Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Luck Has Nothing to Do with It

I rarely remember my dreams, and when I do, they typically fade quickly. This morning, when the alarm woke me, I was dreaming about people telling me how lucky I am to be able to stay home with my daughter, and the feeling of resentment that their words evoked.

When we learned we were having a baby, we looked for a house. We were in an apartment in Chicago, and there was no way we were raising a child in the city (plus the apartment was too small, anyway). We ended up moving about 30 minutes south of his job, and I worked right up to my due date, schlepping boxes as a receiver in a bookstore. I went back to work after a few weeks, working part-time on weekends and one night a week. Living so far from friends was pretty isolating, but at least I had a little time with other adults a few days a week.

The amount I could make in retail would have been consumed entirely with daycare, so it made financial sense for me to be at home and work only part-time. When we got the diagnosis of autism it was one more reason to be glad that I was able to be home. It wasn't luck, it was necessity, and the fact that my husband made enough that he could support us all if we were careful. When the store I worked for closed, I just stayed at home. But it was hard, so hard. I could go days without talking to an adult other than my husband. Not only was I isolated by geography, now I was isolated by a diagnosis. I don't think friends knew what to say to me.

When I started taking belly dance classes, I got to talk to other adults again. I made friends, awesome and funny women. One class became two when I added yoga, then three when I added tai chi, and it was wonderful. Adults! Who wanted to talk about things other than autism!

My husband had gotten a new job, considerably farther away -- a 60-mile, one-way commute, 4 days a week. (He worked from home once a week.) We had to move closer. We had to do it before she was in high school, because the high schools in the district where we were living were not good for her. So we moved. We found the perfect house, with a good commuting distance, and good schools. And an hour for me to get to my classes... One hour there, one hour back, for a one hour class. Assuming no accidents or bad weather. That, coupled with my vast hatred of the expressways, meant that I wasn't able to attend those classes. So I was isolated all over again. I haven't yet found replacement classes, or a new tribe to hang with, except online.

I stayed at home because the jobs I qualify for didn't pay well enough to justify the daycare cost. I stay home now because I need to be available when she's at school. This is what I need to do for her. It's not luck. It's love, and necessity. Sometimes those things come at the sacrifice of adult time that isn't spent talking about kids and earning a meager paycheck.

It's not luck than enables me to stay home, and it's a little short-sighted to tell me I should feel that way. And to dismiss people as stay-home parents is demeaning, depressing and wrong. It's not a vacation!

I am grateful that circumstances allow me to be at home, but luck has nothing to do with it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dental Challenges

Diana has a pretty healthy mouth. She had an abscessed tooth when she was little that required extraction, and that required anesthesia, and the cost of that required that we get a little financial assistance. Since then, she's had no problems... until now.

Her awesome dentist* was able to get an x-ray of her mouth, curious to see where the adult tooth (to replace the last baby tooth in her mouth) was. What he saw was that it was growing sideways in her upper palate, and pushing on her front teeth. Oh, and she has wisdom teeth coming in. (sigh) He wants a CT scan to get a better picture of what that impacted tooth is doing, and for us to discuss the probable extractions of those teeth with the oral surgeon. That's the adventure for today.

The good news is, we're in a much better place financially than we were 10 years ago. The bad news is that for anesthesia, they're probably going to want bloodwork first (they did last time), and that will mean holding her down for the blood draw. And she's bigger and stronger and I don't know if I can do it. That was pretty traumatizing for us both.

I've been trying to explain to her what's happening today, small bites, repeated, hoping that once we're in the office she will be ready for it. I may be more anxious than she is, to be honest, and I'm doing my best not to let it show.

UPDATE: The good news is that the oral surgeon seems every bit as nice as her dentist, and they was able to get a CT scan in about 30 seconds (my husband had to marvel over the technology a bit). The bad news is holy cow is that gonna be expensive! Here's hoping insurance doesn't decide to dig in their feet over "medical necessity" again.


_______
* I cannot recommend Dr. Steve Kuhn highly enough. He and the whole staff are worth the long drive we have to make, because he's just freakin' fantastic.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Groovy Girls, Again

I'm not sure why, but something has rekindled Diana's interest in the Groovy Girls dolls by Manhattan Toy, and her Google skills are mighty. She is more than capable of finding ones she doesn't have, and with her memory, if she says she doesn't have it, you can bet on it.
Why am I so willing to indulge her, when she doesn't really even play with them? These are wonderful dolls, they are cute and quirky and colorful and (most importantly) appropriate for young girls, so much more so than Barbie. If she wants dolls that aren't sexed-up, she can have 'em! And I am happy to support Manhattan Toy for making them. (Where can you buy them, other than online? Check here!)

After a second census, this population is 134, with 16 duplications.
Duplicate dolls have been given different outfits.

The website used to have a list of the dolls by year, but doesn't seem to be there now. I had maintained a list of them for years, because I can't keep track of them the way she can. Now that she's suddenly interested in them again, and I'm way behind. I've reached out to Manhattan Toy and hope that they can provide me a list of the more recent dolls, because my list ends in 2009 (and may be incomplete for that year). 

In case I am not the only one, I'm sharing my list here, and I'll update it if/when I hear back from them.

GROOVY GIRLS DOLLS 

I made several lists you might find useful, grouped first by the name of the doll, then by year released (hoping to update that soon), then by various special collections of doll (all the mermaids, for example).


Adalaene, Irish Steppin’
Adrianna – poseable
Ailene
Aleika – poseable
Alesa
Amara
Amelia
Amelina
Analise – poseable
Anastasia Sparkle
Andie – poseable
Angelique
Anya – poseable
Aqualina Mermaid
Ardella – Girl Scout fun pack
Aria, Gimme a G! – fun pack
Ariana
Asher
Ayanna
Ayumi – poseable
Ballroom Bella
Bastian
Becca Butterfly
Becca, Basketball – fun pack
Belisima Ballerina
Bella-Mae
Betsy, Birthday Wishes
Bianca Ballerina
Bindi
Binni Ballerina – fun pack
Blake
Bobby (with Suzy Q) Rock Around the Clock
Brandice -poseable
Brandon
Brenna
Brida Ballet – fun pack
Britta
Brylee –poseable
Cadence
Cali Candy Cane (Christmas)
Camilla
Candy Corn Carrisa (Halloween)
Caring Caitlin – Girl Scout
Carissa
Celeste
Charissa Cat (Halloween)
Charisse, Ready to Rock – fun pack
Chef Charlotte
Chelsi
Chrissy (Christmas)
Christmas Christa
Cicely
Cinder Sue (Halloween)
Clara (Easter)
Connor
Considerate Christa (Brownie Scout)
Corbin
Countessa (Halloween)
Courageous Camara -Girl Scout
Dani Dragonfly
Danika
Daphne
Darci
Dari - Candy Kingdom
Darise
Deck the Halls Dessa
Dela
Dennell
Dhara
Dylan
Ellie Mae
Ember - Halloween
Evie, Saddle Up – fun pack
Fair Faye
Faith Flower girl
Fatina - Candy Kingdom
Fayla Fairy
Fenia
Fleur
Fleurabella
Franchesca Fairy
Franci
Friendly Fiona – Girl Scout
Gabi
Gabrielle
Galexia
Garnet Glitterbella
Gavin Groom
Gimma A G! Aria – fun pack
Gwen
Hadlee, Groovy Games gymnast fun pack
Harper, Groovy Games soccer fun pack
Helena, Groovy Games swimmer fun pack
Helpful Haylee
Holiday Hannah
Holiday Wishes Hadley
Honest Hala – Girl Scout
Hope (Canada)
Iku
Inez
Inga
Irina
Isadora
Izzie
Jacinda
Jackson
Jada
Janisse
Jarett
Jayna
Jennibelle bride
Jennica & Gavin bride/groom set
Jordan
Josh, Attitude on Wheels – fun pack
Josie
Kali (with Krista), Fashion Blizzard – fun pack
Kalvin
Kami
Karly
Kassi
Kassidy, Belle Esprit – fun pack
Katrina
Kayla
Kelsey
Kendra
Kenna
Kieran
Kinzey
Kiri – Girl Scout fun pack
Knight Keanan
Krista (with Kali), Fashion Blizzard – fun pack
Kyle
Kylee
Lailie, Birthday Girl – fun pack
Lakinzie
Lana Ladybug
Larissa
Latasha
Leticia
Lexi
Libbi & Louie
Linae
Liza
Lourdes
Lucy
Lupé
Lycia
MacKenna Mermaid
Macy Mermaid
Maddie
Maddie Mermaid
Maren
Marissa
Marissa Mermaid
Max
Maya Mermaid
Melina Mermaid
Melinda Bridesmaid
Michaela
Molly Mistletoe – Christmas
Moonlight Madness Shatrina – fun pack
Myla
Myra Mermaid
Nadia
Nanette, Chic Boutique
Natalya, Chic Boutique
Nicole, Chic Boutique
Nina
Noella
Nora
O’Ryan
Oki
Petal
Petula
Phoebe
Pilar
Prince Lance
Princess Ariana
Princess Bella Bubblegum - Candy Kingdom
Princess Candy Heart Cassidy - Candy Kingdom
Princess Dahlia
Princess Dazzelina
Princess Isabella
Princess Leilani
Princess Liliana
Princess Lolipop Lola - Candy Kingdom
Princess Lucinda
Princess Peony
Princess Seraphina
Princess Sharissa
Raelyn
Raina
Rayannah
Reese
Respectful Roxi – Girl Scout
Responsible Rilee
Reva, Sticker Snazzmatazz – fun pack
Rochelle, Sticker Snazzmatazz – fun pack
Roxanna
Roxette
Ruby Mae
Safari Kari
Sage
Samuel
Sarina Soccer – fun pack
Sarita
Sasha, Posh Party – fun pack
Savanna
Saywer, Surfer – fun pack
Sean
Seanna
Selia
Sesilia
Sharissa
Shatrina, Moonlight Madness – fun pack
Shauna, Spa Splendor – fun pack
Shayla (2)
Shika
Sidra (2)
Siri
Snowflake Sophie (Christmas)
Snowy Sensation Winter Rose – fun pack
Solana
Starletta
Strong Sierra (Brownie Scout)
Suki
Suzy Q (with Bobby) Rock Around the Clock
Sylvie Starr (Christmas)
Tali
Tamae
Tamsen
Taryn
Tegan
Tessa
Tessa Tannenbaum (Christmas)
Thora
Tomiko
Trini
Trissa
Tyanna Tannenbaum (Christmas)
Valana
Vanessa
Vanessa (USA)
Verity (UK)
Victoria (Canada)
Vivica (Valentine)
Willow Witch
Winter Rose, Snowy Sensation – fun pack
Yvette
Zadie
Zane
Zanita
Zarah
Zelma
Ziggy
Zoë

GROOVY GIRLS BY YEAR
1998
Lexi
Liza
Lucy
Lupé
Zane
Zarah
Ziggy
Zoë

1999
Max
Michaela

2000
Gabi
Gwenn
Jacinda
Jackson
Jada
Janisse
Jarett
Jayna
Jordan
Josie

2001
Kami
Karly
Kayla
Kelsey
Kendra
Kinzey
Posh Party Sasha – fun pack
Samuel
Sarita
Sean
Sesilia
Shika
Sidra
Siri
Solana

2002
Belle Esprit Kassidy – fun pack
Fashion Blizzard Kali & Krista – fun pack
Kalvin
Kyle
Marissa Mermaid
Tali
Tomiko
Trini
Vanessa (USA)
Verity (UK)
Victoria (Canada)

2003
Bindi
Blake
Brandon
Brenna
Britta
Carissa
Celeste
Cicely
Danika
Daphne
Darci
Myra Mermaid
Sticker Snazzmatazz Reva – fun pack
Sticker Snazzmatazz Rochelle – fun pack

2004
Ailene
Angelique
Ayanna
Groovy Games Harper (soccer) – fun pack
Groovy Games Hadlee (gymnast) – fun pack
Groovy Games Helena (swimmer) – fun pack
Gwen
Hope (Canada)
Noella
Oki
O’Ryan
Prince Lance
Princess Lucinda
Reese
Vanessa
Willow Witch
Yvette

2005
Chic Boutique Nanette
Chic Boutique Natalya
Chic Boutique Nicole
Chrissy (Christmas)
Clara (Easter)
Countessa (Halloween)
Kassi
Kenna
Kieran
Kylee
Larissa
Leticia
Lourdes
Petal
Seraphina (princess)
Sharissa (princess)
Valana
Vivica (Valentine)

2006
Binni Ballerina – fun pack
Dylan
Ellie Mae
Ember (Halloween)
Faith Flower girl
Francesca Fairy
Gwen
Jennibelle Bride
Jennica & Gavin bride/groom set
Melinda Bridesmaid
Melina Mermaid
Oki
O’Ryan
Reese
Rock Around the Clock Bobby & Suzy-Q set
Roxanna
Safari Kari
Savanna
Selia
Shayla
Spa Splendor Shauna – fun pack
Taryn
Tessa Tannenbaum (Christmas)
Trini
Trissa
Tyanna Tannenbaum (Christmas)
Vanessa
Yvette

2007
Adrianna – poseable
Aleika – poseable
Analise – poseable
Andie – poseable
Anya – poseable
Ardella – Girl Scout fun pack
Attitude on Wheels Josh - poseable
Ayumi – poseable
Bastian
Becca Basketball – fun pack
Bella-Mae
Birthday Girlie Lailie – fun pack
Brandice
Brida Ballet
Brylee
Caring Caitlin – Girl Scout
Cinder Sue (Halloween)
Courageous Camara – Girl Scout
Dari – candy kingdom
Fatina – candy kingdom
Friendly Fiona – Girl Scout
Gimma A G! Aria – fun pack
Honest Hala – Girl Scout
Kiri – Girl Scout fun pack
Moonlight Madness Shatrina – fun pack
Petula
Phoebe
Pilar
Princess Bubblegum Bella – candy kingdom
Princess Candy Heart Cassidy – candy kingdom
Princess Lollipop Lola – candy kingdom
Raelyn
Raina
Rayannah
Ready to Rock Charisse – fun pack
Respectful Roxi – Girl Scout
Roxette
Ruby Mae
Saddle Up Evie – fun pack
Sarina Soccer – fun pack
Snowy Sensation – fun pack
Sylvie Starr (Christmas)

2008
Alesa
Amara
Amelina
Anastasia Sparkle -Christmas
Belisima Ballerina
Charissa Cat - Halloween
Considerate Christa – Brownie Scout
Fayla Fairy
Fenia
Fleur
Francie
Garnet Glitterbella - Christmas
Lakinzie
Latasha
Libbi & Louie
Linea
Lycia
Maya Mermaid
Strong Sierra – Brownie Scout
Zadie
Zanita
Zelma

2009
Princess Ariana
Cadence
Camilla
Chelsi
Connor
Corbin
Darise
Dela
Dennell
Dhara
Fair Faye – Brownie Scout
Helpful Haylee – Brownie Scout
MacKenna Mermaid
Macy Mermaid
Maddie Mermaid
Responsible Rilee – Brownie Scout


SPECIAL EDITION/COLLECTIONS
(some overlap in the sections)

Groovy Series (2) 2004, 2006
Gwen
Reece
Oki
O’Ryan
Vanessa
Yvette

Special Dolls – Valentine’s Day
Valana
Vivica Valentine

Special Dolls – Easter
Clara
Petal

Special Dolls – Halloween
Charissa Cat
Cinder Sue
Countessa
Ember
Willow Witch

Special Dolls – Christmas
Anastasia Sparkle
Cali Candy Cane
Chrissy Christmas
Garnet Glitterbella
Holiday Hannah
Holiday Wishes Hadley
Molly Mistletoe
Noella
Snowflake Sophie
Sylvie Star
Tessa Tannenbaum
Tyanna Tannenbaum

Special Dolls- Mermaids
Aqualina
MacKenna
Macy
Mady
Marissa
Maya
Melina
Melinda
Myra

Special Dolls – Princesses (and 1 Prince)
Prince Lance
Princess Ariana
Princess Bella Bubblegum
Princess Candy Heart Cassidy
Princess Dahlia
Princess Dazzelina
Princess Isabella
Princess Leilani
Princess Liliana
Princess Lolipop Lola
Princess Lucinda
Princess Peony
Princess Seraphina
Princess Sharissa

Special Dolls – Girl Scouts
Ardella*
Caring Caitlin
Considerate Christa
Courageous Camara
Fair Faye
Friendly Fiona
Helpful Haylee
Honest Hala
Kiri*
Respectful Roxi
Responsible Rilee
Strong Sierra
*fun pack

Special Dolls - RSVP
Alesa
Amara
Amelina
Darise
Dela
Dennell
Dhara
Lakinzie
Latasha
Linae
Lycia

Special Dolls – Fun Packs
Attitude on Wheels Josh
Basketball Becca
Belle Esprit Kassidy
Binni Ballerina
Birthday Girl Lailie
Brida Ballet
Fashion Blizzard Kali and Krista
Gimmie a G! Aria
Groovy Games Hadlee (Gymnast)
Groovy Games Harper (Soccer)
Groovy Games Helena (Swimmer)
Moonlight Madness Shatrina
Posh Party Sasha
Ready to Rock Charisse
Saddle Up Evie
Sarina Soccer
Snowy Sensation Winter Rose
Spa Splendor Shauna
Sticker Snazzmatazz Reva
Sticker Snazzmatazz Rochelle
Surfer Sawyer

Special Dolls – Dreamtastic
Binni Ballerina
Faith – Flower Girl
Franchesca Fairy
Gavin - Groom
Jennibelle – Bride
Melina Mermaid
Melinda - Bridesmaid
Prince Lance
Princess Lucinda
Seraphina
Sharissa

Special Dolls – Candy Kingdom
Dari and Dottilicious Puppy
Fatina and Fluffy Cotton Candy Kitty
Princess Bubblegum Bella
Princess Candy Hear Cassidy
Princess Lolipop Lola

Special Dolls – Wedding
Faith – Flower Girl
Gavin - Groom
Jennibelle – Bride
Jennica & Gavin (2-pack)
Melinda - Bridesmaid

Special Dolls – Other
Chic Boutique Nanette
Chic Boutique Natalya
Chic Boutique Nicole
Rock Around the Clock (Bobby & Suzy Q)
Safari Kari
(there may be more that should be on this list)