lincoln Log train in the playroom.

While outside Alice and I made the rounds with old friends.

Nikki snuggles with Alice.

Alice was fascinated by Dom and Jen’s new son Ethan, who’s about two months younger than her.

Meanwhile Porter stayed inside playing trains and could not be coaxed outside.

Another traditional feature of the bi-birthday are Jell-O shots, this year’s provided by Christi, John and Henry’s mom.

Sarah keeps her cake away from Alice as she tries to wriggle out of the Maya wrap.

Finally it was time to reluctantly to say goodbye. The only way we could get Porter to leave behind one of Samira’s toys was to trade for some flowers to give to Grandma and Grandpa. Much of the ride home was given to debate over which flower was for Grandma and which for Grandpa.

• • •

May 27, 2005

Recovery Day

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 5:28 pm

After Porter’s big day yesterday, he’s been plumb tired out today. When he got home from school he seemed exhausted and didn’t even want to go to O.T., which is unusual since he normally loves it. Even once we got there he wasn’t into it today and he fell asleep on the way home. He’s been asleep even since and I imagine he’ll either sleep through the night (doubtful) or wake up soon and be a bear to get to sleep tonight.

On the other hand, Alice has been very chipper and happy today. And I got to spend a lot more uninterrupted time with her.

Alice plays with her brother’s new garbage truck. While the cat’s asleep the mice will play.

• • •

May 26, 2005

Pizza Party

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice, Friends — J @ 8:34 pm

After Sarah got home and her parents dropped off Alice, we started the pizza party. Our local pizza place sells the ready made crusts so all you have to do is put on the sauce, cheese and toppings and you’ve made your own pizza. Porter loves to do this so we though we’d try it with all three boys. John and Porter took charge of sauce and cheese while Henry carefully applied the topping, most notably the even spacing of pepperoni. The boys made a cheese pizza and a pepperoni for themselves. Sarah and Christi made a wimpy mushroom and olive concoction while Pat and I made pure bliss: a canadian bacon and bacon pizza. That’s right, actual bacon pieces and canadian bacon. It took deliciousness to new heights.

First sauce is applied to the dough.

Then cheese and toppings.

Then there’s the most important step: eating the pizza.

Eventually the boys tired out from their busy day and we had to call it a night. We were sad to see everyone go, it was such a fun day. Even Alice was sad as she waved goodbye as I walked them to their car.

• • •

A Stirring Stirrat Visit

Categories: Photos, Porter, Friends — J @ 5:18 pm

Our dear friends Pat and Christi and their twin boys, Henry and John, came for a visit today. They live near Seattle these days, but we’ve known them for years when they lived down here in the Bay Area. Henry and John are about six months younger than Porter so we decided to meet at the Bay Area Discovery Museum thinking the three of them would all enjoy it. Boy were we right. They had a fabulous time and after some initial exploring by Henry and John, all three played together throughout the day. It was great fun to watch. They only managed to visit less than half the things there are to do there, but that leaves plenty of new stuff to do on their next visit.

First up was a trip to Porter’s current favorite site, the construction zone.

Then a climb to the crows nest and a look around the park.

Porter got along with both Henry and John, but John and Porter’s temperaments seemed to match each other pretty closely and they were always running off together. Here they’re making a mad dash onto the boat.

No trip to the museum is complete without a wet, wild ride down the stream with your very own fish.

John obscures his brother as Pat and the boys enjoy the undersea waterbed.

Last stop, of course, was the train room.

Back at the house, the boys relax watching Pooh’s Heffalump Movie.

• • •

May 24, 2005

Bathtime Blues

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 7:53 pm

Nobody wanted to take a bath this evening, but we perservered.

Alice went first, and had a quick bath.

Porter decided he’d rather hug his bunny than take a bath.

• • •

Heffalumping

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 4:12 pm

Pooh’s Heffalump movie came out on DVD today. Since Porter is a huge Pooh fan, we picked up a copy this afternoon after his speech therapy.

Alice and Porter enjoy the new Winnie the Pooh movie.

• • •

May 23, 2005

Monday Morning in May

Categories: Photos, Porter — J @ 8:51 am

Nothing much to report this morning, just some pictures of Porter to post that I took this morning before school.

Porter doing a Luke Skywalker impression in his pajamas.

This is Porter, after getting dressed for school, playing with the new train set his grandparents got him last week that I wrote about in A House Divided.

• • •

May 22, 2005

Play Ball

Categories: Photos, Porter, Movies — J @ 8:49 pm

So far, Porter has resisted attempts to learn to catch a ball. Perhaps he’s too young or perhaps his cross body coordination across the midline is the problem. That’s something his teacher and O.T. have mentioned in passing. At any rate, when you throw a ball at Porter he usually doesn’t raise his hand to catch it. Sometimes he’ll just let it hit his chest and drop to the ground. Other times he’ll make a feeble attempt to left his hands but doesn’t really come close to catching it. Most often he doesn’t seem to follow the ball at all and if reacts at all, it’s usually too late to do anything. Anyway, today I picked up a toy to help that is basically a tennis ball and two round discs with velcro on one side and strap to hold it on the other. I thought this might help Porter get the idea of catching the ball. I’m not sure if it did, but Porter certainly seemed to enjoy it.

Porter’s holding out his new velcro “glove.” Porter having a ball.

Here’s a Quicktime movie of Porter playing catch in his room. You can either download the movie to your desktop or just click on the link to play it in your web browser (assuming your web browser has the quicktime plug-in installed).

• • •

Up On the Roof

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 6:34 pm

Our deck on the back of the top floor behind the loft has been languishing over the winter from lack of care as leaves piled up and plants died. We knew we had to do something about it soon as warm weather seemed to be here to stay. Sarah swabbed the deck yesterday so we finally had a chance to let the kids have some fun in the sun up there today. The sandbox/water park were open for the season and Porter seemed to enjoy getting reaquainted with it this year whereas Alice got to play there for the first time.

Alice in her party dress plays with the water wheel.

Porter and his shovel kept burying his train Henry.

Sarah dared me to post this picture of the kids none to happy about a photo with Daddy. Check out that receding hairline. Scary.

• • •

May 21, 2005

Pixie Fair to Poor

Categories: Events, Photos, Porter — J @ 3:13 pm

A local park, the Pixie Park, hosts an annual fair for kids known as the Pixie Fair. Last year, Porter had a great time so we were eargerly anticipating taking him again this spring. He’s been doing so much better over the past few months that we were not prepared for what happened today. As soon as we arrived, Porter seemed overwhelmed by the crowd. We thought he might need some time to adjust so we let him lead to see where he’d take us and figured he’d settle down eventually. But he never quite got his sea legs, so to speak. The entire time we were there it was a struggle and many of his early autism signals returned. He would not make eye contact, he became almost silent and withdrawn and he didn’t want to do any of the fun things he’d enjoyed last year. We tried a few of the rides/events such as the Pixie Olympics and the Carrot Toss but invariably he seemed unhappy the whole time. Even the train ride didn’t perk him up. We cut short the day and returned to the safer haven of home.

Porter after coming through the tunnel.

Petting one of the rabbits in the petting zoo.

• • •

A House Divided

Categories: Photos, Porter, Alice — J @ 7:56 am

Sarah’s folks, without our knowledge or prior consent, bought Porter this new train set-up that includes lots of small pieces for Alice to choke on (hey they’re grandparents spoiling their grandchildren, what are you gonna’ do?). We put the boxes in the game closet, unopened, and tried telling Porter it was a toy he could only play with when Grandpa was here. Unfortunately, I don’t think he got the message. He bugged us about it all that night before finally falling asleep. The first thing he did when he came downstairs in the morning was run to the closet and bug us to open it. The first thing he did when he got home from school was … well, you get the picture. By mid-afternoon I was considering taking up binge drinking. Porter was driving me crazy and I was cursing my in-laws. Eventually, to maintain my sanity and reduce the possibility of toddlercide, I relented and came up with a sort of compromise. I put up a baby gate between the laundry room/den and the kitchen so Alice couldn’t get in that room. Then I put a step stool on the other side so Porter could get in and out. In there are the new dangerous trains and he’s happily playing with them while Alice is safely on the other side. It’s not perfect, but hopefully he’ll tire of the new trains soon.

Porter in his new playroom as Alice taunts him from the kitchen. Notice the fake smile on Porter. He’s saying “cheese.”

• • •

Fashion Plate

Categories: Photos, Alice — J @ 7:11 am

Alice pulled down this new tie-dyed dress that her grandmother recently got for her. So I put it on her this morning. It’s still a little big for her but it kinda fits.

Alice models her new dress.

• • •

May 20, 2005

Mother’s Day Movie

Categories: Events, Porter, Sarah, Movies — J @ 11:22 am

A friend of Sarah’s, Jamie, tipped me to a post Sarah made prior to Mother’s Day saying that all she wanted from Porter was for him to say he loved her. So we made this little film for Sarah, and I finally got around to making a small enough version of it to stream over the web. So here it is. Don’t worry, I won’t quit my day job.

It’s a Quicktime movie made with Apple’s iFilm entitled I Love You, Mommy and was filmed a few days before Mother’s Day. You can either download the movie to your desktop or just click on the link to play it in your web browser (assuming your web browser has the quicktime plug-in installed).

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