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It’s hot in California. Which means the grass is always greener…in some land that exists partly in our imagination.

Dar is having a summer. For him that means taking off his clothes whenever possible and “tee-tee-teeing” around our backyard and our lanai (that’s “deck” if you don’t speak Hawaiian), where lucky passersby can frequently see all of him – and I mean all of him.

Wifey’s concern is that he spends a lot of time “tee-tee-teeing” when I could be tea-tea-teaching him. So I go out there in the backyard. I quiz him about the few things he can be quizzed about. His voice drops from its merry 6-year-old “tee-tee-tee” to a teenager’s gruff “unh.”

He’s also getting five hours of personalized home therapy a day, all covered by insurance. Some of you are thinking: wow, I wish my kid would get that. Trust me: you don’t want to qualify for this. You don’t want to have a kid that can’t tell you where it hurts. That leads to situations like last week, where I was treating him for constipation when he really had strep throat. So then I got the worst of both worlds – runny hot chocolate eliminations for days, and cancelled therapy while Dar was rushed to antibiotics. Fun.

Anyway, after, or between, five hours of daily home therapy, does Dar really want to be quizzed? No, but he needs it.

I keep wishing for a control in our experiment. If I could pull a Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors and glimpse my alternate-reality self for just a few brief minutes, that would be awesome.

Is this really helping him as much as anything else would?

His iPad use is getting better, but his potty-training is getting worse. What if he’d been in school or camp this summer, how would those have been different? Both better, both worse, or switched? Who knows.

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Sometimes I want him in school or camp, just to have him out of my hair for a few hours. (I have to be here at home when he’s here; the therapists aren’t babysitters.) I really shouldn’t complain, because the therapists occupy most of his time, and I seem to have enough time to blog and finish my Palgrave book. Uh, well, I know this falls under #firstworldproblems, but I also have about a dozen other projects (that you’ll learn about in due course), and I haven’t been keeping up with the job market as I should have, so every minute counts. (I guess I could stop blogging, but then what about the whole I-live-to-blog-I-blog-to-live thing?) Well, if we know he’s improving with the home therapy, that has to be good enough, right?

How is Dar’s summer affecting his brother’s summer? Should R have been enrolled in sports or music classes by now? He isn’t. I hoped maybe R would get all the benefits of second-child-status without all the drawbacks, in a sort of best-of-both-worlds scenario, but sometimes I wonder if he’s getting way too many first-child-status problems (these are NOT the same as #firstworldproblems, at least I hope not), like having parents who don’t know what to do with him other than reading to him and playing with him.

Sometimes I feel the iPad use is going magnificently well and Dar is almost like a mute neuro-typical kid. I flash that thought much more than I did a year ago. All we have to do is just load more icons, and we got a kid here!

Then at other times, like yesterday when Dar and I were visiting someone at the hospital for an hour (don’t ask)…the icons on his iPad are utterly irrelevant to the hospital. Sure, Dar can ask for the slim pickings that I brought in our backpack. But those get boring after a few minutes. Instead, Dar runs around the hospital hallways. In bare feet. Because every time I put his shoes on, he takes them off again. So every hospital employee warns me that the floor’s not clean. And Dar is strolling into other rooms anyway. And stealing food. So I spend so much time micro-managing him that I can’t speak to the person that we’re there to visit. Unless I drag Dar back into the room. So I do that. And he screams. Until the nurse shows up. And then he sexually harasses her. Well, not exactly. He puts his face on her wrist in a loving gesture that everyone who knows Dar will recognize. Then he touches her hair. He can’t get enough of touching her hair. Luckily she’s fine with it, but I’m not. And among the things I think: no, this isn’t like having a mute neurotypical six-year-old.

I don’t always feel that I love Dar. Maybe it’s down there inside me and repressed, but I don’t always feel it. However, I blog about him every week at considerable length. I think about Dar a lot. That has to count for something.

Maybe it’s love by another name.

Maybe this summer is a normal summer by another name. Maybe this summer is the best thing that could have happened to Dar, by another name.

Maybe the control in the experiment is me.

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