mama whose curiosity knows no bounds

Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

My lab coat!

I posted about my first welt pockets. Now it was time to assemble other parts to make a lab coat. It was relatively simple but I think it’s a good practice before trying tailored jacket as it has a notched collar.


Shoulder seams were sewn and neckline was stay-stitched to prevent stretch.

Collar was sewn, turned right side out, and attached to the neck line. Back of the collar was slip stitched by hand.

Notched collar attached. Hand stitched at back.


It had sew in sleeve that has very high sleeve cap. I had two gathering stitch and managed to sew on, although instruction doesn’t mention about gathering stitch. I think lab coat in general should have lower sleeve cap as we move arms a lot. It may look more dignified with high sleeve cap, but raising arms is hard and now I understood.

High sleeve cap with gathering stitches


Hems were sewn, buttonholes were made, and I attached a star-shaped gold buttons. I think I impulse purchase about 10 years ago and now it’s time to use. There is no regulation about lab coat buttons!

Tada-! Flower print, star buttoned lab coat that has exactly the right sleeve length! Yay!




Journey with K: 18 months to diagnosis #10

After we came back to our apartment, my husband sat at the dining table and started crying loudly. I joined him. I don’t remember how long we cried, but after at least 30 minutes of crying, he squeezed, really worked hard to squeeze out these words:

“We must get along.”

He repeated I don’t know how many times, he repeated, “yes we must get along well, otherwise everything will collapse”.

All I could say was “yes, we must.”

We hugged each other in pain. And he said, “we must go somewhere. I can’t stay here. Go somewhere else for a few days.”

So we wrote a quick email to our boss (who was my Ph.D. Mentor), saying, “K was diagnosed with autism. We need some time off to reorganize ourselves. I’m sorry.” The boss quickly responded, “take as much time as you need.” Beforehand, we spoke to him about K’s possible autism and early intervention because either my husband or I will be taking time off for these therapies.  He was very understanding and, kindly told me that his son was a really late talker as well and we shouldn’t worry.

We left message to K’s social worker at ALTA regional center, packed up our stuff and left the apartment. At this point, we had no idea where to go.  We just left.

First stop we ended up was Bolinas lagoon in the north of San Francisco. We often hiked with K on my husband’s back. It was already early evening, and very quiet. Just we heard the sound of waves for maybe about an hour.

After leaving, we headed south along CA-1. CA-1 runs along the Pacific Ocean shore of Bay Area. When it got dark, we decided to stay in Santa Cruz and reserved a hotel.  It was pre-smartphone era. We always carried AAA tour book and map then whenever we felt right, we found and called the hotel to book and checked in a few minutes or few hours later. Cell phone made it a bit easier, though.

At least it was not our room. That appeared a good relief for us. We somehow managed to smile and drink. Then slept hard.

We spent the next few days in Santa Cruz and Monterey area. One time at the board walk restaurant, we had a breakfast. The waitress was young, but looked so much like K’s SLP. K clearly thought so, and he reached out to the waitress. The waitress was impressed, “I’ve never seen a boy this cute!” I know, K is really cute and super handsome (it’s true!). But in my mind, I was saying to her, “but this boy is autistic, you know.”

We had some superficial fun at Monterey bay aquarium and headed home. We stopped by a Japanese bookstore in San Jose and bought several books about autism.  I was surprised to see the big collection.  I didn’t know about the high occurrence of autism in Silicon Valley. Totally ignorant parent.

We started reading. We need to understand and decide what to do. Getting diagnosis itself turned out to be a year-and-harf journey, but it was just a beginning. My journey with K won’t end until my death.



Journey with K: 18 months to diagnosis #2

While K had a referral to hearing and speech evaluation, the relationship with the head teacher at the daycare went sour.  She was very irritated that K didn’t take a nap with everyone else.  Of course for the staff, that’s the only time they could have a break, so irritation was understandable. I thought if the teacher hated K, it wouldn’t do any good to K, although the daycare center was so convenient for me.  It was located in the same student family apartment complex and it was about 30 seconds from my apartment.  Still, I started to get sick with the head teacher’s attitude, although in hindsight, it was probably full of concern.  But at that time, I didn’t understand and thought the teacher and staff were simply lazy.

I started looking for a different daycare.  It was a sort of first experience for me.  I first went to City office to obtain a directory and started calling.  I made appointment after appointment to visit the daycare, mostly home-based.  They are pretty good.  But when I told them that K didn’t take a nap, I could see everyone’s face stiffened.  Then I realized that not taking a nap was THAT bad. I kept calling. One time, I called the daycare that refused K again!  I was losing track!  I had to extend the search to larger area.

Then I found it. This preschool/daycare (14 kid capacity) was run by a very sophisticated and educated lady from India.  Her husband was from Nepal and taught agronomy at UC Davis.  I knew a few professor at agronomy department though I didn’t know him in particular.  But this made me relax a bit.  When I told her about K’s napping problem, her response was that everyone was different and we as a society were pushing children too hard to perform.  And that performance included a nap at the same time!  Since this daycare has zero-to-five, there were kids who didn’t have a nap anyway, and she assured me that it was absolutely fine if K didn’t take a nap.

Although it wasn’t close (about 10-15 minute drive from my apartment), I really wanted him to be there, being cared by this caring lady.  So we signed up.  I wasn’t exactly nice when I left the previous daycare center for the last day.

Both my husband and I took turn to drop him off and pick up.  K (and my husband and I) was much happier, but he didn’t talk and he didn’t play, either.

And the deadline for my dissertation was quickly approaching.  I had shown the draft to all the thesis committee members and had a good feedback. But printing 250 page thesis for many copies and revise it and printing again occupies the lab printer.  So to print freely, I started working at night.  It also helped me focus.

While I wait for printing, I surfed the web and made reservation for Disneyland trip (and staying in Disney resort hotel) as a reward for finishing my Ph.D..  At the same time, I searched for speech delay and K’s symptom.  “Mental retardation” and “Autism” were the things that was frequently found.  And by this time, K’s behavior changed a lot.

To be continued.


My First Post – shouts in a well

Well, this is my very first blog post.  Let me introduce a bit.  I’m a Japanese mom in late 40’s.  I have a husband, a son, and a daughter.  My curiosity is endless – thus the blog title, “Boisterousmama”.   Or just totally unfocused.  Anyway.  I’ll post whatever I’m up to.

My dominant interests are, as a mom, of course, parenting.  But in my case it’s twisted.  First, my son is severely autistic and lives in a group home.  Second, my daughter is gifted and does gymnastics.  So my parenting interest expands to special education, gifted education, gymnastics, autism/disability advocacy, etc.  Of course I still deal with a “regular” stuff like puberty and teenage (my daughter is a tween) issues, too.

Being a mom is a huge deal and occupies a huge proportion of myself.  But I’m other things, too.  For my wage earning, I am a molecular biologist.  My hobby is mostly crafts like sewing and knitting, but I’m also a novice learner of blogging and programming (oh, sooooo novice).  Then I have a bunch of diseases — lupus, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis for a starter.

So I can post on any of it.  If you are interested in what I post, read and comment, if you don’t, just ignore it.  But I know this first blog is like barbar’s scream in the well “king’s ear is donkey’s ear”…..


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