Friday, August 31, 2007

Big Labor Day Plans?

Oh yea, we got um here in Alpharetta.

Nonni and Grandpa arrive tonight from Texas.  The excitement was brewing at breakfast.  Demetrius was running around, “We are going to watch movies in the car!”  He was picking them out….at  6:30ish in the morning. Tomorrow we are driving up to spend the weekend in Chattanooga – great Aquarium up there, lots of kid friendly things to do – I know, I’ve talked about it before.  That’s a long car ride up, so movies are part of the experience.  I love that kid, because at the end of the day, he’s excited about watching movies.  He’s all guy.

Maya, well….Maya, she’s excited for Nonni to see her with curly hair.  She’s all girl.

Me?  Well, I think I need to sit with Mom for awhile.  Grandma died two weeks ago.  I wasn’t able to go up for the funeral, so I’m sad about that, and I wasn’t there for my Mom in that moment.   So I need to spend some time with her.  Probably will be just at Starbucks, just having coffee, and just listening to her talk about it.

Oh, one other thing -

There is a pool at this hotel.  You know, to dunk Grandpa in. 

Ya’ll have a good one too. Plenty of pictures to share post holiday, I’m sure. 

Posted by Jerry in 19:24:32 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Wednesday nights are turning out to be a bit tricky. The kids don’t get home from choir practice until about 7:30-ish and they have energy to burn…but they gotta get right to gettin’ ready for bed.

That goes over real well, let me tell you.

So with all the fussing and moaning going on as they are being ushered to the stairs to go up to their rooms (I always think of a club closing at this time…lights going out on the dance floor and at the bar, ah college days…..) Kim says:


Now, I’m more than few steps behind them, and all of you with autistic kids know what happens next….

Demetrius: Monster! I don’t want to be a monster! What kind of monster!?! I want to be me!

Of course he took it literal.

He calmed down, and I promised to read him a comic book. This made him happy. He ratcheted down, and then…the thumb went in his mouth. Crisis averted, or so I thought….

Demetrius: Daddy? I want to go to sleep, but I don’t want to be a monster.

I assured him Mommy didn’t mean it literally, and he was now too tired, I think, to worry that much about it.

When I got back from running, Demetrius was up fiddle-farting in his room, 5:45ish, I walked into his room, he was up looking at a book.



Posted by Jerry in 20:15:44 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Talent and Smarts

Look at this project of Maya’s from school. Superstar!

My cat is fat. Of course, we don’t own a cat, but this fact is beside the point ….

Posted by Jerry in 00:35:34 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Get Out Of My Spot!

2:17 am this morning.

Demetrius: Daddy?

Daddy: Groaaaannnnn, ughhhhh, Hey Demetrius, what’s wrong?

Demetrius: Do you need to go to the office?

Daddy: Not yet D, it is middle of the night – lets go pee-pee and go back to bed.

I put Demetrius back to bed.

2:21 am

Demetrius: Daddy?

Daddy: Yes, Demetrius?

Demetrius: Can I get into bed WITH MOMMY.

Daddy: Of course….and he gets between me and Kim.

Demetrius nods off….I get up at 4am, get ready to go to the gym…

Demetrius is in my spot before it got cold.

Kim and I both agree, Demetrius was just initially being nice – he wanted to sleep in our bed, and he wanted me out for more space.

I see a couch and a pillow in my future.

Autisic kids … whatever, he knows where the good ZZZs can be found. He also knows how to play it to get what he wants!

Posted by Jerry in 14:24:27 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Arizona State Offering Degree In Autism Education Specialization

Totally cool – I guess I’ll have to start pulling for the Sun Devils this college football season. Click here to read the news release.


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Monday, August 27, 2007

Headphones and Hibachi

This weekend we decided we were going to test Demetrius’ headphones out to see if they made a difference. To do so meant we would need to go somewhere for dinner (out) really loud – we wanted to try the Cheesecake Factory (not many places with more white noise than there) but of course, even at 5pm, there was a 247 hour wait. So instead we went to Benihana. Alot of noise right there at the table.

All the banging of knives and salt and pepper shakers, etc…and the yahooing started to drive Demetrius batty – perfect. Kim whipped out the headphones: bingo. Different child. Of course, he found Charlie Brown Christmas on the playlist, and started to stim. So we’ll take that off and he should be good to go. Kim will be sending the headset into school so the teachers can help instruct him on when he can use it, and can’t. More to come on this. We got him a Buslink ‘Musica’ 256 MB MP3 player. It is the right size and holds the perfect amount of music for what we need, and for $27, if he busts it, it ain’t like a $150 iPod went flushing down the toliet….

The other side of all of this is he was pretty worked up going into the restaurant, little did we know he was getting sick. Three hours later Kim and I were cleaning upchucked rice out of his bed, off the floor, and down the hall. Took us a while to get it all up…I always love that, cleaning up vomit while he showers and then sleeps like a babe in my spot in the bed. We scrub the floor, get the rice out of the carpet, and I then sleep on the couch (Maya’s a kicker and teeth grinder, no one gets any sleep next to her). Ahhh, the joys of parenting. Yesterday he had darn near lost his voice, and was really grouchy all day. A bad cold. Welcome back to school, Grassos. Demetrius ‘I catch everything’ Grasso is getting back into the groove. Sniffles and sore throats. He just does not have a strong immune system. I always forget this about him. Poor kid.

So a big heck yea for the headphones experiment, and bummer for the upset tummy and sniffles.

Maya, of course, absolutely loved the restaurant. She was mesmerized by the layout at the table. She loved the food cooking in front of her and the chef’s little tricks (pretending to put salt in my hair, flipping the shrimp tails up in the air and catching them in his hat, along with the salt shaker in the hat trick.)…. she tried everything he made, because she just thought he was a hoot. She cracked up a ton, but was sure to tell me, on numerous occassions on the way home, that I needed to wash my hair to get the salt out of it. She just didn’t buy that he ‘pretended’ to put salt in my hair, when she saw the salt coming out on the food while it was cooking.

She did follow up the experience with another question about Benihana yesterday, that being – if they make the food at the table, then where did they make the ice cream for dessert? Did they have an ice cream maker in the back?

Such a smart girl….



Posted by Jerry in 12:58:47 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Friday, August 24, 2007

Becoming Part of the Lexicon

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday guys, I had a very busy day at work and it simply fell off the plate. I promise to make up with a post this weekend.

As most of you know, I’m a technology worker, so one of the magazines I read is Wired. Love it! I was perusing through the latest issue and saw this statement:

What we need are more Bill Gateses — people with Aspergian focus, with a direct sensual ability to understand what a million means. They’ve got to be able to envision every angel on the head of a pin. Because when it comes to stopping the mass tragedies of today’s world, we’re going to need every one of them.

I was a bit surprised to see that a spectrum disorder was being used as a positive descriptor. Well, frankly, I was just surprised to see it used in this way at all (though this blog posting would be utterly different if it were used in a negative way)!

Clearly, this is a sign of the autistic spectrum mainstreaming. I’m not a philosopher by any means, but to me, this shows that aspects of the disability can actually be seen in a positive way and that what we are all doing – through our blogs, walks and organizations like Autism Speaks – is making an impact.

Even a small one in a columnist’s monthly piece!

You guys might want to start dropping that ‘Aspergian Focus’ into your cocktail party conversations.

The whole article can be read here.

Posted by Jerry in 14:07:43 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Last night I got home late from work, just in time for bed time. As I came in from the garage (garage connects to pantry/powder room area, which connects to kitchen), Demetrius is standing in the kitchen.

Buck Naked.

Playing with himself, staring at the counter.

Daddy: Hi Demetrius, what are you doing?

Demetrius (hand on his merchandise): Oh, hi Daddy.  How was your day at the office.

Daddy: Good.  Where’s Mommy (always a safe and smart question to ask in moments like these).

Demetrius: Upstairs with Maya.

Daddy:  Where are your pjs?

Demetrius: I haven’t put them on. Oh, I better go upstairs. Okay, nice seeing you. Good bye. Come see me in bed.

Two things here -

#1 – I caught him just before he was going to do something. What it was, I do not know.  But it couldn’t have been good.  My presence, well, stymied the goal until  he is next alone….and naked.

#2 – When I was a younger man, do you know how many times I wished Kim would have been in the same situation to greet me at the door when I came in?  Once or twice for sure. Maybe in a French maid’s outfit.

What was he up to……hmmmmmmm…..             

Posted by Jerry in 23:48:34 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Lucky Dog

I’ve mentioned before that I’m often jealous of Kim because she gets to do things with the kids that I don’t.  Great example:

This morning she shows up at the kids school to have lunch with Maya.  Maya doesn’t know, surprises her.  Big hugs, big smiles hand holding of Mommy to show her in line where you get your tray, where the milk is, etc..both have burgers for lunch.

Kim sits down with Maya at the table…Maya proceeds to talk to her new girlfriends all through lunch about the day.  Mommy, well, Mommy’s just there…sitting next to Jack. Another little boy in the neighborhood who says to Kim: “Don’t you know my Mommy from the pool?”  Kim: “Yes Jack, I’m Maya’s mommy.” Jack: “Okay.”

Kim listened to the little girls, obviously – it was all very serious about the morning activities.  In the interim, Demetrius’ class walks in for lunch.  Kim waves to Demetrius.  He looks over her way, sees his Mommy, smiles and then covers his ears….too much to process with all the noise in the cafeteria….and his Mommy sitting over yonder.

Again, Kim’s the lucky one…

Posted by Jerry in 19:42:47 | Permalink | Comments (1) »

Monday, August 20, 2007

My Daughter Loves Me

This weekend on my long Saturday run, I tweaked my ankle.  Now, as my good friend Alan says, I have glass ankles.  An acorn in the wrong spot and I go flying on these bad shock absorbers (and anyone who is a long time reader of this blog knows that I’m good for one of these at least once a year).  So while I hobbled around and pretty much did what I needed this weekend…I had a five-year-old helper.

Ms. Maya loves to play Mommy. I think it is a bit of her bossiness mixed with being a sibling of special needs kid.  She likes to help out, and is rewarded for it on multiple levels, in multiple ways.  Further, on Friday night, she and I went to Eastside Pizza to order a pizza for dinner, and while we waited we drank an orange soda, ate some breadsticks and played video games.  So we started off the weekend being really, really tight with each other.

So when she saw on Saturday that I was hobbling and in a bit of pain, she of course was concerned.

Maya:  What’s wrong Daddy?

Daddy: I hurt my ankle a little bit, but I’ll be fine in a couple of days.

Maya: Oh, what’s the ankle? (I reminded her, showed her where it hurt, she remembered then)

Maya:  Do you need a hug?

Daddy: Of course.

So Maya takes two steps toward me, climbs up on my lower leg on the ottoman and pushes off and hops on my belly.

I howl in pain. Kim howls in laughter.

I fuss at Maya that I just told her that was my hurt leg, why would she then stand up on it and then jump from it?  That hurt!

She looks at me, furrows her brow, gets mad and walks away.

She turns to me and says, “I forgot your leg was hurt! It didn’t hurt that bad! Now I’m mad at you!”

Now, there is an old family story about me doing something similar to my grandfather (he didn’t give me any candy so I hit his gout inflamed foot).  But I realized that I actually felt like I did something wrong here, because she was trying to give me some love.  She owns me. 

My daughter was loving me to death.

I guess this is part of that special father/daughter thing, eh?

I love her so much I had to take two more Advil.

Posted by Jerry in 18:34:52 | Permalink | Comments Off